is an almost Hitchcockian tale of one man’s childhood catching up with him in ways he could’ve never expected. But with all the gender drama and priesthood bashing, the film just never had a chance at an R rating.
X (later edited for R rating): strong sexual content including rape and violence, graphic nudity, disturbing images, and brief strong language
By today’s standards … well, it’s still pretty shocking. But when Clockwork
originally hit theaters in 1971, it was met with complete and utter outrage, especially in England, where the film is set and was banned for decades ("Don't you bloody blaspheme 'Singin' in the Rain'!"). It was also met, justifiably, with complete and utter praise and four Oscar nominations, and Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece was eventually placed on almost every “Best Movies of All Time” list in existence. Last Tango in Paris
X (later edited for R rating): explicit sexual content
Perhaps unfairly, the aforementioned Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris
is often remembered for its graphic depiction of sex – particularly the “butter” sequence – and the behind-the-scenes controversies it begat, but the film was ultimately acclaimed by critics, and Marlon Brando and Bertolucci were each nominated for Oscars. Oh, the ‘70s. Requiem for a Dream
Unrated (later edited for R rating): intense depiction of drug addiction and graphic sexuality
Much of Darren Aronofsky’s breakout movie is an R-rated cautionary-tale masterpiece, but there are a few scenes that anyone – including yours truly – who saw the harrowing film will never be able to remove from their brains: two gruesome medical-procedure sequences and one of the girl-on-girl-sex variety. Those were deal-breakers for the MPAA, earning Requiem
, at least initially, the non-rating. Midnight Cowboy
X (later edited for R rating): strong sexual content, nudity, some drug use and brief violence
The Dustin Hoffman-starring, Jon Voight-introducing drama stands as the only X-rated (so rated because psychologists thought it potentially hazardous to impressionable “youngsters”) film to ever win Best Picture. ‘Nuff said. Oh, and: “I’m walkin’ here.” Y Tu Mama Tambien
Unrated: strong sexual content involving teens, drug use and language
The undercurrents of political unrest are obviously cool with the MPAA. The almost nonstop sex, though? Notsa much. That’s fine – it’s pretty clear that Alfonso Cuaron’s masterful love(-making)-letter to, uh, coming of age wasn’t intended for mass consumption (unlike Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
a few years later!). At least we know Academy members saw it and loved it. Perverts!