When I Think it’s Okay for Movies to be Rated NC-17 (And When it’s Not)

While most of us probably know about the G, PG, PG-13, and R-ratings, there is this lesser-known rating, which is what this post focuses on: the NC-17 rating.

NC-17 means no one (children) 17 and under is admitted. It is likely the least used rating out of all the other ratings. Not too many movies have that rating.

But there are some that do. Examples include:

  • Blonde (2022) – It’s about Marylin Monroe’s life, but it has some intense levels of violent and graphic scenes as well as some “intimacy” moments that can disturb people.
  • A Serbian Film (2010) – It has extreme levels of violence and other mature content.

If the film is intense to the most extreme levels – the NC-17 rating is acceptable

The movies listed above sound like they meet the criteria, according to my research on them. I have not seen the movies. But based on the reasons they are rated NC-17, I think they would scar me badly.

They might petrify a typical 40-year-old as well. Of course, everyone handles that kind of content differently. There could be 25-year-olds who have no problems with the levels of explicit material. And there might be 50-year-olds who become traumatized and have nightmares for several weeks.

If a movie lighthearted enough for a 5-year-old to handle, and only for cursing – then it’s ridiculous to rate it NC-17

This was actually going to happen to The South Park Movie, released in 1999. Due to having 400 uses of swear words, it was going to be rated NC-17. And the MPAA kept insisting on it having that rating for several times until a few weeks before its scheduled release. Luckily, the creators got the R-rating that they believed the film deserved instead. But it was because one curse word was removed.

Never, should a film be rated NC-17 just for profanity – that is simply insane. Even Trey Parker, one of the South Park creators, disagreed with the MPAA’s decision based merely on language, and not content, such as violence. I could not agree with him any more.

The South Park Movie is as lighthearted as a family-friendly movie, except with lots off cussing. A 5-year-old could easily handle it, although it would negatively impact his or her brain development, and he or she could make terrible choices. That actually happens when younger people are exposed to explicit content, like mature language.

But any movie that has lots of cursing, and little to no intense levels of other mature content, should have a rating no higher than R.

Which brings me to my next point…

When I attended a teen travel program at the age of 13, I overheard another camper complaining about a movie being rated NC-17 just for having a lot of cursing. At that time, I thought to myself, So what? I am the oldest in my family, so my parents were more protective of me than they were with my youngest brother once he turned 13.

But thinking back, I believe that kid made a valid point. Yes, we were in our early teens, and our brains were far from the development of an adult’s brain. However, I agree with that person’s opinion now.

Despite what I said about what happens if a young person sees or hears dirty content, they sometimes see things in a more rational way than adults do at times. Sometimes adults make not-so-smart decisions, and children make wise choices.


Like what others believe, I agree that various factors about a film should be taken into consideration before the MPAA decides on rating. There have been other times where movies with lots of violence received cleaner ratings than those with less. But that’s a different topic.

Do you agree with my opinions? Let me know in the comments if you’d like.

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, www.sunaynaprasadbooks.com. Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

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