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Deleted Scenes That Probably Would've Made These Movies R-Rated

A movie's rating can help audiences decide if that particular film is right for them and their families. Those with children will typically use them to pick a film for their kids to enjoy, whether it's a G or PG-rated affair for the younger ones, or a PG-13 movie for the slightly older set. To arrive at these ratings, the Motion Picture Association — or MPA — looks at the movie's content and considers a variety of factors, including levels of violence, swearing, sexual situations, and even a movie's mood and tone.

It's not uncommon for a studio hoping to make a family-friendly movie to discover that when they've completed the film, the MPA slaps it with an R rating. In such cases, they'll be told exactly why it got that label. It might be because of one-too-many swear words, a scene that's a bit more suggestive than they had intended, the use of alcohol or drugs, or even a violent moment that crossed the line of good taste. When this happens, the studio will usually cut out those scenes, trim them down, or even use VFX to cover up small offenses.

Since the advent of the rating system, this has happened many times, even on some of the most famous movies intended for kids and families — in fact, many of them might really surprise you. So grab your popcorn, because we're exploring deleted scenes that would've probably (or definitely, in many of the following cases) made movies R rated.

Can't Hardly Wait

The '90s teen classic "Can't Hardly Wait" saw Seth Green playing a rowdy high schooler alongside Ethan Embry, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Charlie Korsmo, and Lauren Ambrose. Set at a wild post-graduation party, it follows a group of teens as they look for love, sex, and revenge. With some edgy late-90s comedy and a PG-13 rating, it's something less than a sex comedy but not quite family friendly. But it was almost rated R, and there was plenty left on the cutting room floor after the studio made the last minute decision to help it get a wider audience.

"There was like 40 minutes of that movie that was cut out," Green told Vulture in 2015. "The movie was originally an R-rated movie. Sony, in the midst of putting it out — it was at the very beginning of the reemergence of the teen comedy — was scared. [...] Everyone was really kind of concerned about what it was going to be." According to the actor, CGI was used to delete a beer bong in a scene, while a sequence involving brownies laced with marijuana had to be removed.

Some deleted scenes may even help explain other odd moments in the PG-13 version of the movie. "[Jason] Segel's got a watermelon that he's filled with vodka and kept in his freezer for all of senior year, and then he brings it out to celebrate," Green revealed. "Everybody goes for it, and it shatters on the ground. So that's why he's eating watermelon for the rest of the movie."

Scooby Doo

It's one thing when an R-rated sex comedy is cut down to get a softer rating like "Can't Hardly Wait." It's much more rare, though, for a film that's designed to be a family comedy — one based on an iconic children's cartoon, no less — to contain an R-rated moment that can't be put in the film. According to star Sarah Michelle Gellar and the movie's writer ("Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn), that's exactly what happened on the 2002 live-action adaptation of "Scooby Doo."

According to Gunn, the movie was originally slapped with an R rating, and plenty of changes had to be made. A kissing scene was deleted that saw a soul-swapped Daphne and Velma locking lips. "There was an actual kiss between Daphne and Velma that got cut," Gellar said when she appeared on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." I feel like the world wants to see it. I don't know where it is." But that's not all — as Gellar tells it, there was also a scene removed that raised questions over Fred's sexuality. "There's always been an implication about Fred being interested in both parties," Gellar explained. "It all got cut."

Dumb and Dumber

When Jim Carrey came to fame in the mid-90s it was for a string of vulgar comedies that included "The Mask" and "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." Though they were all rated PG-13, they pushed the envelope as far as they could with jokes that stretched the boundaries of good taste. In the 1994 Farrelly brothers classic "Dumb and Dumber," one scene pushed the movie's inappropriateness levels way over the edge. Watching it back now, it's pretty easy to understand why it was deleted.

