The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (2023)

NC-17 films have long fascinated film fans. As early as 1990, the MPAA (The Motion Picture Association of America) replaced the X rating with NC-17 because X had become synonymous with pornography. Unfortunately, even after the move to NC-17, the stigma of rating lingered, making these films almost impossible to get into theaters.

TIED TOGETHER:15 Movies That Were Originally NC-17

Numerous high-profile films such asamerican psycho,Seen,boys don't cry, andGoodfellasall had to alter or edit scenes to change their NC-17 rating to an R. However, some films threw caution to the wind, defying censorship and refusing to make edits. These films were released with an NC-17 rating or as unrated.


Updated December 5, 2021 by Keith Langston:Thankfully, many moviegoers have become more open and tolerant of NC-17 and unrated films in recent years, and the two ratings are no longer the "kiss of death" they were in previous decades.

Blue is the warmest color (2013)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (1)

• Available on AMC+

This French drama was actually based on a graphic novel of the same name and featured stunning performances by Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who play two women who fall in love. The film earned its NC-17 rating for its uncompromising portrayal of sex, although that wasn't the cause of most controversy.

According to reports from publications as recordedGeier, working conditions with director Abdellatif Kechiche were extremely poor, leading to massive tensions on the set. In the end, the film received positive critical reviews and awards, but failed to win over much of the LGBTQ+ community due to concerns centered around authenticity.

Kinder (1995)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (2)

Larry Clark struck a chord with critics, censors and parent groups in the '90s thanks to a string of highly controversial films, includingKinder,a story about several New York teenagers who dabbled in everything from drugs to unsafe sex.

The content is extremely hard to stomach, leading to a tragic final act.Kinderis a film that tries to sound the alarm about the dangers of an aimless, wasted youth at a time when many young people felt morally helpless.

Showgirls (1995)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (3)

Showgirlsshould doSaved by the bellStar Elizabeth Berkley a real actress. It was her chance to show that she had grown up and could star in some dark drama. To date,Showgirlsis the only NC-17 film to be widely released in theaters. The film focuses on Nomi, a young woman who travels to Las Vegas with dreams of becoming a showgirl.


The film is full of subterfuge, assault, extortion and even murder.Showgirlsreceived a lot of negative press prior to release due to its nudity and violence. Despite being a box office bomb, the film continued to be popular at video rental stores and became one of MGM's highest-grossing films in the rental market.

The Human Centipede (2009)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (4)

• Available on AMC+

2009The Human Centipede is graphic and highly controversial. A mad German surgeon decides to create a human centipede by stitching three humans together. The film, of course, would never hear anything good from the MPAA, so IFC released it as an Unrated. The film opened at midnight in select theaters around the world and was only open to viewers over the age of 18.

As word spread of the "grossest movie ever made," viewers began queuing in droves. It has become one of the only true "midnight movies" of modern times and has become a cultural phenomenon, leading to numerous parodies including aSud ParkConsequence. It has also pushed the boundaries of freedom of expression and what counts as a "movie". It's a grotesque but important piece of film history.

Bent (1997)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (5)

• Available on Tubi

This little-known film about the Holocaust revolves around two gay men who fall in love after being sent to a concentration camp. The cast of the film is superb, with Clive Owen, Ian McKellen, Jude Law, Mick Jagger and Rachel Weisz to name a few.

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Despite the graphic Holocaust content, the MPAA cites "a strong scene of graphic sexuality" for its NC-17 rating. The MPAA has long been known to rate sexual content harsher than violence.

This movie is not yet rated (2006)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (6)

This film has not yet been ratedis a documentary about how absurd the MPAA's rating system is. The film's research found that the MPAA rated scenes involving homosexual intimacy much harsher, dealt harsher with depictions of female climax, and even gave harsher ratings to films featuring pubic hair.

