Difference Between Theatrical and Unrated Versions

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    Theatrical vs Unrated Versions

    In the film industry, movies are rated so that parents are given advance knowledge and ideas of what the contents of movies or films are. It helps them decided whether the movie is appropriate for their young children. Some parents are very sensitive to what their children are watching, and that is why movie ratings are necessary. These ratings can be seen in the movie advertisements. Submissions of films to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are voluntary. With or without ratings, filmmakers can still promote their films.

    There are a lot of factors that could affect a film’s rating, such as; the language used, sexual or nudity content, or violence. These factors are the things the board is considering in choosing what rating a particular film should have. There are five ratings in total. The first one is “General Audiences” which means the film is suitable for all ages. “Parental Guidance,” this rating is for films that have some material that may be unsuitable for younger children, but it is up to the parents to decide whether they will allow their children to see the film or not. “PG-13” films are movies that are beyond the boundaries of the “PG” rating but still are not in the “Restricted” category. “Restricted” rated movies contain adult material that parents may not want their children to see. “NC-17” is a rating that prohibits children under 17 to watch the film. Some films are not submitted to the MPAA for review and, therefore, are classified as “Not Rated.” Having been categorized here does not suggest anything about its content. The mentioned ratings or categories classify the movies that we see in theaters and, therefore, they are the theatrical version of films.

    Some people confuse “Not Rated” movies to “Unrated” ones. They are two different categories. As mentioned above, “Not Rated” films are the ones that were not submitted to the MPAA for ratings. Films that the filmmakers completed are submitted to the MPAA to undergo reviews and get their ratings before they are shown in the theaters. Sometimes these movies are rated “NC-17.” In such circumstances, some filmmakers will make some changes to the film so that the MPAA will rate their film differently. Some scenes may have been altered or even deleted. They do this so that even younger possible viewers can see the film. This will give the filmmakers more opportunities to market their movie,thus selling more tickets. After the films are shown in theaters, the deleted and edited scenes are put back into the movie. This version of the film is now what we call the “Unrated” version or sometimes called the “Director’s Cut.” This edition of the movie is often sold as DVDs.

    So, basically, a movie’s “Unrated” version has content in it that was not seen in the theaters and, therefore, it is the uncensored version of that particular movie. On the other hand, the censored edition is the one we call the theatrical version.


    1.A theatrical version is the exact film the filmmakers submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and was rated and shown in theaters. “Unrated” versions are the ones they produce and contain deleted scenes that might have earned them a stricter rating if submitted to the MPAA.
    2.The theatrical version is for the general public while the “Unrated” version is for older and more mature viewers.
    3.Theatrical versions are the censored versions. The “Unrated” version or “Director’s Cut” is the uncensored one.
    4.The theatrical version has less sensitive scenes compare to an “Unrated” version.

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