Good Rated NC-17 Movies

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

These good rated NC-17 movies are perfect examples of why the Motion Picture Association of America (or the MPAA) needs an overhaul. While they do keep ambitious politicians off of Hollywood’s back (well, sometimes), they also tend to be about as fickle as a woman trying to choose between Brad Pitt and George Clooney. All the movies listed below started out with an NC-17 rating, and most were then trimmed down in order to get a more cinema-friendly R. Since American theatre chains generally refuse to show films rated NC-17, the designation is a death sentence when it comes to making money. For that reason, the MPAA can wield the rating like a giant sword of puritanical justice. Read on to see what I mean.

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Bad Lieutenant (1992) – When a nun is raped, a morally corrupt police lieutenant (Harvey Keitel) is called in to investigate. As he seeks the culprits and redemption, the unnamed cop takes cocaine and heroin, loses a fortune on the Dodgers, and masturbates in front of a couple of teenage girls. Keitel also gets to show off his junk with a prolonged scene of full-frontal goodness. Director Abel Ferrara is out of his mind, but his powerful tale endures. Blockbuster refused to rent the film as NC-17, so a special R-rated version was edited for the now-faltering franchise.

Desperado (1995) – The second in Robert Rodriguez’s “Mexico Trilogy,” Desperado stars Antonio Banderas as a former mariachi bent on killing the drug lord responsible for the death of his lover. Quentin Tarantino makes a cameo, Daddy Trejo gets to throw a lot of knives, and Salma Hayek absolutely sets the screen on fire.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2005) – Kirby Dick directs this insightful look at the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating board and why some films are viewed more leniently than others. A perfect example is heterosexual love scenes versus homosexual love scenes, but the same also applies to matters of budget, gender, and violence. Including interviews with Kevin Smith, John Waters, Maria Bello and Darren Aronofsky, the film also outs the “secret” members of the MPAA. Not surprisingly, the work received an NC-17 rating for “graphic sexual content,” and it was later released on DVD in an unrated version.

Boxing Helena (1993) – This film about a surgeon (Julian Sands) who takes the object of his obsession (Sherilyn Fenn) into his home and amputates her limbs originally received an NC-17 rating for two scenes featuring strong language and sexuality. Director Jennifer Lynch (the daughter of David) appealed the decision, and the rating was reversed to an R. It didn’t matter, though, as the film was both a commercial and critical dud. Still, it’s a bizarre little film that’s worth a look for fans of the unusual.

Hard Target (1993) – In order to receive an R rating, the American debut of director John Woo had 20 minutes shaved from its runtime. That’s a shame, as I can never get too much of Jean-Claude Van Damme killing bad guys in slow motion. Plenty of that happens here, as the Muscles from Brussels takes on a pack of Eurotrash (including Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo) who make big bucks helping the wealthy hunt the homeless for sport.

The Wild Bunch (1969) – Prior to being re-released in 1993, The Wild Bunch was resubmitted to the MPAA and surprisingly received an NC-17 rating (even though it was rated R in 1969). Way to remain consistent, MPAA! No matter what the rating, this Sam Peckinpah western is a must-see for fans of the genre, as a gang of aging outlaws head to Mexico for one last bloody adventure. Has a better use of a Gatling gun ever been captured on the big screen? I think not.

Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – Hilary Swank won an Oscar for her portrayal of pre-op transsexual Brandon Teena in this tale based on real-life events. Chloe Sevigny also gives a powerful performance, and anyone who thinks transsexuals are all porn stars should give this film a look. Bonus points go to the film for being shot in Greenville, Texas, which isn’t that far from the headquarters of Only Good Movies.

Team America: World Police (2004) – Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame deliver their finest theatrical effort to date with this story of globe-trotting cops who keep the world safe from the likes of Kim Jong-il and Alec Baldwin. It’s also the first film to ever feature marionettes having sex (and the unrated DVD version goes way past that). If you like South Park, chances are you’ll love this parody of action films, but prudish viewers should stay away.

American Psycho (2000) – Christian Bale hits a homerun in this adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel about men’s fashion, cannibalism, serial murders, and the merits of Genesis. Ironically, feminist Gloria Steinem was one of the biggest opponents of the novel, but she also happens to be the stepmother of Bale. See the movie and then read the book, as you’ll love it (especially if you’re a misogynistic sicko like me). Other than Bale’s perfect body, female viewers will probably just vomit.

Natural Born Killers (1994) – Oliver Stone went balls-to-the-wall for this criticism of the mass media and pop culture in general. As Mickey and Mallory Knox (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) go on a multi-state crime spree, they become unexpected celebrities to a nation clamoring for increasingly extreme forms of entertainment. Robert Downey Jr. plays a sleazy reporter who chronicles their exploits, and Tom Sizemore is the obsessed cop who peers into the abyss and comes back mad as a hatter. Like one long acid trip of sex and violence (especially the latter), Natural Born Killers will both amuse and shock.

Don’t forget that all the good rated NC-17 movies listed above can be rented from Netflix, and we receive a small commission for sending you there. You may also find the following articles to be of interest:

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6 Responses to “Good Rated NC-17 Movies”

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January 2, 2011


Actually, The Wild Bunch got an X (an old-fashioned pre-porn era X) and was appealed to an R for it’s original release in 1969. So, this is the one case where the MPAA was consistent. Even a stopped clock gives the time twice a day.

Whatever rating, it’s a masterpiece.

January 4, 2011


I stand corrected, Nate. I knew it got an R rating in 1969, but I didn’t realize that it had been appealed down from an X. My bad. Let’s hope the Gorch brothers don’t show up and kick my ass.


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