"Saints and Soldiers" Gets PG-13 Rating After Editing

"Saints and Soldiers" Gets PG-13 Rating After Editing

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- "Saints and Soldiers," a Mormon-focused World War II film originally rated R, has received a PG-13 rating following some editing by the filmmakers.

Removal of just "a few seconds and frames" apparently was all it took, said Jeff Simpson, president of the film's distributor, Excel Entertainment.

Following the editing, the PG-13 was awarded by the Motion Picture Association of America's rating board for "war violence and related images."

"It's been a pain, to be honest," said Simpson. "And it's taken a lot of time. But we didn't want to soften the picture. There are parts that will -- and probably -- should upset people. War is an ugly, nasty thing. We haven't gone overboard in showing that, but we wanted to make sure the film is still honest about it."

Getting the rating changed has pushed back the film's mid-April opening date, likely to summer, Simpson said.

"Saints and Soldiers" follows a Mormon central character and several other soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge.

The original R rating had come as a shock.

"We weren't expecting it to get a G," Simpson said. "I mean, this is a war movie, dealing with violent, terrible things happening to people. Is it so graphic that it deserves an R? We certainly didn't think so."

The filmmakers feared an R rating might be the death of the film, which was directed by Ryan Little ('Out of Step') and stars Mormon actors Corbin Allred and Kirby Heyborne.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourage members from seeing R-rated movies.

"Saints and Soldiers" has been shown at more than a dozen film festivals across the country, taking home audience awards from several of them, including the Heartland Film Festival in Indiana, Simpson said.

"People are responding very well to the movie," Simpson said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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