Some films classified as NC-17 have been re-edited and re-rated, but others have kept their NC-17 rating and are still much praised and cherished.
An “R-rating” film may be created by a director who goes above and beyond what is required to receive such a designation. The NC-17 rating was created because some films necessitate a higher rating because of severe violence, graphic sex, or some other envelope-pushing aspect.
Many films that acquire an NC-17 rating are reedited and resubmitted for a lower rating, despite the fact that the grade has been applied to some of the best films of our time (American Psycho,Eyes Wide Shut). For the 10 best NC-17 films, Rotten Tomatoes has listed the top 10 critically acclaimed flicks.
As of May 28, 2021, Kristy Ambrose has added an update:
There have been a few additions to the NC-17 watch list since the original list was compiled. Recently, films like DeadpoolandLogan have shown that a movie with an NC-17 or even a R rating can still be profitable. It’s a contentious grade, with movies reviewed more for sexual content than for violence, and the MPAA’s decisions have been challenged on several occasions. To allow viewers to make their own conclusions, we’ve added a few more examples.
1. Henry & June (1990) – 62%
This Academy Award-nominated retelling of Henry Miller’s love life, co-written and directed by Philip Kaufman, is based on the best-selling biographical novel by the same name. Due of its steamy sex sequences between Miller and his mistress and the creator of the source material, Anais Nin, Kaufman’s film was granted an NC-17 rating.
In spite of the film’s generally positive reception, some commentators criticized it for not being sexy enough. An excellent film in and of itself, the film is best remembered for being the first to be given an NC-17 rating, which was just implemented in 2007.
2. Crash (1996) – 63%
It was only a matter of time until one of David Cronenberg’s films received an NC-17 certification because of his renowned tendency for combining mind-bending themes with brutal violence. Crash, a weird film about a group of ‘friends’ united by a shared sexual arousal at the sight of vehicle accidents and the victims, was released in 1996.
Critics gave the picture a R rating because of the film’s gruesome sex scenes and hallmark Cronenbergian violence, yet the film’s overall quality won it numerous awards at major film festivals.
3. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989) – 67%
There have been several films by Pedro Almodovar that the MPAA has deemed inappropriate for children, but this is nonetheless a vivid and particularly unnerving vision from him.
Deceptively easy on first viewing, this love drama about Stockholm syndrome was met with both derision and acclaim when it was released in the United States. Antonio Banderas does an excellent job of balancing charisma with malice in this role, which aids in selling the film’s morally dubious plot.
4. Man Bites Dog (1992) – 74%
Even in 1992, when it was first published, this documentary-styled polemic on the harshness of human nature was one of the most notorious underground films to get the grade.
As a film team follows a brutal murderer around, they reflect on everything from art and life to the meaning of life, and the film’s structure is very straightforward. Man Bites Dog is a gruesome and essential film in the cult film genre. The creators never made another picture, which is a pity for underground film fans.
5. Bad Lieutenant (1992) – 77%
It was 1992, and Abel Ferrera’s Bad Lieutenant, a dark look at police corruption and the depths of certain people’s depravity, marked the filmmaker’s attempt to examine the relationship between man and his vices.
An existentially troubled officer investigates a horrific assault on a nun while dealing with his own existential crisis, played by indie superstar Harvey Keitel. To contribute to the picture’s unnerving force, the technical parts of the film have a gritty appearance and feel. As one of the decade’s most daring films,Bad Lieutenant is a low-budget masterwork that has become a favorite for many film stars.
6. Shame (2011) – 79%
In the present generation of filmmakers, Steve McQueen is one of the most accomplished, with his writing and directorial abilities matched by his technical prowess. Shame, a collaboration with Michael Fassbender, is one of his darkest and most difficult films to see. When his sister shows up at his door uninvited, it brings Fassbender’s character’s addiction to sex to the fore.
Accurately depicted sex scenes play an important role in the film’s overall message. Many romantic comedies would be afraid to go where this one does in terms of portraying loneliness in such a harsh and frigid light.
