28 Movies That Were Almost Rated NC-17

A NC-17 rating for a movie is almost like the kiss of death for the film’s release because it severely limits how much money the film will ultimately bring in at the box office. See which of your favorite movies had to tone down their scripts or most iconic scenes in order to go from NC-17 to Rated R (American Pie, anyone?).

Scary Movie 2
The spoof sequel was deemed "too gross" for an R rating until changes were made and it was given the green light.
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Director Quentin Tarantino's original film was so long, it was cut into two movies, and also had too much blood for mainstream audiences. It was toned down to avoid an NC-17 rating.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Though the film broke records for using the word "f*ck" over 500 times (!!), director Martin Scorsese had to remove some of the nudity and sexual scenes to receive an R rating.
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Basic Instinct
The sexy thriller is known for one scene in which Sharon Stone's character reveals that she doesn't wear underwear, but director Paul Verhoeven said, “Actually, I didn’t have to cut many things, but I replaced things from different angles, made it a little more elliptical, a bit less direct.” The full version only had 40 extra seconds in it.
American Pie
The raunchy teen comedy that scared us all from eating apple pie from a long time was only rated R after several scenes that had “strong sexuality, crude sexual dialogue, language and drinking, all involving teens" were re-tuned and re-edited.
Surprising as this sounds, Clerks was originally given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA due to the explicit dialogue in the film. It has no substantial violence or nudity, so Miramax hired a civil liberties lawyer to appeal the decision. The MPAA relented and gave the film its ultimate R rating.
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Pulp Fiction

Another Tarantino film makes the list. This time it's for graphic violence and drug use, strong language and sexuality. The "f-word" in all its forms are used 265 times—more than once per minute -- but doesn't top The Wolf of Wall Street for f-bombs.

The raucous comedy was initially given an NC-17 rating because of "numerous sexual scenes that the ratings board considers over the line," so it was trimmed for an R rating.
The 1996 movie that launched a million Halloween costumes and three sequels AND a TV show seems tame by today's standards, but filmmakers had to cut seven gory seconds from the original movie to avoid the NC-17 rating.
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Blue Valentine
A surprising addition to the list, Blue Valentine is about a young couple’s marriage dissolving. The MPAA thought the couple's love life was too "raw" and "intense" and lead actor Ryan Gosling caused an uproar. The MPAA relented and nothing was cut from the theatrical release.

American Psycho
The cult classic film based off Bret Easton Ellis's novel of the same name follows yuppie Patrick Bateman as he leads a large life on Wall Street during the day, and is a vicious murderer by night. One scene involving prostitutes had to be cut from the film, and much of the dialogue was tamed, to avoid an NC-17 tag.
A Clockwork Orange
This is one of the only films in American history to receive an X rating, which is worse than NC-17, but it was so commercially successful that director Stanley Kubrick voluntarily replaced 30 seconds of sexually explicit footage from two scenes so the film could be released with an R rating in 1973.
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Eyes Wide Shut
Stanley Kubrick’s last film before his death was also one of his most controversial (yes, even after A Clockwork Orange!). It's been reported that Warner Bros. was under contract to give the film an R regardless of how risqué the film ended up being.
Tarantino is back, this time, for his 2007 feature with an all-star cast. The film is violent and gory by any standards, but the sexual violence almost tipped the scales to an NC-17 tag.
Natural Born Killers
The tagline for this 1994 film is: “A bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime and consumed by the media," which kind of says it all. Roughly four minutes of scenes with extreme violence, graphic carnage, shocking images, strong language and sexuality were removed to give the movie an R rating.
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Monster's Ball
This drama, which won Halle Berry her Academy Award, was first rated NC-17 because of an explicit sex scene between Berry and Billy Bob Thornton. The scene was trimmed down and the movie got its R rating.
Summer of Sam
The 1999 film about famous serial killer Son of Sam almost received an NC-17 rating before editing was even completed. Many scenes had to be cut and retooled. Despite this, the f-word and its derivatives were used 436 times, holding the record for most f-bombs until The Wolf of Wall Street took that explicit crown.
True Romance
Quentin Tarantino's fourth (yet earliest) mention on the list alone was almost tagged NC-17 due to extreme violence, much of that sexual -- how romantic!
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South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Trey Parker and Matt Stone had to make several edits to this film due to the fact that with each edit, they added something even more vulgar elsewhere to "stick it" to the MPAA. Too funny!
The Boondock Saints
The bloody story of brother vigilantes bombed at the box office and was universally panned by critics, but has gone on to achieve cult status. Not surprisingly, the blatant violence had to be toned down before the film hit theatres.
Another Scorsese addition to the list, Casino was given "several" edits to its original format before being released to theatres. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone all received critical praise for their roles in the 1995 crime drama.
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Team America: World Police
Trey Parker and Matt Stone strike again -- this time, it's for explicit scenes involving puppets. The film still featured an infamous sex scene that we'll never forget, but apparently, it was even worse before some edits! Yowza.
Requiem for A Dream
Darren Aronofsky's psychological drama was praised by critics but its subject matter almost landed it in the NC-17 camp. Aronofsky made an appeal to the MPAA and claimed that cutting any portion of the film would dilute its message. The appeal was denied and Artisan decided to release the film unrated.
The Eli Roth film ushered in an age of torture porn and we're still scarred for life. Even with an R rating, the film is incredibly gruesome (we'll NEVER forget the eyeball scene --shudders--) and makes us never want to stay in a hostel. EVER.
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Hostel: Part II
Eli Roth tried again to push the boundaries, and it resulted in the film being banned in several countries, including Germany and New Zealand.
Jackass: The Movie
Our favorite jackasses (no pun intended) brought the big guns to the big screen and gave us a lot of crude, lewd, and rude -- and almost got an NC-17 rating in the process. The theatrical release was rated R, but you can get the unrated version on DVD to see all the crazy stuff you couldn't in theatres.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Given the title of this film, it's no surprise the content would be overtly sexual. The MPAA gave it an NC-17 rating due to "some graphic sexuality". Star Seth Rogen said in an interview: "It's a really filthy movie. I hear they are having some problems getting an R rating from an NC-17 rating, which is never good." He added, "They fight against sex stuff. Isn't that weird? It's really crazy to me that Hostel is fine, with people gouging their eyes out and shit like that... But you can't show two people having sex — that's too much".
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A Serbian Film
This is widely considered one of the most controversial and disgusting movies of all time, and it was banned in France, Australia, Singapore and Spain, and had a record-breaking 19 minutes cut in the States. We'll spare you the gory details, but there's something in the movie called "newborn porn" -- enough said.


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