TIED TOGETHER:The 10 best documentaries of the decade

The film interviews numerous filmmakers who had to fight against the MPAA, such as Matt Stone, John Waters and Kevin Smith. Ironically, since the film features clips from NC-17 films to prove its point, the MPAA also gave the documentary an NC-17 rating.

The Aristocrats (2005)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (7)

• Available on Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu, Crackle, Fubo TV and Prime Video

The 2005 documentaryThe Aristocratsinterviewed many of entertainment's top comedians, all of whom share their versions and experiences of "the dirtiest joke in the world." The joke in question is an intentionally gross and disturbing story of a family auditioning for a nightclub performance. In the joke, comedians try to be as crude and taboo as possible when describing what the family is doing on stage in their show.

Comedians like Whoopi Goldberg, Lisa Lampanelli, Andy Dick, Lewis Black, Bob Sagat, and more all tell their versions of the joke, which involves murder, turds, and more. Of course, to avoid an NC-17 rating, the film had to be released as an unrated version.

Mysterious Skin (2004)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (8)

• Available from Strand Releasing

Based on the 1995 novel of the same name,Mysterious Skin stars Joseph Gordon-Levittas Neil, a teenage rent boy in Kansas. Neil eventually moves to New York City where he discovers a much darker world of prostitution involving drugs, HIV and abuse. Simultaneous action follows Neil's friend Brian. Brian is convinced he remembers being abducted by aliens.

As the film progresses, it becomes clear that Neil's troubles and Brian's false memory of the kidnapping both date back to a summer when they were kids. The film is heartbreaking, powerful, terrifying, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance is easily the best of his career.

The Dreamers (2003)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (9)

The dreamerfollows the story of an American college student in Paris during the 1968 student riots. At a protest, he meets a brother and sister and discovers that they love movies as much as he does. A strange, erotic love triangle soon develops between the three.

(Video) Scream - R-Rated vs. Unrated

Although the film is in English, it is a modern example of European erotic art house, a genre that has been around for decades and includes films likeThe beast,Emmanuelle, andSalò, just to name a few. The film was a box office success (by NC-17 film standards) and was one of the first starring roles for actress Eva Green.

Shame (2011)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (10)

• Available on Prime Video

In 2011,Shamehas helped reshape the way audiences view NC-17 films. The film starred Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan as two gambling siblings, Brandon and Sissy Sullivan, who both have unhealthy sexual addictions.

The film was raw and disturbing, but ultimately melancholy and heartfelt. Both Fassbender and Mulligan managed to play their characters perfectly and create a story that was both compelling and deeply flawed.Shamewon a plethora of awards and was placed on over 20 top 10 lists in 2011.

Kurbus (2006)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (11)

After the success ofHedwig and the bad customs, created by filmmaker John Cameron Mitchellminibus, a film about a Brooklyn sex club inspired by New York's real underground sex parties. The film combines comedy, drama and eroticism. It follows an ensemble cast that explores their reasons for going to the club and the people they are outside of the club.

The film gained a lot of attention because it was shot entirely with real intercourse. CorrespondingRaffinerie29, the film's star, Sook-Yin Lee, almost got fired from her job at the CBC because it was up to celebrities like Yoko Ono, Julianne Moore andfamous filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, came to her defense. The film premiered in Cannes and was shown in various cities across America as an unrated version, where admission was restricted to over 18s.

Bad Lieutenant (1992)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (12)

• Available on Tubi

Bad lieutenantis one of the few NC-17 films that got its rating almost entirely from pervasive violence and drug use. The film was twice banned in Ireland, first during its theatrical release and later with the DVD release, and an R-rated edit was developed specifically for distributors.

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It is seen as a history of Catholicism that both embraces and challenges the religion's themes of sin and redemption, and good and evil. Despite being rated NC-17, the film screened at Cannes and received critical acclaim. To this day, it's considered one of Harvey Keitel's greatest roles.

