Film Rating Terms

Alberta Film Classification uses a specialized vocabulary to describe film content without giving away too much of the movie or giving detailed descriptions of specific scenes. Discrete language is used to ensure that our information may be shared with any age group.

Advisory: an information piece that may be part of the classification of a film; intended to advise on content that may be beyond what is expected in a given category

Brutal Violence: indicates the portrayal of intense violent content, as in scenes of torture or revenge, with a high degree of emotional and/or audiovisual explicitness

Classification Rationale: a summary of the reasons for placing a film in a particular rating category

Coarse Language: may include profanity, cursing, vulgarity, scatological slang, ethno-cultural slurs, and sexual expletives. The intensity of the coarse language determines whether there is a coarse language advisory or whether the film is placed in a higher rating category. If an otherwise PG film contains one instance of the most common sexual expletive, this necessitates a coarse language advisory.

Content Elements: identifiable aural, verbal, or visual material such as language, sexual content, and/or violence

Crude: concerned with toilet humour, scatological references, coarse sexual innuendo, or degrading dialogue or actions

Cursing: language that negatively invokes an afterlife

Depiction: how a film element is visually expressed to the viewer, including how detailed the event is, how long the scene is, what point of view is taken, and whether it is realistic or stylized

Detail: the amount of verbal, visual, or aural information experienced in the representation of a scene or element of a film

Developmental Slurs: derogatory expressions that refer to physical, intellectual, or psychological development

Disturbing: likely to invoke a reaction of revulsion, fear, or unease in the viewer

Drug Use: depictions of illegal drugs, evaluated by the tone and duration of use

Elements: visual, aural, or verbal representations that are considered in the classification of films. Usually divided into content elements and thematic elements

Ethno-Cultural Slurs: derogatory expressions that refer to gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or cultural background

Genre: a category of film with expectations of themes, portrayal, and conventions, common to that category. For example: Musical, Western, Horror

Gory Scenes: visual depictions of bloodletting or tissue damage

Impact: the strength of effect on the viewer

Implied: an element that is suggested but not actually shown

Intensity: the aural, visual, thematic, or verbal strength of a film or an element of a film

Mature Theme: indicates the presence of subject matter that may require an adult perspective in order to be fully appreciated, such as death, abortion, family violence, religious belief, human rights, or discrimination

Mitigating Elements: aspects of the thematic elements that may justify placing a film in a lower rating category than the content elements alone

Nudity: presentations of the human body, including frontal or rear nudity. May be sexual or non-sexual in context

Offensive: language or audiovisual content that many people would react to with outrage or extreme disgust

Profanity: language that casually invokes Deity

Realistic: the presentation of actions or events in a manner or with sufficient detail as to suggest a connection to actual experience

Reference: verbal or visual expression of a film element in passing, rather than depiction in detail

Scatological Slang: words relating to toilet functions and related physical byproducts

Sexual Coercion: the use of threat to force agreement to sexual activity

Sexual Content: pertains to verbal or visual references to or depictions of sexual activity

Sexual Expletives: includes the four-letter words for genitalia and sexual activity, and variations thereof

Sexual Slurs: derogatory expressions that refer to gender, sexual orientation, or sexual prowess

Sexual Violence:  sexual assault or aggression in a sexual context to which one party does not consent

Sexually Explicit Material: filmed presentation of unsimulated sexual activity

Stylized: the presentation of actions or events in a manner which removes or subverts a connection to actual experience

Substance Abuse: indicates the use of illegal drugs, the excessive use of tobacco, or the use of alcohol resulting in impairment

Suggestive Language: indicates mild sexual dialogue or double entendres that would be tolerated by most individuals

Suggestive Scenes: indicates the implication of sexual activities that are about to occur, have just occurred or are occurring out of sight

Thematic Elements: the attitude, tone, and intention of the film

Tone: the way in which subject matter is handled

Treatment: the way in which subject matter is handled; may be realistic, in which the goal is to make the movie seem real to the viewer, or stylized, in which the viewer is made aware of the unreality of the movie

Violence: presentation of acts that injure, maim, threaten, or cause death.

Vulgar Expressions: language that would be considered impolite, slang for body parts, and insults