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Movies targeted at 18- to 24-year-old male viewers often include a fair bit of raunch - as much as the MPAA will allow, generally. Usually some of the "good stuff" ends up cut in order for the movie's theatrical release to obtain an R or even PG-13 rating.
When it's time for the DVD release, there will then be two editions: the theatrical cut with the same rating, and the Unrated Edition with additional footage. Unlike Deleted Scenes on many DVD releases, the Unrated Edition has the cut footage inserted back into the movie in its original location. And the marketing will imply, but not outright state, that this new footage is chock full of bare-breasted women and that the Unrated Edition is just shy of actual hardcore pornography.
Clearly this is never the case. First, no major studio wants the stigma of releasing a movie that's too dirty, and A- and B-list actors would likely not be interested, either. And due to the MPAA rules, any new cut of a movie technically has to be re-rated. This means that the studio could add (or even remove) one second of footage and the movie is now "unrated". The general rule is that the font size of the word "unrated" on the DVD cover is inversely proportional to the amount of "good stuff" that was added. If you can barely see the cast behind a giant "unrated" stamp, prepare to be disappointed.
Chances are the "Unrated" stamp will be used to conceal a pair of otherwise exposed breasts, to establish exactly what they are offering.
Why not just release the Unrated Edition in the theater to begin with? Most movie theaters in the United States will not show unrated films. And in many cases, the Unrated Edition still would've garnered only an R rating anyway. By implying that it's too-hot-for-R, the studio can trick consumers into paying to see the movie twice: once in the theater, and again for the extra scenes. Especially in countries like the US, where DVD rental stores are more likely to fall back on the First Amendment than theaters are. If the studio executives are feeling especially devious, they will release the Unrated Edition a month or two after the Vanilla Edition in hope of squeezing three paid viewings out of us.
In the UK DVDs have to be rated by the same body that rates films. Therefore they're just sold as extended editions ("Unseen and Explicit", "Extended and Unsanitized" and so on) instead of being unrated. They also don't generally bother to release the cinema versions on DVD. All the extra "explicit" and "unsanitised" material never actually raises the film's rating. (A film or DVD can be refused classification by the BBFC, but this 1. only happens in very, very extreme cases and 2. makes distributing it a criminal offence.) Although having a DVD touted as "rude, naughty and uncut", but then seeing a 12 or 15 rating symbol next to it makes you wonder why they even bother- if it's still a 12 or 15, then it's not that rude or naughty.
In Australia, when they don't just dump a reregioned UK release that possibly includes things cut out by the UK censors before it even arrives for rating in Australia, then they just get it called unrated. (Not that they even need to do that for Australia, as region encoding enforcement is illegal there. ) It is utterly hilarious to get unrated editions that only get an M rating (basicly, PG-13 with the age recomendation being 15).
- GoDaddy.com uses a version of this trick to draw people to the online version of its commercials in the (unfulfilled) hope of seeing some actual naughtiness. This does have the advantage of getting people to actually type and possibly even remember their web address.
- The Street Fighter II animated movie was originally released in the US in two versions: a PG-13 version that toned down most of the violence and an unrated version that kept it. Oddly enough, both versions edited Chun-Li's topless shower scene from the original Japanese cut, which was not included in any of the English releases until years later.
- Perfect Blue was edited for American theatrical release to avoid an NC-17 rating. The DVD was released uncut and unrated.
- The American Pie series. In fact, the entire reason for releasing an unrated edition (and one of the first of the DVD genre) was due to the fact that the film had leaked online as a workprint before its theatrical run. The creators apparently admitted that the release of that version was due to piracy.
- Bad Santa and Badder Santa
- Which in turn got a second unrated version in form of Bad Santa: The Director's Cut. This version is the shortest of the releases since Terry Zwigoff disowned the first two cuts and is said to be much darker. The Blu-Ray has the second and third cuts of the film.
- Wedding Crashers
- Dodgeball a True Underdog Story
- The 40 Year Old Virgin
- The Girl Next Door
- Disaster The Movie
- The Scary Movie series
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy cut a Cluster F-Bomb for the original release, because multiple uses of the F-word result in an automatic R rating. The unrated edition restores it.
- Live Free or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0 (outside of North America). Most notably McClane's catchphrase "Yippee-Ki-Yay, motherfucker" is uncensored from the PG-13 theatrical release.
- The DVD case for I Am Legend promises a "controversial," "unrated" alternative ending. This was actually the original planned ending, changed not because of content, but because test audiences absolutely hated it. For the curious, the ghouls turn out to actually be intelligent, and the main character is able to convince them to leave him alone.
- The Alien vs. Predator series (and in the case of AVP2, the Region 2 release's Extreme Combat Edition)
- Alexander had two of these... besides the Vanilla Edition, there was a Director's Cut with unseen footage, and Alexander Revisited, which was promoted as the most
Ho Yay-filled raunchyhistorically accurate version of the three.
