As soon as word got out that “Blonde,” Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe drama starring Ana de Armas, was going to be rated NC-17, the film became an instant source of months-long controversy and fascination. Such is the effect of the NC-17 rating, which prohibits anyone under the age of 17 years old from buying a ticket.
The NC-17 rating was officially created in 1990 to replace the X rating, which distributors had long disliked since it evoked pornographic films and not simply adult-skewing dramas with explicit scenes. But even creating a rating a lower than X did nothing to stop the NC-17 from courting controversy and igniting shock from moviegoers. The rating, which is often given to films that show full frontal nudity or explicit sexual acts, has often been used as one example as to why the MPA is outdated and fearful of pleasure (especially female pleasure).
With “Blonde” now available to stream, Variety takes a look back at some of the most notable films to be branded with an NC-17 rating.