ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

The R-rating is getting a lot of press these days thanks to the Deadpool movie, but why let the bloke in the red mask have all the fun?

Below is a round up of interesting facts about the R-rating itself to get you thinking, and it's not all as black and white as you might think.

7. The Second Secret Service

The MPAA is an insanely secretive organization that is way more cloak and dagger than the judiciary system that deals with actual murderers and the public outrage that surrounds them instead of swearing actors and fictional plot lines.

Several newspaper investigations have tried to find out who the members of the ratings board are since the late '60s but there was only a tiny spec of success in 2005. A filmmaker named Kirby hired a private investigator to hunt out the men and women behind the rating curtain in 2005, and they managed to dish up some interesting info.

After rummaging through the garbage, following cars from the MPAA parking lot and checking number plates they managed to unmask the entire MPAA roster, but it wasn't as impressive as he was hoping...

6. Unqualified Madness

Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA
Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA

Instead the MPAA were all perfectly ordinary people with no relevant training who were all breaking the rules of their own organization because there was nobody to call them out.

People are not meant to serve on the board for more than seven years, but many people had been there for decades, but most shockingly, they were all white and hardly any of them had children (the people who the MPAA are supposedly protecting.)

Not only were people with their own human children rare, but there are also no child development experts which is a legal requirement in much of Europe. This might explain why in the U.S. nipples and sex are seen as the ultimate evil whereas in Europe blood and gore are seen as more damaging to young minds.

5. A D For Description

The MPAA's methods of classification can sometime seem pretty erratic, but even more unfathomable are some of the descriptors for what they name movies for example:

  • Ghost Brigade (1993) – Rated R for satanic war violence.

Just when you thought war violence was as bad as it gets...

  • Class Of Nuke ‘Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991) – Rated R for scenes of nudity and sexuality, for comic horror violence and grossness.

One word. Grossness. You couldn't make it up!

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) – Rated R for demented mayhem and torture, and for strong language.

I get the impression they are running out of adjectives at this point...

4. Avengers Avenged

Marvel's Avengers was given an R-Rating twice before they satisfied the board that it was suitable for a younger audience, according to Kevin Fiege:

"Well, whenever you impale somebody from their back and the blade comes out their chest, there are issues."

Marvel eventually edited the scene where Agent Coulson is impaled by Loki's staff. In the original cut, audiences were meant to see the bloody staff's tip coming out of Coulson’s chest, but in the final cut we only hear it slam through him and don't see it.


3. DC Before Deadpool

Although Deadpool is receiving a hell of a lot of fan fare for Deadpool's brave R-Rating, DC actually beat Marvel to it when it comes to R-Rated action with 2009's Watchmen which contains: "strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language."

2. Common As Muck

Between 1968 and 2000, the R-Rating has actually been the most common rating, the breakdown goes as follows:

  • 55% rated R
  • 24% rated PG
  • 10% rated PG-13 (created in 1984)
  • 8% rated G
  • 3% rated NC-17 (replaced X in 1990)

1. Flicks Abroad

Movies are much more likely to get a lower rating overseas in Europe, particularly in France. For example, Blue Is The Warmest Color, an NC-17 in America, was only rated a 12 in its native country.

Read more in my colleague Mark's informative article HERE.

What do you think about the MPAA?


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