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What Do You Mean Its Not For Kids / Live-Action Films

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Due to many superhero-related films falling under this trope, they have their own page.

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  • The A-Team, for all its cartoony violence, was pitched at a family audience. The same cannot be said of the big-screen remake which was PG-13 rated and full of people actually getting killed.
  • The ABCs of Death: Oh look, a film with a cute cover of a baby reading a book in what appears to be a cool chair, containing 26 shorts ranging from Wallace & Gromit-style claymation to a live-action short featuring cute Japanese schoolgirls! The title should give you a pretty clear clue that it's not for kids, but some people go and show it to their kids anyways.
  • While it doesn't usually fall under this trope, A Clockwork Orange was placed under this trope by Regis Philbin, who was babysitting Kelly Ripa's children on air. Wholesome family entertainment! Look, Regis: the fact that a film shows British people in funny hats does not make it Mary Poppins.
  • Alfie, which brought Michael Caine into popularity, is rated PG in the US but it is NOT for kids. It's about a playboy who can't stop having casual sexual relations with women, and who slowly finds emptiness through this pattern. He has extremely sexist attitudes and frequently refers to his many partners as "it"—hardly something children should be watching. It also deals with very mature themes like abortion, emptiness in relations and mental and physical consequences.note 
  • Airplane! is rated PG despite containing multiple suicides, a character sniffing glue, the death of a child played for laughs, and some nudity. It was released in 1980, predating the PG-13 rating. Newer releases of the film have bumped the film up to PG-13. In the UK, the movie is rated 15. Also qualifies as a case of Values Dissonance, as a lot of the dubious content that was acceptable at PG in 1980 would be more at home at PG-13 (or R, depending on the MPAA's mood) in this day and age.
  • A Lampshade Hanging on this trope is hung in the opening of Alice, the infamous Czechoslovakian adaptation of Alice in Wonderland: "You are about to see a film. Made for children. Perhaps."
  • In the late 90's and early 2000's, there were reports of children as young as 9 either buying tickets or going with their parents to see the American Pie films because they believed they were funny comedies about teenagers doing crazy things. The entire series is built around sexual actions and jokes, getting its title from a scene in the first film in which a character masturbates into a pie.
  • Atari: Game Over is a documentary about the Atari 2600, Atari in general, and mainly the very infamous E.T. game. It's aimed at adult gamers, especially those who were youths in The '80s; however, it is regularly aired on Showtime's family geared channel. Despite it being about video games it's TV-14 and contains heavy references to drugs.
  • The Austin Powers films:
    • Despite being filled to the brim with sexual innuendo and whose second film has the word shag (British slang term meaning "to have sex with") right in the title, seems to suffer from this greatly. Not only that, the third movie actually won an award for Favorite Movie at the 2003 Kids' Choice Awards.
    • TIME reviewer Richard Corliss used Austin Powers as a starting point on an essay about the PG-13 rating. He even states at a certain point: "parents strongly cautioned means kids desperately wanted."
  • James Cameron's Avatar is PG-13 rated and by no means for kids, but due to the McDonald's Happy Meal promotion and other toys being made, parents still took their kids to go see it... Because the Na'vi are just like Stitch! In response, James Cameron made a censored audio track for the DVD releases.
  • Back to School looks like a funny family comedy about an old man (played by Rodney Dangerfield) who goes back to college. It isn't rated PG-13 for nothing.
  • Apparently, an R rating wasn't enough for some parents to understand that the Billy Bob Thornton comedy Bad Santa was not for kids. Hey, it's about Santa Claus, so it's for kids, right? So review quotes were added to the TV ads that prominently displayed the words, "ADULTS ONLY". In Ireland, it was responsible for the IFCO creating a new 16s rating in 2005, as there was only 15PG and 18 for R-rated films up to that point and the head censor felt that the gap between those two ratings was too wide.
  • The Bad News Bears, also falls under this. Just because it's about a ragtag kids sports team doesn't mean it's another Little Giants. It Includes an alchoholic main character, there's a child (Tanner) who spews swears and racial slurs like they are going out of style (and he was probably the most popular character in the film), there are references to the female team members' breast development (although not in any sexual context), and the coach gives his elementary/middle school players beer to celebrate their second place finish.
  • When The Banana Splits was released to DVD, Amazon categorized it as a Kids and Family film because it was based on a children's show. Not only is it a horror movie based on the show, but it contains many gruesome deaths, along with a few instances of mild swearing and a scene in which a character goes onstage while drunk.
  • Beetlejuice
  • Hey, Black Swan! It's an Oscar-winning movie about Natalie Portman as a ballerina, complete with great visuals! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
  • Some may understandably believe that Richard Linklater's Boyhood is a film for kids. It's about a boy who grows to become a teenager! It isn't, though. It features a lot of swearing, sex references, drug use and more, so it's certainly not for kids. Rated R for a reason.
    • The same can be said for the film Honey Boy, which is an adult drama despite its name and standard poster (a grumpy pre-teen boy who has had a large pie smashed in his face) making it look like a harmless kid-friendly slapstick.
  • The Breakfast Club sounds like a fun movie about the misadventures of teens in high school, but it actually contains drug and sexual references and tons of swearing. It doesn't help that the film was spoofed by many kids' shows, so parents may be misled into thinking it's a kids' film, especially since the film is rated R.
