In 1984, Steven Spielberg‘s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom along with the film Gremlins, sparked the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) to create an entirely new rating; PG-13. However, prior to this change, some films that were given PG rating could have easily been rated R, but they somehow managed to slip through the cracks. Even with the PG-13 addition, the MPAA’s rating system was still sometimes questionable. Here are 9 movies you won’t believe are only rated PG.
We're not sure when sharks maiming and murdering innocent skinny dippers would ever be considered PG, but to come to the MPAA's defense, Jaws debuted nine-years before PG-13 became a rating. Still, the film could have easily been given an R-rating. The film follows the New England tourist town of Amity Island as they experience a series of shark attacks. The sheer anticipation and music that weaves throughout the shark horror thriller make the film ridiculously terrifying. However, that doesn't even begin to cover the nudity and violence in the film. Not only do we see a naked women in all of her glory, there are also the scenes where people are literally eaten and have their legs bitten off. Overall, Jaws is horrifying and super bloody. Watch the trailer here.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
If you're a fan of classic Hollywood films then you know just how frightening the legendary Joan Crawford could be. 1981's Mommie Dearest starring Faye Dunaway is based on a biography written by Crawford's adopted daughter, Christina. Outwardly, Mommie Dearest shouldn't actually be a horror film, but it is. Dunaway as Crawford, captures the actresses' slow burning rage that comes bubbling to the surface in the most vicious and heart-stopping ways. Though we're not sure how accurate Christina's recollections of her adoptive mother are, the atrocities that she experienced, especially the wire hanger scene, are enough to chill our blood. This film definitely could have used an R-rating considering how realistic it is. Watch the trailer here.
The plot of Poltergeist seems like a typical horror film. A family is haunted by seemingly friendly ghosts until they suddenly become menacing AF. But that is before you realize THERE IS AN ACTUAL DEAD BODY IN THE MOVIE! That fact alone should have warranted an R-rating. This doesn't even begin to get into all of the horrific things that happened on the set when Poltergeist was being filmed. The real skeletons (apparently they were cheaper than fake ones), were just the tip of the iceberg. The film also had killer clowns and guys on LSD literally ripping off their faces. We're actually revolted just thinking about it. Watch the trailer here, if you have the courage.
article continues below ad
The plot of Ghostbusters is pretty straightforward, a rag-tag group of scientists ban together to fight the supernatural after being fired from their cushy positions at a top university in New York City. At first glace the film doesn't look all that scary or alarming, but once you actually sit down to watch it, you will be guaranteed to get pretty freaked the hell out. Not only are there several terrifying demons in the film, but the least PG aspect of Ghostbusters is when Dan Aykroyd's character Ray has a vision of the a ghost going down on him....um yeah. We doubt the upcoming reboot will get such a relaxed rating. Check out the trailer here.
The Princess Bride (1987)
20th Century Fox/Everett
Based on the William Goldman novel, and starring Robin Wright, The Princess Bride seems like a pretty fairy-tale at first glance. The film is about a young woman's quest to find her true love. He in turn seeks her out while battling through the evils of the mythical kingdom of Florin. However, that's about as far as the innocence in the film goes. There is a terrifying sequence involving killer eels that horrifies the little boy who is actually in the film, and several characters in the film are stabbed and nearly killed including the main male protagonist. Things get so bleak that a happy-ending seems highly unlikely at some points in the movie. There is also a ton of gore and blood involved in some of these sequences. Despite the mild swearing, we don't think hearing "son of a bitch" would exactly scandalize an 8-year-old. Still, if The Princess Bride premiered today, we doubt the PG rating would hold up. Watch the trailer here.
We're not convinced that anything Tim Burton does should get anything less than a PG-13 rating, which is why it's a tad alarming that his 1988 film Beetlejuice got away with such a mild rating from the MPAA. After a newlywed couple dies in a car accident, they find themselves haunting their old home, unable to move on even when a couple and their teenage daughter purchases the house. Their efforts to scare off the new owners attract the presence of the spirit Beetlejuice (IE: Michael Keaton at his most terrifying). There are too many dark moments in this film to just pick one, but every time that random snake appears with Bettlejuice's head on his body we literally scream. That "strip club" called Dante’s Inferno Room is also super questionable viewing for anyone younger than 13. Watch the trailer here.
article continues below ad
20th Century Fox/Everett
As kids we all desperately wanted to be adults; free to make our own choices and decisions without out parents help. 12-year-old Josh Baskin gets his wish when he gets turned into a 30-year old man only to discover that being grown up isn't all that it's cracked up to be. The plot of Big seems innocent enough, however there is still a ton of swearing in the film including the excessive use of "b*tch", "asshole" and even the f-bomb. Though the swearing isn't exactly suitable for small tots, it's the romantic relationship between Josh and his co-worker Susan that gets rather sticky. Obviously, Josh's character is being played by a very grown up Tom Hanks, but there is still a very non-PG ick factor that hovers over this romantic relationship. Watch the trailer here.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
This 1988 live action/animation film was originally marketed towards children (hence the PG rating.) However, as Private detective Eddie Valiant tries to figure out who is behind Towntown owner Marvin Acme's murder, things get a whole lot more adult. Who Framed Roger Rabbit certainly isn't your regular Disney flick. Not only do a whole lot of the toons swear, drink and smoke, Roger's sultry wife Jessica Rabbit is a walking sexual innuendo all on her own. A skin tight red dress is draped over her voluptuous figure, and most of the not-so-kid-friendly moments involve her. At one point, a weasel even shoves his hands between her breasts to try and discover the "booby trap". And, there is that moment when Baby Herman says a, "50 year old lust and a three year old dinky." Yes he actually used the word dinky to describe his peen..... Check out the trailer for the classic film here.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Buena Vista Picutres/Everett
We really don't know anyone whose high school experience was PG, so we're not sure how Dead Poets Society got this rating. The film, which is set in 1959, follows the boys at a strict prep school, Welton Academy, and their new eccentric teacher, John Keating (the late Robin Williams). The film is an inside look at teenage boys doing what teenage boys do: smoking, drinking, swearing, and looking at Playboy magazines. Still, this is not a light and fluffy coming-of-age story, the film ends in a very traumatizing way that is sure to even give adults pause. Suicide certainly isn't a subject for children, after all, its not an easy subject for anyone. Watch the trailer here.