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On this Day in Movie History, August 10, 1984: Red Dawn First Movie Rated PG-13

On this Day in Movie History, August 10, 1984: Red Dawn Opens as First Movie Rated PG-13
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On this day in 1984, the action thriller Red Dawn, starring Patrick Swayze, opens in theaters as the first movie to be released with a PG-13 rating.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which oversees the movie rating system, had announced the new PG-13 category in July of that same year.

Founded in 1922 as a trade group for the American film industry, the MPAA introduced its first-ever movie rating system in November 1968. The system came in response to groups who wanted better guidelines for parents to determine whether or not a movie’s content and themes were child-appropriate.

The initial rating categories were G (appropriate for audiences of all ages), M (for mature audiences, but all ages admitted), R (anyone under 16 not admitted without an accompanying adult) and X (no one under 17 admitted). The M category was eventually changed to PG (parental guidance suggested) and on July 1, 1984, the PG-13 category was added to indicate film content with a “higher level of intensity” than PG, according to the MPAA.

So why did Red Dawn rate a PG-13? Simply for its violence. Called "a Republican wet dream manifested into a surrealistic Orwellian nightmare," upon its release Red Dawn was considered the most violent film by the Guinness Book of Records with a rate of 134 acts of violence per hour, or 2.23 per minute.

Despite this, Red Dawn was the 20th highest grossing film of 1984, opening in 1,822 theatres and taking in $8,230,381 on its first weekend. Its box office gross was $38,376,497. National Review Online has named the film #15 in its list of "The Best Conservative Movies.

Starting in 1990, the X rating was changed to NC-17 (anyone 17 and under not admitted) because it was believed that “X” had come to connote hardcore pornography.

1898 – Jack (John Joseph) Haley (actor: The Wizard of Oz, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Alexander’s Ragtime Band; died June 6, 1979)

1902 – Norma Shearer (Academy Award-winning actress: The Divorcee [1929-30]; The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Private Lives, Romeo and Juliet; died June 12, 1983)

1913 – Noah Beery Jr. (actor: The Rockford Files, Walking Tall, Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, The Bastard, Fastest Gun Alive, Million Dollar Kid; died Nov 1, 1994)

1914 – Jeff Corey (actor: Color of Night, Conan the Destroyer, Sinatra, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Boston Strangler; died Aug 16, 2002)

1923 – Rhonda Fleming (Marilyn Louis) (actress: Stage Door, The Best of Broadway, Little Egypt, Inferno; operates cancer clinic for women)

1960 – Antonio Banderas (Jos’ Antonio Dom’nguez Banderas) (actor: Too Much, Never Talk to Strangers, Assassins, Interview with the Vampire, Philadelphia, Against of the Wind, Law of Desire, Labyrinth of Passion, Los Tarantos, The Mask of Zorro; fashion model: Ralph Lauren, Gucci)

1965 – Claudia Christian (actress: Babylon 5, Dallas, The Calendar Girl Murders, A Wing and a Prayer, The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All, Atlantis: The Lost Empire)

1972 – Angie Harmon (actress: Law & Order, Baywatch Nights, Lawn Dogs, Batman Beyond)

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