The recent critical and commercial success of Joker and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has confirmed how R-rated movies really can perform at the box office.
However, movies issued the next most restricted rating, the NC-17, will unlikely ever witness a similar renaissance, due to their strictly limited cinematic releases.
This reality can result in such adult-themed films receiving another edit and resubmission to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in the hopes of being rated R.
From erotic arthouse to X-rated ultra-violence, the following movies have had to appeal or re-edit to overcome MPAA objections and acquire a coveted R rating.
1. American Pie
1999 ‧ Comedy/Romance ‧ 1h 36m
Five best friends enter a pact to lose their virginity before their high school prom night.
The movie included the now-notorious pie scene and graphic account of teenage parties, leading to the MPAA requiring re-edits to earn the film an R-rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre."
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2. American Psycho
2000 ‧ Horror/Mystery ‧ 1h 44m
A successful investment banker suppresses his psychopathic ego from society before finally submitting to insatiable bloodlust.
The MPAA ordered several seconds of a controversial scene involving two sex workers to be cut from the dark comedy.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale."
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3. Basic Instinct
1992 ‧ Thriller/Mystery ‧ 2h 8m
A detective tasked with investigating a man's murder suspects the victim's girlfriend before falling in love with her.
Little of the original movie was actually changed in order for Basic Instinct to receive an R rating from the MPAA, with scenes instead simply shot from slightly less explicit angles.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Unevenly echoing the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Basic Instinct contains a star-making performance from Sharon Stone, but is ultimately undone by its problematic, overly lurid plot."
4. Blue Valentine
2010 ‧ Romance/Drama ‧ 2 hours
A young couple's dysfunctional marriage tragically unravels while they attempt to raise their child together.
Scenes depicting the couples' love life initially proved problematic with the MPAA, but the off-kilter romance movie successfully appealed the rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "This emotionally gripping examination of a marriage on the rocks isn't always easy to watch, but Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give performances of unusual depth and power."
5. The Boondock Saints
1999 ‧ Crime/Thriller ‧ 1h 50m
Two brothers are inspired by their faith to cleanse their hometown of evil with zealous vigilante justice.
The MPAA required some of the graphic violence to be reshot before the movie could receive an R rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "A juvenile, ugly movie that represents the worst tendencies of directors channeling Tarantino."
6. Boogie Nights
1997 ‧ Drama/Indie film ‧ 2h 36m
A teenage man is discovered by a porn director who transforms him into adult-film sensation Dirk Diggler.
When the producers of Boogie Nights sent their initial cut to the MPAA, it was rated NC-17, but the association relented after just 40 seconds of adult material was cut.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg."
1994 ‧ Comedy/Buddy ‧ 1h 45m
The movie follows a day in the lives of two convenience clerks who annoy customers, discuss films and fool about.
This successful low-budget movie was originally rated NC-17 due to the frequently explicit dialogue.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "With its quirky characters and clever, quotable dialogue, Clerks is the ultimate clarion call for slackers everywhere to unite, and, uh, do something, we guess?"
8. The Doors
1991 ‧ Drama/Music ‧ 2h 21m
This is a biographical depiction of 1960s rock band singer Jim Morrison's life from his rise to stardom as The Doors' lead singer to his early death. The MPAA was reportedly unhappy with the movie's nudity and coarse language and required re-edits to be made.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Val Kilmer delivers a powerhouse performance as one of rock's most incendiary figures, but unfortunately, Oliver Stone is unable to shed much light on the circus surrounding the star."
9. Eyes Wide Shut
1999 ‧ Mystery/Drama ‧ 2h 45m
After a man's wife admits to sexually fantasizing about someone else, the couple attends an elite underground swingers club.
Movie studio Warner Bros. was reportedly under contract to provide Eyes Wide Shut with a coveted R rating regardless of how risqué some scenes were.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "[Director Stanley] Kubrick's intense study of the human psyche yields an impressive cinematic work."
10. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
1988 ‧ Horror/Slasher ‧ 1h 52m
A woman uses her psychic powers and accidentally resurrects dreaded mass murderer Jason Voorhees.
The MPAA reportedly demanded approximately 20 scenes had to be re-edited or reshot for the horror movie to receive an R-rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "As lumbering and bereft of conscious thought as its unstoppable star, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood finds the franchise in desperate need of the title ingredient."
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11. The Godfather Part III
1990 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 50m
Micheal Corleone decides to end his family's criminal empire and selects his ambitious nephew as his successor.
Graphic violence and strong language meant the MPAA stipulated numerous edits were needed for the final film in the trilogy to receive an R rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "The final installment of The Godfather saga recalls its predecessors' power when it's strictly business, but underwhelming performances and confused tonality brings less closure to the Corleone story."
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12. Inside Deep Throat
2005 ‧ Documentary/Indie film ‧ 1h 32m
This documentary examines the notorious pornographic movie Deep Throat, including an interview with the lead actress Linda Lovelace. The 2005 film originally showed un-cut scenes from the 1970 adult movie which required a re-edit.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "A documentary on the film that brought smut mainstream, Inside Deep Throat is gaining praise as an entertaining look at a pop-culture milestone. However, some critics say the film could have gone a little deeper into the people involved."
