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This Film Is Not Yet Rated

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

4.2 4
Director: Kirby Dick

Cast: Alison Andres, Kimberly Peirce, Jon Lewis


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In a rare and refreshing reversal of roles, filmmakers put the powerful Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA for short) under the microscope for inspection in Academy Award-nominated director Kirby Dick's incisive look at stateside cinema's most notorious non-censoring censors. Compelled by the staggering amount of power that the MPAA ratings board wields, the


In a rare and refreshing reversal of roles, filmmakers put the powerful Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA for short) under the microscope for inspection in Academy Award-nominated director Kirby Dick's incisive look at stateside cinema's most notorious non-censoring censors. Compelled by the staggering amount of power that the MPAA ratings board wields, the filmmaker seeks out the true identities of the anonymous elite who control what films make it to the multiplex. He even goes so far as to hire a private investigator to stake out MPAA headquarters and expose Hollywood's best-kept secret. Along the way, Dick speaks with numerous filmmakers whose careers have been affected by the seemingly random and sexual-content obsessed judgments of the MPAA, including John Waters, Mary Harron, Darren Aranofsky, Wayne Kramer, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, and Atom Egoyan.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick launches an incendiary, full-frontal assault on the Motion Picture Association of America’s Classification and Ratings Administration (a.k.a. the MPAA's CARA). This is the entity that assigns ratings to movies -- the familiar G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 designations. This secret, unregulated organization wields considerable power over the film industry and operates, the filmmaker asserts, on a highly subjective and prejudicial basis. Dick mercilessly targets individual CARA members with such zeal that he occasionally risks losing audience sympathy, but he successfully brings attention to the conflicting and contradictory standards that the organization employs when labeling movies with questionable content. Filmmakers and critics weigh in on CARA’s various absurdities: Ratings-board members receive no training, are given no specific standards by which to judge movies, and eschew advice or testimony from child psychologists, sociologists, or any other scientists. The organization’s pointed rules on certain aspects of human behavior, such as the length of time a filmmaker may allot to the showing of a female orgasm, also come in for a richly deserved pummeling. All this makes for compelling viewing; after you see This Film Is Not Yet Rated you’ll never take MPAA ratings for granted again.
All Movie Guide
Fans of the short-lived ABC sitcom Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) -- if there were any -- will find a similarly self-reflexive industry joke in the title of This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Kirby Dick's illuminating documentary. Not only does the film target the MPAA's esoteric and top-secret ratings system, but its title also speaks to the ratings limbo that inevitably greeted a film like this, with this agenda. This Film Is Not Yet Rated shows just how funny guerilla filmmaking can be, as Dick repeatedly dangles fresh meat over the MPAA crocodile pit, daring the jaws of its legal apparatus to snap shut. Dick's exposé alternates between moments of outrage, hilarity, and utter disbelief -- the latter as a result of how closely Dick's surveillance team (a pair of plucky lesbians) flirts with seemingly illegal behavior. However, once the audience has reviewed the capricious procedures of this ratings board, Dick's take-no-prisoners unmasking seems more than justified. While Dick is undoubtedly a courageous figure for engendering such powerful enemies, so too are the filmmakers who agree to testify on camera about their own experiences. It's clear how a group tied to the most oppressive wings of religion and government can really make trouble for these directors' future projects. The bulk of the discussion surrounds the kiss-of-death NC-17 rating, and how the board employs a preposterous double standard regarding graphic violence and graphic sex. By including examples of these controversial images, Dick's film earns its own NC-17 -- which the MPAA issues with almost incomprehensible detachment. Not submitting his film to the MPAA, and therefore remaining unrated, might have been a better return on the titular joke. But Dick wears the NC-17 as a badge of honor -- proof both of the inescapability of the process, and his refusal to be intimidated by it -- though he does eventually decide to withdraw the film from MPAA consideration and issue it, per the title, as "Not Rated."

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Red Envelope (Mag400
Region Code:

Special Features

Filmmakers' commentary; Q & A with director Kirby Dick at SXSW festival; Deleted scenes; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alison Andres Participant
Kimberly Peirce Participant
Jon Lewis Participant
David Ansen Participant
Martin Garbus Participant
Wayne Kramer Participant
Paul Dergarabedian Participant
Kevin Smith Participant
Matt Stone Participant
Jamie Babbit Participant
Richard Heffner Participant
Bingham Ray Participant
Kirby Dick Participant
Paul Participant
Clark Participant
Becky Altringer Participant
Cheryl Howell Participant
Cookie Schwartz Participant
Lindsey Howell Participant
Jay Landers Participant
Stephen Farber Participant
Maria Bello Participant
John Waters Participant
Mark Urman Participant
Allison Anders Participant
Mary Harron Participant
Darren Aronofsky Participant
Theresa Webb Participant
Michael Tucker Participant
David L. Robb Participant
Lawrence Lessig Participant
Joan Graves Participant
Greg Goeckner Participant
Atom Egoyan Participant
Rachel Blanchard Participant
Michael McClellan Participant
James Wall Participant

Technical Credits
Kirby Dick Director
Dondi Bastone Musical Direction/Supervision
Ulli Bonnekamp Camera Operator
Alison Palmer Bourke Executive Producer
Matthew Clarke Editor
Bruce Dorfman Camera Operator
Volker Glasser Camera Operator
Shana Hagan Cinematographer
Kirsten Johnson Cinematographer
Gil Kofman Camera Operator
Blake Leyh Score Composer
Matthew Mylander Camera Operator
Megan Parlen Associate Producer
Michael Parry Camera Operator
Eddie Schmidt Producer
Evan Shapiro Executive Producer
Frank T. Smathers Sound Editor
Amy Vincent Cinematographer
Bils White Animator
Ben Wolf Camera Operator

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- This Film Is Not Yet Rated
1. Taking Offense [6:48]
2. The Ratings Board [5:35]
3. Who's in Control? [4:03]
4. History of the MPAA [9:52]
5. Investigation Day 6 [4:32]
6. A Variable System [8:41]
7. Gay Vs. Straight [7:48]
8. Pushing the Line [3:48]
9. Piece by Piece [4:54]
10. Sex Vs. Violence [6:46]
11. Who's Counting? [5:26]
12. An Information Cartel [5:58]
13. The Secret Raters [6:36]
14. Appeals [4:32]
15. Moral Censors [6:07]
16. The Appeals Board / End Credits [6:10]


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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Veering near voyeurism on the MPAA, Kirby Dick makes a vitriolic attack on the secret and very hostile organization toward independent distributors. A disturbing commentary on censorship in this country and that we worry about sex all the time, but we can shoot the heads off of any Arab in one second and that's okay.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting story of the MPAA, but the movie denounced censorship without giving any alternative view. For example, it describes as hypocritical the idea that the MPAA censors sex more than violence. While this may be true, they do not seem to realize that it may be because a majority of americans believe sex (esp in regards to the graphic ways it is portrayed in the movies)to be a private matter, as opposed to violence, which is seen everyday on the news.It is not the concept of sex that drives the MPAA to censor it, it is the idea that it is not a public matter, and that if you make graphic sexual movies, you can expect to only have it appeal to a small group of people anyhow. Overall a good film, could have been a lot better.