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[[caption-width-right:250:[[Literature/HeartOfDarkness "The horror... the horror..."]]]]

->''"It's not unreasonable to speculate that Creator/WarnerBros, not wanting the film to be tagged with a 'wimpy' PG, added [[PrecisionFStrike one really bad word]] to bump the rating up [to PG-13]."''
-->-- '''James Berardinelli''''s [[http://www.reelviews.net/movies/a/avengers.html review]] of ''Film/TheAvengers1998''

Movies may be art and to tell stories, but as far as the funders and distributors are concerned, films need to make money and get the biggest possible audience. Achieving this may involve [[NeverTrustATrailer lying about a movie's content]], [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil showing all the best parts]], or, with family movies, changing the rating.

Perception means a lot R ratings tend to indicate something for adults ([[RatedMForMoney but not always]]). G ratings often indicate something for kids. In between are PG and PG-13 movies. So with a lot of otherwise perfectly clean, family-friendly movies, the word "damn" or "hell" (or both) might be added to the script, '''just''' to drop that dreaded G rating. At PG, the movie has a better shot at avoiding the "kid stuff" stigma that keeps teen or adult viewers away.

Adding a little swearing makes the film easy to edit for TV or airplane viewings without it interrupting the story. Sometimes stronger profanity is unnecessarily added, or the characters pay an irrelevant and fleeting visit to a strip club, or scenes are made more violent. Content is sometimes added to get an intentional PG-13 rating, or removed from a potential R-rated movie for the same reason. It's all about trying to get a certain audience to watch the film;

Ironically, the average G-rated film makes more money than the average R-rated film, but maybe only because G-ratings are rarer. In the UK, the practice is sometimes known as "fifteening" since the target was the BBFC 15 rating, though this faded with the advent of the 12 and 12A ratings.

Today in the U.S., it's nearly impossible to get a G rating on any live-action movie without some ''serious'' negotiation. It apparently is to reinforce the AnimationAgeGhetto; the MPAA is more than happy to rate something as ''PG for "nothing offensive"'' because it's live action. Almost no live-action movies make it to theaters with a G rating anymore.

It wasn't always this way. Since 1968, when modern MPAA ratings began, the G rating has shifted and been significantly {{Flanderiz|ation}}ed. Originally, "G" ratings were for movies for a "'''G'''eneral" audience, not for "'''G'''randmas & '''G'''oo-goo-babies." The earliest G-rated films not only included violence, but sometimes even showed blood. ''Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes'', released the same year the MPAA ratings started, was rated G, but you saw Charlton Heston's bare butt and violence, and heard "damn dirty ape" and [[EarthAllAlong "God damn you all to hell!"]] As late as 1979, ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' was rated G despite a couple of horrific deaths by TeleporterAccident.[[note]]The G-rated ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' (which was made during UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode era, long before the modern ratings system, but received a G rating upon rerelease in 1971) has the most famous use of the word "damn" in history. It also contains a lot of other distinctly non-G-rated things -- barely-off-screen sex, open bloodshed, and a sea of dead bodies.[[/note]]

The change happened in the early 1980's, about after complaints from MoralGuardians about movies like ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'', ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'' and ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}'', all of which received PG ratings, and thus were seen by many young children who really shouldn't have. After this, the MPAA introduced the [=PG-13=] rating, so movies that would've been PG under the old standard became PG-13, with the more "mature" G movies now becoming [=PG=]. Thus, the demographic for films that ''remained'' G became very young.[[note]]This happened shortly before VCR's took off. It turned out that the sort of film that could get a G rating after that is the sort that is usually more profitable direct to video.[[/note]]

Later attempts to content-rate other media in the United States used the by-now-obvious shortcomings of the MPAA system as an object lesson. When US television created its ratings in the late 90's, the "G is for Grandma" effect was mentioned specifically, and is almost certainly the motivation for the US TV rating system having both a TV-Y rating ''and'' a TV-G rating: TV-Y is "specifically for kids", and TV-G means "nothing offensive". Similarly, the ESRB ratings for video games, needing to account for both content and playability, have both the "E for Everyone" rating and others for younger age groups (some lower-end E10+ games suffer as well, albeit to a lesser extent). Even though the video game industry is [[RatedMForMoney no stranger to edginess for marketing's sake]], this trope is probably least common in video games. That said, "E for Everyone" changed from its original name, "K-A for Kids to Adults", specifically because games sold better among older gamers when the rating didn't have "kid" in it.

See RatedMForMoney, and for more information on the rating systems see UsefulNotes/MediaClassifications.

