Today's PG-13 Movies More Violent Than 1980s “R” Films: Study

Modern-day PG-13 movies like “The Hunger Games” and “The Avengers” are more violent than 1980s-era R-rated movies like “The Untouchables,” according to a new study.

NBC News reports that the study, published Sunday in the journal Pediatrics, found that movies that got “R” ratings in the 1980s could probably garner a PG-13 rating today. The same study also found that gun violence in PG-13 movies has tripled since the rating was first introduced by the Motion Picture Rating Association of America in 1985.

The study examined two action movie series -- “Terminator” and “Die Hard” -- whose originals were rated “R” in the 1980s. In both cases, movies in the series released in the last decade received “PG-13” ratings, but had more violence than previous sequels.

The study also found that since 2009, PG-13 movies had as much or more violence than R-rated movies released the same year. In 2012, PG-13 movies actually featured more gun violence than the R-rated counterparts released that year.

Researchers arrived at the finding by analyzing 945 films released from 1985 to 2012. They had undergraduate students watch every movie and count every violent act, defined as any scene that includes “physical acts where the aggressor makes or attempts to make some physical contact with the intention of causing injury or death,” NBC News reports. The study found that movie violence has nearly quadrupled since the 1950s.

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