Throughout movie history, some of the best-known comedies have gotten their laughs by crossing the line. These films relied on gags that are not suitable for all audiences – cartoonish violence, drug use, and emphatic swear words, just to name a few. Some may even number among the funniest American movies of all time.
While hilarious, these adult situations earned the movies an R (restricted) rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, which uses letter grades to determine how appropriate a film would be for kids.
To determine the highest-grossing R-rated comedies 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on inflatrion-adjusted box office earnings for comedy movies rated “R” by the Motion Picture Association from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. User ratings come from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. Audience and Tomatometer scores are from Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. Cast information and year of production came from IMDb.
Though the comedies on our list were not family friendly, they still sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tickets when adjusted to 2022 dollars. (These are the best R-rated movies ever made.)
That said, R-rated comedies seem to be falling out of fashion. Of the 10 highest-grossing films on this list, nine were released before 1990. This may be due in part to the MPAA’s PG-13 rating, which was established in 1984. The rating, suggesting parental guidance for those under 13, allows films to be at least a little edgy while permitting teenagers to buy tickets for themselves. (R-rated films require adult supervision for those under 17 years old.)
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