  • Some parents took their kids to see Brokeback Mountain just because it was about cowboys. However, the movie revolves around a gay relationship, has multiple sex scenes, and in the end, one of the main characters is beaten to death. Even worse, Common Sense Media gives this film as a recommendation to tamer movies for teens like Titanic and Call Me by Your Name, even going as far to put it on a list of the best LGBTQ movies to watch with people that age.
  • Bruce Almighty got a lot of flack from parents who ignored the PG-13/12 rating and took their kids to see it, because of all the swearing (plenty of "shits" and one "fuck") and sexual content (Bruce blows up a girl's skirt, makes his girlfriend have spontaneous orgasms, and makes her boobs bigger). Apparently because it's a movie about God it should be child-friendly.
  • Meet Chappie, a self-aware, peace-loving robot who just wants to live and be left alone and his scientist friend who's helping him evade the authorities who want to capture him... sounds like the typical family film plot, right? Actually, the movie is rated R for "violence, language and brief nudity." Heaven help any families who mistakenly show it to their kids.
  • Child's Play is a movie about a six-year-old and his doll, which comes to life. Nothing could be more innocent, right? WRONG!
  • Cloverfield may look like another Godzilla, but it isn't for kids, unless they like blood-sucking parasites whose bite eventually causes the victim to explode, subplots about unfaithfulness, wreckage evocative of 9/11, a woman impaled on a metal spike, the monster eating Hud the cameraman, and all of New York being bombed, with no survivors.
  • Cool World. And that's after they changed it from an erotic horror about a half-human, half-cartoon girl becoming a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when she discovers who her real father is (a comic book artist who had sex with one of his drawn creations) to a Who Framed Roger Rabbit knock-off. Hell, Ralph Bakshi's filmography in general...
  • Cowboys & Aliens might look like a cool movie crossing over two things that kids love: aliens and cowboys. Even the ad services utilized for This Very Wiki seemed to have the same thoughts, with the ads on the movie's page being for things like SpongeBob SquarePants Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated and Sesame Street Live!. note  However, this isn't the case. Besides having bucketloads of violence, there's drunk characters, a few swears, tea being used as a hallucinogen and even a mention of prostitution, among other things.
  • Death to Smoochy. Robin Williams and a cute Barney-like character must mean it's for kids, right? Never mind the fact it has 'death' right in the title, the R rating, and that some posters showed the Barney-Expy in a body bag.
  • Drop Dead Fred seems to be harmless, a movie about a woman reunited with her imaginary friend from childhood. Many people remember watching this as kids. However, looking past the goofiness present throughout the film, it's pretty much the story of a woman about to lose her mind thanks in part to a crapsack childhood, dominated by an emotionally abusive mother. Also, there's a lot of blatant adult (PG-13) humor, including sex jokes, and said mother is nicknamed "Mega-bitch" by the title character.
  • David Lynch's Dune (1984) had a tie-in coloring book. That's right, the film with the vagina-mouthed monsters and the scene where the pustule-faced man uncorks his sex-slave's heart valve so he bleeds to death as he fondles him. Other merchandise included a pop-up book, bubble-gum trading cards, ViewMaster reels, and hey kids, comics! (This was one of the first films to receive a PG-13, as it was released at the tail end of 1984 — otherwise, it might have gone out with a PG, as the Indiana Jones films had up to that point.)
  • Euro Trip: Just because it has a green fairy and it is made from the writers of The Cat in the Hat doesn't mean it's for kids. Its humor is more raunchy and direct than the Dr. Seuss adaptation.
  • Tarsem Singh's The Fall is often compared with The Princess Bride. It's true that both are celebrations of storytelling and fantasy epics... but only one of them has a suicidally-depressed storyteller manipulating a child far too young to understand, or the story-within-a-story ending with the gruesome deaths of the adventurers.
  • Forrest Gump:
    • The early scene where young Forrest overhears his mother sleeping with the principal of his school to guarantee him admission (although that scene tends to leave most kids confused than frightened).
    • Jenny's entire life: An alcoholic father, who is implied to be sexually abusive, drugs, groping by an audience member during a nude stage performance, drugs, stint as a Playboy centerfold, drugs, physically abusive boyfriend, drugs, contemplation of suicide, drugs, and eventual untimely death (possibly from AIDS). And drugs.
    • The gore of the Vietnam scenes.
    • Lieutenant Dan's raving depression. Even when Dan gets better, there's a scene that can result in the creeps. When the lieutenant finally lets go of his anger on the shrimping boat and thanks Forrest for saving his life, he dives backward over the side of the boat and goes for a swim toward the horizon. As Forrest's accompanying narration makes it clear that the lieutenant is at peace now, and the way the shot is framed, make it look as if Dan is about to drown himself (the relieved grin on his face reminds more of the Stepford Smiler than anything else).
    • The use of various racist and ableist slurs.
    • The many references to high-profile assassinations.
    • The fact that it looks at American history in a distinctly cynical and satirical, if ultimately optimistic, light - not that there's anything wrong with that, but Mr. Smith Goes to Washington it ain't.
    • All in all, even censored for TV, not easily accessible or indeed appropriate for little kids. This seems to have stuck in many people's minds as the wholesome, patriotic tale of a mentally-challenged man with a heart of gold who inadvertently becomes part of American culture (including teaching Elvis Presley how to dance, fighting in the Vietnam War, and meeting John F. Kennedy), which has led to its being shown on family-movie channels at around eight p.m. All of the serious stuff is overlooked.
