Is a film age-appropriate? Streaming services can’t agree.

We mentioned in April how, during lockdown, the various TV streaming services have become increasingly popular. It was so popular that, as more and more people were furloughed or sat inside during the coronavirus lockdown, streaming quality had to be reduced in order to keep the internet pipes free.

There’s various services and, as I covered during my “Leaving Sky TV” feature, I swapped the Sky subscription for streaming services. Shows we’re chose from my phone or through the Netgem TV system, and you can have a read of my Netgem TV review I put up to find out more.

However, one thing I’ve noticed about those services is that, when you have been able to find which streaming service is showing a movie or TV series, there can be confusion of the age rating.

Last night, as an example, I was trying to figure out if my son could watch “The Terminator”. The classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is a must-watch but whether it’s “age-appropriate” is another matter.

First, I had to find a service renting / streaming it. If you head to the Justwatch website then you can easily find these but you’ll notice that the costs (shown above) vary from £2.49 up to £8.99. That’s a bit nuts for starters, and I’m taking the HD / SD quality into the equation.

However, we then get to the age ratings. YouTube movies clearly shows is as an “18 rated” movie…

Google Play Movies, likewise, shows it as an 18 rated movie

Plex, meanwhile, shows it as an “R Rated” but, here in the UK, there’s not a great deal of people who know what “R Rated” means. Our rating system is different.

Then, just to add to the confusion, Amazon, Rakuten and Netflix show The Terminator as a 15 rated movie…

Confused yet?

Well, it could be that certain streaming services have dropped certain scenes to perhaps make it more acceptable to younger audiences but, why do that? That would surely annoy movie aficionados who’d purposefully subscribed to a certain movie streaming service in order to see an “unspoiled” movie. I checked through a few services and the running time is the same – 1 hour and 47 minutes.

Why the difference in age ratings? Who’s right?

This, then, is where I resorted to the same fix that I always use. I went to the BBFC website. The British Board of Film Classification are the guys who rate films here in the UK, so I use their decision and nothing else.

After a very quick search, it turns out that The Terminator is indeed rated 15. At least, the “shown to UK cinema audiences” version is.

Why the heck there’s an “R rating” and an “18 rating” I’ve no idea. Either these are different editions of the movie or the streaming service in question have made up their own minds. I think, at the end of the day, it’s up to the parents to make the final decision.