The moment comes at a truck stop when Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey) stop to refuel their vehicle and stretch their legs. Lloyd goes to use the men's room and spots a little bit of graffiti scrawled on the stall about some "manly love" at 2:15 AM. Noticing it's exactly 2:15 at that moment, Lloyd turns around to find a burly trucker entering the men's room. Breaking down the stall door, it turns out to be Sea Bass (Cam Neely) saying he's going to rape and kill him right there in the toilet. The rest of the film may have been full of gross-out gags and over-the-top vulgarity, but this threat of sexual assault and murder obviously went way over the line and would have no doubt pushed the picture into R territory.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Jaws

Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" is often classed as a horror movie for its spine-tingling scares and bone-chilling moments that had audiences jumping out of their seats in terror. It's a story about a bloodthirsty shark menacing a coastal community, so it might surprise younger audiences who may not have seen it to learn that the film is actually rated PG and contains very little actual bloodshed. Most of the deaths are off-screen, and even the shark itself isn't seen clearly very often. In many ways, it's that lack of gore that contributes to the film's scare factor, but if the movie had been released as originally intended, it would have included at least one graphic moment that would have likely warranted an R rating.

In the movie, Chief Brody's (Roy Scheider) son Michael and his friends are out sailing when their boat is overturned by the shark. Coming to their aid is a man in a paddleboat, but in what would have been the most jaw-dropping moment in the movie, the shark emerges out of nowhere and devours the man, dragging him under as he clings to a screaming child. "It was just so violent, so horrendous, that they couldn't use it," said actor Ted Grossman, who played the victim in the scene. In the same behind-the-scenes featurette, Spielberg said that it was "too bloody" and that the scene was "in bad taste."

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

There are a few DC heroes that you can easily imagine in an R-rated feature, and Batman is among them. He's a gritty character who operates in a dreary city fighting underworld criminals, but his movies have nevertheless always been in the PG-13 range. When director Zack Snyder paired the Dark Knight with the Man of Steel in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," he went darker than ever before. If Snyder had gotten his way, "Batman v Superman" would have been even more adult orientated.

The director has talked about extended versions of certain scenes in the movie that would have earned it an R rating. Speaking to Collider, he revealed that there were some violent moments "that we kind of trimmed out a little bit for the MPAA." This includes longer versions of the famous warehouse fight scene and the opening in North Africa. "The opening of the movie, the North African sequence, is really much different."

These deleted moments weren't seen in theaters, but they did show up in the Ultimate Cut of the film, which was released on Blu-ray and DVD. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, star Ben Affleck said he was all for the more violent version being made available. "Why not have an R-rated version that you release for download or on DVD later?" he said. "I think that's smart."

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

It's rare that the "Star Trek" franchise goes too far with its content, but in the second big screen outing, the creators almost went overboard with a scene that would have probably gotten them an R rating. The film that remains the most beloved in the franchise, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" saw Ricardo Montalban's genetically augmented super tyrant return from exile and seek revenge on Captain Kirk. There was an entire character removed from a key subplot that involved Khan's quest for vengeance — the villain's child.

The toddler was originally supposed to pop up at the climax of the film when Khan detonates the Genesis Device in a last ditch effort to kill Kirk. In a deleted scene, the device sucks the kid into its vortex before destroying the entire ship. Though the full scene has never surfaced, images from the sequence were published in StarBlazer magazine in 1982. With the horrific death of an infant at the center of this major scene, it's not hard to see why it was cut.

Black Adam

2022's "Black Adam" was supposed to change the hierarchy of power in the DC Extended Universe with the arrival of Dwayne Johnson as a menacing anti-hero. Instead, "Black Adam" bombed at the box office and James Gunn's DC reboot was announced soon after. Gunn's DC Universe may be a bit edgy (the filmmaker is known for twisted, violent stories), but it probably won't contain a lot of R-rated films, which is exactly what "Black Adam" almost was.

According to producer Hiram Garcia, "Black Adam" was originally rated R and some scenes had to be axed in order to get the desired PG-13 rating. "We really wanted to make sure that we honored the character of Black Adam," Garcia told Collider. "One of the things he's known for is his aggression and violence, and to do a Black Adam movie that didn't have that just wouldn't have been authentic. So we always went into this knowing that we were going to push it as far as we did."

