Top 17 NC-17 Non-Porn Movies

Last week, Netflix released the first trailer for Blonde , the Marilyn Monroe biopic from director Andrew Dominic, based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates (starring Ana de Armas). The Netflix-produced film received an NC-17 rating, which reportedly caused some consternation among Netflix executives , who apparently expected a straight-forward biopic from an artistic director who turned the story of Jesse James into a slow-paced elegiac poem. but with Brad Pitt!).

BLONDE | Official teaser | Netflix

It’s true that an NC-17 rating can prevent a film from making money at the box office, given that major networks often don’t even carry them, treating them as similar to the X rating they were. introduced for replacement. While this seems less of an issue in the era of streaming, the NC-17 still bears the stigma .

The point is that NC-17 (and the X rating before it) was never intended to signal that the film was mostly pornographic, but that it was fully adult in content; classic examples include A Clockwork Orange , Midnight Cowboy , Nicolas Roeg’s Performance , and Lindsey Anderson’s If…, all of which were initially rated X but received critical acclaim ( Midnight Cowboy even won an Oscar for Best movie). Unfortunately, in the end, someone in the porn industry decided that “X” was a good marketing ploy, and it became common practice for porn to rate itself (nonsense “XXX: soon entered the lexicon”), and the rating became associated exclusively with wicked films.

The MPAA eventually introduced the NC-17 label as a way to reboot the system, and Henry Miller/Anais Nin’s 1990 docudrama Henry and June was the first to receive the new stamp. A brief renaissance of adult films followed as, for a time, the NC-17 rating removed some of the stigma associated with films not explicitly intended for children, and even became an honorific for art house. Of course, NC-17 is by no means a guarantee of quality, but the following 17 films deserve both their critical reputation and their restrictive ratings. (Note: Some of these films predate the NC-17 rating, they were originally rated X, but their official rating has since been updated.)

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