- The "unrated" version of Seed of Chucky is a pretty bad offender--the only added Deleted Scene is less than two minutes long and isn't any more mature than the rest of the film.
- The Doom movie actually did include porn in its unrated version, assuming a not-all-that-explicit T&A sequence qualifies as porn.
- Rare inversion: the unrated version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is actually the drastically edited version. This is because most animated direct-to-video features aren't submitted to the MPAA, since it's not required for video release and since they're all assumed to be kid-friendly. Warner Bros sent out promotional copies of the movie before they decided to edit it, so certain animation sites were able to spot the differences in the retail version and report them to the public. WB eventually released the "Original Uncut Version" with a PG-13 rating to accommodate the content, which ranged from minor things such as extra punches to major things such as an alternate death scene.
- Eurotrip has some fun with this--all the pictures on the back of the unrated DVD's box contain nudity, with the word "Unrated" used as a substitute for the Censor Box.
- Road Trip is a particularly shining example of the rule about the inverse relationship of the size of the "unrated" stamp and the amount of good stuff. The entire cover except for Amy Smart's face is covered with brown paper, and the stamp is at least half the front of the box. New content consists of two seconds of one naked girl oiling another naked girl, right after five minutes of toplessness that were considered perfectly acceptable for the rated version.
- Old School: The good news is that the unrated edition contains more nudity. The bad news is that it's mostly Will Ferrell.
- Sex Drive had an interesting take on this. On the unrated DVD, the writers appeared before the film, and explained that they were forced to make the DVD, even though they had no real "unrated" content. Therefore, they simply added gratuitous shots of naked men and women at random throughout the film, as well as adding some extra takes. They then explained that if you hadn't seen the original, you should watch that version first, as that was the version that they had wanted to make.
- Adventureland had an astonishing example that bordered on false advertising. There's a stamp on the cover that says "UNRATED"... and in smaller letters beneath it, "bonus features." If you're new to DVDs: Almost all bonus features are unrated on any DVD. Needless to say, the movie on the disc was the movie shown in theaters.
- Mirrors, a horror film featuring Kiefer Sutherland, came on a DVD with both the theatrical R version, and an unrated version.
- This Film Is Not Yet Rated, a Documentary about film censorship in America, features clips of several scenes that were removed or altered to get a lower rating. Ironically, that's why This Film Is Not Yet Rated is itself unrated in America.
- In the 2005 version of The Dukes of Hazzard there is an unrated scene of the boys crashing in on topless college coeds.
- Basic Instinct was the movie that put unrated editions into the mainstream. Not only was there more violence and nudity, it was also the director's preferred version of the film.
- Wild Orchid, however, was the first to draw attention to the ability for filmmakers to issue non-MPAA versions of a film. The unrated version contains graphic sexuality during a love scene that, 20 years later, continues to raise the "did they do it for real" question.
- Inverted with Scarface, which was originally rated X for graphic violence. Brian De Palma was forced to trim several violent scenes for an R rating, but that version was never released; instead, De Palma got sneaky and released the uncut version to theatres with the R rating tacked on.
- The Blu-Ray cuts of The Inbetweeners Movie (both the Re-edited version and the Writer's cut) included camera angles and words that weren't included or dubbed over in the cinema release which was available as a standard DVD.
- Caligula has been released in a number of formats and ratings, but any version considered "unrated" will almost certainly be so for good reason and contain many explicit scenes of hardcore sex, compared to the relatively tame togas-and-boobs costume drama of the general releases.
Live Action TV
- Underbelly: the 'Uncut' edition is apparently the only version of the second series available. Given the show, it's actually kind of surprising that there was anything cut to put back in.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 mocks this in their viewing of a short called The Truck Farmer (2nd Edition).
Truck Farmer: The Special Edition! Contains scenes originally thought too graphic for audiences.
- The DVD releases of the series Las Vegas include footage deemed too sexy for broadcast.
- The video game example, Fahrenheit (2005 video game) (Fahrenheit in Europe) had a 'Director's Cut' in America, containing two (plot-irrelevant) sex scenes from the European edition.
- Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was originally rated AO by the ESRB, which stores like Target and Walmart would have refused to sell, so it was edited down to a mature rating in the US and Canada. The European edition wasn't edited and featured a disclaimer on the packaging highlighting that it was "uncut". This version was eventually released in North America as the Uncut and Uncensored version. Unsurprisingly, the main differences were full-frontal nudity and sex scenes.
- Conkers Bad Fur Day: Live and Reloaded was released for the Xbox and promised as a remastered, more extreme version of the N64 classic. The game that actually emerged, however, was even more censored than the original.
- There are, however, a few rights and distribution issues preventing direct imports, not to mention there are still some region-locked players.