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This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

Unrated | | Documentary | 1 September 2006 (UK)
2:03 | Trailer

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Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.


Kirby Dick
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kimberly Peirce ... Herself - Director of 'Boys Don't Cry'
Jon Lewis Jon Lewis ... Himself - Author of 'Hollywood v. Hardcore'
David Ansen ... Himself - Film Critic at 'Newsweek'
Martin Garbus Martin Garbus ... Himself - First Amendment Attorney and Filmmakers Representative at Appeals
Wayne Kramer ... Himself - Director of 'The Cooler'
Paul Dergarabedian Paul Dergarabedian ... Himself - Box Office Analyst
Kevin Smith ... Himself - Director of 'Clerks' and 'Jersey Girl'
John Waters ... Himself - Director of 'A Dirty Shame'
Matt Stone ... Himself - Producer of 'South Park' and 'Team America'
Richard Heffner Richard Heffner ... Himself - Former Rating Board Chairman
Bingham Ray ... Himself - Co-Founder of October Films
Joel Federman Joel Federman ... Himself - Author of 'Media Ratings'
Kirby Dick ... Himself - Filmmaker and Interviewer
Jay Rosenzweig ... Himself - Private Investigator (as Jay)
Paul Huebl Paul Huebl ... Himself - Private Investigator (as Paul)


In a rare and refreshing reversal of roles, filmmakers put the powerful Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA for short) under the microscope for inspection in Academy Award-nominated director Kirby Dick's incisive look at stateside cinema's most notorious non-censoring censors. Compelled by the staggering amount of power that the MPAA ratings board wields, the filmmaker seeks out the true identities of the anonymous elite who control what films make it to the multiplex. He even goes so far as to hire a private investigator to stake out MPAA headquarters and expose Hollywood's best-kept secret. Along the way, Dick speaks with numerous filmmakers whose careers have been affected by the seemingly random and sexual-content obsessed judgments of the MPAA, including John Waters, Mary Harron, Darren Aronofsky, Kevin Smith, Matt Stone, and Atom Egoyan. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


censorship, uncensored.




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

1 September 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

This Film Is Not Yet Rated See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,664, 3 September 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The MPAA announced that starting in March of 2007, it will change their policy and allow filmmakers to cite other film's ratings as comparison. The MPAA will also provide information about the demographics of its board. See more »


Joan Graves: We don't give out that information.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers wish to thank "everyone at the IFC Center," "all the filmmakers with the balls to be in this film". See more »


Features The Cooler (2003) See more »


Hand In Hand
Written and Performed by Chris Ballew
Courtesy of Talent House
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User Reviews

Fast paced, sometimes zany slam of the MPAA's de facto movie censorship program
14 September 2006 | by roland-104See all my reviews

Fast paced, absorbing, at times comical exposé of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) film rating system. While it is in name a "voluntary" system, i.e., a filmmaker can choose whether to submit a film to MPAA for rating purposes, in fact the theater chains that promise wide exposure and revenues for a film they screen will rarely touch a movie that is unrated or that receives the most restrictive rating, NC-17 (no "child" 17 or younger admitted under any circumstances.) The ratings are allegedly created by a panel of "average" parents of school age children, according to long time MPAA CEO, Jack Valenti, and other officials. There are no experts, e.g., no psychologists who study the impact of media on kids' attitudes and behavior. Panel members are selected by the rating committee chair, Joan Graves. Members' identities are kept secret to "avoid pressures" on their decision making.

Among other things, director Kirby Dick discovers that (a) there are no explicit criteria or guidelines for ratings; (b) ditto for selection of raters (who, if they work full time, receive annual salaries of $30,000); (c) one recent rater was childless; the children of several others were adults; (d) raters frequently discuss films with industry representatives, arguably the most important source of "pressure" on their decisions; (e) majority votes determine the recommended rating, but these votes are not binding; (f) in case of ties (there are eight voting members, including Ms. Graves), Ms. Graves also is empowered to cast a tie-breaking judgment; and (g) there is an appeals process.

However, the appeals board is composed exclusively of representatives of the major studios, distributors and exhibition chains, and rarely do they controvert the initial rating. This is no surprise, since the MPAA is entirely financed by the six largest studios (responsible for 90% of the films released domestically) and their conglomerate corporate media owners (who control 95% of all media outlets in the U.S.) Details of all rating board and appeal decisions are kept secret. To create the illusion of transparency, two clergymen, representing Roman Catholics and Protestants, always sit in as observers at appeals hearings. But they too are required not to disclose information on the appeal decision process.

Compared to a number of other rating systems that exist in various countries worldwide, the MPAA approach is by far the most secretive, and contrary to every other system, it is far more restrictive of sexual content than violence. Kirby Dick also cites examples that strongly suggest greater bias (i.e., greater likelihood of getting an NC-17 rating) against films depicting gay/lesbian sex scenes than those with heterosexual scenes.

Dick mixes illustrative film clips, talking heads, historical notes on the evolution of ratings, a rundown on what appear to be the implicit criteria for ratings; a stalking investigation to discover the identities of raters and appeal board members; and his personal experience in submitting an earlier cut of this film to MPAA for a rating (it got an NC-17 for sexually explicit content). Atom Egoyan, Kimberly Peirce, Kevin Smith and John Waters are among independent filmmakers interviewed by Dick. Ms. Peirce raises the interesting notion that MPAA ratings may also be more biased against films with scenes connoting female sexual pleasure than films showing male pleasure.

Dick generally maintains a tone of wry humor, especially in showing us his day-by-day use of private investigators to track down and identify raters. There's almost a Keystone Cops flavor to the stalking antics of the women PIs he has hired, with Dick along for the ride. His re-creation of phone conversations with Joan Graves and the MPAA Chief Counsel, when he protests the rating of his own film, are also as funny as they are biased. (He uses animation to visually depict these officials as mean spirited grumps in split screen scenes that simultaneously show real time footage of Dick himself at his end of these conversations.) Dick is less successful in his review of information suggesting the implicit or inferable criteria raters use, based on film content and actual ratings. He zips through too much information too fast for anybody to absorb. Still, this is a bravura piece of advocacy journalism. The film gives us ample information to conclude that the MPAA system of corporate control of ratings, when combined with control of film distribution and screening based on these ratings, effectively results in a clever censorship arrangement that would certainly violate First Amendment rights were it not for the illusion of "voluntariness" that is perhaps the most ingenious aspect of this system.

Anybody is free to make a film about anything, of course. But whether it will be screened, or even advertised, let alone able to return revenues sufficient to defray the costs of production, is a very carefully controlled process. And what is the point of making a film that will not be seen? As in political campaigning, free speech is hardly free. Those with the most corporate clout rule both the campaigning and movie making businesses. What's worse, in our characteristic American manner, we shrink puritanically from sex on screen but remain inured to the effects of violence. My grade: 7.5/10 (low B+) (Seen on 09/10/06)

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