Why is American Psycho Rated R? Unveiling the Disturbing Secrets and Controversial Themes of the Cult Classic

Why is American Psycho Rated R? Unveiling the Disturbing Secrets and Controversial Themes of the Cult Classic

Why is American Psycho Rated R? Unveiling the Disturbing Secrets and Controversial Themes of the Cult Classic

When American Psycho hit the theaters in 2000, it quickly became a cult classic. Directed by Mary Harron and based on Bret Easton Ellis’s controversial novel, the film follows the life of Patrick Bateman, a wealthy and successful investment banker by day and a sadistic serial killer by night. The movie’s explicit violence and disturbing themes prompted the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give it an R rating, restricting the audience to viewers aged 17 and above. But what exactly makes American Psycho deserving of its restricted rating?

The Graphic Violence and Disturbing Scenes

One of the primary reasons American Psycho is rated R is its graphic violence and disturbing scenes. The film depicts Patrick Bateman’s sadistic acts of torture and murder with disturbingly realistic detail. These scenes are not only visually explicit but also psychologically disturbing, as they explore the depths of Bateman’s disturbed mind. The filmmakers do not shy away from showing the brutality and gore, which contributes to the unsettling and disturbing nature of the film.

The film’s violence is not confined to the murder scenes alone. American Psycho also includes shocking and disturbing scenes of sexual violence. These scenes push the boundaries of on-screen depictions of sexual assault, making the film even more controversial and deserving of its restricted rating.

The Exploration of Psychopathy and Sociopathy

American Psycho dives deep into the psyche of Patrick Bateman, offering a disturbing portrayal of psychopathy and sociopathy. The film explores Bateman’s lack of empathy and his obsession with outward appearances, materialism, and social status. It delves into the dark recesses of his mind, showing the audience how a seemingly successful and charming individual can harbor such violent and destructive tendencies.

This exploration of psychopathy and sociopathy is both intriguing and unsettling. It forces viewers to confront the harsh reality that such individuals may exist in society, capable of hiding their true nature behind a facade of normalcy. The film’s unflinching portrayal of Bateman’s disturbed mind and his acts of violence contribute to its restricted rating.

The Film’s Unsettling Themes and Social Commentary

American Psycho goes beyond being a mere slasher film and touches on several unsettling themes. One of the central themes is the commodification of human life. The movie critiques the soulless consumerism and materialism of 1980s yuppie culture, with Bateman’s violent acts serving as a metaphorical representation of the dehumanization and objectification that can occur within this society.

The film also explores themes of identity and the duality of the human psyche. Bateman’s struggle to maintain his outward persona while indulging his violent and sadistic urges reflects the internal conflict many individuals face when confronted with societal expectations and their true desires.

The Impact and Legacy of American Psycho

While American Psycho initially faced backlash and controversy upon its release, it has since gained a cult following and critical acclaim. The film’s disturbing themes and explicit violence have made it a provocative and thought-provoking piece of cinema. It continues to spark conversations about morality, the human psyche, and the dark underbelly of society.

Despite its restricted rating, American Psycho remains a must-watch for fans of psychological thrillers and those interested in exploring the depths of human depravity. However, viewers should exercise caution, as the film’s explicit content and disturbing themes may be too intense for some.

In conclusion, the violence, disturbing scenes, exploration of psychopathy and sociopathy, as well as the unsettling themes and social commentary, all contribute to American Psycho’s restricted rating. It is a film that pushes boundaries and challenges viewers, uncovering disturbing secrets and delving into the controversial aspects of its cult classic status.


1. What is the rating of the film American Psycho?

The film American Psycho is rated R.

2. What are some of the disturbing secrets and controversial themes explored in American Psycho?

American Psycho delves into disturbing secrets and controversial themes such as excessive violence, sadistic behavior, graphic sexual content, and the dehumanization of women.

3. Why did American Psycho receive an R rating?

American Psycho received an R rating due to its explicit and graphic depictions of violence, sexuality, and disturbing themes, which were deemed inappropriate for viewers under 17 years of age without parental guidance.

4. How does American Psycho portray violence?

American Psycho portrays violence in a graphic and brutal manner, showcasing scenes of murder, torture, and dismemberment. These depictions contributed to its R rating.

5. What is the significance of the controversial themes in American Psycho?

The controversial themes explored in American Psycho serve as a critique of materialistic and shallow societal values, while also posing questions about human nature and the limits of morality.

6. How does American Psycho handle explicit sexual content?

American Psycho includes explicit sexual content, featuring scenes of rough and fetishistic sexual acts. These portrayals contributed to the film’s R rating.

7. Why did American Psycho generate controversy upon its release?

American Psycho generated controversy upon its release due to its unflinching portrayal of violence, misogyny, and the objectification of women. Some critics argued that the film glorified these aspects, while others praised its satirical commentary on societal decadence.

8. What impact did American Psycho have on the cult film genre?

American Psycho became a cult classic due to its unique blend of dark humor, social critique, and psychological horror. It influenced future films in the cult genre, which often explore similar themes of extreme violence and societal critique.

9. Were there any attempts to ban or censor American Psycho?

There were attempts to ban or censor American Psycho in several countries and by certain groups who found its content too explicit or disturbing. However, the film was ultimately released with an R rating in most regions.

10. Has American Psycho had any lasting impact on popular culture?

American Psycho has had a lasting impact on popular culture, influencing various artistic mediums, including literature, music, and fashion. It remains a highly referenced and debated film, reaffirming its status as a cult classic.