We all know that R-rated movies are meant to be watched by people older than 17 years old, and even if a kid younger than that wants to watch an R-rated movie, they must have the company of a guardian or an older person. The rules or restrictions are understandable for common viewers, but what about the child actors in R-rated movies? It is normal for an actor to watch a movie they starred in, but for child actors, there must be something different, as most of the R-rated films are quite disturbing for underage kids to watch.
The ratings by which MPAA divides movies are indeed just advisory, and there is no proper law that can force child actors younger than 17 not to watch the R-rated movies they worked in.
Do Child Actors Watch their R-Rated Movies?
The short answer is: Yes, they are allowed to watch the movies, and there are no legal restrictions on them. However, the answer depends on whether the child actor is allowed by their guardians to watch such a movie or not. Other than guardians, child actors also attend film premiers where obviously they watch the film, and probably no guardian or theatre can stop them from doing so.
As we mentioned earlier, the MPAA ratings for films are just voluntary, and there isn’t any law that says child actors cannot watch their R-rated movies, but of course, the parents are asked for their decision in such situations. Often it’s a “NO,” and the child actors are kept from watching the movie until they are old enough.
Although horror movies are also included in R-rated movies, most child actors usually watch them without worrying. The reason behind this exception is that the child stars watch the whole practical effects used in the movie, and they can easily tell that whatever is happening on the screen is fake. But still, if a movie is too scary, parents avoid giving permission to the child actors; however, if a film is gory, it usually doesn’t include content that can shock underage actors.
Some Famous R-rated Films that Starred Child Actors
Here is a list of some famous R-rated movies which starred child actors:
1. The Good Son (1993)
Back in 1993, the Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin appeared in the famous R-rated movie, The Good Son, and the Home Alone fever got people into watching this movie with their kids. The movie had several disturbing scenes, including a scene where the child actor eliminated a dog with a nail gun. The movie was, of course, not for underage kids, and we hope that Culkin didn’t watch it at that time either.
2. Man on Fire (2004)
The 2004 film “Man on Fire” became a reason for Dakota Fanning’s popularity at such a young age, and it was quite a dark film for an underage actor to watch. The film consists of a scene where Denzel Washington tortures a man and sticks a bomb in his rectum; that’s a pretty disturbing scene that must not be watched by an underage actor.
There are several other R-rated movies, including The Exorcist and Child’s play, in which child stars appeared, and they might have even watched these movies as kids. And such a fact itself gives chills to anyone who understands how harmful such scenes can be for a kid’s mind. Child actors are still kids, after all.
Other than watching such movies, another question is asked very frequently; how are underage kids exposed to adult themes and information required for an R-rated movie? The curiosity gets intense when you have watched movies like Aliens, City of Gods, or other action and horror movies.
Usually, if there are some adult or bad dialogues, the kids are asked to say something nicer, and the dialogues are dubbed later, and others often don’t even know if the movie is horror or not. For example, the child star in The Shining who played Danny didn’t have any idea about the genre of the movie for years. Most child actors don’t even get to watch the whole movie until years after its production.
It is clear that many child actors watch R-rated movies, but there is also a majority of them who are restricted and are not allowed to watch such movies until they grow up. Moreover, while working in R-rated movies, there are several ways by which the exposure of child actors to disturbing scenes or dialogues is prevented.
Lastly, a piece of advice for parents who let their kids watch R-rated movies thinking that they wouldn’t do any bad should reconsider their decisions. This is because R-rated scenes and dialogues can have a very traumatic impact on a child’s mind.