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Movie Ratings

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  • Movie reel and popcorn on table

Services | February 18, 2015

Idea Exchange offers a large selection of popular and educational movies for children and adults. These movies are listed in the online catalogue and can be searched by title or by keyword. Educational films can be searched using words describing their topic.

Movie ratings

Rating systems can be helpful when trying to choose appropriate movies for your family, but with many different systems in use in Canada, they can also be very confusing. Many movies in the library's collection have a rating from the Canadian Home Video Rating System on their case. Others may have an American or British rating. It is possible that a movie case may have up to 3 different ratings from different rating systems. There is no guarantee that the ratings will all be the same. Media Smarts provides an overview of how film rating works in Canada.

Canadian organizations providing film ratings and reviews

Ontario Film Review Board
The Board is the government body that applies the standards set out in law to classify movies shown in theatres in Ontario. You can search the Board's website to find how a film was rated, however, little information beyond the film's rating is provided.  Please note that not all videos/DVDs in the library's collection are found here, as movies that were not released theatrically in Ontario are not required to be rated. This can include Canadian and foreign television programmes and series, titles released directly to video/DVD, many television cartoons, some foreign films, etc.

Canadian Home Video Rating System
The rating of DVDs and videos meant to be viewed in the home is handled differently than the rating of films to be released in theatres.  The rating found on the cassette or exterior container is usually from the Canadian Home Video Rating System, not the Ontario Film Review Board.  These ratings are an average of the ratings assigned by participating provincial film boards and are applied by the distributor to home video or DVD packaging. This is a voluntary system and it does not include all DVDs and videos released in Canada. Please note that their online database does not include all movies rated by this organization in the past and little information beyond the film's rating is supplied.

"Child Friendly" movie ratings and reviews

The rating on the DVD case often does not provide enough information for you to decide if a particular movie is appropriate for your family.  The best way to know if a movie is right for your children is to watch it yourself.

However, there are also websites that provide "child friendly" movie ratings, reviews and plot descriptions. While these sites usually review major theatrical releases, many older films or films released directly to video/DVD are not included:

Plot descriptions, ratings & reviews

If you cannot find your movie rated or reviewed on the sites listed above, try searching the Internet Movie Database. The site usually provides detailed plot descriptions, reviews and links to trailers