For Greater Glory unfairly rated R …

For Greater Glory unfairly rated R … June 4, 2012

… Grab your tissues and prepare to have your faith set ablaze.

I want to discuss the R rating this movie was given since the rating seems to be a major source of concern for many parents who would like to take their children to see this movie. Additional reviews and resources are provided at the end of this post.

Please let me be very clear here; I am going to let my 9 1/2 year old son see this movie. I would not do so without serious consideration first, but after having seen For Greater Glory over the weekend I can honestly say this film deserved a PG-13 rating. In fact, thinking about it later that evening, I was highly irritated the movie was given the rating it was given. I felt it was unfair and misleading.

I feel very strongly that this is a good and important movie. More films like this need to be made and the only way producers will continue to make these films is if movie goers support them with the purchase of a ticket. Please do not let the R rating deter you. I would not recommend this movie for small children under 10, but certainly it is acceptable for younger viewers 10-17. If you are still unsure then see the movie beforehand and make the call depending on your child’s level of sensitivity. You know your child best.

The Motion Picture Association of America states, “An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously.”

Here is what is NOT in this movie…there was not an ounce of nudity, absolutely no sex, no sexual innuendos, no crass humor, or a singular utterance of profanities.

Gun violence was prevalent but it was handled without excessive gore or blood. There were several lynchings, one of a child that was hard too watch. However, the gun violence was nothing more than one would see in an old fashioned western. The hardest and most disturbing thing to watch in the entire movie was the martyrdom of Bl. José Sánchez del Río. If anything would give me hesitation to suggest this movie for younger viewers it would be the subject matter of Bl. Jose’s death.

If you are familiar with how Bl. Jose died than you can prepare yourself and your children. Yes it was gruesome, even still I feel the movie did a very respectful and tasteful job at illustrating the torture Jose endured without being terribly graphic. There was blood, but we never actually saw Jose being cut or beaten. We see Jose bloodied and beaten, we hear his cries, and we see him tied to a chair and a table while his feet are cut but we never see him actually being tortured. While it is incredibly hard to watch, and most in the theater were crying, these scenes are still an integral part of the story. Scenes like that and his final execution highlight Bl. Jose’s extreme faith and courage. The camera focused more on the young actor’s face while he suffered to show us his bravery so they didn’t have to rely on graphic blood and gore. The scenes were emotionally intense, yes, but since when does emotional intensity get an R rating?

I would also like to commend the fourteen year old Mauricio Kuri who played Bl. Jose Sanchez del Rio. He did a magnificent job for this being his acting debut. He is from Mexico City and a practicing Catholic who talks about how making this film strengthened his devotional life. In his interview for Catholic Online he states;

Playing a real life martyr who died at about the same age had a real impact on this emerging actor.

“I’m Catholic and it (being in this film) drew me closer to my religion. I read the story about Jose and I asked myself ‘If we were in those times right now would I do the same thing that Jose did for his faith?’ And you know, I think I wouldn’t and that’s really sad.

“I called a Father – we are really close – and he started talking to me about my faith and the Bible. He was like a guide to me, a spiritual guide. He also took me to a town in Mexico to help people in need. It was amazing; I wanted to be Jose, I wanted to be like a Cristero but now a days.”

For Greater Glory is an impassioned movie that shows what happens when people are denied religious freedoms. The subject matter is very timely and relevant for our current administration’s attack on religious freedoms.

Archbishop Chaput writes in his own review these words;

We Americans in 2012 live in a different land in a different time. We’re blessed with freedoms the Cristeros could only imagine. But those freedoms depend on our willingness to defend them. Religious liberty is never guaranteed by anything but our own vigilance. Even in this country, contempt for religious faith, and especially the Catholic faith, is alive and well.

That is what make this movie so important and should be seen by as many people as possible despite the unfair R rating. Our youth especially, who are the future of the Church, should know their faith’s history and understand how important these freedoms are. In fact, when I viewed the movie there were several groups of youths in the theater. To say For Greater Glory didn’t not impact them would be ingoring their cheers and applause at the end. In a final moving and completing spontaneous moment, the entire theater rose and applauded for Jose the martyr when the real photos of the Cristeros were displayed in the credits. I believe this movie will have a tremendous impact on young people, especially because of Bl. Jose role in the Cristeros War. It will set their hearts on fire for Catholicism. They should most definitely not be denied this film based on the rating.

Watch the trailer

Other reviews to consider

Archbishop Chaput Reviews “For Greater Glory”
The American Catholic Reviews “For Greater Glory”
Life Site News Discusses “For Greater Glory”
Ian Ruthreford’s Review of “For Greater Glory”
Timothy Dalrymple’s excellent review tackling the critics of “For Greater Glory”
A review of “For Greater Glory” from a Stuebenville Priest, Fr. Michael

"Pithy and so, so, true. If it were possible, I'd post a million of these ..."

#whyIstayed Why Women Stay In Domestically ..."
"All the best to you, Katrina! We'll miss you. Thanks for sharing your journey with ..."

Ten Years is a Long Run…
"Bon voyage on your new endeavours. And thank you."

Ten Years is a Long Run…
"I will miss your unique, funny, honest voice. Thank you for all the years of ..."

Ten Years is a Long Run…

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • You know, the first place I saw a rating was in Flixter (the app for iPhone, that is). It was listed as having a PG-13 rating. I wonder if someone pushed for a change. And besides, have you SEEN some of the disgusting CRAP that gets a PG-13 rating? Sex, bathroom humor, immorality … these are all better for our kids than seeing a non-gory depiction of a young martyr, according to MPAA? They’ve lost their minds.

  • Definitely taking sons 2 & 3…#1’s coming for a visit at the end of the month (yeah, the one who hasn’t been to church in several years & is a Psych major), hoping it’s still in theaters by then!!

  • Mamamayerle

    Yes, yes, yes! The rating question had me thinking too. Why the R? The previews prior to the movie were more objectionable, content wise, than the entire movie. Our 19, 16, and 15 year olds saw the film and our 12 and 10 year olds will see it when we bring it home on DVD. I want my children/family to be the kind of faithful Catholics that love their religious liberty enough to be able to die with Viva Christo Rey! Upon their lips.

    • I agree! There was a preview for a movie about a little girl possessed by some Jewish ?? demon that scared the shit out of me. Come to think of it, there’s worse language on this blog than in that entire movie. I definitely think there was an agenda behind the rating. 

      •  And an agenda behind the critical reviews.

        Tomatometer: 18% from the critics, and 68% from audiences?

        That’s quite the gap.

      • tj.nelson

        I’ll bet it’s the Legion.  Err … I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s – wait for it – the MASONS!

        Holy crap!

        • Terry, is it any coincidence that the Bilderberg meeting took place on the opening weekend of the film?

          Alex Jones is in on it too, taking the limelight. He’s counter-intelligence.

          • tj.nelson

            I blame the immigrants.

  • LMO1968

    I don’t watch a lot of movies, and I am very particular about the ones I do watch. That said, I saw this one and thought the R rating was fair. There was a lot of blood and violence  throughout the movie, and there were several scenes depicting the martyrdom of Bl. Jose that along with being emotionally intense also implied great violence and showed a lot of blood. I did not think these were gratuitous just too much for younger and/or sensitive viewers. I was going to watch this movie with a friend but her plans changed. I’m glad I saw it first, because if she  asked my opinion, I would recommend it for my friend’s 15 year old son, but not her 12-year old daughter.  Parents do know best what their kids can handle, but I think the R rating will make them stop and think about whether seeing the movie will be a traumatic event for them.

  • Daftpunkett

    In regards to the rating, I recommend the documentary (careful…it is graphic) “This film is not yet rated”  I liked this documentary because it does seriously question the rating system and who makes the ratings. Unfortunately it also tries to be very hip and flaunt the MPAA by showing some pretty graphic sexual content, for example purposes…of course.
    After watching that documentary, I’m really not surprised that they would attach an R rating to a pro-catholic film, how dangerous!

  • ladycygnus

    I doubt it was thought out. Violent movies get an R rating, whereas sex-filled movies are just PG13. That’s how movies always get rated.

  • GP

    You are so right about the rating!!  I’m not quite sure of the thought process of the MPAA when they viewed this movie, but they weren’t quite paying attention.  Anyhow, any children 10 and older should watch this movie with their parents.  And this movie is not just for catholics either!!!  If and when the DVD comes out, I am definitely using it for my faith formation class regarding sainthood, gift of choice, and especially on what it means to be a Christian and Catholic.

  • Romulus

    I am pretty sure the R rating was for repeated use of the phrase “viva Cristo Rey”.  Words that must be handled with great caution, because they can affect impressionable minds and lead to no end of trouble.

  • Debbie

    The KofC has a picture from the movie on the cover of this quarters magazine and the US Catholic .org took an exception to it:

    My dad is a former Grand Knight so I forwarded it on to him to share with his members. I’ll have to watch it now just to see what all of the consternation’s about.

  • The movie had my attention at Andy Garcia…

    I too wish I had the Christeros strength and a good place for me to start is maybe a rosary.

    I’m so going to see this and probably buy it when it makes it to dvd.

    And Romulus is right, most of Hollywood can’t handle that kind of language.

  • Romulus

    If you are familiar with how Bl. Jose died than you can prepare yourself and your children.

    The wretch Marcial Maciel appears to be the source for the official version, which is presented in the film — so I am disinclined to accept it.  For all I care, Bl. Jose could have been driven to his martyrdom in a gold carriage drawn by unicorns.  All that matters is that he was killed for his faith.

    I have seen the movie and gladly recommend it for its timeliness and various good points — but don’t consider it a good movie judged strictly on its artistic merits.