'''This is NOT about movies that just happen to have a high rating.''' It is ''only'' about when something clearly unnecessary and unneeded is added to bump the rating higher, because without it the rating would be lower than what the company wants. Also note that it's not always certain what caused a movie to get (or not get) a certain rating, as outside of a few guidelines, the MPAA ratings are a black box.


* Allegedly ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' was originally given a G rating so the producers, not wanting to offend their target demographic, older kids and teens, added a brief shower scene to bump it up to PG.
* Inversion: ''Film/INowPronounceYouChuckAndLarry''. Originally the two (male) main characters kiss each other but the MPAA threatened to [[GetBackInTheCloset bump their rating up to R if they did]]. Instead they just hug, [[BrokenAesop breaking the entire point of the movie about how gay love should not be treated differently.]]
* ''{{Sneakers}}'' is not a kids' movie, nor is it exactly "light, family-friendly fare", but it has very little violence and no sex. In order to prevent the movie from getting a G (or even a PG) rating, which would have been disastrous on several levels, the directors added foul language and some references to sexuality to bump it to PG-13, including a PrecisionFStrike from none other than SidneyPoitier.
* The film of Creator/JaneAusten's ''Emma'' added the word "bitch" (describing a female dog) to escape the G rating.
* The film of Creator/JaneAusten's ''Film/SenseAndSensibility'' was sneakier; the filmmakers there avoided the G rating by inserting some profanities into the background din of a ballroom scene.
* According to Hollywood legend, ''Franchise/StarWars'': ''Film/ANewHope'' came back from the ratings board with a notice that it had fallen squarely between G and PG. The producers requested it be given the PG rating.
** Han making a preemptive strike was [[{{Bowdlerise}} bowdlerized]] [[TheDogShotFirst into him reacting to Greedo]] in ''Star Wars: Special Edition'' specifically so that Star Wars would ''retain'' its PG rating rather than being bumped up to PG-13. [[FanDumb Fans]] were [[SingleIssueWonk not happy about this]], and also genuinely believe that [[MisBlamed George Lucas did it because he hates the true fans]].
** The original trilogy is rated U (the equivalent of G) in the UK, which doesn't seem to have affected its success.
*** The original Original Trilogy was rated FSK 12 (For Ages 12 and up) in Germany. Oddly, the Director's Cut of the Original Trilogy, years later, was bumped ''down'' to FSK 6.
* Creator/{{Paramount}} originally wanted ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'' to be rated PG-13, but TreyParkerAndMattStone said they wouldn't make it unless it was rated R.
** In an inversion of this trope, Terrence and Phillip were originally going to sing "Mother Fucker", which got the film an NC-17 rating. To make it rated R, the song was changed to "Uncle Fucker". Trey and Matt said the change made the song funnier.
*** Matt and Trey also said that the ping-pong ball scene was edited too in order to avoid the NC-17 rating. Originally, the woman actually ''was'' shooting ping-pong balls out of her vagina instead of just looking like it until we finished.
* The infamous line "Oh shit, what are we gonna do now?" from the 1986 ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie'' was there to give it a PG rating (and "Open, dammit, open!" may have served that purpose too). This was reportedly in order to make sure that parents knew which toys to buy. Like ''Franchise/StarWars'', this didn't work in the UK, where it got a U rating (though the line is missing from some DVD versions).
** The Family Home Entertainment video release of 1986's ''The Transformers: The Movie'' included Ultra Magnus's "Open, dammit, open!", but lacked Spike's "Oh shit".
** Oddly enough, despite the film including profanity to bump up the ratings, one of the songs in the soundtrack, NRG's "Instruments of Destruction," had some of the lines rerecorded to edit out comparatively mild words - "iron birds of foreplay" was changed to "iron birds of fortune," "violent seduction" to "violent eruption," and most bafflingly "iron tools of torture" to "iron tools of torment." Granted, the first two (particularly the first) could be argued to have been cut because they were of a sexual nature, but torture to torment is just... weird. In a SugarWiki/FunnyMoment, the band later rerecorded the song again with all the lyrics replaced with a loop of Spike's infamous line, as a protest to the changes they were forced to make.
* The producers of ''Film/{{Chariots of Fire}}'' felt that an utterance of the word "shit" in its dialogue would keep the film from a G rating.
* In the UK, 15 is the most common rating for any film not specifically marketed as family viewing and (according to the IMDB) the most common rating overall.