13. Jackass: The Movie
2002 ‧ Comedy/Slapstick ‧ 1h 27m
Johnny Knoxville and his juvenile friends childishly prank, embarrass and torture each other for the audience's entertainment fun.
While the MPAA objected to several scenes in Jackass: The Movie, it flat-out refused to include the film's final skit titled "Toy Car Butt X-Ray."
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "There's a good chance you'll be laughing hysterically at one stunt, but getting grossed out by the next one in this big-screen version of the controversial MTV show."
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14. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
2003 ‧ Action/Crime ‧ 1h 52m
Pregnant assassin The Bride wakes from a coma to seek revenge on her ex-boss Bill and his associates.
When Quentin Tarantino submitted Kill Bill: Vol. 1 to the MPAA it received an R, but the director then reportedly included an extra minute for the Japanese release which would have made the film deserve the NC-17 rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Kill Bill is admittedly little more than a stylish revenge thriller—albeit one that benefits from a wildly inventive surfeit of style."
15. Lust, Caution
2007 ‧ War/Thriller ‧ 2h 39m
Chinese university students from The University of Hong Kong plot to seduce then assassinate a powerful politician.
The movie was released in the U.S. as NC-17 due to its explicit sex scenes after director Ang Lee refused to cut 10 minutes from the film. A separate R-rate version was later released.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is a tense, sensual and beautifully-shot espionage film."
16. Natural Born Killers
1994 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 2m
A serial killer-couple become tabloid-TV darlings due to a sensationalistic press campaign. The MPAA demanded four minutes of scenes depicting extreme violence, strong language and graphic sexuality be left on the cutting room floor in order to gain the R rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Natural Born Killers explodes off the screen with style, but its satire is too blunt to offer any fresh insight into celebrity or crime—pummeling the audience with depravity until the effect becomes deadening."
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17. Predator 2
1990 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 1h 48m
A U.S. military team is tasked with tracking a deadly alien hunter killing drug gangs in Los Angeles. The original cut of Predator 2 was extremely intense and the movie had to be recut approximately 20 times before the MPAA gave its blessing.
Move critic Janet Maslin of The New York Times described the movie as "an unbeatable contender" for the "most mindless, mean-spirited action film of the holiday season."
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18. Pulp Fiction
1994 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 58m
The lives of two LA mobsters, a gangster's wife, a boxer and two small-time criminals become entangled in the course of a day.
Although numerous expletives had to be cut from the movie to gain its R rating, the word f**k and its derivatives still feature 265 times in Pulp Fiction.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "One of the most influential films of the 1990s, Pulp Fiction is a delirious post-modern mix of neo-noir thrills, pitch-black humor, and pop-culture touchstones."
19. Requiem for a Dream
2000 ‧ Drama/Psychological thriller ‧ 1h 50m
The drug-addled lives of four young New Yorkers are shattered when their addictions spiral out of control.
The MPAA stamped the movie with an NC-17 rating, but director Darren Aronofsky appealed, stating a certain explicit scene was vital to the narrative.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Though the movie may be too intense for some to stomach, the wonderful performances and the bleak imagery are hard to forget"
1987 ‧ Action/Sci-fi ‧ 1h 43m
A horrifically injured policeman returns to the force at a crime-ridden city as a deadly cyborg.
With its scenes of graphic violence, the original version of Robocop had to be significantly altered to earn the movie an R rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "While over-the-top and gory, RoboCop is also a surprisingly smart sci-fi flick that uses ultra-violence to disguise its satire of American culture."
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1983 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 50m
Tony Montana builds a drug empire in Miami, but his problems start to spiral out of control as his ego and enemies grow.
The MPAA initially issued Scarface with an X-rating, but it was overturned and replaced with an R rating on appeal after director Brian De Palma tweaked a chainsaw scene to satisfy the agency.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess."
22. Scary Movie 2
2001 ‧ Horror/Comedy ‧ 1h 29m
Four teens tricked by their teacher into visiting a haunted house for a school project believe they have witnessed paranormal activities.
Some scenes featuring gratuitous use of sex had to be left on the cutting room floor to allow the horror-comedy an R rating, although these were made available as DVD extras.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Instead of being funny, this gross-out sequel plays like a sloppy, rushed-out product."
1996 ‧ Horror/Mystery ‧ 1h 51m
One year after a woman's mother is murdered, several more deaths occur and everyone appears to be a suspect.
The MPAA had an issue with Scream's iconic opening sequence, which they declared too intense to initially issue the movie with an R rating. It was eventually granted after director Wes Craven made some cuts.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some."
24. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
1999 ‧ Musical/Comedy ‧ 1h 21m
The friends are caught watching an R-rated movie featuring Canadians Terrance and Phillip and the innocuous situation escalates to the brink of a world war.
The MPAA bristled at the movie's original title All Hell Breaks Loose due to the inclusion of the word "Hell" in an animated title.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Its jokes are profoundly bold and rude but incredibly funny at the same time."
25. Summer of Sam
1999 ‧ Crime/Drama ‧ 2h 22m
During the sweltering summer of 1977, the Son of Sam serial killer keeps all of New York City on edge.
The MPAA required particularly graphic scenes to be edited out due to their raw and explicit nature before granting the R rating.
Rotten Tomatoes' critics' consensus states: "Spike Lee offers intense visuals but his storytelling feels crowded and overambitious"
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