When R-rated franchises go PG-13 …

When R-rated franchises go PG-13 … May 3, 2007

There’s a rumour going around that Live Free or Die Hard, known overseas as Die Hard 4.0, will be rated PG-13.

This might mean that John McClane’s trademark “Yippie-ki-yay” line will have to be cut, or trimmed down a little. The MPAA allows one or two f-words in a PG-13 movie, but never if they are used to indicate actual sexual behaviour; then again, I don’t know where a word like “motherf—er” — which, like the f-word itself, is rarely used with a specific sexual intent — would fall on that spectrum.

But never mind all that. I’m just wondering if it has ever happened that a PG-13 installment in an otherwise R-rated franchise turned out to be any good. Thus, naturally, I must make another list.

I have not seen all the films listed below, so it may be that some of the PG-13 films were better than their R-rated forebears. Certainly some of the R-rated sequels were huge letdowns. But I’ll let you guess which of these films I have seen and which I have not.

  1. Alien (1979; R)
  2. Aliens (1986; R)
  3. Predator (1987; R)
  4. Predator 2 (1990; R)
  5. Alien3 (1992; R)
  6. Alien Resurrection (1997; R)
  7. Alien Vs. Predator (2004; PG-13)
  8. The Amityville Horror (1979; R)
  9. Amityville II: The Possession (1982; R)
  10. Amityville 3-D (1983; PG)
  11. Mad Max (1979; R)
  12. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981; R)
  13. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985; PG-13)

  14. Conan the Barbarian (1982; R)
  15. Conan the Destroyer (1984; PG)
  16. Red Sonja (1985; PG-13)
  17. Police Academy (1984; R)
  18. Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985; PG-13)
  19. Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986; PG)
  20. Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987; PG)
  21. Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988; PG)
  22. Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989; PG)
  23. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994; PG)
  24. The Terminator (1984; R)
  25. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991; R)
  26. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003; R)
  27. Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (2009; PG-13)
  28. Highlander (1986; R)
  29. Highlander II: The Quickening (1991; R)
  30. Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994; PG-13, re-edited R)
  31. Highlander: Endgame (2000; R)
  32. Robocop (1987; X, re-edited R)
  33. Robocop 2 (1990; R)
  34. Robocop 3 (1992; PG-13)
  35. Speed (1994; R)
  36. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997; PG-13)
  37. Elizabeth (1998; R)
  38. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007; PG-13)
  39. Pitch Black (2000; R)
  40. The Chronicles of Riddick (2004; R, re-edited PG-13)
  41. Scary Movie (2000; R)
  42. Scary Movie 2 (2001; R)
  43. Scary Movie 3 (2003; PG-13)
  44. Scary Movie 4 (2006; PG-13)

Those are the first franchises that come to mind. Are there any others that started in the R-rated zone and went PG-13?

Oh, and speaking of Bruce Willis and MPAA ratings, there are a few exceptions to the rule that PG-13 movies can never have more than one or two f-words: The MPAA recently ruled that The Hip Hop Project, a documentary executive-produced by Willis, would get a PG-13 instead of an R, despite having 17 f-words. The MPAA previously made a similar allowance for Gunner Palace, a documentary about the Iraq War that has about 30 f-words.

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