7. Pink (19Flamingos 72) – 81%
Pink Flamingos was originally rated X, but has since been re-classified NC-17. When John Waters published his most iconic and diabolical piece of art ever in 1972 with the release of The Watermelon Man, he became a household name. Waters and his muse, Divine, create one of the most subversive cult classics ever with this absolutely revolting film.
To keep her title as “Filthiest Person Alive,” Divine’s character puts on a show of disgusting displays in order to keep the title. When it came to making the most of the NC-17 designation, Pink Flamingos did something no other picture had ever done before.
8. Inside Deep Throat (2005) – 82%
The subject matter of a documentary about one of history’s most famous pornographic films garnered attention, but so did the film’s amusing take on film and television. However, this is not a “mockumentary” like This Is Spinal Tap, but rather a genuine documentary.
Since its release in 1972, the film has shattered numerous established industry norms, including being the best-selling independent film of its day. As a result of its cultural impact and its influence on filmmaking in all genres, the documentary examines how the film was made.
9. Broken English (1996) – 82%
Because of its New Zealand setting, this film is only rated NC-17 by the MPAA because of a single sexual scene, but don’t let that deter you from seeing a gripping modern drama about how tiny our globe has become. An old-world Croatian refugee’s ideas clash with those of his daughter, who doesn’t share them.
His daughter Nina, who was born and raised in Auckland, is married to a Chinese national out of obligation and has a romantic relationship going on with the Maori cook at the restaurant where she both works and dines. It may be a modern-day Moonstruck, but set on the other side of the ocean..
10. Last Tango In Paris (1972) – 83%
Even today, controversy surrounds the film’s off-camera reputation as much as it does the film’s content, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s interpretation of the themes of grief and sexuality in this tale of a recently widowed American man seeking comfort in an affair with a much younger French woman.
Marlon Brando’s complex and frightening portrayal as the film’s protagonist and the film’s hypnotic cinematography are two of the film’s most notable assets. The film’s sex scenes are as raw and explicit as one could possibly imagine.
11. Santa Sangre (1989) – 85%
Known in English as Holy Blood, this film elicits strong reactions from fans and critics alike. The story centres around a murderer who has a penchant for the macabre and is surrounded by similarly gruesome situations.
His traumatic background is brought back to him in flashbacks by the main character Fenix, who is played by filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. He reunites with his mother, who is now the leader of a religious cult, after a violent attack inflicted by his father left her scarred and disfigured. If you’re a fan of both horror and surrealism, this is a brave and innovative combination.
12. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) – 85%
In this rich smorgasbord of a film, avant-garde maestro Peter Greenaway released a slightly more approachable (a very vague term) version of his style. Filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover is one of the most original films ever created.
While the film’s sex sequences may not be for everyone, its impact on the film’s overall rating is undeniable because to the film’s unforgettable ending.
13. Bad Education (2004) – 88%
Filmmaker Enrique Goded’s semi-autobiographical look at his teenage years covers the life of an aspiring transsexual performer who muses on her history and the repercussions of keeping her sexual orientation hidden.. The title alludes to three things: the boy she met and fell in love with while attending a Catholic private school as a child, as well as the priest who happened to be present when the two first met.
The novel takes place in Spain, where the main heroine has to deal with the fascist Franco government in flashback sequences from her youth in addition to the crippling religious schooling. It was the first Spanish picture to open the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, and it has received high praise from critics.
14. Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013) – 89%
Despite the fact that several unethical incidents allegedly occurred during filming, Blue is the Warmest Colorremains one of the most powerful documentaries about an LGBTQ relationship yet to be made in the public memory.
Two performances by Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopolous that spring from the screen and carry an understated nuance that is difficult to recreate are included in this film. In the three-hour timeframe of the film, the characters are given time to breathe. In modern foreign cinema, it’s one of the most intimate and well-executed films.
15. Matador (1986) – 92%
Many of the film’s critics praised Pedro Almodóvar, the director and writer, for his skill in weaving together such disparate elements to create a compelling whole. While a matador has been forced to retire due to an injury, he’s not the only one being tormented.
The film’s central character, ngel, is played by Antonio Banderas, and he interacts with a diverse cast of oddballs and imperfect individuals. His fetish partner is one of them, and his religious upbringing has left the other with a psychosis.