  • Don't be fooled by the fact Fun Size is made by Nickelodeon, is marketed by Airheads candy and stars Victoria Justice; it's not rated PG-13 for nothing. It's doused with a lot of inappropriate humor and some profanity (including a scene where a character drops the S-bomb three times in just a minute). In Australia, it had to be Bowdlerised to escape the M rating (equivalent of PG-13) and thereby earn a PG. The edginess of the film despite being marketed by Nickelodeon is probably why it became a Box Office Bomb.
  • At first, The Fisher King looks like the type of Robin Williams comedy that might be targeted at families. But it has outbursts of profanity, some Family-Unfriendly Violence, and subplots involving suicide and a mad gunman.

  • Some parents took their children to see Get Hard, resulting in some toddlers leaving the theater frightened. Hey, a funny prison comedy with many comedians kids are familiar with! Family-friendly, right? No! It's rated R, and features some crude sexual humor and violence.
  • Ghostbusters: Most people think of the original film as a family movie, and why shouldn't they? The theme song is almost always played during kid-friendly Halloween parties, there was plenty of merchandise targeted towards children, it spawned a popular cartoon, it's been shown on the Disney Channel several times, and even been released on home video as part of Columbia/TriStar's family collection. But the truth is, the film was meant for adults. There's blatant sexual references and language throughout the entire film, particularly one brief scene during the montage that played during the theme song that actually went so far as to feature a ghost giving Ray a blow job. The original film is rated PG, which might be why people think of it as being for kids. However, if it were being released today, Ghostbusters would easily earn a PG-13 rating, with all the swearing, sex jokes, and casual smoking. The only reason it wasn't rated PG-13 in 1984 is because the PG-13 rating didn't exist at the time of its release (though it did come along later the same year).
    • Because the movie was such a hit with young children and also because of the cartoon's popularity, Ghostbusters II was toned down considerably to be more family friendly.
  • The original 1954 version of Godzilla, Gojira:
    • Unlike the later films, this one is very dark. You get to see people vaporized before your very eyes; a women holding her children assuring them "we will be with daddy soon" (it is assumed they are killed a moment later); people suffering in hospitals with radiation sickness and burns; and a love triangle that ends in a suicide. You know, for kids!
    • If you can get your hands on a subtitled version, without Raymond Burr, which is to say, the version that was released in Japan, it is very dark and depressing. If you happen to know that the fake rubber suit the actor playing Gojira wears doesn't read as "cheap" so much as "stylized," to Japanese audiences, then the monster becomes scary. It makes more sense when you realize that the fire, the burning sets, and the radiation victim make-up are very real; the producers probably could have made an FX-y, stop-motion monster if they wanted. It's a horrifying movie. Oh, yeah, most of the people who worked on it actually lived through the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Good Boys is an R-rated comedy starring a trio of 12-year old boys. A trailer even lampshades that the actors themselves aren't old enough to see the film they starred in when it comes to theatres.
  • The Good Son starred adorable little Macaulay Culkin, known and loved by children at the time for his Home Alone series. But this particular R-rated film had him playing a serial killer who fell to his death, while screaming rather like he did in Home Alone. Sweet dreams, kiddos!
  • The Happytime Murders may seem like a movie about a woman who makes friends with a puppet in order to save his friends, but just one look at the title and its tagline ("No Sesame. All Street."), and most people will know right away that it isn't a children's movie.
  • Harry Potter: Although the first three films are were largely targeted towards kids and pre-teens, the rest of the series is noticeably more geared towards teenagers and young adults. Some of the violence gets particularly dark and gruesome towards the end of the series, with pretty realistic and unpleasant blood and injury detail visible in multiple scenes. An example of a particularly nasty scene can be found within The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, where Hermione has the word "mudblood" carved into her arm with a knife while she screams in agony (although most of it off-screen, it's still way too dark and scary for children). Other non-kid-friendly scenes include Albus Dumbledore being horribly tortured by a toxic cursed potion in The Half-Blood Prince, a sizable chunk of Ron's shoulder and upper arm being torn off in The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry being tortured by Voldemort (and briefly stabbed by a knife) in The Goblet of Fire, a brief but graphic shot of Voldemort's bloodstained corpse in The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and so on.
  • Jack the Giant Slayer is based on a fairy tale, so it must be okay for young children, right? Dead wrong. Discretion shots aside, there are some pretty brutal (and often highly original) on-screen deaths. Another PG-13.
  • The Indiana Jones series (yet another Spielberg effort!) is a victim to this. Nothing screams Family Friendly like melting Nazis, mooks chopped up by aircraft propellers, and man-eating ants, right? In particular, controversy over the particularly high level of gore and horror in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom strongly contributed to the creation of both the PG-13 rating in the USA and the "12" rating in the UK.
