10 Best NC-17 Movies

The 10 best NC-17 movies push the boundaries beyond a simple "Rated R," but though while these movies are explicit in many ways, the best NC-17 movies aren't simply risque for the point of exploiting that fact. These movies say something about their subjects that could not be said in a mainstream film; the best NC-17 movies could not be cut to fit a Rated R guideline.

  1. "This Film is Not Yet Rated" – A documentary about the MPAA rating system, exposing its preference for violence to explicit sexuality, this fits at the top of the list of the 10 best NC-17 movies since cutting it would have gone against the entire point of the film. It exposes the hypocrisy of the rating system. It's also funny and appalling in equal measure.
  2. "Requiem for a Dream" – A cautionary tale about addiction of all kinds, this hyperkinetic film won an NC-17 rating for explicit sexuality and its themes. A single cut for an R rating would have made quite the difference. It is one of the most effective and best NC-17 films of all time.
  3. "Inside Deep Throat" – Another documentary, this chronicling of the most profitable porn film of all time never could have been released any other way. The deep throating itself is what garnered the NC-17 rating.
  4. "Crash" – Not the Oscar-bait movie about race relations; this "Crash" is about car crashes and the people who love them…sexually. A twisted fairy tale from David Cronenberg, only in being explicit could it achieve its potential.
  5. "Lust, Caution" – A very steamy Chinese spy thriller, its hard to tell whether or not the sex scenes were completely real. But the fact that they appear in a very well-done movie makes this one of the best NC-17 movies and not a porn film.
  6. "Mysterious Skin" – Gregg Araki's best film. It is yet another film whose true impact could not have come across in a rated R cut.
  7. "Bad Lieutenant" – Abel Ferrara's dirty cop tale couldn't be dirty enough without the NC-17 rating. It has since been remade as an R-rated film by Werner Herzog.
  8. "Bad Education" – One of many Pedro Almodovar films to push the envelope, it definitely belongs with the best NC-17 movies of all time. In keeping with the director's adventurous spirit, he continues to press boundaries well into the 2000s.
  9. "9 Songs" – An attempt to tell the real story of a relationship means involving sex. Michael Winterbottom's film meant involving a lot of it, very explicitly. The film would not have made any sense without it.
  10. "Last Tango in Paris" – Originally rated X, this classic received an NC-17 rating when re-released in 1997. It remains one of the best NC-17 movies of all time.
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