Moral Ratings Guide

The following is the guide we have decided on to rate the movies that we watch. We'll mention the reasons why we gave the score we did. Remember, these ratings don't necessarily mean we liked or didn't like the movie, it's only based on its moral teaching ability.

  • NOT virtuous or lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy
  • Doesn't help you make right choices (teaches to make wrong choices)
  • Good is portrayed as evil and/or evil is portrayed as good
  • Vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic
  • Not uplifting: do not feel good afterwards, have bad thoughts
Examples: Manchurian Candidate (1962), Disturbia

  • Basically it's not uplifting, but may have some redeeming qualities to keep it out of the 1 category. Further clarification will be made in individual posts.
  • Evil is portrayed as good and/or good as evil
Example: The Dirty Dozen

  • Several things are not virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy
  • May help you make right choices
  • Some good is portrayed as evil or evil as good
  • some vulgarity, immorality, and/or graphic violence throughout film
  • not necessarily uplifting, but not a bad feeling, pretty neutral
  • Generally is made up of comedies and action flicks
Examples: Serenity, As Good As It Gets, Get Smart, Live Free or Die Hard

  • Contains an uplifting message, but a few elements detract from the film being entirely uplifting (e.g., William Wallace sleeping with the princess)
  • Inspires to do good, but we didn't feel an overwhelming urge to do better (One Night with the King)
Example: Hudsucker Proxy, Braveheart

  • Virtuous, lovely, good report, praiseworthy
  • Helps you make right choices
  • Good is good, evil is evil
  • Vulgarity, immorality, or violence is only "depicted"*, not advocated or enacted
  • Uplifting: Feel good afterwards, have good thoughts, inspired to live righteously
Example: On the Waterfront, Evan Almighty

*We feel that to a certain extent evil things may need to be present in order to properly teach a moral lesson as long as the evil is portrayed in an appropriate balance and in it's true light (not just for entertainment). Orson Scott Card, in Moral Story Telling, says that evil can be presented in three ways:
  1. Evil depicted by fiction (e.g., church leaders warning us of evils)
  2. Evil advocated by fiction (e.g., persons encouraging crime, revolution, etc.)
  3. Evil enacted by fiction (e.g., pornography)
As long as the whole movie doesn't advocate and in no way enacts evil, it can be considered moral. Look for later posts as we expound on this topic of what type of evil should be present in the cinema.

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