    • edgar

      My first reaction after watching the movie was that there should have been more time spent in “prepping” toward a central conflict or crafting a plot trajectory towards that central conflict that Hollywood is wont to do. Instead the movie cut to the chase and used movie time to show immediately the brutal & desecrating effects of implementing totalitarian legislation against the freedom and right of a devout people to its religious life. The catholic in me deferred to the movie’s choice because the reason and courage of martyrdom can speak for itself most eloquently over any screenplay no matter how well-intentioned.

      • Fred

        It must have been tough to tell the story in the time they had. It was long anyways.

  • Ian Rutherford

    If you have any doubt about the bias towards this movie, just remember that Hunger Games, a movie with plenty of brutality towards teens, received a PG-13 rating.

    • Excellent point, Ian. The Hunger Games was very brutal and extremely bloody. 

    • Fred

      Thank you for pointing this out.

      Anti-catholic bias seems pretty clear.

      Many are Catholic first, many are liberal first.

  • Claire

    I agree with the commenters who complain about the garbage that earns PG or PG-13 ratings (I”m talking to you, Transformers), but I have to disagree with your assertion that “FGG” should not have received an “R”.  I still will allow my 11-year-old to see it, but torture and the execution of a child are definitely “R” material.

    • Hunger Games graphically shows TEN teenagers getting killed – many as young as 11 years old –  and that got a PG-13. 

      No, the R rating for this movie was completely unjustified. 

      • Claire

        I saw “The Hunger Games” and think it should have been rated R.  You’re right about the inconsistency.  The studios would never allow an R rating for THG because the books were so popular among adolescents.  They imposed the R on FGG because they don’t like the Church.  Both movies should have been rated R. 

  • I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment, it was far less gory than Mel Gibson’s films, and just as well done. They deserve the R rating, this film does not. 
     It is a must see for Catholic youth and anyone interested in the cost of freedom. Adolescents today are used to a lot of screen violence, I think they are more prepared to handle it that their parents, and they need the powerful examples of Bl Jose Sanchez del Rio and Fr  Christopher. 
    I am working as you are to get our fellow Catholics to this rallying cry for religious freedom, just in time for the USCCB’s Fortnight for Freedom effort later this month. 
    By the way, “For Greater Glory” make the opening weekend Top Ten at the Box Office. 
    Here is my review;

  • Fred

    I am glad for this review, I was debating if I should bring my 14 and 16 yo.
    Debate over. I am bringing them.
    I do not know why there is an R rating, could it be a deliberate attempt to restrict audiences by hollywood?

    I too choked up over those moving and compelling scenes.

    Great movie.

  • I think maybe the R rating was appropriate, but then I don’t pay much attention to ratings.  I would not take my 9 1/2 year old son.  It was very violent and very emmotional in relation to the violence.  It would be very hard for him to see.  However, I do think there are many 12 and older boys that are mature enough to see it.  Now, if your kids watch extreme violence all the time, then they are probably desensitized and the film would probably do them good.  Vivo Cristo Rey!

    • prolifemomri

       I think the distinction you make, about the emotional impact coupled with the violence, is important. My oldest child is an adult, 27, my youngest, a 16 yr old boy who has certainly played his share of video games. But this was REAL, (ie, it did occur) and many of the characters killed had rooted in the hearts of my family. No one was “old enough”  in our group, including a Mexican friend, to applaud. We were all too busy crying.
       My kids admitted that seeing the film was important, but it hurt them to see it. Their first reaction, at the end, was “Well, that s###s”.  Thanks A LOT, mom!” Good discussion followed later, but i couldn’t even mention their manners at the time. They were clearly devastated.
      Sensitive viewers and parents of sensitive viewers, be warned.

  • Zhockeymom01

    Thank you for this post! We were debating taking my 11 year old son to see the movie, and I think now we will. My husband and I were a little leery of the R rating and thought we would see it first and then maybe take him later, even though he wants to see it. Yes, I know, he is an unusual young man in that he wants to see it, but he knows a fair bit about the Cristeros War from researching his dad’s patron saint Blessed Miguel Pro .

  • Long-Skirts


    Viva Cristo Rey!
    Just shouted

    So hated down in
    Was shouted by

    Viva Cristo Rey!
    Just shouted

    All Catholic boys
    should know.
    This word from
    Padre Pro.

    Viva Cristo Rey!
    Just shouted

    His arms
    outstretched, they shot.
    To stop the
    Catholic plot.

    Viva Cristo Rey!
    Just shouted

    The body dropped
    and died.
    His blood then

    Viva Cristo Rey!
    Just shouted

    His blood runs
    through our veins.
    A holy hemorrhage

    For Viva Cristo
    Forever and

  • JaneC

    This just makes me more frustrated that I will not be able to see the movie any time soon.  It is not showing anywhere in the state of Alaska, nor do there seem to be any plans to show it.  I have been waiting for this movie for three years!  I will just have to hope that it comes out on DVD sooner rather than later.

  • Bonnie

    I loved it.  I wish I could make everyone see it, it was absolutely awe inspiring!