  • Everybody likes James Bond, right? All the kids think he's cool, right? Well then, one is advised to warn them of these bits:
    • Dr. No: Bond shooting a defenseless man twice for good measure;
    • Goldfinger: Bond finding a dead, naked girl that he slept with earlier. Her sister later has her neck broken by Oddjob's hat;
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Bond slowly choking a man to death with a ski, and causing another man to be ground up by a snowplow. And Tracy is shot in the head by Irma Blunt and Blofield... and they get away with it;
    • Diamonds Are Forever: Two baddies slowly drowning in mud. Also Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd murdering Lord knows how many people (including Plenty O'Toole, who wasn't even involved in the evil plan, simply because she was in Tiffany Case's house at the wrong time);
    • The Spy Who Loved Me: A goon stuck to a giant electromagnet because of his metal teeth, then dropped into a shark tank. The Big Bad murders his secretary for betraying him by feeding her to said sharks, and said henchman gruesomely murders two people offscreen and nearly murders two more onscreen;
    • Moonraker: The villain kills his secretary by having her be eaten alive by his dogs. Bond also murders two scientists with nerve gas for the heinous crime of working for the villain. And then there's the final scene where Bond, er, "attempts re-entry".
    • For Your Eyes Only: An innocent woman brutally run over by a goon who wasn't even aiming for her. Bond also kicks a man inside a car off a cliff, in cold blood;
    • Octopussy: 009 being knifed in the back and slowly expiring. Bond later does this to one of the two knife-throwing brothers responsible. General Orlov is shot in the lungs and slowly expires, Vijay is cut open by a bladed yo-yo, a mook is impaled on a bed of nails, another mook is suffocated by a blue-ringed octopus, and the bladed yo-yo using mook is devoured by crocodiles;
    • A View to a Kill: The Big Bad gunning down dozens of his own men for the hell of it and throwing a Russian spy's lover into a turbine for fun;
    • The Living Daylights: A MI6 official killed by a sheet of glass that stabs right through him. 004 falls to his death after his rappelling rope is cut. Necros is killed by Bond's direct action of cutting his bootlace so that Necros would fall to his death. And General Whitaker is crushed to death by a bust of Wellington;
    • Licence to Kill: Felix Leiter mauled horrifically by a Great White shark. Also, a henchman's head explodes, and another henchman is ground up in a rock crusher. The villain has one of his henchmen cut his mistress's lover's heart out and whips her while she begs him not to (in the opening 5 minutes of the movie, no less!);
    • GoldenEye: A woman being pressed against a tree and then asphyxiated. Said woman kills countless people with a machine gun and with her thighs during sex, and tries doing this to Bond twice;
    • Tomorrow Never Dies: A ship is sunk and the survivors are gunned down by the Carver Media Group's security adviser Mr. Stamper in a bid to start nuclear war and profit from reporting on it. Elliot Carver also has his wife killed because she betrayed him for Bond, and is killed by being hit with his own drill;
    • The World Is Not Enough: A man slowly dying from a bullet lodged in his brain, who executes a minion for failing him to psyche another one into succeeding, and drugs the crew of a submarine and has them drowned. Also Bond shoots an unarmed woman;
    • Die Another Day: Bond getting tortured by North Korea in a very disturbing, half-hallucinatory sequence that shows a lot of CGI naked women, the villain's chief henchman is impaled on a chandelier with a spurt of blood, another man has a laser drilled through the back of his head, a female henchman is stabbed in the chest, and the villain kills his father and is electrocuted and ground up in a turbine;
    • Casino Royale: Bond tied naked to a chair and getting his junk destroyed by the bad guy;
    • Quantum of Solace: Bond finding a dead, naked girl that he slept with earlier, again;
    • Skyfall: A terrorist balancing a shot glass of whiskey on his mistress's head then shooting her to knock it off. Later, he pulls his prosthetic jaw from his mouth to show the damage inflicted by the failure of a Suicide Pill.
    • Spectre: Franz Oberhauser/Blofeld subjecting Bond to Cold-Blooded Torture, and holding the Bond Girl hostage. This is done to spite 007 for being favored more by his foster father. SPECTRE dabbles in human slavery, terrorism, counterfeit drugs and regime change, to the point that Mr. White called it quits, aside from nauseating Bond a bit.
  • Some clueless parents are taking their kids to see Joker (2019), unaware that it is rated R. Alamo Drafthouse had to issue a PSA to said parents about not taking their kids to see it, as it is not kid friendly at all.
  • At least one Family Home Entertainment release, Journey into the Beyond, has explicit blood and violence. Worth mentioning because the distributor is clearly Family Home Entertainment, and not its adult-oriented sister companies U.S.A. Home Video (later International Video Entertainment, Live Home Video, and Artisan Home Video), Monterey Home Video, Thriller Video, Magnum Entertainment, Tenth Avenue Video, Wizard Video, or Caballero Control Corporation Home Video. And just so parents get the message, it clearly states on the front that it's not for anyone under the age of 18.
  • Jurassic Park and its sequels. "This dinosaur movie is so cool, look there's a T. rex and... HE'S EATING PEOPLE! MOMMY! I'M SCAAAARREEED!" Nonetheless, it was still pretty heavily marketed towards kids, with plenty of toys, coloring books, video games, etc. for kids. It was a funny sort of defictionalization of the Jurassic Park merchandise from the park.
  • Keanu got this reaction from some people, mainly since the film's advertisements and posters makes it appear that the film is all about a group of gangsters trying to rescue a cute kitten. However, just because it features a Cute Kitten doesn't mean it's appropriate for children. It's rated R for a reason.
  • The movie poster for Kids had teens in bright four-color filters laughing, smiling, and otherwise posing in a way that suggested nothing more dangerous than any other movie for late preteens from The '90s. Never Trust a Trailer, indeed. This was probably intentional - the movie really was for late preteens, because Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped and its anvil falls distinctly into that group. And the MPAA was all set to give Kids an NC-17 rating, but Miramax (already part of Disney) decided to release the film unrated instead.
  • Some parents mistakenly thought Kingsman: The Secret Service was just another silly spy movie along the lines of Agent Cody Banks. There was also a cute little pug in the trailers. Cue shocks of horror when they hear all the cluster F-bombs and witness the Tarantino-level violence. Let's just hope they left right before the characters went to church... Again, folks, rated R for a reason.
  • Love Actually seems like a nice little family Christmas movie that could be fun to take the kids to, and even gets frequently aired on ABC Family. But then there's the subplot with two stand-ins for a sex scene in a movie (complete with nudity) and an implied five-some with four American girls and one British guy. And the F-words. And several restrained but emotionally intense scenes about a superficially happily-married father of elementary-school aged children whose wife finds he's having an affair with another woman. Just the thing for Christmas with the kids! To make matters worse, it's rated "for all ages" in Spain and the Netherlands!
    • To be fair, if the subplot with the movie stand-ins was removed, the movie would be a lot tamer. The five-some is only shown briefly in silhouette, the cursing isn't anything kids haven't heard before by middle school, and the emotional part of the affair subplot would likely go over kids' heads.

  • Marley & Me:
    • The trailers and ads were trying to present it as a family comedy about a dog and his mischievous antics. But really the movie was actually focused more on the (not-so-comedic) lives of the people and in the end the dog grows old and is put down. Of course, some people just will not listen. A grandmother was informed upwards of 4 times that this movie isn't for kids. She took three kids (aged eight, ten, and thirteen) to see it — and came out very dissatisfied.
    • It is worth noting that there are easy reader books for kids.
    • The original book ran into the same problem. Author John Grogan eventually had to release a more kid-friendly version, eliminating the sexual content and moments of marital strife, even though Marley's death remained part of the story.
    • It doesn't help that they later released a straight to video prequel called Marley & Me: The Puppy Years where Marley is an adorable talking puppy with adorable talking puppy friends. Any kid who sees that and decides they want to see the original is in for a hard lesson about how Hollywood works.
  • Mean Creek, despite the young cast, it's clearly not intended for a young audience in mind as is obvious by the R-rating, frequent profanity and in general family-unfriendly behavior. Despite all this, reports are that it managed to get shown in quite a few high school and even religion classes.
  • Meet the Feebles It's a puppet movie not dissimilar to The Muppets, it must be for kids, right? Nope, it has a song sung about sodomy during a shooting rampage, among other things.
  • Me, Myself & Irene: Jim Carrey being goofy means it's for kids, right? After all, the trailer didn't show anything inappropriate or foul language so it doesn't matter that the movie is rated R...
  • Hey, A Million Ways to Die in the West is a comedy about cowboys! All little boys love westerns, right? Well, if you weren't tipped off by the fact that it's made by the same team behind the aforementioned Ted (and stars Seth MacFarlane, who, despite working on kids' cartoonsnote  early in his career, has made bank with more adult-oriented animation, like Family Guy and American Dad!), be prepared for the constant sex jokes, prostitutes, bodily fluids, sheep penis close-ups, Toilet Humor galore, cartoonishly violent deaths, and drunkenness.
  • The Japanese 1957 classic film, The Military Policeman and the Dismembered Beauty, whose graphic murder scene was definitely not for children, surely shouldn't fall into this trap. Mother series creator Shigesato Itoi, however, was some accidental exception for the scene that he saw as a little boy (as he thought he was seeing a rape scene at the time), and that scene, along with the actress in it, would later inspire the last battle scene with Giygas in EarthBound.
  • MouseHunt contains a cute little mouse and plays out like a live-action Tom and Jerry cartoon, but there are some curse words, a person who dies from choking on a bug, another whose corpse is thrown into the sewer, sexual references, and A LOT of black comedy. What makes this worse is that The Hub (now Discovery Family), a family channel, aired this movie! And even better is the reviews on the VHS box that say it's " for the whole family".
  • Believe it or not, Night of the Living Dead (1968) qualified when it was first released. Thanks to 3D and other movie gimmicks like those created by William Castle, B-movies were popular among children in the '50s and '60s. So, naturally, kids went to see this flick expecting fun-house thrills and instead saw the undead messily devouring human flesh (for starters). Roger Ebert's first review described children watching the movie, silently crying in genuine fear. Ebert stressed that parents really shouldn't allow their kids to go see a movie called NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
  • Okja: It's a movie about a young girl going on an adventure to find and rescue her animal best friend Okja. Sounds like a kids' movie, until you see the very graphic scenes of animal slaughter.
  • Once Upon a Girl is animated in the style of the family-friendly Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but it is absolutely not appropriate for children in any way. It is a collection of fairy tale parodies in which each segment ends with the characters having sex, with plenty of nudity and foul language scattered throughout.
  • The Passion of the Christ
    • It's about Jesus and it's from The Bible and religious things are definitely family-friendly, so that makes it okay, right? Leaving aside that anyone who has read the Bible should recognize a difference between the real thing and "Bible Stories for Children", some parents still ignored the R rating (or intentionally defied the R rating) and took their tykes to theaters for this one. And it made Stephen King feel ashamed. Gorn to the point of squick not withstanding. Hopefully, they learned their lesson and didn't make the same mistake when Apocalypto came out. Note that Mel Gibson himself recommended the film for people over 13 and Jim Caviezel (who played Christ in the film) warned that parents should consider the R-rating before letting their children watch it.
    • In Italy, it was basically rated G(!)note . The only notable controversies regarding the film there were from liberal Catholic organizations that thought it was at odds with Vatican II's promise not to paint the Jewish people as responsible for Jesus' death.
    • When The Daily Show covered the hype and controversy about the movie, this was spoofed with a shell-shocked correspondent admitting he had taken his little son to see it, not knowing how violent it was, and unable to explain to his child why Jesus was being treated so badly beyond "Because he loves everybody?" The reasoning from parents who took their kids was that it didn't matter how violent it was, precisely because it's about Jesus and they needed to understand what Jesus went through on their behalf. Many parents took their kids to see it multiple times. One can only imagine what the kids thought...
    • A sixth-grade teacher got in hot water for showing excerpts of the film to his students, without getting permission from any parents or even the principal. They found out anyway, and he was suspended. To add a bit of irony to the situation, he supposedly showed it to teach a lesson in morality, though the copy he used was a bootleg.
  • Pixels is a film featuring a supporting cast of popular video game characters, so it must be family-friendly a la Wreck-It Ralph, right? Nope, it earns the PG-13 rating that it deserves. There's a fair amount of profanity, women wearing all too revealing clothing, two characters making out, and one character using chloroform to kidnap another.
  • Poltergeist, another movie famously tied to Steven Spielberg, is hardly appropriate for kids. Still, slapping the creator of other '80s supernatural flicks such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is just asking for trouble.
  • Rambo inspired an animated series with a related toyline. The first movie is a kind of depressing action-drama with a Shell-Shocked Veteran fighting ignorant people who reject him, and the sequel (primary influence on the cartoon) goes into full "action movie where a One-Man Army slaughters dozens". Plus, the cartoon inspired in Brazil a song by a popular kids TV host (which on the video plays with the latest Rambo movie to show how that's a huge misfire of an inspiration).
  • Revenge Of The Red Baron is a comedic horror movie about an evil toy who hunts down a family. Despite its cornball humor, there's quite a few violent scenes and is rated PG-13. So, having a DVD cover like this is really misleading.
  • R.I.P.D. left children shaking in fear outside of the theater. Hell, it scared quite a few grown-ups due to having "soul-killing bullets" - that's right, bullets that kill you forever - as a major plot point. This wasn't bad parenting - their parents supposedly took them to the film just because it was based off a comic book. Even worse is that it was advertised on channels aimed at kids like Cartoon Network when it came out.
  • RoboCop (1987) was a movie filled with over-the-top-violence about a grim future, dominated by corporations. The sequel retained the R rating (although the original script by Frank Miller was far more bloody, explicit, and adult than the real movie, and the Executive Meddling made him disenchanted with Hollywood)... but then they decided to follow it with a Lighter and Softer RoboCop 3 and Robo Cop The Animated Series, clearly trying to aim the franchise at children.
  • Rosita is one of Mary Pickford's less kid-friendly silent films. She discards her usual childish roles to play a Spicy Latina Spaniard who is forced by a lecherous king to be his mistress.

  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Due to the flashy visuals, toilet humor, and videogame references, IMDb users passed it off as a "kiddie" movie. Need we remind you that this is a movie that has sexual references (although mild), Scott accidentally saying that he wants to give Knives a golden shower, Scott being impaled by the seventh ex (yes, he comes back with a 1-Up, and there's no blood, but still!), and one of the exes dying from having an orgasm. This film actually was not as successful as hoped since it was too "adult" for children and too "kiddie" for most adults.note 
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: It's a film about a man who daydreams to help him get out of his everyday problems, so it must be for kids, right? Wrong! It contains some swearing, drinking, sex jokes, a building catching on fire, and the main character going to Afghanistan and getting arrested for it. The film wound up with a PG rating, and little kids still saw it despite the scenes mentioned.
  • A little-known comedy called Shakes the Clown starring comedians Bobcat Goldthwait and Julie Brown was commonly rented by moms who later returned to the video store with the video and a good mad expression on. Despite the R-rating, and Julie Brown being on the cover lying on her stomach in a way that allows you to look directly down her cleavage, many thought this was kiddie fare, being technically a movie about clowns. (You'd think the cleavage on the cover would clue them in).
  • Jonah Hill's The Sitter, seems like a modern day version of Adventures in Babysittingnote , right? WRONG!
  • Three Men and a Baby is a wacky '80s classic about three bachelors who find a baby at their doorstep. It's about a baby so it has to be squeaky clean, right? Not exactly. It has quite a lot of sexual references and drug-related plots that might not be suitable for younger viewers, yet is commonly seen as a family film nevertheless.
  • Someone on the Malaysian censorship board decided to grant Snakes on a Plane the U Rating (Universal rating, meaning that it is suitable for everyone, even babies), apparently because the title of the movie sounds like it's a clean family comedy outing. It was eventually reclassified as an 18+ movie, but not before a horde of angry parents wrote in to the local press complaining. The Censor? He's most likely out of a job.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Oh look, another adaptation of a fairy tale Disney made by the producer of Alice in Wonderland (2010)! First of all, this movie was not made by Disney, and second, it's PG-13, due to some violence. There's also some mild Incest Subtext that could make parents (or really anyone) squirm.
  • Spaceballs has a PG rating on the DVD cover and was shown on the Disney Channel for a while, despite the sex references ("That was my virgin alarm! It's programmed to go off before YOU DO!"), constant bad language ("I knew it, I'm surrounded by assholes!"; "We ain't found shit!") and occasional fantastically racist remarks ("Funny! She doesn't look Druish [Jewish]!").
  • Stardust is a modern fairy tale full of adventure, wonder, magic, murder, treason, and sexual innuendos. Not to mention that plot and cultural references would be definitely over the head of an average 12-year-old.
  • The Straight Story is a G-Rated Disney flick directed by David Lynch. But it's still not for kids, many of whom would be bored to tears. As a story of a sick old man, traveling hundreds of miles on his lawnmower to reconcile with his estranged brother, it's been described as a David Lynch film one could take one's parents to.
  • Suicide Squad (2016) ended up winning the 2017 Kids Choice Awards for best soundtrack. Said soundtrack containing quite a bit of profanity.
  • Tank Girl. Has a scene implying that the title character had sex with a mutated kangaroo, one in which a little girl is dropped into a pipe to slowly drown, and some horror in which the Big Bad drains the water out of one of his mooks and drinks it. Of course, nobody who is remotely familiar with the source material would have imagined that the film would be family-friendly.
  • Ted:
    • It seems like a family movie about a teddy bear and a man who have lived together for 20 years by the nice man who brought us Family Guy (which isn't family-friendly either, despite idiot viewers who think so and Moral Guardians saying it should be), doesn't it? No! It's rated R and it shows! To make sure people know, Universal made a standee for the film that featured the eponymous bear holding up the R rating and what it's rated R for.
    • To give you a hint as to why the movie deserves an "R"-rating, the eponymous teddy bear's personality is perverted and addicted to drugs, and lewd. Since it was rated R, numerous gross-out and adult gags were toned down for TV and advertising. For example, one overused clip has Ted showing off to a co-worker, only to weird her out when he starts humping a barcode scanner. In the actual movie? He goes from humping to fellating a chocolate bar. The gross out reaction his colleague gives? She is disgusted when he uses soap dispensers to simulate being ejaculated on.
    • It was rated 16 in Brazil... and yet a deputy who brought his 11-year-old son to watch it was outraged and decided to ask the Ministry of Justice to ban it on the grounds that it was morally offensive. The Internet didn't take this stupidity lightly, and he changed his plea to upping the rating to 18. The results: the Ministry deferred his request, and the movie topped the box office.
  • Although most DVD artwork for the film Threads makes it clear it's dark, don't be fooled by the fact that it has a PG rating in America. It's not a light documentary. IT'S. NOT. FOR. KIDS.
  • If all you saw of the film was a picture of Sam, you'd be forgiven for thinking Trick 'r Treat was a fun, mildly spooky Halloween movie suited for kids.
  • There have been many reports of families taking their kids to see Us, simply because they were mislead by the fact that it was about a family taking a summer vacation. It's actually about evil clones of the family that haunt where they are staying who try to kill them.
  • Wiener Dog: It's a movie about a cute little dachshund... written and directed by the same guy who made Welcome to the Dollhouse, and intended as a direct spinoff. Quite a lot of dog-lovers were shocked, along with parents who ignored the film's R-rating, thereby exposing their little darlings to images of animal abuse, neglect, drug use and terrorism.
  • Kevin Kline once said that he did Wild Wild West so his then eight-year-old son and then four-year-old daughter could see him in a movie. However, the film is an adaptation of The Wild Wild West, which was well known for causing controversy when it aired due to it being very violent.
  • In the UK, a number of parents apparently took young children to see The Woman in Black because it starred Daniel Radcliffe and it was rated 12A (albeit edited to tone down the horrific imagerynote ), so it couldn't be that bad. The resulting protests over the film's terrifying nature and Downer Ending led the BBFC to change its rules about horror to pay more attention to a film's mood and plot, as opposed to simply going by the level of graphic violence and gore.

    Series, Genres & Misc 
  • In his book The Best Old Movies for Families, critic Ty Burr complains that many other PG-13 rated films are regarded as family fare thanks to intentional Misaimed Marketing, which means parents will happily take toddlers to films like Van Helsing without a second thought.
    • In addition, PG-13 has been the subject of ratings creep over the years, with greater amounts of sexual content and violence in PG-13 films of the 2010s compared to PG-13 films of the 1990s.
  • Canada has the PG rating for most provinces, and although most films released with the rating are generally okay for older kids (nearly every Marvel movie gets it, as does every Pirates of the Caribbean movie), some cause confusion for American viewers due to different ratings standards (who will notice the PG logo on the back of most DVD covers). According to IMDB Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, of all films, was rated PG in Canada.
    • It's not uncommon to see Canadian 14A and PG video ratings applied to films that would have received R ratings in the US. Sexual content and violence needs to be pretty extreme to trigger the 18A rating these days.
  • Parents, just because a film is a musical doesn't mean that it's kid-friendly. Repo! The Genetic Opera, Chicago, Moulin Rouge!, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Les Misérables come to mind. Musicals, yes they are. Kid friendly, far from it:
    • Granted, for Sweeney Todd, some parents may remember the much less gory stage version. Most performances keep the child molestation, rape, suicide and cannibalism puns—while they aren't graphically shown, it can still be unsettling to hear it described.