** This is true, of 100 films around 60% will get 15 and 12A rating, 10% will get 18, 10% will get a U and 20% will get PG. Even the word "[[CountryMatters cunt]]" alone doesn't justify an 18, as both ''Film/{{Kick-Ass}}'' and ''Shaun of the Dead'' feature the word and only get a 15 (mentioned by Simon Pegg on the commentary who bemoaned "15 rating horror" and then got one).
** American made films do occasionally suffer due to the differences in ratings between the UK and US. Because the US ratings go from 13 to 17, and the UK goes 12 to 15 to 18. While a some R or NC-17 rated films fall naturally into the 15 range, others get cut to force them into it, as it is deemed more profitable than 18. For example, the subway fight between Smith and Neo in ''Film/TheMatrix'' has the headbutts cut out of it in the UK version.
** In the UK, the movie ''Film/{{Spiderman}}'' has been [[OlderThanTheyThink mis-associated]] with an overhaul of the BBFC ratings system. A large number of parents thought its 12 rating (legally enforced) was too high, and they wanted their younger children to be able to see it, leading some local councils (who have the the final say on film certificates) to let the film be released as PG or PG-12. This coincided with the introduction of, and pretty much replacement in cinemas by, the 12A rating (still legally restricted to this age, and still labelled as just 12 for video, but adults may bring minors if they feel the film is appropriate).
*** The same situation had happened for ''Film/MrsDoubtfire'' and resulted in that film being cut for PG.
* Related to this trope, and RatedMForMoney, the horror movie parody, ''Film/StudentBodies'', had [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzHKwhrN1Lg this scene]] in the middle of the film:
-->'''Announcer:''' Ladies and gentlemen, in order to achieve an "R" rating today, a motion picture must contain full frontal nudity, graphic violence, or an explicit reference to the sex act. Since this film has none of those, and since research has proven that R-rated films are by far the most popular with the moviegoing public, the producers of this motion picture have asked me to take this opportunity to say [[PrecisionFStrike "Fuck you."]]
** Every theatrical movie has to display the trademarked MPAA logo and its assigned Rating at some point during the film. Most choose to show this at the very end after the credits, and a few choose to show it at the very beginning prior to the studio's logo. ''Student Bodies'' showed it right after the above announcement in the middle of the film.
* The fact that ''Film/TheHappening'' was Creator/MNightShyamalan's first R-rated film was a huge marketing point. Despite there being very little gore (plenty of off-camera violence and {{Gory Discretion Shot}}s here) no sex or nudity, and to memory, two swear words: "pussy" and "bitch".
* The movie of ''Film/StuartLittle'' got a PG rating by having the villains occasionally say "damn" or "hell."
* Inverted by ''Anime/PokemonTheFirstMovie'': it was rated G despite its strong violence and its disturbing themes and images. Ironically it was given a PG rating in Canada, which is generally more lenient about movie ratings.
* ''WesternAnimation/RockAndRule'': It was animation, and sex, fantasy drugs and swearing made the company drop it like a hot potato, since it wasn't as risky as other films in its genre either; however, at the start of production, it was meant to be a kids' movie.
* At one point in the movie ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'', Charles Deetz screams "shit" very loudly (but perhaps as an understatement considering the near death situation he had just experienced) and this noticeably spices up a dark yet mostly clean movie.
** Oddly, the original theatrical version was rated PG, yet had the title character quite clearly [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOf8Kl4Mvv4 yell out "Nice fucking model!" before grabbing his crotch with a honking noise.]]
*** And just in case that went over your kids' heads, there's the brothel within said model.
* The movie ''BillyJack'' is rated PG even though there is a line in the film where one of the characters says, "What we have to show is that the whole world is fucked up?"
** Billy Jack is from 1971, when a bit of harsh language or even nudity in a PG movie wasn't unheard of (there's even a brief flash of the title character's bare butt in the 1973 ''Tom Sawyer'', a ''G'' rated movie).
** Before PG-13, one F-word would get the film an R, no matter what context the word was used. However on some films, the MPAA did seem to allow one or more uses of the expletive in hard-PG films only after the producers appealed to overturn their original R-ratings (e.g., ''SixteenCandles'', ''TheRightStuff'').
** ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' got an instant PG ''despite'' the various {{Precision F Strike}}s.
* In an inversion, a minor controversy erupted over the religious-football movie ''Film/FacingTheGiants'' receiving a PG rating, as it was rumored that it was the result of the explicit Christian content (though more likely it was the football violence and themes concerning infertility).
* ''The Score'' is a nice caper movie about a bunch of robbers. It would've earned a PG, maybe a PG-13, if not for the few dozen [[ClusterFBomb swearwords]] the characters used at every opportunity. It got an R.
