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Gun Violence has Tripled in PG-13 Movies

11/11/2013 For Release: November 11, 2013

​​​​​​​A study in Pediatrics has found violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and the presence of gun violence in PG-13-rated films has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in 1985. The study, “Gun Violence Trends in Movies,” in the December 2013 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 11), analyzed a sample of the top-grossing films for each of the years from 1950 to 2012. Trained analysts coded each film for the presence of violence and guns during each 5-minute segment of the movie. Researchers found an overall annual increase in gun violence from 1985 to 2012, but the trend differed by movie rating. Among films rated G and PG, gun violence decreased slightly. The rate of gun violence did not change for R-rated movies. Among films rated PG-13, gun violence increased, and since 2009, PG-13 movies have contained as much or more violence than R-rated movies.  The study authors conclude that even if youth do not use guns, because of the increasing popularity of PG-13 movies, they are exposed to considerable gun portrayal and violence, which may increase their aggressive behavior. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit