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    Films — Animation 
  • The Adventures of the American Rabbit, aside from some of the violence is rather tame. Though the political attire the film points out would probably make kids confused about the message.
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven undoubtedly has to be Don Bluth's darkest film (with the possible exception of Titan A.E.). It has relatively small "kid-friendly" scenes in between the controversial themes of gambling, first degree murder, theft, drinking, terrifying images of Hell and Satan, and the real clincher, killing the main protagonist at the end, which is unheard of in Western animation for children. Thankfully, the sequels and television series are notably much lighter and softer in tone, embracing sci-fi elements and slapstick humor.
  • An American Tail: 19th century Russia: A Jewish family's house is burned down in a pogrom, forcing them to flee to America. During their voyage, a storm strikes the ship and the family's young son is swept overboard and presumed dead. But he survives and ends up on the mean streets of New York, facing all kinds of dangers, at one point sold to a sweatshop by a villain pretending to help him, and all the while trying in vain to find his family, while they mourn his "death" and face the same kind of oppression they thought they were escaping. The only thing that makes this a kids' movie is the fact that it's an animated musical starring anthropomorphic mice.
  • An American Tail: The Treasure Of Manhattan Island features loads of Police Brutality, including officers being paid under the table by corrupt factory owners, deliberately starting a race riot and burning every "mouse house and rat hole" to find someone they're after.
    • It doesn't really help that the movie is set in a time of racism and the one everyone is out to get happens to be a Native American.
  • Anastasia is another one of Don Bluth's darkest films. There are moments of death, extreme violence, dark peril, Stuff Blowing Up very realistically, ghostly spirits and corpses, not to mention the death of Rasputin, involving him melting into a skeleton that crumbles into dust. Rasputin also literally sells his soul to kill Anastasia's family and constantly randomly falls apart, at one point having his head land inside his own stomach, with visible ribs around him.
  • Bolívar, el Héroe was intended for kids, but there are amounts of heavy violence and brutality.
  • Stated In-Universe by one of the kids in the Framing Device of The Book of Life, when characters of the story apparently start getting killed.
  • Many people wondered how Cars 2 was rated G, yet has frequent explosions, missile firing exchanges, murder attempts, all sorts of child-scaring peril, and two Family Unfriendly Deathsnote , particularly Rod "Torque" Redline, who gets tortured for information by the villains, and then blown up. While his actual death is partially obscured as a reflection on a screen that's showing a picture of Mater, the audience gets to see the explosion and the flames rising from his body.
  • Coco: It's a family film based on the Día de los Muertos, which gives a lot of focus on the concept of death, including a backstory scene where one of the main characters is shown dying on-screen from poison.
  • Coraline is infamous for this. Yes, despite being terrifying, this movie is technically appropriate for kids, so long as they can handle a good scare every now and then. Oddly enough, the ABC Family airing slaps it with a TV-14 rating.
  • El Arca is a Spanish animated film loosely based on Noah's Ark that mostly focused on the animals on Noah's Ark. The film contains a sex scene (not an implied one at that), a strip club, a big breasted panther named Panthy, and a fight scene which at one point shows visible blood (only a little, but still). This was a kid's film.
  • Where to begin with Fantastic Mr. Fox? Let's start with the fact that they manage to get away with saying any swear word by simply exchanging it with "cuss" ("The cuss you are", "Clustercuss", "Scared the cuss out of me"). From there, it just gets better. Mr. Fox is a thief; the farmers want to kill Mr. Fox using switchblades and guns (which leads to Mr. Fox having his tail shot off), eventually leading to using excavators and explosives; there's incessant smoking from Mr. Bean, who makes alcoholic cider (and eventually goes batshit crazy); there are multiple injuries sustained by characters varying from scars to burns; Rat implies that Felicity is a slut and is later electrocuted and killed by Mr. Fox; and the ending is of the bittersweet variety in which the animal's homes have been destroyed and they now live in the sewers, even though they have a food supply that could last them for decades.
  • Frankenweenie, an Animated Adaptation of a short film that Tim Burton made back in the mid-'80s, has some very horrifying, violent, and disturbing scenes. Yes, that is expected in a Tim Burton movie, but none of his other animated films are anywhere near as violent as this one. And it got a PG rating from the MPAA and is being marketed toward kids at Subway through mainly making it about a boy and his undead dog.
  • Frozen II has Elsa investigating the shipwreck from the previous movie and learning her parents died trying to help her, having the characters learn about a war that their grandfather was responsible for, and having a scene where Elsa and Olaf undergo a Disney Death, but unlike most instances of this, it takes a long time for both of them to come back to life, especially the latter character. And one of the most optimistic characters talks about not sure she knows how to keep on living after her remaining family members die, saying "darkness, I'm ready to succumb," but still going on in part because she feels the need to correct the internationally-disastrous repercussions of her grandfather's crimes.
    Can there be a day beyond this night?
    I don't know anymore what is true
    I can't find my direction, I'm all alone
    The only star that guided me was you
    How to rise from the floor
    When it's not you I'm rising for
  • Foodfight! is about Nazi Expies taking over a supermarket, as well as full of murders and sexual references. Let's not forget that the animation is so grotesque that it often presents horrible images and characters that are a good example of Nightmare Fuel.
  • Disney's The Great Mouse Detective has the villain's Mooks cheerfully singing about murdering widows and orphans (by drowning them, no less), a 19th-century version of a striptease, and the villain goes Ax-Crazy when his Evil Scheme falls through, and he straight up tries to kill the hero with his bare paws.
  • The Good Dinosaur has been criticized by parents for being surprisingly violent for a PG movie (however, these parents might be at fault as well for acting like it's a G rated movie even though it's rated PG, which should have raised a few red flags that this movie is not for young children) for things such as Poppa Henry's death note , the acid trip sequence, the part where Thunderclap eats a cute little animal onscreen, Spot tearing apart a bug and forcing Arlo to eat it, Spot peeing on one of the dinosaurs when he meets them and one of the dinosaurs having a violent backstory, which caused children to cry hysterically and claim that they don't want to see it another time. This is considered by industry experts as a major reason why the movie bombed.
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame is rated G but is one of Disney's darkest films. Frollo murders Quasimodo's mother and almost throws him in a well, and that's just in the beginning. Then Esmeralda is shown pole-dancing, Quasi's tortured by a crowd, Frollo sings a Villain Song about his lust for Esmeralda and how she will burn if he can't have her, later starts burning Paris down note  and almost kills Esmeralda at the stake. There's also the way he dies, which is more frightening than your average Disney Villain Death.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 has genocide, mental trauma, and Parental Abandonment as main plot points.
  • The Land Before Time. You've got Littlefoot's mom getting a chunk of flesh bitten off of her by Sharptooth (it would've been more frightening without the Shadow Discretion Shot), the mega-quake that split Pangaea, and at one point, the heroes get stuck in a tar pit.
  • The Last Unicorn: Not only graphically adult content (such as a triple-breasted harpy), but the emotional themes go way beyond a children's film.
  • Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole: A "PG"-rated film by Zack Snyder (the man behind 300 and Watchmen) with owls clawing and slashing each other apart, characters dying, bats tearing apart owls, impalements... And yet, it was aimed to kids. Then again, so were the books the movie adapts.
  • Despite The LEGO Movie being based on a toy franchise (the main reason it got away with so much violence; it would be so much more brutal in live-action if that happened), the main villain, Lord Business, who constantly crosses the Moral Event Horizon, presides over a dystopia which is basically a Crapsaccharine World and Police State combined. Creativity is severely discouraged with threats of being "put to sleep" if you don't follow the instructions. The undertones are incredibly dark, involving satire based on bland, repetitive entertainment such as the media distracting the population from the oppressive regime whereby Lord Business plans to unleash a superweapon that will make everything perfect the way he wants it by gluing it all in place. Let's not forget over 8 1/2 years, Lord Business' lieutenant GCBC and his robot militia have captured and tortured plenty of Master Builders by either melting them or putting them in the Think Tank for use in providing instructions for the rest of the city of Bricksburg.
  • The Lion King is a story built around a murder - then unheard of in Disney - and a subsequent frame-up and coup. If that wasn't enough, for most of the time Simba believes he killed his father, which could be traumatizing for children. It also has a lot of violent scenes, to the point where you can see blood as Scar digs his claws in Mufasa and Simba's paws, and handles adult themes like vengeance, death, and rebirth. The Washington Post even said about the film, "Of the 32 animated films Disney has produced, this story of a young African lion's search for identity is not only more mature in its themes, but it is also the darkest and the most intense. Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope, it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange.".
    • Its sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, is just as dark if not a bit more: Grey-and-Gray Morality is portrayed very clearly, Simba comes close to becoming an antagonist and is very heavily implied to have PTSD, Zira's Villain Song is explicitly about turning her son into a killer and conquering an entire kingdom out of petty revenge, there is a clear Domestic Abuse setting that is depicted as having horrific consequences, and Kiara and Kovu's romance is blocked due to explicit prejudice and discrimination, along with Nuka and Zira dying in fairly horrific ways, the former doing so onscreen.
  • Mumfie's Quest was aimed at children ages 2-7, but it has a whale who's an ocean liner not getting any passengers on board because his slogan was misinterpreted for something sexual, an island that's been turned into a prison where a baby pig's mother is trapped and the main character himself gets trapped in, and The Secretary of Night, a scary antagonist who would scare a lot of kids in the target audience (which he did, according to people who watched this movie as kids).
  • Okko's Inn is a cute kids' anime movie about a girl working at the inn with the help of ghosts she sees that also had a separate anime adaptation released around the same time that played before Elena of Avalor. However, the main character constantly has panic attacks about her parents dying, and at the end, a man who stays at her inn that she tried helping make special meals for reveals that he was the one who accidentally killed her parents, causing her to cry in front of the man's son and wife.
  • At one point in time, the United States Amazon website classified Only Yesterday under "Kids and Family", causing some of the sponsored items featured on the page to be things like PAW Patrol DVD box sets and an Edutainment Show called Meet The Letters. At first glance, it may seem like a movie about a woman remembering her childhood experiences, but most fans of Studio Ghibli would know that Only Yesterday was banned by the studio's original distributor, Walt Disney Home Entertainment, for featuring a Running Gag of school-aged boys peeking at girls' skirts to see if they are menstruating. Despite this, the film was aimed at all ages in Japan like most of Studio Ghibli's works and carries a PG rating in the US.
  • Osmosis Jones has a rather dark villain and some not too subtle sexual innuendos for a PG-rated movie set in the human body. Said villain happens to be an anthropomorphic virus who enjoys murdering cells and gloats about killing all the human hosts he encountered (including a little girl). His introductory scene involves murdering a cell who is shown graphically deteriorating and squirting liquid while screaming in pain. Not to mention that there are several references to sperm cells and jokes about "division". In fact, it was going to be rated PG-13 at first.
  • ParaNorman is not only a zombie movie, and thus rather gory, but it milks its PG rating for all its worth. And The Reveal about the identity of the "witch" (she was an 11-year-old girl who was hanged for speaking with the dead and, underneath 300 years of rage and bitterness, is still just a scared child who wants to see her mother) is really dark.
  • Trailers for The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! made it look like a nice little movie about silly pirates doing silly things. While this is technically true, there's more to it than that. It includes Black-and-Gray Morality (to the point that almost no one in the story is completely good), the onscreen deaths of two minor characters and many near-death moments, innuendos which don't even try to be subtle and jokes that will go right over little kids' heads.
  • Princess Mononoke was given the equivalent of a G-rating in Japan, despite being the most violent and darkest of Studio Ghibli's films, resulting in it netting a PG-13 rating in America and a 14A rating in Canada.
  • This trope is one of the main contributors to The Queen's Corgi's negative reception. It is meant to be a family movie and has a The Secret Life of Pets-esque premise of Queen Elizabeth II's top corgi getting lost and trying to find the way hame, yet has lots of mature humor and themes no one would expect for a kids' movie: mild profanity throughout, Charlie's attempt to murder Rex the said corgi, the very intense dog fights, a dog addicted to cocaine (actually shoelaces), Wanda used as a stand-in for an exotic dancer in an abusive relationship with the fight club owner, most egregiously, Donald Trump's lewd portrayal and Rex being sexually harassed by Trump's corgi as reference to Trump's sexual assault allegations. However, it should be noted the film was produced in Belgium, where standards for family-friendly content are lower.
  • Rango seemed to incite some parents upon release (if the numerous one-star Amazon reviews filled with parents complaining about the film not being suitable for their kids) due to a load of bizarrely-adult content matter. The film contains numerous instances of cursing, gun violence (with characters shot onscreen), on-screen death, tons of Black Comedy, and the presence of Rattlesnake Jake, who heralds almost all of the movie's darkest scenes. Complimented with an art style many kids would find unflattering and creepy and Rango pushes its PG rating as far as it can go.
  • Ringing Bell starts out as a cheerful film about a cute little lamb, but when a wolf kills the lamb's mother, the film becomes a dark and depressing tale featuring revenge, the lamb becoming a fierce ram who tries to help the wolf kill his flock, and an ending where he's left to wander on his own. Believe it or not, Sanrio, the company who made Hello Kitty, did this movie.
  • This was a contributory factor to the American release of Robotech: The Movie not going any further than it did; midway through the film, a rape comes close to being depicted (to say nothing about the violence also present in the source material).
  • Rover Dangerfield was Rodney Dangerfield's attempt at making a movie for kids. It had Las Vegas showgirls, drug-dealing mobsters, and a comic relief character's onscreen death, for which the title character is framed and nearly shot.
  • The Secret of NIMH. That film is scary no matter what age you are, but it's still marketed toward kids. It's been pretty amusing seeing cheap reprints of the DVD with nothing but cute and cuddly box art.
  • Sheep & Wolves starts off like a comedic animated CG movie with an foolish wolf who gets turned into a sheep, but it gets darker later in the plotline with its antagonist intentionally killing his ailing leader to take his position. And the female wolves, including the main characters' Love Interest, are really sexualized.
  • Sherlock Gnomes contains characters being kidnapped, characters seeming to die, as well as an antagonist who wants to commit genocide on all the gnomes in London.
  • The Shrek movies have mild cursing and sex-based adult jokes that most kids would laugh at, but not know why it's funny. Shrek the Third has Fiona's pregnancy, in which sexual elements are also emphasized.
  • Spirited Away was intended for kids in Japan, and several parents in the 2000's bought the VHS for their kids thinking that it was a story meant for children of all ages, and with some being fooled by the fact that Chihiro was voiced by the same girl who played Lilo. However, the film is known for including several story elements that could be considered Nightmare Fuel for younger viewers like Chihiro's parents turning into pigs as she panics in front of them, No Face eating people after being given money and an injured dragon who almost dies a few times (accompanied by on-screen blood).
  • Summer Wars was a G-rated movie in Japan, spawning merchandise aimed at that demographic like picture books and plushies of the cute animal critters featured in the movie. It has instances of blood, tragic death of a family member, swearing, child nudity, a doomsday scenario, and so much more.
  • The original Toy Story got this reaction when we get to meet Sid, who tortures and mutilates toys, though that's nothing compared to Toy Story 3. Lots of kids get frightened and often even leaving when the Cymbal-Banging Monkey appeared (A few theorized the 11-year Sequel Gap helped Pixar aim for a Darker and Edgier route).
    • Perhaps the scariest and most horrific moment in the third film occurs at the climax, when Lotso sends the toys to the incinerator after Woody and Buzz saved him, and they would have died if not for the Little Green Men.
  • The Transformers: The Movie surprised a lot of parents (and children) who expected the same lighthearted tone as the TV series, only to see hordes of Autobots die in the first ten minutes.
  • The True Story of Puss 'N Boots seems to have some kid unfriendly elements. The female characters (at least two of them) have more detail to their bodies, and the royal family's punishment for people who lie to them is grinding them up into hamburger meat and possibly eating them.
  • Watership Down is often used as an example of mature animation, but like the book it was based on, it was intended for all ages, despite the mutilations and disturbing imagery. For example, a rabbit gets caught in a wire snare and nearly dies, another rabbit gets its ears shredded as a punishment, a rabbit tells a story of how its warren was wiped out by poison gas, and two rabbits are shown fighting each other with blood on their mouths and paws. And that's without the scene where a dog comes and kills a rabbit.
  • Many people who did the English dub of The Wind Rises did so because they wanted a film that they could show their children, many of whom were toddler-aged by the time the film came out. Like Only Yesterday above, it's more of an arthouse film than the fantasies Studio Ghibli is known for, and has a few scenes featuring war in it. It even caused controversy in Japan-despite being rated that country's equivalent of G, many people were against seeing the movie because it had many scenes in which characters smoke, since cigarettes were (and are still) a taboo topic in Japan.
  • According to Word of God, Ralph Bakshi said that in an interview he had kids in mind when making the film Wizards; the film itself contains a lot of family-unfriendly content such as swearing, graphic violence, innuendo, and partial nudity. The German version of the film has a 16+ rating.
  • Wonder Park, at first glimpse, may seem like a cute movie about a theme park imagined by a young girl named June. However, the main premise is kicked off by her mom having to go to the hospital because she is ill, causing June to become depressed and abandon her park. And that's not all: When she discovers the park is actually real, we learn that her depression caused a dark cloud inhabited by plush monkeys that have turned evil and kidnapped Peanut, the leader of the park, inside of it. Many parents went online to complain as a result.
  • Zootopia appears to be a Buddy Cop Show film with funny animals, but is actually more mature than it seems. Examples include:
    • Savage animals that will not think twice about attacking those nearby. The movie has a news report stating that one such attack actually leaves a citizen in critical condition, complete with showing the victim being wheeled to an ambulance by paramedics.
    • Racial/species overtones between predator/prey animals, and between prey species of different strengths and sizes. The plot itself is basically about someone trying to start a race war between predators and prey.
    • Scenes and flashbacks where young Judy and young Nick are victims of traumatic species-based physical bullying at the hands of cruel, bigoted kids and still carry the emotional scars well into adulthood.
    • A scene with a location analogous to a drug lab.
    • Naturist animals that are naked all the time, but with no proper body organs to be seen, at least.
    • A scene where Dawn Bellwether, a public official, engineers the murder of Judy (a rookie ZPD officer) to cover up her own agenda involving savage predators and even remains at the scene to watch it happen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alice in Wonderland (1985) was for kids, but there was too much Nightmare Fuel, like the Jabberwocky scenes and the White Queen's transformation to a goat.
  • Back to the Future
    • The original Back to the Future had a scene where the second lead is gunned down by Libyan terrorists. On the other hand, when Marty found himself in 1955, he made it a point to try and save Doc from his future fate... and succeeds; it was more of an extremely delayed Disney Death. There's also Marty's plan to get George and Lorraine together at the dance involved him faking a rape attempt on his own mother, which was then broken up by a real rape attempt from Biff.
    "If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit!"
    • As such, it was refreshing to see that line appear in the Telltale video game intact.
    • The first sequel isn't much better, starting with a Groin Attack on Marty Junior. Of course, the cherry on top is the alternate 1985 where Biff is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who murdered George in cold blood, forced Lorraine into marriage and breast implants, sits in a jacuzzi with naked women, and has turned Hill Valley into a hellhole.
    • Part III has Buford hanging Marty, threatening Clara with rape, and attempting a slow death by bullet on Doc. Plus there's Doc's (implied) one-night stand with Clara.
    • Amusingly, this trope was why Disney turned down the first film, as they thought it was too raunchy for them (primarily the subplot with Lorraine becoming infatuated with Marty), whereas other studios thought it wasn't raunchy enough (this was the era of teen sex comedies such as Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds).
  • Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, the Darker and Edgier sequel to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Take a lighthearted, family-friendly Totally Radical comedy and add lots of terror along with a Played for Laughs—yet still effectively morbid—Disney Death plotline, heavily ramped up profanity, sexual dialogue, and incest references, and you've got something that probably didn't sit nearly as well with the original film's target audience.
  • Camp Nowhere had talk of the titular camp being a former hippie commune, complete with a laughing mention of all that it entailed. The movie also had kids cursing, buying beer with an adult's help, lying to their parents and the authorities, and stealing money. In the end, it never makes it clear what the lesson is, and the promotional posters were ridiculously risque compared to the movie proper.
  • The director and crew of the Mystery Science Theater 3000-riffed movie Carnival Magic set out to make it a kid's flick...and yet it features such plot points as the film's comic relief character (Alex the talking chimp) attempting suicide to avoid being operated on and a brief yet shockingly realistic depiction of Domestic Abuse as the antagonist beats his girlfriend. Reportedly, even at the time of the film's release, viewers were left confused at the unintentional case of Uncertain Audience that the film presented.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of The Cat in the Hat definitely qualifies: Despite it being based on a book meant for kids, the movie dealt with a lot of extremely crass humor (examples include the Cat calling a soil-covered gardening implement a "dirty hoe" and the original name of the S.L.O.W., the Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter) and rather dirty things that should not be exposed to kids. Sadly, it was also a point of contention for Theodore Giesel's estate. The film was such a slap in the face to the original story that all plans on making live-action adaptations of the Dr. Seuss stories have been barred. The animated stuff, however, is still acceptable.
  • The movie adaptation of the musical Cats, despite carrying a PG rating, has a strange current of eroticism, between the weirdly sensual way the cats move and rub against each other and the fact that they look like naked humans covered in fur, which isn't helped at all by the constant presence of the Uncanny Valley.
  • The original Clash of the Titans is an adventure film for kids and with cool special effects, brief scenes of a woman breastfeeding, another emerging from a bath full frontal, and Medusa getting gorily decapitated and oozing blood everywhere.
  • Cloak & Dagger: You'd think that a PG spy caper about two kids keeping a video game away from villains would be a kid-friendly romp, but it's filled with a surprising amount of bloody murder. Our kid hero is stuffed into a car trunk with a corpse on two separate occasions and even has to gun down one of the villains.
  • Cop Dog, described in its summary as "a heartfelt tale about a boy and his dog who set out to solve the death of the young boy's father." The cutesy cover and PG rating must signify that it's targeted to a younger audience, but not even a quarter of the way through the movie, the dog is run over by a car, and it's not one of those things where the kid comes home from school and the mother has to break the bad news to him, but a chase scene in which the dog dies. The whole movie is about fulfilling the dog's final desire, which is solving his master's murder so that he can cross over.
    Amazon user Kathy: Heartwarming...yeah right. My daughter who is 10 freaked out when she saw Marlowe get hit by a car and killed - especially since that happened to one of our dogs a few years ago. THEN the dog is a ghost and there's some sort of time limit before something bad happens? Now she's freaking out again afraid she'll have nightmares. I didn't read very far into the plot synopsis so I didn't realize the dog got killed... Had I known that I would have never rented it. PG doesn't necessarily mean "good sense" or actually appropriate for sensitive kids! Motherfucker!
  • While not as egregious as fellow MST3K movie Carnival Magic, Cry Wilderness does feature clearly intoxicated bikers, a joke about eating baby raccoons, and the antagonist is defeated by getting his eyes ripped out by a hawk (in front of the kid protagonist, no less), hardly things you'd expect to see in a film that was otherwise clearly meant for families.
  • The Dark Crystal, a fantasy flick with a dark atmosphere, creepy monsters, Family-Unfriendly Violence, lots of scary moments, and yet, it was aimed to kids.
  • Dora and the Lost City of Gold is based on a popular preschool show, but it has some elements that would seem out of place in the series it was based on, like Dora's parents being kidnapped, several scenes involving Dora being in near-death situations, Dora and her friends being trapped in a box and sent to Mexico while on a field trip and scenes involving drug-like references. The trailer was even screened with several movies aimed at mature audiences, such as After and Little.
  • Downplayed with The Exorcist. In spite of the extreme graphic violence among other obscene and disturbing material, the film was rated R instead of X, meaning that children could see it as long as they were accompanied by an adult. For reference, in 1973 most R-rated movies were a lot tamer because this was before the introduction of the PG-13 rating. The filmmakers pretty much just insisted on the lower rating just so it would have a better chance of earning back its high budget, but cut out none of the offending material that would have earned an X-rating if it had had a smaller budget. In any case, it worked, becoming a box office hit and sweeping the Oscar's.
  • The Disney/Amblin co-production A Far Off Place was marketed as a PG-rated family-friendly adventure...featuring an orphaned girl and her friend trekking 1,000 miles through Africa with cold-blooded poachers hot on their trail for witnessing their massacre on her parents' reserve. And on top of that, a Roger Rabbit cartoon played before the movie in theaters. Never was there a more jarring case of Mood Whiplash than zany cartoon slapstick being followed by the horrific slaughter of a teen's parents.
  • The Gamera series has some of the most graphic "monster vs. monster" violence in movie history and truly gruesome moments such as this, despite being geared towards children.
  • The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. While the film is rated PG, the titular Garbage Pail Kids are abominations who vomit on people, wet themselves, fart in people's faces, get into fights, steal and damage property, and one of them is even willing to threaten people with a switchblade. There is also a subplot of a young man who looks to be at least 12 being in a relationship with a young woman who is clearly in her 20s. It is filled with violence, drinking, near-nudity, and scatological scenes; and infamously contains a Broken Aesop that people should be judged on their behavior, not their appearance; despite all the Garbage Pail Kids hateful and near-criminal actions. The Moral Guardians of the time protested the film and successfully managed to get it pulled from theaters because of all this.
  • Ghostbusters II was made deliberately Lighter and Softer than the original by toning down things like adult humor and smoking. On the flipside, the horror elements are considerably ramped up in comparison, with a bigger emphasis on frightening imagery and immediate peril that makes the more "family-friendly" movie much more likely to scare the hell out younger kids.
  • The Golden Compass, the film adaptation of the first book of His Dark Materials trilogy was marketed to children and is considered a family film. But despite the Disneyfication process that suffered the adaptation (like removing most of the hardcore atheist rants), it still had a lot of dark elements, like a very violent polar bear fight, people being shot, lots of killings and many other things, such as the ending scene which was left off the theatrical release.
  • The same can be said about The Great Yokai War: A kid's film directed by Takashi Miike (the director of Ichi the Killer). Despite being clearly aimed to kids (many people compared the film with movies as Time Bandits or The NeverEnding Story) it still has lots of creepy moments, some innuendo, Family-Unfriendly Violence and lots of Black Comedy.
  • Gremlins: This movie, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, led to the creation of both the PG-13 rating in the USA and the 12 rating in the UK. The trailers presented this picture as much more lighthearted than it was. Reviewing it for Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Harlan Ellison described it in terms more suited to Nightmare Fuel. He deplored its many instances of wanton cruelty played for laughs and said he "heard little children scream and cry" in the theater. The manager later told him he'd never had so many patrons walking out and demanding their money back. There's also a scene in which one of the characters gives a 2-minute speech about how they found out Santa wasn't real, which isn't something one would expect to be discussed in a children's movie. The sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, is far Lighter and Softer than the first movie, taking a more openly comedic bent and dialing back the violence (only one gremlin death is anywhere near as gruesome as in the first film, and it's played more for laughs than for horror), but it was hit with a PG-13 regardless.
  • The Disney film Hocus Pocus is supposed to be a family-friendly film, but includes buttloads of crap, both sexual and otherwise:
    • Fifteen-year-old Max's virginity was a plot point. Consequently, somebody gibes Max about his virginity every few minutes.
    • Max's eight-year-old sister Dani mentions Max's virginity three times. She also mocks Max's attraction to his classmate Allison and her "yabbos".
    • Sarah (one of the witches) flirts with every male she meets. She offers to help Max take care of his virginity.
    • Within the first ten minutes, a girl, about eight-years-old, dies onscreen.
    • Binks the cat, gets run over and is seen flattened on-screen. By that time, Binks has become Dani's pet. This has freaked out many people.
    • The witches' plot is to make themselves immortal by sucking out the lives of children. Mary in particular views children as dinner.
    • The film has incidents of potential Nausea Fuel, such as a potion ingredient being "a piece of thine own tongue", Sarah munching on the occasional spider, and Sarah gleefully retrieving her "lucky rat-tail" right where she left it.
    • At a Halloween party, Dani encounters her mom dressed up as Madonna in her iconic outfit of the early nineties.
    • Perhaps the most brazen exchange is this one with the bus driver:
      Bus Driver: [On the bus's purpose] To convey gorgeous creatures such as yourselves to your most... [cracks knuckles] forbidden desires.
      Winifred Sanderson: [laughs] Well, fancy! We desire ... children.
      Bus Driver: Hey, it may take me a couple of tries, but I don't think there's gonna be a problem.
  • Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones series received some criticism due to the level of violence in the movies (particularly Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which, to be fair, features a guy getting a heart ripped from his chest), resulting in the creation of the PG-13 rating.
  • Roger Ebert bashed Jumanji only because he found it too scary for family entertainment.
    • Ironically, he found the film's spiritual sequel, Zathura, to be perfectly okay for kids to handle, despite the fact that it contains giant, humanoid, man-eating lizards, a killer robot, and the very real possibility of the main characters getting sucked into a star/black hole (which does happen to their sister in the climax)
  • The 2016 adaptation of The Jungle Book has a very serious plot (although not without its humorous moments), some very frightening scenes (including more than a few jump scares), and quite a bit of violence, especially the emotionally upsetting death of Akela, which has caused some people to question why it wasn't given a PG-13 rating.
  • Labyrinth has frequently been cited as this. Despite the film being a kids' film, there are three instances of the word "damn," the heroine almost getting killed by many sharp, rotating blades coming at her down a tunnel, beings that can (and do) gleefully dismantle themselves before trying to decapitate said heroine, "villain" twice the heroine's age trying to seduce her, and Bowie's Magic Pants.
  • Over in Italy, Malèna is considered a family film. The uncut version has gratuitous female nudity in half the scenes, has plenty of scenes of the young boy masturbating, scenes of domestic violence, the 12-year-old protagonist sleeping with a prostitute twice his age and the climactic scene of the women in the town graphically beating up Malena in the street.
  • Matilda has a bunch of kids getting hammer-tossed out of windows, first-graders getting packed into a closet with rusty nails and adults downright insulting children's intelligence and calling them hurtful names. Then again, this is a Roald Dahl adaptation we're talking about. On the upside, the abuse isn't that severe and the protagonist does win in the end. On top of that, it's a family film, so the violence is mainly for the adults, no matter how cruel it may seem.
  • MirrorMask: Many people compare this film with Labyrinth: Being written by Neil Gaiman is not surprising that most of the story is a complete Mind Screw that even the adults will find confusing...Also, it is filled with some creepy moments.
  • MouseHunt features, among other things: an instance of The "Fun" in "Funeral" in the first five minutes with a corpse falling into a sewer, a man getting stripped naked by machinery and then seduced by his estranged Gold Digger wife, almost an entire minute's worth of Thanks for the Mammary, an onscreen death (again, early in the movie) due to I Ate WHAT?!, and boatloads of Family-Unfriendly Violence. And yet this was marketed as a lighthearted Slapstick family movie.
  • Several of the films watched on Mystery Science Theater 3000 fall into this trope:
    • Infamously, Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders made the mistake of putting a crappy horror movie into a crappy children's movie package, and then forgetting to take out the horror. Thus we get a creepy monkey doll, a man's wife becoming his mother, and gratuitous violence in a movie supposedly meant for kids. Hilariously lampshaded:
    Servo: (as the kid) No, Grandpa Borgnine, leave light and hope for me! Please!
    Crow: (as Grandpa Borgnine) Get out from behind that cushion, Billy! It gets worse!
  • Nine Lives (2016) is rated PG, even though most of its runtime consists of business meetings and other similar things that children wouldn't care about, and also includes a scene with two security guards who decide to tase a cat for laughs and a scene where a character decides to commit suicide.
  • One of the biggest reasons Roger Ebert loathed North was for featuring jokes that were completely inappropriate for young audiences, such as the governor of Hawaii joking about his wife being barren while she's standing right next to him.
  • The 2018 South Korean film On Your Wedding Day is rated 12+ within South Korea but it contains lots of potentially explicit content that a 15+ television drama would not be afraid about.
  • Given the violence and Nightmare Fuel present in Pacific Rim, some people find it hard to believe that Guillermo del Toro designed the film to be for children. In interviews, Del Toro was even upfront about how he wanted to make a positive film for kids, and that Mako Mori was designed as a feminist role model for young girls.
  • The Peanut Butter Solution is a Canadian kids movie from the 1980s. Some of the plot points include the ghosts of homeless people who died in a fire, an art teacher kidnapping children and forcing them to work as slaves, and a kid using hair tonic to grow pubic hair.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu is based on a children's franchise, but seems to be Darker and Edgier than what it adapts, with a plot about a gas that turns Pokemon into rabid creatures and fuses everyone with their Pokemon, which left some child viewers terrified.
  • Return to Oz is meant to be seen as a kids' adventure film, yet there are the infamous scenes such as shock therapy, the disembodied heads of the Lollipop Guild, and of course, the Nome King.note 
  • The 1991 sequel Return to the Blue Lagoon was a bizarre case of marketing creating confusion as the original home video release of the film was promoted as being "family entertainment" despite the film having sex scenes and nudity (not to mention being a sequel/remake of one of the most controversial films of the 1970s, controversial for the exact same reasons).
  • School of Rock: Despite the PG-13 rating and some instances of the characters cursing, this film was aimed at kids, and even played on kid-oriented channels like Cartoon Network in the 2000's, but with the offending language censored.
  • The Scooby-Doo live-action movie is rated PG — and a very "hard" PG, at that, with a number of thinly-veiled sex and drug references and generally rather ribald humor. This makes sense once you realize that the film was originally meant as a parody of Scooby-Doo aimed at teenagers and young adults who grew up with the show; according to the film's writer James Gunn, the first cut of the film submitted to the MPAA was returned with an R rating. The content was heavily dialed back in order to slide by with a PG (the deleted scenes are chock full of raunchier gags and one legitimately scary moment), while the sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed was written as a family comedy from the start with a tone much closer to the cartoons.
  • The Short Circuit movies have swear words (biggest offender was a black guy in the second film saying "motherfucker"), and even Johnny getting slaughtered by Oscar's goons, especially the bleeding would probably not fly by today as PG.
  • Sixteen Candles, combined with its Values Dissonance would probably be a PG-13/R, due to the main character saying the F-word and a One-Scene Wonder of a naked girl in the shower.
  • George Lucas has maintained that Star Wars is intended for children. Some people point at the severed limbs, convoluted politics and economics, Techno Babble, bio-babble, and other kid-unfriendly aspects to counter those claims.
    • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope even managed to get a U rating from the BBFC in the UK, despite having numerous on-screen deaths, a close-up of a bloodied and severed arm (admittedly a non-human character), a brief shot of burning corpses (Luke's aunt and uncle), numerous on-screen deaths and even implied genocide when Alderaan gets blown up. Admittedly other countries' rating agencies tend to go higher.
    • Return of the Jedi frequently gets derided as being too "kid-friendly", despite Princess Leia being turned into a pleasure slave, wearing next-to-nothing, when she's captured by Jabba the Hutt.
    • Revenge of the Sith features, among other things, almost every major heroic character dying, most of them onscreen, and a beloved hero murdering children and strangling his pregnant wife nearly to death. Not to mention a prolonged scene of a character screaming in agony as he almost burns to death in a scene that can be hard to watch even for adults. While it earned a PG-13 rating in America, that didn't exactly stop the film from being marketed towards kids under 13. Despite the more graphic and adult elements, the film is generally pretty well received among children.
    • With the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, Star Wars has become more adult-oriented, with fewer overly whimsical elements and less comic relief in favor of a slightly less idealistic tone, deeper characters, and gratuitous original trilogy nostalgia. Rogue One, while still watched by many kids, is often cited as the opposite of this trope.
  • Time Bandits, from Terry Gilliam, an adventure/fantasy flick starring a child. It features scenes of firing squads, a man getting crushed to death, nightmare creatures, and ends with the kid's parents exploding, all because they were idiots for touching the evil microwave and not listening to the child.
  • TRON itself came out before the PG-13 rating (1982), and while it was technically aimed at kids, it was much Darker and Edgier than the usual (at least at the time) Disney fare. On its roster; brutal on-screen deaths (including a Boom, Headshot! with some gibs), Electric Torture (Clu 1.0 is tortured to death, Dumont and the other Tower Guardians come close to it), overt religious themes (more blatant than the second film's), snarky innuendo and a Shirtless Scene... Then there's the Deleted Scene that was ostensibly cut for pacing but was quite obviously sexual in nature.
  • TRON: Legacy. Considering that the 2010 sequel has a Darker and Edgier plot and much more brutal deresolutions than the 1982 originalnote , one could easily be shocked that this film was intended for kids. This can't possibly be stressed enough. The movie is about as close to Gorn as you can get without showing any blood, the villain is essentially Hitler (and really terrifying at that), and somehow it still managed to get a PG rating, with Disney somehow not realizing that their movie was very kid-unfriendly and marketing it to young children. Its promotions on Disney Channel, as well as its Adidas apparel line, and its large collection of toys, all of which are made and meant for children.
  • We Bought a Zoo is perhaps the only PG-rated film since the 80s (when the PG-13 rating was introduced) to shoehorn in at least three uses of "shit" and one of "asshole". However, it was marketed as a light-hearted family film.
  • The Wizard was definitely made and marketed with Nintendo-loving kids in mind... but the scenes of upsetting family drama, the incestuous Accidental Innuendo in the hotel scene, and Haley's cry of "HE TOUCHED MY BREAST!" make one wonder.
  • Yankee Zulu appears to be family-oriented and has been rated PG in the States and equivalents overseas, but the plot involves the protagonist's vindictive ex-wife and her fascist husband chasing down the hero and his friend for a check with both antagonists running a white supremacist organization, not to mention the two main characters resort to disguising themselves as a black and white man which is Played for Laughs (the movie was made in post-apartheid South Africa). Also, there's quite a bit of mild cursing and a heap of slapstick violence.
  • In the same line of the last example, the live-action film of the anime Yatterman made by Takashi Miike, was aimed at kids in Japan, but it was filled with innuendo, sex-related humor, profanity and one scene where one female-shaped robot starts acting like it was having an orgasm
  • Most superhero movies, in general, tend to be rated PG-13, and are often designed to appeal to a cross-section of kids and adults. This causes some debate (such as the sister trope's section on superhero movies about whether or not these movies are actually appropriate for kids, even though they obviously enjoy immense popularity among children. The rise of R-rated superhero films (and TV-MA-rated superhero TV series) with heavier violence and sexual content has made the debate even more complicated.
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