    • Almost all adaptations of Les Misérables. Parents should notice the story includes prostitution, extreme poverty, massacres, kids killed off, teens killed off, suicide, and other not-for-children things.
    • Chicago is no less troublesome for those seeking family-friendly entertainment. After all, it takes place in Prohibition-era Chicago, home of gangsters, flappers, illegal booze, and murder. Several numbers take place in a murderer's prison, and there's cursing in some of the lyrics. This doesn't deter some middle schools from performing it.
    • There are many little kids who are fans of Rocky Horror, but there is a ton of sex and several scary scenes, including two scenes involving four deaths, but it's not as bad as most R rated movies nowadays. Its sequel, Shock Treatment, although it is rated PG, contains more cursing and suggestive language than in Rocky Horror.
    • Speaking of musicals, take the 2000 adaptation of Love's Labour's Lost. It may be a silly 1930's-esque musical about 3 men and a king trying to not be with women, but the rule of "No Women" is soon broken, and due to this, some sexual jokes are in the movie, including one sexy musical number with people in masks. Plus, the ending has very disturbing images of World War 2, including burning buildings and concentration camps. Despite this, it got a PG rating in America and a U rating in the UK.
    • The Producers. Yeah, the protagonists have also voiced Timon and Simba,note  and it's a wacky musical that also co-stars Will Ferrell. Hell, it's even rated PG-13 in most countries, and was even "suitable for all ages" in Iceland, Norway, Malaysia, and Finland. Did we mention it contains innumerable amounts of sexual innuendos, several implied f-bombs, plenty of bad language, Nazi and WWII humor, and almost every gay stereotype under the sun.
  • Little Shop of Horrors is a bunch of fun! Your kids will love the songs, and in the end Seymour and Audrey have a happy ending, right? They're sure to love the Depraved Dentist, the protagonist chopping a dead man up and feeding him to a laughing plant, watching a man get chomped and swallowed whole by a plant and the female lead almost getting swallowed herself! And that's the lighter and happier ending, as opposed to the stage version, wherein everybody dies.
  • A lot of old classic cinema films get mistaken for this perhaps unintentionally to introduce children to the most popular cinema that existed from an early age. A lot of people just can't seem to understand that while The Hays Code made films more "wholesome," it did not always make them more soothing for kids. Indeed, the Code was less stringent with horror films than with any other genre. The aforementioned Best Old Movies for Families book directly addresses this, and except for Hello, Dolly!, the films below are described in detail so parents know what they're really about going in so they'll know if they want their kids to tackle it now or later.
    • It's a Wonderful Life, as inspirational as it is as a holiday film, still has a man trying to kill himself.
    • West Side Story, featuring a good ol' gang stabbin', attempted gang rape, and the blatant racism of the cops and the Jets.
    • Hello, Dolly!: The fact that it got a G-rating in America makes this example even worse.
    • King Kong (1933). The effects might have aged, but the dinosaurs and giant ape are still scary as hell.
    • The Red Shoes (1948). It's based on a fairy tale! And ballet! High culture! Never mind the ballet-within-a-film is avant-garde expressionist horror where (just like the story) the heroine dances herself to death in the red shoes, and that's before the real-world framing story ends with the heroine, torn between her love for her husband and her love for ballet, who commits suicide by leaping off a balcony in front of a train.
    • Granted, people almost never claim it's a film for children. But a good number of fans of classic comedy and/or Marilyn Monroe seem to like her famous film The Seven Year Itch because it's supposedly "innocent" and "charming" - not crude like romantic comedies are today. You have to wonder if such people have actually watched the movie. Never mind the skirt scene: The Seven Year Itch features jokes and innuendos about adultery, rape, murder, suicide, spousal abuse, lung cancer, and senseless book-burning - and all of this in the mid-1950s, no less! The Seven Year Itch isn't innocent; it's seemingly innocent, which arguably makes it even edgier than the modern comedies to which it's compared.
  • Hairspray (and its 2007 remake) is somewhat family friendly with its pro-acceptance message, which has led people to pick up other John Waters films thinking they were similar. This has led to Waters getting massive amounts of hate mail despite his reputation as "The Sultan of Sleaze." In one case, a woman made the news when she called 911 after putting on Pink Flamingos for her kids.
  • "Family" geared channels such as Showtime Fam Zone and Starz Kids tend to show anything under the R rating even if they're not really family friendly. Thus we get more risque PG and PG-13 movies like Look Who's Talking or Three Men and a Baby alongside more "kid-friendly" material.
  • There have been numerous examples of family-friendly TV series being adapted as raunchier and/or more violent PG-13 and R-rated films. Recent examples include The A-Team, CHiPs, Baywatch (the original series might have featured sexy actors in swimwear, but it was still considered a family show), and definitely the movies based upon The Dukes of Hazzard which even led original TV cast members to complain. In December 2017, it was announced that Quentin Tarantino was planning to direct an R-rated Star Trek film, so that may be added to the list in the future.
  • Due to their educational nature, documentaries don't follow the same ratings criteria as fictional films. A documentary can be given a "TV-14" rating despite featuring graphic photos and footage of dead bodies. This is especially common in war documentaries or nature documentaries. Similarly, it leads to nudity and sexual situations in "PG" or "TV-PG" documentaries (hence the National Geographic Nudity trope).

    In-Universe Examples 

Alternative Title(s): Film


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