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Top 10 PG Movies That Should Have Been Rated R

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Arschel Morell No film can cater to all audiences, and most shouldn’t even try. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 PG Movies that Should Have Been Rated R. For this list, we’re looking at films that, when released theatrically, were either cut down in content to avoid an R rating or were tinkered with from the start to appeal to a broader audience. Special thanks to our users EmJay for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Arschel Morell

Top 10 PG Movies That Should Have Been Rated R

No film can cater to all audiences, and most shouldn’t even try. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 PG-13 rated Movies that Should Have Been Rated R. 
For this list, we’re looking at films that, when released theatrically, were either cut down in content to avoid an R rating or were tinkered with from the start to appeal to a broader audience. It should be noted that some of these films were successful at the box office, and some were even critically well received. Most fans and critics will both agree, however, that the extra push for a more mature rating wouldn’t have hurt these movies. 


#10: “Terminator Genisys” (2015)

You remember the “Terminator” films, right? You know, those unstoppable cyborg fight fests with harsh language and bloody action? Well, Hollywood felt that after years of R-rated exclusiveness, it was time to branch out to a wider audience. While “Genisys” isn’t the first PG-13 rated entry in this franchise, it was a mistake to keep that trend going after “Terminator Salvation” was so poorly received. If you ask most fans, “Genisys” didn’t need to exist in general. Despite Arnold Schwarzenegger’s praised return, treating the film with kid gloves didn’t help its chances of being a new launch point for the once prideful “Terminator” series.

#9: “Insidious” (2011)

Most horror movies in general should be created with an R Rating in mind. The images they can produce are often intense and can sometimes stick in your head for days. “Insidious,” from director James Wan, centers on a family trying to keep ghosts from taking over their son. Unsurprisingly, this storyline produces some of those aforementioned long lasting horror images. Despite a PG-13 rating giving audiences the okay to bring their kids in with them, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone if their children come running to them in the middle of the night saying they dreamt of some of the scary stuff they saw in “Insidious.” Horror is a fun genre, but just mayyyyybe it’s not for all ages.

#8: “Mortal Kombat” (1995)

“Mortal Kombat” was, and still is, one of the bloodiest video games of all time. After its release in the arcade, a live-action feature was inevitable. The film itself is okay, bearing the look and characters of the video game, plus that kickass theme song. Yet, there’s still a grave disappointment that came with its PG-13 rating. This means no blood and gore, poor fatalities, and pretty much none of the gruesome imagery that “Mortal Kombat” is best known for. It might have been a box office champ, but the film was far from a flawless victory when it comes to faithfully adapting its source material. 

#7: “Sucker Punch” (2011)

Director Zack Snyder followed up his successful R-rated adaptations of “300” and “Watchmen” with this stylish fantasy action flick. Following the exploits of Babydoll, who seeks to escape an insane asylum/brothel, the film boasts much of Snyder’s visual flair and skill for darker storytelling. With subject matter dealing with lobotomy and the danger of rape at the hands of the insane head honchos of the facility, it’s kind of strange that this movie wasn’t Rated R.  Snyder reportedly originally wanted it to be that way, but had to cut scenes for the censors. Maybe he also did it to bring younger viewers, especially girls, into an action film led by powerful female leads. Whatever the reasons, the decision was a sucker punch to the film, and led to this one underperforming at the box office.  

#6: “The Expendables 3” (2014)

Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first attempt to make “The Expendables” franchise more open to all ages. The same tactic had been attempted with “The Expendables 2.” This was quickly met with rage and boycott threats from fans. “The Expendables” series is supposed to be filled with nods to the glory days of ‘80s action films. There should be a ton of blood, one-liners, muscle-bound strong men, and a lot of explosions. Compared to the first two films, “The Expendables 3” is pretty tame, and borderline boring, even with all the explosions. Hopefully the lesson will be learned here for future installments of this action franchise and we can get back to basics.

#5: “The Wolverine” (2013)

Comic book readers know Wolverine as one of the deadliest, most badass characters ever created. While we got to glimpse some of his famous berserker rage in “X2,” moviegoers haven’t been treated to a true show of his full abilities. 2013’s “The Wolverine” could have been the opportunity fans had been waiting for. We mean, come on, it’s Wolverine vs. Ninjas in Japan! That’s a blood fest waiting to happen. Sadly, the X Men franchise has been keen on keeping their films open to all theatre-going audiences. We did however get an unrated version with the Blu-ray release, but come on! We want to see that added "R" stuff up on the big screen! Hey, Deadpool delivered the naughty parts, why couldn't Logan?


#4: “RoboCop” (2014)

Much like “Terminator,” “RoboCop” was a staple of the ‘80s action genre. The original was one of the most excessively violent action films ever made and that violence is one of the main reasons people remember it. Rebooting the character for a new generation wasn’t a terrible idea. No, the terrible idea was eliminating most of the violence, especially with regards to how cop Alex Murphy becomes the titular cyborg. Whether or not this reboot is better than its PG-13 brother, “RoboCop 3,” is debatable. Still, this action film doesn’t hold a candle to the very hard R entries that preceded it. 

#3: “Pearl Harbor” (2001)

Using film to teach a history lesson isn’t an uncommon practice. Still, there’s a difference between the hard R realism of a film like “Saving Private Ryan” and the young adult marketed and PG-13 rated “Pearl Harbor.” Director Michael Bay’s retelling of the December 1941 attack on the titular naval base had its moments of intensity. But focusing on a boring love triangle for younger audiences, rather than going for an honest war tragedy, felt like an insult to the historic event itself. Though a triumph at the box office, “Pearl Harbor” is far from the over-the-top, violent explosion fests Michael Bay is best known for.

#2: “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007)

This one might be one of the most successful entries on this list, with some calling this movie the best “Die Hard” since the original. Still, making a “Die Hard” movie PG-13 isn’t without drawbacks. The blood and violence the franchise is partly known for is tremendously toned down compared to previous entries. And while John McClane remains the king of badass one-liners, his signature motto is almost completely muted. That alone is pretty unforgivable. Probably best to stick with an R rating and let McClane do his thing unhindered and uncut. Then again… it’s not like an R rating saved “A Good Day to Die Hard.”
Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Alien vs. Predator” (2004) 
“Reign of Fire” (2002)
“Battle: Los Angeles” (2011) 
“Hanna” (2011)

#1: “World War Z” (2013)

A zombie outbreak that wreaks havoc on a global scale?  Like zombies desperate for brains, this is the kind of undead epic fans of the zombie genre have been clamoring for. And while “World War Z” boasts great scope and superstar Brad Pitt, it loses some of its intensity with the dialed down rating. The Romero-style carnage we find in most battles against the undead are nowhere to be seen in this Marc Forster-directed movie. While a fun film, “World War Z” could’ve been better if it had been given the chance to show those old school, gruesome zombie horror tropes on a worldwide stage. 
Do you agree with our list? Which movie do you think would have been stronger with an R rating? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to 

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