Est. Nov. 9, 2019

Published Nov. 16 2019

What The NC-17 Rating Means

Most people don't know exactly what the NC-17 rating is, or even heard of it. This is mostly because it's the one rating that most directors are afraid of. Most of the time, when a director gets an NC-17 rating, they either edit the movie so it's rated R, or they make the movie "not rated." This is because the NC-17 rating can take away most of the possible box office money a movie could've earned if it was R instead. 

NC-17 stands for "no children 17 and under admitted." Only very few movies kept the rating. A movie can not be rated NC-17 for language or drugs. They all earned this rating from sexual content. If a movie shows nudity for too long or the sex scene is too graphic, it could become NC-17. 

The MPAA, or the Motion Picture Association of America, is the organization that puts ratings on movies. That's a whole different article topic. This company needed to rate movies when directors started to put more questionable content in them. The most extreme rating was X. Back in the 60's, X meant "no one 16 and under admitted." The Girl On A Motorcycle (1968) is said to be the first X rated movie, but was later changed to R.

One director named Russ Meyer wanted to make the very first X rated movie. He was beaten by The Girl On A Motorcycle, so he couldn't be the first. Instead of being the first, he decided to just make a lot of controversial movies that were rated R, but some turned out to be X, and he was happy with the ratings. 

These movies came out from 1960-1983 and included the titles Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970), Supervixens (1976), Vixen! (1968) and Up! (1983) and a few others. Up! was one of his last and probably one of the most graphic. Some of these movies were re-rated as R.

During the 1970's and 1980's, pornographic films became popular and were marked with XXX. They also used different ratings such as, XX and X. The more X's, the more graphic it was. Since one X meant two different genres, the MPAA needed to change the X rating to something else to stay away from the pornographic genre. They decided to change it to NC-17 for "no children 17 and under." In 1990, the film Henry And June starring Fred Ward, Uma Thurman and Kevin Spacey was the first NC-17 movie made. 

Today, a lot less NC-17 movies are made. One reason is because directors can edit scenes down. This is what American Psycho (2000) and American Pie (1999) did. The other reason is because they can just make the movie "not rated." This method is used by many other movies.