The Classification & Ratings Administration is part of the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system, which is responsible for administering certain rating levels to help families understand which films are appropriate for different age groups. Prior to the 1990s, the rating system only really dealt with G, PG, PG-13, and R rating for submitted films. Everything beyond R-rating generally fell into an X category, which some found a little confusing to gauge what the content was and which age group it was specifically geared towards.
Once the NC-17 rating replaced the X-rated system, it was basically a continuation of the R-rating. While R-rating allows for those under 18 to watch the film under certain guidelines, NC-17 completely restricts anyone 17 years of age and under. The problem with NC-17 rated films is that it’s not just the movies that fall under the rating system. Trailers, posters, and all advertising for the film can be rejected because of the NC-17 rating. Movie theaters can also refuse to play NC-17 films at their locations.
Because of the negative effects of an NC-17 rating, oftentimes the film is edited to lower the rating in hopes of receiving full distribution upon release. However, there are some filmmakers and studios that refuse to delete any of the scenes in the film, regardless of graphic violence or sexual content. Whether it’s to stay true to the art of the film or a disregard for commercial appeal, not everyone feels the same about the stigma surrounding an NC-17 rating. Check out our list of 10 films you didn’t know were rated NC-17, and see how many you can claim to have watched.
10 Fight Club
6 Boogie Nights
5 Last Tango in Paris
4 The Evil Dead
2 Blue Valentine
1 The Dreamers
Bernardo Bertolucci is known for stirring up controversy with sex scenes in his films, so The Dreamers wasn’t exactly a huge shock for fans of this writer and director. However, it was the breakout role for Eva Green in the film that created the most buzz about the film. Green played Isabelle, a film enthusiast in Paris that has a dysfunctional relationship with her brother. From forced masturbation to losing her virginity through a bet, the movie was filled with controversial relationship dynamics with graphic nude scenes throughout. Spawning the careers of both Eva Green and Michael Pitt, The Dreamers may have been rated NC-17 but it didn’t stop the world from seeing it.
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