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Ranking Best and Worst NC-17-Rated Films, as 'Blue is the Warmest Color' Opens (Video)

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by Anne Thompson
October 24, 2013 5:36 PM
14 Comments
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Box Office Mojo's Top Ten Grossing NC-17 Films

Rank    OR#    Title (click to view)    Studio    Lifetime Gross*    Year^
1     2677     Showgirls     MGM     $20,350,754     1995
2     3593     Henry & June     Uni.     $11,567,449     1990
3     4115     The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover     Mira.     $7,724,701     1990
4     4603     Bad Education     SPC     $5,211,842     2004
5     4733     Lust, Caution     Focus     $4,604,982     2007
6     4868     Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!     Mira.     $4,087,361     1990
7     4923     Shame     FoxS     $3,909,002     2011
8     5320     The Dreamers     FoxS     $2,532,228     2004
9     5548     Crash (1996)     FL     $2,038,450     1996
10     5579     Bad Lieutenant     Aries     $2,000,022     1992

14 Comments

  • zawminnaing | June 9, 2014 5:56 AMReply

    Fell

  • Bill | October 29, 2013 12:49 AMReply

    "miscast Carey Mulligan's renditon of "New York, New York..." - I couldn't disagree more.

  • Nomi Malone | October 25, 2013 8:08 AMReply

    Anyone who would advise people to avoid watching SHOWGIRLS clearly has absolutely no sense of humor and should in fact, just stop writing about films altogether. SHAME is a colossally overrated bore. I'd rather watch SHOWGIRLS for 24 hours than have to watch the most boring sex addict in history peeing again.

  • Brent | April 26, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    What about Requiem for a Dream? It is definitely a must see.

  • dawn | April 3, 2012 12:16 AMReply

    No, LIE? That film was amazing. But now that I think about it, it might have been released unrated.

  • Charles | October 25, 2013 12:32 PM

    My thoughts exactly. "L.I.E." was a masterpiece and should definitely be on this list, especially for the amazing performance by Brian Cox and the breakout performance by Paul Dano (five years before "Little Miss Sunshine" and "There Will Be Blood"). If I remember correctly, the film was released with an NC-17 rating but when it was released on DVD, it was simply as an "Unrated" film.

  • James | March 28, 2012 5:12 PMReply

    "Bad Liutenant" was not remade by Werner Herzog.

    The Nicolas Cage with was not a remake of the earlier film. Just like the Crash staring Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon isn't a remake of the Croneneberg film of the same name. ;p

  • Charles Cochran | March 28, 2012 11:22 AMReply

    Crash should be in the Must See section and Bad Lieutenant should be in the Your Call section.

  • Dave H. | March 28, 2012 11:43 AM

    I concur.

  • Rob | March 28, 2012 11:17 AMReply

    Crash isn't about Holly Hunter's character. She's, what, fourth lead at best?

    Bad Education played widely outside of festivals and New York, and made about $5 million at the box office, a good number for any foreign language film.

    Showgirls is essential viewing.

  • apricoco | March 28, 2012 11:10 AMReply

    You are missing a biggie in my honest opinion: Kids. I'd personally put it in the catagory of 'your call' but you can't deny that Harmony Korine made a film worth mentioning, even if it is for the lack of moral compass normally found in films. Telly as a character is highly watchable and makes your stomach turn. Plus, debut performaces of two future hollywood stars: Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson.

  • Michael Mayo | March 28, 2012 2:16 AMReply

    No "The Devils" or "Performance"?

  • The Pope | March 28, 2012 8:14 AM

    Michael,
    I see what you're asking, but the rating NC-17 didn't exist back in the late sixties/early seventies.
    I reckon they would have been given an X, right?

  • Zachary W. | March 28, 2012 12:12 AMReply

    It should be noted that "Showgirls" has developed a devoted following--and not just among cultists and camp-lovers. This is Verhoeven at his most unhinged and wildly savage; there are few American films in the last couple decades as searing in their indictment of Hollywood's "A Star is Born" mythology. Forget the ironic camp. Anybody who can't tell that this is a satire frankly isn't looking very hard.

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