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The Bad Dead (1981)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (13)

• Available on HBO Max

The bad deathwas originally rated X for its massive amount of gore, although these days the cheesy effects make the film seem more of a cheesy comedy than horror. When the MPAA changed the X rating to NC-17 in the 1990s,The bad deathwas struck with the dreaded rating.

Thankfully, being an NC-17 film never hurtThe bad death(probably due to the fact that it had been released years earlier). It is consistently hailed as one of the greatest horror films ever made as wellOne of Sam Raimi's best films, and citing filmmakers like Eli RothThe bad deathas her inspiration for entering the horror genre.

A Dirty Disgrace (2004)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (14)

• Available on Prime Video

A filthy shamewas the NC-17 film that sparked a debate about what constituted "offensive" and helped inspire the creation ofThis film has not yet been rated. The film focuses on Sylvia, who becomes a sex addict after hitting her head. She soon meets a group of people each with their own unique sexual obsessions.

The film is a slapstick comedy and doesn't actually contain a single explicit sex scene. Regardless, the MPAA awarded him an NC-17 solely for his constant references to sex. In reality, the film is a raunchy comedy that satirizes our perceived norms of intimacy and fetishes. It's hilarious, funny and, like everything in John Waters, outrageous.

Pink Flamingos (1972)

The 15 Best NC-17 and Unrated Movies (15)

WhenPink Flamingoswas first published in 1972, afterDie Washington PostVariety called it "one of the most hideous, stupid, and repulsive films ever made." The film launched John Waters' career and earned him the honorary title of The Prince of Puke.Pink Flamingosfollows two feuding groups as they both compete for the title of Filthiest Person Alive.

It starred the legendary drag queen Divine, who even ate real dog poop on screen in the film. The film also included kidnapping, rape, murder, necrophilia, infantilism, human trafficking and more. For decades, well into the new millennium,Pink FlamingosConsidered the sexiest film of all time. It also led to a wholeSeries of lewd and hilarious films that John Waterswould become known.

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What are some NC-17 rated movies? ›

US-NC-17 (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)
  • Blonde (2022) NC-17 | 167 min | Biography, Drama, Romance. ...
  • Kids (1995) Not Rated | 91 min | Drama. ...
  • A Serbian Film (2010) NC-17 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller. ...
  • Casino (1995) ...
  • The Dreamers (2003) ...
  • Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) ...
  • Showgirls (1995) ...
  • Shame (2011)

Is NC-17 the same as unrated? ›

Unrated: NC-17 films are distributed all the time — just under the euphemism “unrated.” Distributors double-dip: one version is the (barely) sanitized, theatrical R cut, while another is the “unrated” (extra sex and violence) version — home video releases do not have to carry a rating the way theatrical releases do.

Is there a movie rating above NC-17? ›

NC-17 (No One 17 and Under Admitted) is the highest rating in the Motion Picture Association (MPA) film rating system used for films distributed in the United States. It is assigned to films the MPA believes most parents would consider "patently adult" and not suitable for their children under 18.

What was the last NC-17 rated movie? ›

'Blonde' (2022)

As the most recent NC-17 movie released in the United States, Andrew Dominick's Blonde has been the subject of scrutiny and headlines for months. Loads of controversial interviews from the director and cast accompanied the movie's release and have only exacerbated the attention of the explicit rating.

What is an R-rated movie? ›

Restricted: R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.

Does Netflix have any NC-17 rated movies? ›

Netflix's new original Marilyn Monroe movie, Blonde, marks the streaming service's first NC-17 rated movie, due to its graphic depiction of sexual assault (as well as a point-of-view shot of a fetus in the womb).

Is Deadpool rated NC-17? ›

It's rated R, and we can be thankful that the filmmakers didn't compromise on their vision to make it more family friendly. The more popular PG-13 rating is proof that in Hollywood, money talks. And as a filmgoing audience, we suffer for that bottom line, time and again. It wasn't always like this.

