Damsels in Distress: FamilyMediaGuide.com Film Survey Reveals Recipe for Romance

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A Valentine's Day analysis of classic vs. newer romantic films from FamilyMediaGuide.com.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, the entertainment media researchers at FamilyMediaGuide.com asked the question: What makes a movie “romantic”?

The answer: classic films contain more violence and smoking, while newer films feature more sex and profanity. Older films capitalize on style and a sense of “Damsels in Distress” danger to titillate, while newer ones rely on much more graphic sexual content and sexual innuendo. Call it the new “Valentine Vulgarity.”

The analysis was conducted using the top 10 romantic or love-themed classic films named by the master of movie listmakers, the American Film Institute. Their 100 Years…100 Passions list is topped by: "Casablanca" (1942), "Gone with the Wind" (1939), "West Side Story" (1961), "Roman Holiday" (1953), "An Affair to Remember" (1957), "The Way We Were" (1973), "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), "It’s a Wonderful Life" (1946), "Love Story" (1970) and "City Lights" (1931).

These were compared with what researchers identified as the top 10 newer romantic films, based upon the following criteria: 1) released on DVD in 2005; 2) had a theme of love or romance; and 3) grossed at least $30 million in domestic box office. These included: "Hitch" ($179M), "Sideways" ($71M), "Guess Who" ($69M), "Bewitched" ($63M), "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" ($50M), "Must Love Dogs" ($44M), "Spanglish" ($43M), "Fever Pitch" ($42M), "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" ($40M) and "Closer" ($33M).

Since FamilyMediaGuide.com trained auditors specialize in identifying sex, profanity, violence and substance abuse (including smoking), comparing these quantified variables yielded some interesting results:


-Classics: While most of the classics contained very little graphic sexual content, 9 contained passionate kissing.

-New: Of the 10 newer films, 7 contained explicit sexual content (nudity), and all 10 featured sexual innuendos. Nothing came close to "Closer", with a whopping 61 innuendos, making it our Sexiest New DVD.


-Classics: While only 1 contained profanity, it was significant, with 9 Sh*ts and 4 A*s’ in "Love Story", easily the Most Profane Romantic Classic.

-New: All 10 used profanity, 4 of which use F*ck.


-Classic: "Gone With the Wind" and "West Side Story" are actually quite violent, drawing from their war and gang themes to excite the senses with dangerous scenarios.

-New: While most of the newer films also include violence (led by 'Blunt Force Injuries'), these are overshadowed by sex and profanity.


-Classic: All 10 featured cigarette smoking, and, at times, very heavily; "Casablanca" wins for Smokiest Romantic Classic.

-New: 5 featured smoking, with "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" lighting up the most.

Please refer to attached chart.

See the full report at: http://www.FamilyMediaGuide.com

About FamilyMediaGuide.com

FamilyMediaGuide.com, a division of Media Data Corporation (MDC), provides free entertainment media content analysis directly to consumers. Based on extensive database-driven technology which utilizes approximately 4000 rules and algorithms, a specially trained staff of auditors record instances of profanity, sex, violence, drug use and illegal behavior in current film releases, DVDs, TV programs, radio programs, music videos and video games. The data then goes through three independent stages of validation and results in the most accurate and comprehensive content analyses available anywhere. This objective methodology is superior to existing industry association-based approaches which assign ratings based upon the subjective opinions of a select group of individuals employed by their respective industries. FamilyMediaGuide.com supports individual choice based upon one’s own personal standards of suitability. The company is independently owned and operated and is not affiliated with any political or religious organization.

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Sean Mahoney