* The sole content descriptor for the movie of ''CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'' is "brief mild language". This was an attempt to nudge the movie towards an older audience.
* In the 2001 director's cut of ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'', the rating was deliberately pushed up to [=PG=]. The new cut is still just ''barely'' [=PG=]. Paramount ignored this trope entirely with the Blu-Ray of the theatrical version, opting to place a "Not Rated" tag on the packaging. In the UK it was rated U.
* ''OceansEleven'' has two noticeably gratuitous F-bombs, contrasting the rest of the movie, which is squeaky-clean. Apparently it was added to secure a PG-13.
** The fact that one of the [[PrecisionFStrike F-bombs]] was one character's only line in English just made it a SugarWiki/FunnyMoment.
* Franchise/IndianaJones occasionally says swearwords ("shit" several times across his movies, what may be a severely muffled "fuck" in ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'') probably for this very reason, just to make absolutely sure that movies featuring [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath people melting, people on fire, people getting stabbed by walls, open heart surgery using hands, rapid ageing and]] ''[[{{Gorn}} exploding lightning Nazis]]'' would not be shown to small children. [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotForKids Didn't help much]]. The sequel was even more violent and famously contributed to the creation of the PG-13 rating.
* ''Film/TheQueen'' is a dialogue and mood driven character study, and got a PG-13 rating. No sex, no violence. But there's a lone f-word buried in the dialog so deeply it's easy to not even notice. Not that the movie really appeals to anyone under the age of 13. Similarly and for the same reason, it was rated 12 in the UK.
* ''Film/TheKingsSpeech'', a biopic about Prince Albert, the Duke of York; later King George VI, and his struggle with stuttering. It was rated R after two scenes that involved a ClusterFBomb. Other than that, there's no violence or sexual situations. Without the cluster f-bombs, or any of the other swear words briefly stated, this film could've been rated PG.
** In the UK, this trope was actually inverted. Those scenes landed the film with a 15 rating, but the producers wanted a lower rating and eventually convinced the BBFC to give it a 12A (equivalent to PG-13; similar to the US, in the UK you're allowed one f-bomb for a 12A and any more than that makes it 15). The posters note that it contains "strong language in a speech therapy context". One suspects this was done to help the film appeal to the older audience that would likely make up a lot of the ticket sales.
** Inverted in the US as well with the theatrical re-release that took out some of the profanities.
* For much the same reasons as ''The Queen'' (i.e., a total lack of appeal to persons under 18 years old), one of the characters in ''GosfordPark'' gratuitously uses cluster F bombs on the phone to drive the rating up to an "R".
* Inverted and lampshaded in "Ali G, Innit". In one sketch, Ali G explains that he's determined to get an '18' rating, so he says the word 'cunt'. This initially worked, but since it came out the language restrictions have been loosened such that that word can appear in something rated 15. Since this was the only thing that warranted an 18 for ''Ali G, Innit'', it was promptly re-rated 15.
* The Australian movie ''Playing Beatie Bow'' bears the PG label on the DVD cover. The reason? Abigail says "Oh, shit" towards the end. It even ''feels'' forced, as otherwise the movie is clean (and based on a YA novel to boot)
* Creator/{{Tailsteak}} wrote [[http://tailsteak.com/archive.php?num=386 a comic]] on the stinger to his hypothetical movie; said stinger consists of him in person saying a wall of swear words to boost the movie's rating up from PG to PG-13.
* The tendency of rap music to do something similar was [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in one episode of ''{{Bones}}'', where Booth offers to charge a rapper with a crime-that would be dismissed in short order-to increase his record sales, as long as he ''cooperates''.
* Obviously parodied in the [[RealTrailerFakeMovie fake preview for the non-existent]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWL6j0SvqV0 Pac-Man live action movie]], where a character uses the obligatory "damn".
* The use of the insult "Penis Breath" (possibly also the [[UranusIsShowing "Uranus" joke]]) in ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'' was Spielberg specifically gunning for the PG rating. ''Yet again'' this didn't work in the UK.
** Ironic, considering the line was removed in the infamously LighterAndSofter rerelase. (The one best known for the walkie-talkie guns)
* Creator/DonBluth wanted ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH'' to have a PG rating to appeal to a larger audience (and the fact that it has more frightening scenes than most of the Disney canon films combined). Defying all logic (and one "damn"), the MPAA gave them a G. Then again though, [[AnimationAgeGhetto there's another reason it was rated 'G'...]]
* Gramercy requested Tom Servo say "shit" a couple of times in ''MysteryScienceTheater3000: TheMovie'' to bump up to a PG-13.
** Some sexually suggestive and drug-related jokes helped get the rating, as well.
* Inverted by ''Film/{{UHF}}'', which would have been a PG-rated movie (for four utterances of "hell") if not for two scenes of comic bloody violence and a flying poodle scene that Music/WeirdAlYankovic refused to cut, giving it a PG-13 rating. Al never felt that the film deserved the PG-13 even with those scenes.
* As noted in the page quote, ''Film/TheAvengers1998''.
* Possibly gunning for a PG-13 rather than a PG, the Wachowski Brothers' ''Film/SpeedRacer'' film uses the word "shit" twice, notably by Speed himself in shouting "Get that weak shit off my track!" The film still only got a PG rating.
* ''WereTheWorldMine'' is an incredibly clean cut queer interest film (even the simulated sex scenes are done so tastefully as to be perfectly clean). There are a few F-bombs scattered about the film to bump the rating up... Though it ended up being released unrated in the USA.
* ''Film/{{The Borrowers|1997}}'' could have been G if not for one clear use of the word "damned".
* ''TopsyTurvy'' would bore kids, but if you want to make it G, all you have to do is cut an optional scene with topless (and fleetingly bottomless) prostitutes.
** Also, one character uses the word "fucking" which was not in general use as a swear word at the time. He immediately {{lampshade|Hanging}}s it by saying "Pardon my [[ForeignCussWord Anglo-Saxon]]."
* It is amusing sometimes to see the content warning next to a ranking to see how they justify it. For instance, ''Film/BatmanBegins'' is rated 12 in Britain and contains 'moderate horror and violence'. ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' was attacked by some for being rated 12 as well, thanks to it seeming more brutal than it is.
* The sixth ''Film/HarryPotter'' film was rated "PG" after the two previous installments had merited "PG-13". In the UK, contrary to the trend seen so far on this page, it retained the same 12/12A rating as the fourth and fifth films. Despite the rating, it was arguably the most violent and frightening of any of the movies up to that point.
* ''Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove'' featured some jarring scenes of detailed alien deaths, human decapitation and a naked Linn Minmay spinning in zero gravity. It was released in the US initially only as a heavily-edited version (under the name ''Clash of the Bionoids''), but later a less-edited or unedited version was released (under the name ''Superdimensional Fortress Macross'', and a running time of 115 minutes). The film was released uncut on VHS in the UK, with a PG rating.
* ''{{Invictus}}'' would probably be PG for sports-related violence and a few curse words. A PrecisionFStrike, used by the team captain as motivation, got it a PG-13.
* ''Sweet 15'', an indie movie about a Hispanic girl who is about to celebrate her 15th birthday and her family of illegal immigrants, would be completely clean except for one brief scene near the end; a cop walks up on a homeless kid loitering in an employees-only area and tells him to leave, responding to claims of illiteracy with "Then why don't you just get the hell out of here?". The movie probably wasn't even rated in the first place, making the gratuitous mild language just confusing.
* ''Film/{{Flubber}}'' had one instance of "damn" inserted just to earn the film a PG rating. Strangely enough, when the film aired on ''TheWonderfulWorldOfDisney'', it had the word seamlessly removed to bring it back down to TV-G.
* The film ''Film/TheAstronautsWife'' got an 18 rating in Ireland and the UK. Y'know why? Creator/JohnnyDepp says "cunt". Once. There are a few "fucks" too, but there is no major violence or nudity that would warrant an "adults-only" rating otherwise.
* The 1982 movie version of the musical ''Film/{{Annie|1982}}'' had two crooks say "You goddamned kid" to deliberately avoid being rated G.
* ''PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles'' has Creator/SteveMartin drop a ClusterFBomb to give the movie its R rating. The PrecisionFStrike reply serves as a SugarWiki/FunnyMoment for good measure.
* The entire opening scene of ''BeCool'' invokes and lampshades this phenomenon. While telling his friend about how stupid the MPAA system is, Chili says to him "Did you know you can only say ''fuck'' once? That's it. Or you get an R." That's the only time the word is uttered throughout the film - which received a solid PG-13.
** Irony, given that the movie is a sequel to ''GetShorty'' - which had more than 90 F-bombs dropped in it.
* Creator/MangaEntertainment became notorious during the 90s for generously peppering their dubs with [[ClusterFBomb profanity]] in order to get "18" ratings in Britain, with the results being [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVpwJbLLivU quite]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo1gm4pC1ck often]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipr-wS5iBv0 hilarious]].
* "Children of the Gods", the pilot episode of ''Series/StargateSG1'', has a scene that features a several minutes of full-frontal female nudity. This comes as a shocker to the audience, as another character was previously shown in similar circumstances, but the audience only sees her back above the waist.
* {{Inversion}}: As noted, in the late [[TheSixties 1960s]] and early [[TheSeventies 1970s]], many films that would certainly get a PG or PG-13 today were rated G. (Examples include the gory HammerHorror film ''{{Dracula}} Has Risen from the Grave''[[note]] the very first film to receive an MPAA rating[[/note]], the first ''{{Airport}}'' movie, the aforementioned ''Franchise/PlanetOfTheApes'', and Franchise/TheMonkees' psychedelic CultClassic ''Film/{{Head}}''). One of these films, ''Film/TheAndromedaStrain'', even carried this [[ContentWarnings content warning]] on the original poster: "Rated G but may be too intense for younger children." However, since the MPAA rating system had just been created, the G rating didn't have the "kids only" stigma yet; it still meant "for ''general'' audiences".
* Inversion: ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'' was originally going to have Envy's line "Shut the fuck up, Julie" uncensored, and have Stephen saying "You know how I feel about girls cock-blocking the rock", but if they did have this, it would have landed the movie an R rating (plus, the movie had mentioning of gay sex, an orgasm scene, and one use of "cock" already, so the movie was close to getting an R rating as it was), thus the F-bomb was censored, and Stephen's line was censored by amp feedback.
* ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' features a few tiny uses of red blood (most noticeable example is when you step on the lungfish in Lungfishopolis, who will be laying in a big puddle of blood) and a few awkward usages of "ass," presumably to bump the game up to a T rating. Without them, there's very little in terms of objectionable content in the game to justify a rating higher than an "E" or "E10+", but the ''themes'' it deals with are heavy and/or creepy enough that marketing the game to kids wouldn't have really worked. They just needed to add things the ESRB would actually object to.
* A racial slur briefly used in the movie of ''TheHelp'' is what mainly gives it a PG-13 rating, but like ''StrangerThanFiction'', the whole pie scene probably would've put it in between PG and PG-13, so the racial slur was probably added to push it over.
* ''Film/WeBoughtAZoo'' had three uses of "shit", two uses of "asshole" and one use of "dick" (all by a 7-year old) in order to try and push the movie up to PG-13 for language, as other than grieving over the death of a mom, the movie is pretty clean. However, their efforts did not work and the movie still got a PG.
* Aside from the occasional [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar radar-dodging innuendo]] or heavy theme that kids wouldn't understand, the {{Updated Rerelease}}s of ''[[Franchise/FinalFantasy Final Fantasies]]'' ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI I]]'' [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyII thr]][[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV ou]][[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV gh]] ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI VI]]'' have almost entirely clean translations. Presumably for reasons pertaining to this trope, these translations also have several (very) occasional PG-level swear words - enough for the ESRB to complain about, but used sparingly enough to market the games towards general audiences.
* Inverted in the case of the 2011 film ''Bully''. The producers wanted a PG-13 rating so the documentary could be shown in schools and so that kids could go see it without requiring a parent present, but due to a single scene with multiple F-bombs it got rated R. This caused a huge uproar and a ton of complaints directed at the MPAA. Eventually they were forced to lower the number of F-bombs in that one scene to get the PG-13 rating.
* Inverted in the case of ''Film/TheHungerGames''. The [[Literature/TheHungerGames source material]] has some pretty graphic violence which was toned down for the film to avoid an R rating. This made it easier for the target audience, teens, to see the movie. The UK release was still edited down to get a 12A.
* Inverted in the case of ''WesternAnimation/{{Rio}}''. Early promotional material said it was rated PG. Fox responded by pushing the film's release back a week (with only three months to release, no less) and edited it down to G by reanimating a pivotal scene.
* Creator/JohnWaters thought any chance for ''Film/{{Hairspray}}'''s success was ruined when it got a PG rating and didn't have time to modify it to target his usual adult audience. Instead, the lighter approach made it a major success, although he has had issues with people mistaking his other movies for family fare without looking at the rating.
* The shot of Creator/SachaBaronCohen's penis late in the film seems to have been the only reason why ''Film/TheDictator'' was given an R rating as most of the film was clearly shot with a PG-13 in mind. The trailer even appeared with some PG rated films (such as ''Film/TheThreeStooges'').
* From 1991 to 2004, there existed a law where to make things easier for the BBFC, any relatively tame cinema ads would be rated U, while not all of them were that tame, and any material which would classify the ad as PG or up would instead give the ad a 15 rating. Any ad worthier of a different rating would be submitted as a regular film. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XGCOv8DcM4 This advert]], for example, earned an 18 rating without ending up in the 'Film Advertisement' category.
** A Crimestoppers ad earned both a U-rated release and an [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa-aB1zkHRU 18-rated release]], which had teen cursing as opposed to the one which replaces such words with "mucking".
* Related, a lot of independent movies seem to believe this. Kid-friendly independent movies are rather rare, causing the perception that a lot of indie flicks are either [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible pretentious]] [[TrueArtIsAngsty waffling]], homages to grindhouse movies, or overwrought dramas that have all the sex and violence that mainstream movies won't allow.
* Major aversion: ''Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacre1974'' features extremely little visible blood or gore and no nudity, drug use or swearing. Director Tobe Hooper was actually ''aiming'' for a PG rating. The film was rated R nevertheless.
* Inverted with ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', as the filmmakers had to add a wall of fire to slightly obscure Belloq in the scene where his head explodes, otherwise the film would've gotten an R rating.
* The 1995 ''Film/{{Casper}}'' film had some gratuitous language ("Damn", "What the hell?", "Bitch") inserted to give it a PG rating (though the premise of death and reincarnation would have done it)
* ''Film/{{Scream|1996}}'' was originally rated NC-17 (though movies with this rating don't get advertised on TV), and was forced to undergo some minor cuts to get its target R-rating. Director Creator/WesCraven learned from this experience, and inserted MORE violence than he actually wanted in ''Film/{{Scream 2}}'' so that after getting an NC-17, he could cut down all the unnecessary violence to the level he wanted, creating a sort of an illusion that the film was censored down to healthy R-rated material. Ironically, the explicit cut of that film still received an R-rating.
* ''[[Film/PromNight2008 Prom Night (2008)]]'' was given a PG-13 rating to attract a younger teen audience, and thus, was almost completely devoid of any and all blood and gore, in contrast to the original ''Film/{{Prom Night|1980}}'', which retains its R-rating to this day.
* The live-action ''Film/ScoobyDoo'' movie was originally planned to have a PG-13, and be more of a teen-oriented parody relying on humor fit for college students, such as jokes about Shaggy and Scooby Doo being stoners and Velma possibly being a lesbian). However, Creator/WarnerBros felt that in order for a Scooby-Doo film to make money, it must be marketed to kids, and the film was heavily edited down to get a PG. The film is still the tribute/parody it set out to be, just with cleaner humor. On Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network airings, the allegedly cleaner moments were toned down further to make it a G-rating.
** In addition, ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooOnZombieIsland'' had to have about five minutes trimmed off in its UK release to avoid a 12.
* Inversion: ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' was going to get a Teen rating because it was going to have red blood and depict Maria being shot on-screen, but because Sega did not want a Sonic game to get a T rating, they had to change the blood colors, and end the flashback of Maria being shot as soon as we hear the gunshot.
* ''Film/MyDinnerWithAndre'' was not submitted to the MPAA ''at all'', perhaps for this reason. There is very little in this movie that would place it past a PG rating, but at the same time it is a very philosophical, cerebral film only suitable for a mature audience.
* ''TheSantaClause'' achieved a PG through some sprinkled profanities and [[GettingCrapPasttheRadar thinly-veiled jokes]] about LSD and phone-sex hotlines by Tim Allen. When such dialogue is censored on TV airings in the United States, it gets a TV-G. Averted by the sequels which all have G-ratings.
** The phone sex hotline bit was edited from the video and television versions after a child watching the film actually called one of the numbers and his parents complained to Disney about the reference.
* ''VideoGame/CustomRobo'' for the Gamecube: aside from some periodic flirting by the resident womanizer character, and some robot-on-robot violence, there is absolutely nothing in the game that warrants a T rating. There IS, however, a massive amount of reading/text involved in the story, and several of the battles can get quite challenging, so presumably it would be frustrating for younger gamers to get through. ''VideoGame/CustomRoboArena'' for the DS, however, only got an E10+ despite similar a setup.
* Averted in the case of ''Film/{{Haywire}}''. Creator/StevenSoderbergh wanted a PG-13 rating and intended for the film's violence to have as little bloodshed and graphic shots as possible. However, the MPAA gave the film an R rating due to the violence's intensity. Soderbergh tried to appeal the rating but lost and the film went out with an R rating.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls Movie'' was originally going to get a G rating, but Creator/CraigMcCracken negotiated his way into getting the film a PG rating.
* Inversion: the 1971 Creator/ElaineMay / Creator/WalterMatthau film ''ANewLeaf'' (which May co-wrote and has since disowned) was given a G rating, in spite of the fact that "damn" was used several times, "son of a bitch" twice, and there was a scene of one of Matthau's suitors about to take off her bikini top.
* Creator/SentaiFilmworks definitely want to give the ''Manga/{{Gintama}}'' movie a high rating: the word "fuck" is used three times in the dub, as well as profanities like "shit" and "asshole", along with a few crude sex jokes. The sub (and the actual ''Gintama'' show) do not have this kind of language.
* The LiveActionAdaptation of ''Film/{{Garfield}}'' has one use of "damned", several scenes of slapstick, and the use of a shock collar on Odie in order to give the film a PG rating.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpongeBobSquarePantsMovie'' has one use of "damning", one use of "jackass", one use of "freaking", and jokes such as SpongeBob and Patrick getting [[DrunkOnMilk drunk on ice cream]] in order to give the film a PG rating.
* Beautifully lampshaded in ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'' when Brad responds to his dad's offer to take them all to see ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'', "Who wants to see some dumb movie rated G for kids?" [=CE3K=] has a lone "Shit!" which was probably inserted for exactly that reason.
* The movie ''Film/GirlsJustWantToHaveFun'' is almost squeaky clean, save for the moment when Drew tricks a lady into letting him touch her breasts.
* Inverted with ''Film/RoboCop1987,'' which was given an X rating 11 times before Paul Verhoeven finally toned down the violence and added enough lighthearted moments to get an R rating. Years later, cue fan outrage upon learning [[Film/RoboCop2014 the reboot]] will be PG-13.
* Also inverted with ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}},'' which was given an X rating three times. Director Brian De Palma convinced the MPAA to give his third cut an R rating after getting real narcotics officers to tell them the film was an accurate portrayal of the drug underworld - then he released the director's cut to theaters with that R rating because the studio heads didn't know the difference between his three submitted cuts.
* If it weren't for Pink, Vijounne, and Immorta's boob/butt/crotch close-ups, a penis innuendo ("Compensating for something, Baby Blue?"), and swearing (all of which is bleeped except for "hell"), then ''VideoGame/TheWonderful101'' would've easily gotten an E or E10+ rating. But due to how hard the game is, and due to the mature themes the game deals with, the developers had to add in content that would keep the ESRB from rating it E or E10+.
** This may, incidentally, be partially responsible for the game's failure at market. The bright colors, silly characters, and cartoonish setting would suggest it to be family-friendly, but the cursing and innuendo say otherwise, leaving a game that appeals to a very specific audience.
* ''Film/StarTrekGenerations''. Commander Data says "Oh shit" as the Enterprise started its dive into a planet's atmosphere so it would avoid a G rating. It ended up rated PG.
* The found-footage horror movie Film/LuckyBastard earned an [=NC-17=] because the plot took place on the set of a porn film. During a Q&A following the film's NYC premiere, co-writer Lukas Kendall recalled how the MPAA offered to suggest cuts to qualify for an R rating - many of which were contextually ridiculous. (One example: a sex scene at the four-minute mark that, despite showing no genitalia, much less penetration, featured "skin on skin contact." An incredulous Kendall retorted "But that's what ''happens'' during sex!") By the time the film got to the ''seven''-minute mark, the MPAA notes had grown so long that Kendall and film-making partner Robert Nathan threw up their hands in disgust and accepted the [=NC-17=]. [[http://filmmakermagazine.com/84143-the-nc-17-rating-needs-to-be-abolished-we-should-know-we-made-an-nc-17-movie/ They went on to write a stinging indictment of the rating and why it needed to be abolished.]]
* Basically nothing in ''VideoGame/KnyttUnderground'' would warrant anything higher than an E rating. It owes its M rating to the entire existence of the character Cilia, whose apparent first - and only - language is ClusterFBomb.
* Parodied on the ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' movie trailer parody ''The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders'', a home invasion horror movie as done by Creator/WesAnderson. Despite all the scenes of violence and gore, it's still rated "G".
* Inverted in the case of ''Film/TheConjuring''. Creator/JamesWan shot the film with a PG-13 rating in mind, and it shows, with very little in the way of profanity (one "shit" and a few "damns"), sexual content (a mild reference or two), and even gore (a couple of bloody scenes, but fairly restrained in comparison to [[Film/DragMeToHell some]] [[Film/{{Mama}} other]] [[Film/TheLastExorcism PG-13 rated]] [[Film/WorldWarZ horror]]). Yet, it was rated R, the official reason being "for sequences of disturbing violence and terror," but one of the film's producers said it was simply too scary for a PG-13. Didn't stop it from becoming a SleeperHit.