Motion Picture Association

From Audiovisual Identity Database

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Editions by
Camenati and BorderGuard87


The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is an American trade association representing the five major film studios of the United States, as well as the video streaming service Netflix. Founded in 1922 as the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) and known as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) from 1945 until September 2019, its original goal was to ensure the viability of the American film industry. In addition, the MPA established guidelines for film content which resulted in the creation of the Motion Picture Production Code in 1930. This code, also known as the Hays Code, was replaced by a voluntary film rating system in 1968, which is managed by the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA).

The original MPAA members were the "Big Eight" film studios: Paramount Pictures, Fox Film, Loews, Universal Pictures, and United Artists, followed by Warner Bros. in 1923, Columbia Pictures in 1924, along with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (formed by the merger of Loews, Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Productions), and RKO Pictures in 1928. Then came the 1935 merger of Fox Film and 20th Century Pictures into 20th Century Fox. Netflix was approved as a new member in January 2019, making it the first non-studio and the first streaming service to be part of the organization. The addition of Netflix also helped to maintain the number of members after the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney.

1st Logo (1945-1967)

Logo: Scrolling with the credits of a film, we see the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America seal, but the "PD" has been replaced by an "A", reading "MPAA". Above the seal is "APPROVED CERTIFICATE" and below the seal is the production code number of the film.


  • The styling of the logo varies by film.
    • At the credits screens of some Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, and DePatie-Freleng shorts released from 1951-67, the logo is shorter and is also not tilted.
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966): The logo appears as carved on a stone on a Roman fresco depicting an orgy in process. A character in the fresco raises the logo in protest.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the movie.

Availability: Ultra common. Seen on practically every film produced in the United States released on the time period.

2nd Logo (June 13, 1967-)

Logo: Scrolling with the credits of a film, we see the Motion Picture Association print logo (an oval with one horizontal line and several curved, vertical lines on it, resembling a global symbol, also containing a circle in the center that sports five smaller ones). Atop it is the production code number of the film, as opposed to below the logo previously, and below it is the text "MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA" (with an underline, until 2019) or "MPA" (without an underline, 2019 onwards).


  • The position of the logo varies by film.
  • On some films, the MPAA/MPA print logo is smaller.
  • In The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) the logo appears in the opening credits on a vase.
  • At the end of Return to Snowy River (1988), the logo is a still picture, moved to the center of the screen and no other logos are present.
  • On The Running Man and Death Tunnel, "NO." is absent.
    • For the latter title, the company name is stacked and the underline is absent.
  • On My Life So Far (1999), the text "CERTIFICATE NO." is next to the production code number atop the logo. Cocaine Bear uses the 2019 logo instead.
  • Films such as Office Space (1999), Idiocracy (2006), Avatar (2009), Blood and Chocolate, and Ford v Ferrari have "APPROVED" next to "NO." in the production code number. The 2019 logo is mostly used on Warner Bros. releases.
    • On The Angry Birds Movie (2016), "INC." is placed beside the company name.
  • On Cars (2006), the production code number is placed underneath the logo.
  • On DreamWorks Animation features from The Road to El Dorado up to Flushed Away, the logo is inside a white box with the exception of the code, which is set in the Optima font.
  • On Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, The Lego Movie, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, the 2022 films Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Tad the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet, Call Jane, and the 2023 film Guy Ritchie's The Covenant, the logo is moved at the center of the screen, and no other logos are present again, similar to Return to Snowy River, except that it scrolls with the credits. For the first three films, it's the "APPROVED" variant. This is omitted from the film's British and Chinese prints of the fourth title, and Spanish prints for the fifth title.
  • A few films, such as American prints of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Diving with Dolphins, The Loud House Movie, and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, don't have the film's production code number.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the movie.

Availability: Current and ultra common. Seen on practically every film produced in the United States and sometimes movies from the United Kingdom. This logo is mostly paired with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees logo, or the SAG-AFTRA logo. This is usually absent on international versions of some films. It first appeared on the American release of You Only Live Twice (1967) whereas the first film to bear the current name is Countdown (2019). Despite being retired, the old name is still used on a few films; the most recent examples being Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned and Chang Can Dunk.

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