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How 'Birds of Prey' earned its R rating

How 'Birds of Prey' earned its R rating

(Craig Gibson, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

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AMUSEMENT MILE — "Joker" made a big splash in 2019 and now has multiple Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

The R-rated comic book movie also made over $1 billion at the box office.

Hoping for another hit, DC Comics now has "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" in theaters. The all-female team-up film is boasting its R rating, but how far does it cross that rating line?

This is a review to let you know what kind of content is in the movie and how it earned its rating so you can decide if it’s for you or your kids when they ask to go. Here is what parents need to know about "Birds of Prey."


While there are no specific sex scenes in the film, there is a lot of sexual content. Conversations, situations, sexual threats and sexual humor are found throughout the film.

While Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) isn’t as minimally dressed as she is in "Suicide Squad," there are plenty of revealing outfits worn by both men and women.

The movie doesn’t focus on sex specifically, but it’s apparent throughout the film.


The language in "Birds of Prey" is constant.

From the opening to the end credits, every character seems to find their opportunity to get R-rated words in at least a few times. There are also a lot of other curse words in the movie, including religious exclamations and sexist language, which could be upsetting for many.

The movie could have earned its rating from the language alone, but that’s not the only reason this movie is rated R.


There are plenty of movies out there more violent than "Birds of Prey," but the filmmakers didn’t pull any punches.

There is everything from gunshot wounds, animal maulings, broken limbs, arrows through the neck, stabbings, mass murder, attempted rape, child murder and torture throughout the film. Not everything is shown on film, but much of it is and the rest is happening just off-screen.

Disturbing content

It feels like the filmmakers behind "Birds of Prey" wanted to go out of their way to let you know the tone of this film was rated R. There is a lot of content here that many will find disturbing wrapped up in a colorful and sometimes humorous bow.

I’ve mentioned a few things, but the attempted rape is disturbing, as is the torture scene. It‘s also hard to watch the child murder and a specific scene involving verbal and sexual assault.

Is it worth watching?

This movie is rated R and the filmmakers made a point to get it that rating. This is a very grown-up movie and likely a lot of adults won’t be interested.

"Birds of Prey" is rated R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material.

John Clyde

About the Author: John Clyde

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about. Contact him on Twitter at @johnnypclyde.

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