In the wake of all the responses to my earlier piece on the American Medical Association Alliance’s efforts to get films rated R if a character is depicted as smoking (including an article at Inquisitr where they used my hyperbole as their headline), we decided to make up a list of movies that would be rated R under that standard. Given that I’m leaving out the most obvious (anything in the X-Men franchise), this is of course by no means a complete list—and doesn’t even take into account things like Leave it to Beaver, Popeye or The Brady Bunch, where people smoked on television—but here are Blog@Newsarama’s top ten films that would be rated R if smoking were a solitary consideration to the MPAA:
Dan Aykroyd’s Ray smokes throughout the whole film, including a well-known bit of comedy business when, in surprise, he lets the cigarette fall slowly from his mouth.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
This one’s got to be the most tongue-in-cheek entry on the list for me. Despite being the only Indiana Jones movie to be rated PG instead of PG-13, this is the one that I always thought had the potential to be an R if any of them did. But there’s something bizarre about the notion that a film in which a human heart is removed from a screaming victim, could be upgraded from a PG to an R because people are smoking in the restaurant scene at the beginning.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Pipes in the Cantina are the culprits here, catapulting what’s widely perceived to be a pretty family-friendly sci-fi classic into mature viewers territory.
The Grapes of Wrath
Smoking is one of the few pleasures that the protagonists of Steinbeck’s novel allowed themselves—apparently it was a lot less taxed back then—and that’s carried over to a movie to an extent. But even more than that, it’s not long at all before the first time we see a big business fat cat chomping on his cigar.
Muppets From Space
I add this simply because I’d love to see an R-rated movie featuring The Muppets. The only instance of smoking is one where an ancillary character is smoking, and is instructed it’s bad for him.
Rebel Without a Cause
The movie that defines James Dean has to be mentioned here; it’s PG-13 already, but a VERY tame PG-13 if you actually watch the film. Still, you light up and you’re on the list!
Of course, Disney has expressed a desire to re-edit this film to remove the smoking…which was done by the VILLAIN to begin with…but the fact is that the movie, as written, directed and animated by its creators, would be an R-rated film under the AMAA rule.
Another Disney classic – when the titular character takes a puff, he turns green and hates it…but it’s onscreen!
Never Say Never Again
Bond smoked a lot in the early days and while this has been removed of late, the fact remains that some of his earlier adventures would be taboo now.
Remember when Superman convinced Lois that she shouldn’t smoke? Well, that initial drag would have taken this movie into R-rated territory, regardless of the writer’s intent.
As mentioned, this isn’t exclusive to these properties: every Sherlock Holmes book/movie/TV show would suffer from his pipe and, in Troy’s words, “The A Team would be rated like The Shield.” These are just a few of what I thought were the most interesting or silly.