‘Bully’ To Be Rated PG-13

6a00d8341c730253ef01676479efcc970b-800wiAfter weeks of activist activity and very public debate, the MPAA has reportedly assigned a PG-13 rating to the Weinstein Company's socially responsible new flick, Bully.

Via MarketWatch:

The Weinstein Company (TWC), aided by the guidance and consultation from attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, announced today that the MPAA has lowered the R rating, given for some language, for BULLY to a PG-13 in time for the film's April 13th expansion to 55 markets.

The scene that has been at the forefront of the battle with the MPAA, the intense scene in the film that shows teen Alex Libby being bullied and harassed on a bus, has been left fully intact and unedited. BULLY director Lee Hirsch felt editing the scene was not an option, and subsequently refused to do so, since it is too important to the truth and integrity behind the film.

Also a victory is the exception the MPAA made by allowing the film to be released with the new rating before 90 days, which is the length of time their policy states a film must wait to be in theaters after a rating change to avoid confusion or inconvenience for moviegoers.

I have yet to see a screener, but it's apparent that this is a movie everyone should see, particularly those with children, nieces, nephews, cousins or any other person who lives in today's increasingly harsh world.

The move comes after Change.org helped collect over 500,000 signatures urging the MPAA to make the flick available to as many people as possible.


  1. Caliban says

    Awesome! I feel like we should play the theme from “Rocky” now.

    According to reviews it doesn’t go much into the bullies themselves, their motivations, etc. but maybe if kids and their parents, the intended audience, sees this it can make a difference.

    The MPAA blinked!

  2. Matt says

    I think Chariots of Fire might be more appropriate, but the Rocky theme and Eye of the Tiger are good too ūüėČ

    Anyway, I can just imagine the MPAA: “Our lawyers are pitbulls, they have no qualms about suing little old ladies for millions of dollars for illegally downloading movies, and seize their houses when they can’t pay, bring it”

    MPAA Lawyers: “Olson and Boies just took this case pro-bono. Have you ever seen what happens when a pitbull fights a lion? Our expert advice is to settle for whatever they want, fighting this will just make it worse for all of us.”


  3. JOE 2 says

    Wow. Right on! Go, change.org! Until I read this post, I was about to send the MPAA a scathing rebuke for their “R” rating – ostensibly for language (that any child can hear simply by turning on the TV during prime time, to say nothing of going to school) but, I suspect, really because one of the bullied children is an out lesbian. This is major – the MPAA has never, to my knowledge, admitted fault before. To those who haven’t yet seen the film: Go. It’s powerful, and haunting, and it deserves to be seen – especially by school-aged children who might gain some idea of how thoughtless participation in bullying can devastate (and end) the lives of their classmates.

  4. JC says

    I’m really surprised that they gave in! Hopefully we will begin to see some changes in how the MPAA does things.

  5. Matt says

    Joe, the MPAA didn’t admit fault here, they basically just gave in to what we wanted–a PG-13 rating. They broke their own rules about a 90 day window bwfore a ratings change, but never admitted fault. they decided to concede without a fight in the way that would allow them to save the most face possible.

  6. says

    I just finished watching a press screening of this film, and even when you don’t consider the message that is being delivered, this film SHOULD have a PG-13 rating. It honestly was not as vulgar as I expected, and I only heard the F-bombs used in a short scene.

    MPAA’s way of handing out ratings is archaic and needs to be re-evaluated. It would have been tragic and wrong to send release this important film unrated or with an R rating.

    Such a powerful film, by the way. If you have a close association with kids in any way, please watch it!

  7. says

    makes sense. The Hunger Games is pg-13 and it has minors being hacked to bits. this film just has minors saying “f**k”

    slight difference.


  8. Oliver says

    As I stated a week ago when Towleroad posted about this possibility, this was all a well executed publicity stunt from the beginning.

  9. Craig says

    This is unfortunately not truly accurate. Apparently, this pg-13 rating did come with a bit of a recut for the movie according to the la times….http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2012/04/some-f-words-but-not-all-cut-from-bully-to-get-pg-13-rating.html. The Times reports, “The new cut of the Lee Hirsch film makes some concessions to the MPAA: It removes an obscenity that begins with the prefix ‚Äúmother‚ÄĚ in an early scene, along with two other quickly uttered F-words. Audio will be dropped out in all three instances.”. It does state the the scene in the bus that drew the most issue is intact though. “But the new cut leaves intact a controversial scene on a school bus in which three F-words are used against a bullied child. The case now represents an exception to the MPAA‚Äôs rules; the group typically will impose an R rating on any film with more than two F-words. “.

  10. Yuki says

    While I am VERY glad it finally got a PG-13 rating, it does bug me when people try to compare it to The Hunger Games, because that film isn’t just some bit of fluffy violence; it’s a criticism of our voyeuristic culture and a warning about giving people too much power. The violence isn’t done to glorify fighting, it’s there to criticize watching it for sport.

    That being said, the MPAA really needs to review their… well, reviewing process. They never actually tell filmmakers ways to get the rating lowered, which is absolutely ridiculous.

  11. Randy says

    Hopefully the R-rated version will still be made available on DVD. It’s a documentary. This ridiculous idea that schoolkids don’t say various F-words on a regular basis is a total denial of reality.

    I’d rather see people say what they actually said, instead of the MPAA’s crazy sanitized version.