Is NC-17 worse than Ma? ›

Programming rated TV-MA in the United States by the TV Parental Guidelines signifies content for mature audiences. It corresponds to the MPA's R rating and NC-17 rating for movies, and ESRB's M rating and AO rating for video games.

Is NC-17 legal? ›

NC-17 does not mean "obscene" or "pornographic" in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. This rating just simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience (ages 18 and above).

What is M rated? ›

Mature (M)

Films and computer games classified M (Mature) contain content of a moderate impact. M-rated films and computer games are not recommended for children under the age of 15. They include portrayals of elements such as violence and themes that require a mature outlook.

What does Rated G mean? ›

G: Appropriate for people of all ages. PG 12: Parental guidance is required for children under the age of 12.

What was the first rated R movie? ›

“Greetings” (1968) was the first R-rated U.S. film. “Red Dawn” (1984) was the first PG-13 movie.

Is there anything worse than NC-17? ›

The MPAA's most restrictive rating is NC-17.

Why are R-rated movies 17+? ›

R: Restricted, Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. This rating means the film contains adult material such as adult activity, harsh language, intense graphic violence, drug abuse and nudity.

What does rated D mean? ›

TV Parental Guidelines may have one or more letters added to the basic rating to let parents know when a show may contain violence, sex, adult language, or suggestive dialogue. D – suggestive dialogue (usually means talks about sex) L – coarse or crude language.

What is U rated movie? ›

Initially, there were only two categories of certificate – “U” (unrestricted public exhibition) and “A” (restricted to adult audiences), but two other categories were added in June, 1983 – “UA” (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of twelve) and “S” (restricted to ...

Can a 15 watch a rated R movie? ›

R: Restricted - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or guardian. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated movies unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian 25 years of age or older.

Does Netflix have any R-rated movies? ›

Netflix has established itself as a serious contender during award seasons with R-rated films like The Irishman, The Power of the Dog, and Don't Look Up.

Are there G rated movies on Netflix? ›

From a few Hollywood classics to an Oscar-winning documentary feature, Netflix houses a wide selection of family-friendly PG films, but a minimal selection of G or TV-G films (mainly documentaries).

What is Y rated on Netflix? ›

Maturity ratings are either set by Netflix or by a local standards organization.
TV-YDesigned to be appropriate for all children
GSuitable for General Audiences
TV-GSuitable for General Audiences
PGParental Guidance suggested
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Is Avenger R-rated? ›

Why was Marvel forced to change such a major scene? It was all to stop The Avengers from getting an R rating – and it took a while to get the preferred family-friendly PG-13 rating.

Can a 17 watch a rated R? ›

Photo ID is required for proof of age. You must be at least 17 with a photo ID, which includes your birth date, to purchase a ticket for yourself for an R rated movie. If you are under 17, or do not have a photo ID, your parent must come to the theatre to purchase your ticket for an R rated movie.

Who is Deadpool rated R? ›

“Deadpool” is arguably the most sexually inappropriate movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rated R for strong language, violence, sexual content and graphic nudity. “Deadpool 2” has violence, strong language and “brief drug material.” So, you can expect a plethora of f-bombs and inappropriate jokes.

Is there a rating above r? ›

NC-17. The NC-17 rating is the highest rating (even higher than the R-rating) that a film can be given, and it means the movie is for adults only (ages 18 and older) and no one age 17 or younger will be admitted.

What is NC 16? ›

In 1993, a new rating – NC16 (No Children under 16) was introduced to protect children from viewing films thematically unsuitable for them, and to bridge the gap between PG and R21. In 2004, the M18 rating was added to provide more choices for young adults.

Is unrated worse than R? ›

R applies to movies that have strong language, sex, and violence, by accordance of the MPAA. Unrated is a cut extended with raunchier content that was not been seen by the MPAA. This usually applies to R Rated movies.

