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Midnight Cowboy (1969) - John Schlesinger [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

When released in 1969, it was rated X in the United States, however it was later re-rated as R

Linda Lovelace, Deep Throat (1972) - Gerard Damiano


X-rated, X certificate, X classification or similar terms are labels for movies implying strong adult content, typically pornography or violence. The precise meaning of the "X" and whether it is an official rating or an unofficial labelling varies from country to country. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-rated [Jun 2004]

In the United States

In the United States, the term X-rated applies to movies featuring explicit sex or, more rarely, to movies featuring extensive graphic violence. The term is now purely a colloquialism; it is not a trademark nor does it have any other legal status. At one time, it was used as a rating by the MPAA. For instance, the film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was originally rated X by the MPAA and has since been released on video in an unrated version. Nowadays the rating NC-17 is used instead. All the ratings used today by the MPAA, which administers the MPAA film rating system, are trademarked by them. However, the "X" rating was never trademarked by the MPAA (largely so that a producer of a film which would justifiably be considered X-rated could apply the rating by oneself without having to submit the film to the MPAA), whereas the NC-17 rating has been trademarked by the MPAA.

There has never been an MPAA rating higher than "X". Any movie can call itself "X," "XX," or "XXX," provided that it does not claim that these are MPAA ratings. Today, any film that uses any of these ratings is typically pornographic and the "ratings" are used as a marketing gimmick. Supposedly, the more X's the film contains, the more graphic it is. Since the X ratings are unadministered, producers can assign any number of X's to a title they desire, so the number of X's beyond one has little meaning aside from the fact that the film is pornographic.

Midnight Cowboy is the only X-rated film ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. At the time of its use for the film, the X rating simply meant that the topic was for adults only and not necessarily pornographic. Midnight Cowboy has also been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-rated [Jun 2004]

In the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the X certificate was created by the British Board of Film Censors (a.k.a. BBFC) in 1951. It indicated that a film was intended for adults only, defined as those aged seventeen or over.

The X certificate was replaced by the 18 certificate in 1982. The less restrictive R18 certificate was subsequently created for pornographic films which may only be sold in designated sex shops. In general, 18 films may show simulated sex acts, but R18 films may show real sex acts.

In Australia

In Australia, X-rated is a legal term. The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OLFC), a government institution, issues ratings for all movies and television shows sold or aired. Movies showing explicit, non-simulated sex are rated "X". "X" rated movies are not permitted to be sold in most States, but possession of such movies is legal and they are sold in the Australian Capital Territory; the constitution forbids restraint in goods and trade between the States, so they are available in all States by mail-order. An attempt to change the classification ratings such that some of the material in the "X" category would be banned and the remainder would be available under the new category "NVE" (an abbreviation for Non-Violent Erotica), failed in the Senate partly due to the belief of some Senators that the new categories were less restrictive than the old. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-rated [Jun 2004]

In France

Films may be shown in theaters in France only after classification by an administrative commission of the ministry of Culture. In 1975, the X classification (officially: "pornographic or violence-inciting movies") was created for pornographic movies, or movies with successions of scenes of graphic violence. The commission has some leeway in classification, it may for instance take into account the artistic qualities of a movie not to count it pornographic.

Movies with a X rating may only be shown in specific theaters (which hardly exist nowadays in France); they bear special taxes and tax rates, including a 33% tax on revenue.

In 2000, some conservative associations sued the government for granting the movie Baise-moi, which contained graphic, realistic scenes of sex and violence, a non-X classification. The Conseil d'État at litigation ruled that the movie should have been rated X. The decision was highly controversial and some suggested changing the law. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-rated [Jun 2004]


  1. X-Rated: Adult Movie Posters of the 60s and 70s (2004) - Tony Nourmand (Editor), Graham Marsh (Editor) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Sex sells! It's no secret that since moving pictures were invented, distributors and theater owners realized that nothing really promotes a movie better than blatantly sexual advertising. X-rated adult movies reached their peak in the 1960s and 70s, with films like Debbie Does Dallas and Deep Throat. While some films were hard-core and left nothing to the imagination, most enjoyed the art of innuendo, which is to say, you couldn't tell whether the participants who were getting it on were faking it--or doing it for real. Even though most of the adult movies of the 60s and 70s have faded into cinematic history--and their stars have retired into elderly care homes for the well-endowed (giving new meaning to the term "nursing home")--what remains, as a lasting legacy, are the posters. If the poster art in this book evokes those far-off days of suspender belts, stockings, and eye-popping, gravity-defying brassieres, not to mention outsize Y-fronts, then that alone is worth the cover price. It's practically cheaper than a movie these days, anyway. Featuring posters from such not-so classic films as The Love Robots, Call Girls of Frankfurt, Blackmailed Wives, The Pro Shop, Flesh Gordon, Kiss Me Mate, Space Thing, Slaves of the Sin-dicate, Girls That Do, Come Play With Me, Depraved!, Hot Lunch, Danish Pastries, Maid in Sweden, and Oh! so many more. --amazon.com

  2. Babylon Blue: An Illustrated History of Adult Cinema 1960-1998 - David Flint [Amazon US]
    Babylon Blue examines the '60s roots of global modern-day erotic cinema – from naturist films to the "nudie-cuties" of Russ Meyer – through to various incarnations of Europorn and hardcore, charting the rise, decline and resurrection of the genre since the early '70s. Finally, author David Flint, expertly chronicles the so-called New Porn Generation – the New Wave of adult movies, as epitomised by the stylist and sophisticated films of Andrew Blake, Michael Ninn and the Dark Brothers.

    Visually loaded with profuse and daring illustrations, Babylon Blue is the last word on sex cinema, featuring profiles of key directors, producers and performers, and detailed critiques of the finest adult movies of all time. The book contains interviews with sexploitation producer David Friedman, screenwriter Antonio Passolini, director Lindsay Honey and porn acress/producer Jane Hamilton, and includes a stunning eight-page full-colour section.

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