The only deleted scene that has come to light so far was discussed by VFX artists Nikos Kalaitzidis and Greg Teegarden in an interview with Befores & Afters. They described a moment where Black Adam violently tears an arm from a mercenary soldier and it spasms after hitting the ground. "You can't have a disembodied hand laying on the ground and the finger just all of a sudden twitching," Teegarden said, revealing that this was one of the scenes that had to be cut to achieve a PG-13 rating.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is famous for being one of the films that prompted the creation of the PG-13 rating (the other being "Gremlins"), as parents were outraged at some of the violence in the PG-rated flick during test screenings. It sees the whip-wielding relic hunter in India and facing off against a demonic cult that engages in human sacrifice. The most infamous scene involves the cult's leader tearing the still-beating heart out of a man's chest and holding it aloft.

The final cut was pretty violent, but it was almost even worse — a number of scenes were removed from the film, presumably so it could avoid an R rating. There was one in which a Thuggee torturer is seen brutalizing a group of slave children before he himself is burned by lava in grisly fashion. Reporting on the uproar surrounding the film, The New York Times revealed that censors in the United Kingdom were horrified that "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" had managed to get a PG rating in the States.

"The British Board of Film Censors has already sent a letter to Paramount detailing numerous changes that must be made if the movie is to receive a similar PG rating in Britain," said the newspaper. "James Ferman, secretary of the British board, said that 'Indiana Jones,” as it stands, could not even receive the more restrictive 15 rating, which prohibits children under age 15 from seeing the film. To get a 15 rating, he said, a scene depicting 'the slow burning to death of a man who is in absolute agony' must be trimmed."

Divergent

Based on a series of young adult novels, the "Divergent" films follow Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), a defiant young woman in a dark future where people are segregated based on their virtues. When she joins the Dauntless faction due to her bravery, she realizes that she is different and must keep her unique nature a secret as the world teeters on the brink of war. Squarely aimed at tweens and teens, the first movie in the franchise had to cut out some scenes that were deemed too harsh for the PG-13 rating the studio was aiming for.

Despite being directly adapted from a sequence in the book, there's a moment in "Divergent" where Edward (Ben Lamb) receives a brutal stab in the eye during the night. Though it did find its way onto the deleted scenes portion of the home video release, its removal from the actual film clearly disappointed the actor, who named it as a highlight of the film for him. "The scene that I really enjoyed the most was the eye stabbing," Lamb told Collider. "It's very gruesome."

According to director Neil Burger, the eye stabbing scene was actually removed to aid with the flow of the movie rather than help it get a PG-13 rating. Believe it or not, there were scenes that were even more violent than this, and these are the ones that pushed it into R-rated territory. During the film's DVD commentary (via CinemaBlend), Burger explains that "the movie as a whole, especially in the latter section, was much more visceral and frankly, violent."

Thor: Love and Thunder

When one conjures up an image of an R-rated Marvel movie, "Thor" probably isn't the franchise that springs to mind. However, according to actor Christian Bale, who played the villainous Gorr the God Butcher in "Thor: Love and Thunder," there are actually a series of deleted scenes that would have made the fourth film in the series an R-rated affair. "With 'Thor: Love and Thunder,' [director Taika Waititi] and me, we kind of knew that some of the stuff we were doing probably wouldn't end up in the film, but we wanted to just push it and see," Bale told Inverse in 2022.

So what happened? Despite their wish to push the boundaries of what could appear in an MCU movie, both Bale and Waititi eventually agreed that the scenes they shot weren't right. "Ultimately, it is and should be a film that all the family can go and enjoy," Bale added. "And Chris Hemsworth, a couple of times he looked at me it was like, 'Dude, that's a little too far. I don't think anyone's gonna want to see that unless it's an R-rated film.'" Bale has no regrets, though. "It was a great joy to give it a shot," he said. "And we had a lot of fun in there doing certain scenes and takes on certain scene choices, even if they didn't end up in the final cut."