What is the difference between NC-17 and R? ›

The MPA gave the movie an NC-17 rating "for some sexual content." NC-17 is a higher classification than an R rating and means no one under 17 years old can be admitted to see the movie, whereas for rated-R films, those under 17 can see the movie with a parent or guardian.

Is a 17 year old dating a 21 legal in NC? ›

The Federal legal age of majority in N.C. is 18 years of age for voting and other adult privileges; however, the age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16 years of age. This means it is illegal for an adult (someone who is 18 or older) to have sex with a minor (someone younger than 16), even if the sex is consensual.

Can a 13 year old date a 17 year old in North Carolina? ›

In North Carolina, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between a minor of any age and someone who is at least 12 years old and no more than four years older than the minor. For example, a 17-year-old who has consensual sex with a 15-year-old cannot be criminally prosecuted in North Carolina.

What does Rated K mean? ›

K. Suitable film for everyone, including children. Reasons and Content Descriptors. Explanation. The film does not contain violence, drug abuse, or sexual content.

What is rated T? ›

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

Is MA 15+ worse than M? ›

M is an advisory classification The content is moderate in impact. M films are not recommended for people aged under 15 as a level of maturity is required. MA 15+ is a legally restricted classification The content is strong in impact. MA 15+ films are not suitable for people aged under 15.

What does B rated mean? ›

A B movie or B film is a low-budget commercial motion picture. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified films intended for distribution as the less-publicized bottom half of a double feature (akin to B-sides for recorded music).

What movie is worse than R-rating? ›

Rated G: Suggested for general audiences. Rated M: Suggested for mature audiences - Parental discretion advised. Rated R: Restricted – Persons under 16 not admitted, unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian. Rated X: Persons under 16 not admitted.

What is the #1 rated movie in the world? ›

All Time Worldwide Box Office
22019Avengers: Endgame
42015Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens
67 more rows

Is R-rated 18 or 17? ›

Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. R: RESTRICTED. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

What's worse 18a or R? ›

R – Restricted – Admittance restricted to people 18 years of age or older. A – Adult – Admittance restricted to people 18 years of age or older. Sole purpose of the film is the portrayal of sexually explicit activity and/or explicit violence.

Is NC-17 rare? ›

Because theaters wouldn't book them, and video stores would not stock X-rated movies, the rating was later changed to NC-17. NC-17 movies are rare in comparison to titles with the more digestible R rating.

Why did Blonde get a NC-17 rating? ›

Here are the reasons why Ana de Armas starrer Blonde is rated NC-17: Netflix rated Blonde NC-17 as the movie contains bits of sexual content. The BFFC gave Blonde an 18 rating in the UK for sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Can a 17 year old bring a 16 year old to a rated R movie? ›

Children under age 17 requires an accompanying parent or guardian (age 21 or older) to attend R rated performances. 25 years and under must show ID for R rated performances.

Can a 17 year old take a 12 year old to a rated R movie? ›

Children 6 and under are not allowed to attend Rated R features. For Rated R Features you must be 18 or older to purchase a single ticket for the feature. A parent or guardian, 21 or over, is required to accompany and remain in the feature with any underage individuals.

Can children watch NC16? ›

NC16 - Not for Children below 16 years of age. M18 - Mature audiences aged 18 years and above only. R21 - Restricted to audiences aged 21 years and above only. This replaces the previous R(A) or Restricted (Artistic) rating.

Can kids watch NC-17 movies? ›

No one under the age of 18 is admitted to films rated NC-17 - even with parental consent or accompanyment. Photo ID is required for proof of age.

What does NC-17 mean in movies? ›

no children 17 and under: a rating assigned to a movie by the MPA advising that persons under the age of 18 will not be admitted to a theater showing the film.

Can kids see NC-17 movies? ›

NC-17: No one 17 or under admitted

An NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under. No children will be admitted.

What is rated G mean? ›

G: Appropriate for people of all ages. PG 12: Parental guidance is required for children under the age of 12.


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