Human Rights Movies Through the Prism of Movie Advisory Boards

15 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2020

See all articles by Alon Lazar

Alon Lazar

Ono Academic College

Tal Litvak Hirsch

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Date Written: January 25, 2019


Human rights is a topic of high importance in Western societies, and discrimination has been noted as a determining force in their violations. Films depicting human rights issues have been discussed as instrumental in bringing these matters to the attention of the general public and students. Their exposure is dependent largely on their age-classifications by movie advisory boards which determine who can watch them. Two studies were conducted to assess how films depicting human rights issues and held exemplary by the Political Film Society (PFS) are evaluated by movie advisory boards, providing justifications for their age-classifications. Study 1 found that the boards in the US and the UK identify these movies as suitable mainly for adults, while in Australia, in most cases, moviegoers are to decide their appropriateness. Each board stresses different contents as their main concerns, yet none mention discrimination. Study 2, assessing Netherland's NICAM evaluations, revealed that these movies are considered suitable mainly for adults, primarily because they are heavy with violence and fear arousing contents, with only some noted to include discriminatory contents. Thus, in these liberal-democratic societies, human rights movies considered of high value, in most cases are removed from the educational arena.

Suggested Citation

Lazar, Alon and Litvak Hirsch, Tal, Human Rights Movies Through the Prism of Movie Advisory Boards (January 25, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Alon Lazar (Contact Author)

Ono Academic College

Tzahal St 104
Kiryat Ono, 5545173

Tal Litvak Hirsch

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

Be'er Sheva

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics