You don’t have to look any further than the state of the PG-13 movie rating to understand that the entire rating system overseen by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is in dire need of change. The Hollywood rating of choice due to its ability to get as many people in the seats without restriction, the PG-13 rating has become a grey zone where some films that are PG-13 seem like they should be R, some R films seem like they should be PG-13 movies, and everything in-between.
But the PG-13 rating didn’t always exist. The rating scale once went from PG straight to R before 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins — both rated PG — proved to be too much for the PG rating to bear. That same year, PG-13 was officially introduced and it’s been here ever since. But now you could say that we’re witnessing the same kind of pattern with PG-13 as PG once did with the weight of PG-13’s odd standards starting to show cracks. Here are seven PG-13 films that should be rated R and one bonus PG film that today might make the jump two ratings ahead to R.
To start off the list, let’s talk about Jaws — a movie you might be surprised to hear has a PG rating. Jaws was released in 1975, almost 10 years before PG-13 existed, but there’s an argument to be made that the film could be closer to an R than PG. Throwing out the fact that the movie is utterly terrifying, let’s outline some of the film’s more disturbing and graphic moments: We see a character chomped down on at his waist and killed; a boy is attacked and killed as blood spills into the water; a corpse missing an eye is discovered in a sunken ship; and several other moments are impressively gory even by PG-13 standards. The film probably would have been PG-13 if it had existed, but it might have had to go through minor cuts to get there.