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AFI’s 10 Top 10 on CBS

Rating: TV- PG LV


Americans love movies. So great is America’s love and respect for the art of film that private investors and those in the entertainment industry have worked together to establish the American Film Institute, an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting film. The AFI also maintains a list of the most notable examples of the art of cinema. On June 17th CBS treated viewers to a look at clips from many classic films during its special, AFI’s 10 Top 10. Airing from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET/PT, the special celebrated the top 10 movies in 10 classic genres as decided by the AFI. But although kids also love movies, the special chose to highlight many clips featuring content unsuitable for children. With clips from movies in the categories of animation, fantasy, science fiction, sports, westerns, gangster films, mysteries, epics, courtroom dramas, and romantic comedies, this show had the potential to be as clean or as raunchy as its producers chose. Unfortunately, all too often they chose “raunchy”…and parents were not even warned of the inappropriate content, since the show was rated only TV-PG LV.


What do Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Blade Runner, and A Clockwork Orange all have in common? They are R-rated movies from which violent clips were played during the 8:00 p.m. ET time slot – which is 7:00 in the Central and Mountain time zones, the very heart of the Family Hour. In a clip from A Clockwork Orange, a gang brutally beats an older man with a cane, kicking and punching him, all while giggling with evil delight. During the 9 o’clock hour, viewers were confronted with another onslaught of violence, with clips from movies like Unforgiven, Wild Bunch, Raging Bull, Scarface, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, The Godfather Part I, The Usual Suspects, and Blue Velvet. Clips showed people being shot at, beaten savagely, and murdered. Graphic depictions of blood and wounds were shown. The violence in these clips earned the movies an R-rating in theaters – but apparently CBS thinks such violence is only deserving of a PG rating.


Graphic violence was not the only thing incorrectly rated in this show. In a clip from Bull Durham, the lead character mentions his belief in “soft-core pornography.” Later, a clip from When Harry Met Sally shows Sally faking an orgasm in the middle of a restaurant. She yells, moans, and pounds on the table during her false sexual interlude.


Due to the number and graphic nature of the violent clips shown, and the sexual content of other clips, this show should have been rated TV-14 LVS. Only when TV programs are consistently and transparently rated will the ratings system truly be of worth to parents.


If you agree that this program was inadequately rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at tvomb@usa.net and let them know that the TV ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate content.


For more information about the TV ratings, please visit http://www.tvguidelines.org/contact.asp.

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