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by Aaron Bogert, Peter Knegt, Dana Harris, Bryce J. Renninger and Nigel M. Smith
March 29, 2012 1:23 PM
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The MPAA Being a 'Bully': 10 Films That Appealed Their Ratings


"The King's Speech" (2010)

Perhaps the tamest film on this list, one might recall that in the midst of the "Blue Valentine" appeal, The Weinstein Company were waging a concurrent battle for their Oscar hungry "King's Speech." The MPAA gave the film an 'R' rating for profanity (one might recall the scene when Colin Firth utters the f-word over and over). As 'R' ratings go, this made it so no one under age of 17 could see the film without an adult. Comparatively, the British ratings board had given the film a much milder '12A' rating, allowing anyone over the age of 12 to see "The King's Speech" adult-free. The Weinsteins appealed the rating, but the MPAA stood film. As a result, they released an alternate version of the film that muted out some of the profanities. Interestingly, that version would go on to gross only $3,344,306, compared to the 'R' rated version's $135,453,143. [Peter Knegt]


"Natural Born Killers" (1994)

Oliver Stone’s 1994 film about Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis), a serial killer couple on a cross-country murder spree is perhaps the controversial director’s most notorious film (no small feat). The film initially received an NC-17 and had a gruelingly long battle with the MPAA in order to secure an R rating. As the film is about serial killers, it unsurprisingly depicts a large amount of graphic violence, which the ratings board strongly objected to. Mickey and Mallory are given massive press coverage in the film, with Stone’s intention being to lampoon the media circus surrounding then recent violent crimes in America, which may have actually hurt the film during the rating process. The O.J. Simpson murders had occurred just two months before the film’s release and it wouldn’t be surprising if this was one of the factors which made the ratings board crack down so harshly on the film. They were more than likely anxious about seeing similar events parodied in such an extreme fashion. In the end, Stone had to cut out four minutes of footage before the ratings board would give the film an R rating and Warner Bros. would agree to release it. Thankfully, the home video market exists though and Stone’s uncut version of the film was made available for the VHS release and it now easy to find on DVD/Blu-ray. [Aaron Bogert]

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3 Comments

  • katy | March 30, 2012 11:33 AMReply

    I met the man of my dreasms on the place mentioned in my pic ==--TallLoving.c'0m---it gives you a chance to make your life better and open opportunities for you to meet the attractive young man and treat you AS a queen!

  • Barry | March 29, 2012 3:28 PMReply

    There needs to be some rating system I feel. There are challenges with its arbitrary nature, but the biggest problem is with the theaters who are said to preclude the playing of films with NC-17 ratings. This is ridiculous. They are the ones who should be feeling the heat. Film viewers can decide for themselves if they want to see a certain film and to have it excluded by these corporate bohemoths is maddening.

  • IRONY | March 29, 2012 2:49 PMReply

    The MPAA's rating criteria is RIDICULOUS! Why is violence more acceptable than sex? However, did Weinstein see his own documentary? It is ironic that the film is being distributed by the biggest BULLY in the industry - Harvey Weinstein. Not surprised his bullying tactics towards the MPAA didn't work. That said - would like to see the MPAA go away altogether.