14 Violent And Disturbing Movies That Star Kids Too Young To Watch Them

Over 200 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 14 Violent And Disturbing Movies That Star Kids Too Young To Watch Them
Voting Rules
Vote up the R-rated movies that the underaged stars definitely shouldn't have watched in theaters.

You have to be 17 to see an R-rated film by yourself, but R-rated action movies starring kids and horror movies about kids are more common than you'd think. And these aren't run-of-the-mill R-rated dramas we are talking about here. We're talking about the R-rated movies you would never, ever show to your kids in fear of them being scarred for life. 

Sometimes, kids will show up in a supporting role of an action movie, like Commando or Sudden Death. Sometimes, kids will be at the center of a vicious movie like Kick-Ass or Léon: The Professional. Maybe it's a horror flick like The Exorcist or The Omen. Whatever the case may be, there are just some kid-starring films actual children should never watch. So put the kids to bed, and get ready to vote up your favorite disturbing films that star kids who are too young to watch them.

Photo: The Good Son / 20th Century Fox

  • 1
    190 VOTES

    We genuinely wonder how many parents took their kids to see The Good Son back in 1993 on the basis of Macaulay Culkin's face being plastered all over the advertising campaign at the height of Home Alone fever. Maybe the tagline "Evil Has Many Faces" kept the majority of families away, but you just know some unwitting parents dragged their children to see the newest Macaulay Culkin movie only to be faced with the uncomfortable situation of explaining his character's actions in the much-maligned drama. Don't take your kids to rated-R films, people!

    If you did watch this film with your child, have fun explaining why the cute kid from Home Alone eliminates a dog with a nail gun. Or drops a human dummy into traffic to cause a massive car collision. Or tries to drown his sister in a pond, causing her to end up in a coma. Oh, and a young Elijah Wood also threatens to stab Culkin in the throat with a pair of scissors. So, just family fun all around!

    190 votes

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  • 2
    155 VOTES

    The Exorcist is one of the most iconic horror films in the annals of American filmmaking. It made an incredible $400+ million at the international box office in the 1970s when that number was basically unheard of, and it courted all kinds of controversy upon release. It almost garnered an X-rating (the pre-NC-17 rating of the era) due to its graphic nature and religious connotations. It is a bit more tame by today's standards, but it holds up as a masterful piece of horror filmmaking.

    Oh, and kids shouldn't watch it, so stop letting them see it! Sure, a 12-year-old is at the center of the plot, but come on... this is not the kind of film kids should be watching. There is that scene with the crucifix - you know the one - and some of the language that comes out of Regan's mouth while she is possessed is not the kind of language impressionable ears should be hearing. And if your kid isn't freaked out by a head doing a full 360-degree turn while still attached to a body, then you're raising one tough kid.

    155 votes

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  • 3
    117 VOTES

    Teaming director Tony Scott with Denzel Washington was always going to bring some fireworks. And 2004's Man on Fire brought them in full force. Though the picture gave Dakota Fanning one of the meatiest roles of her young career at the time, providing the emotional crux for the entire picture, this film has a lot to do with childhood kidnappings and can get pretty dark. And that's before we even mention the violence.

    There is a scene in Man on Fire where Denzel's John Creasy zip-ties a man to the hood of a car, blindfolds him, and sticks a bomb up his rectum. Let's repeat that for emphasis: Denzel Washington sticks a bomb up a dude's butt. There are other scenes of intense cruelty in Man on Fire, but we're just going to sit here and assume that butt bombs make this movie unsuitable for pretty much any kid on the planet.

    117 votes

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  • Do most 12-year-olds even know what a professional hitman is? We'd like to think they don't, but maybe we're wrong. Anyway, 1994's Léon: The Professional stars a bright-eyed Natalie Portman years before she would become an A-lister. And the film feels like the kind of movie that would cause sincere outrage among parents if released today, much like 2020's Cuties did upon release on Netflix.

    Léon: The Professional is a profanity-laden film about the bond between a contract killer and a young girl, and while the violence is relatively tame for an R-rated flick about a hitman, much of what makes the movie stand out revolves around Portman's Mathilda. She smokes. She has a weirdly sensual back-and-forth with a grown man. She puts a gun to her head. Suffice it to say, kids shouldn't be anywhere near this movie. Watching two men perish in a self-triggered explosion from a vest of grenades isn't exactly "family-friendly."

    126 votes

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  • 5
    102 VOTES

    The Omen is not a graphic movie. There isn't too much gore to write home about and, to be frank, there isn't much language that kids aren't hearing at school, anyway. But goodness gracious, The Omen is one creepy flick. It's hard to put what is so eerie about The Omen into concise words, but this horror classic stands the test of time as one of the most unsettling movies to come out of the 1970s. And it does most of that without being graphic or over the top!

    To make a long story short, The Omen centers around a young child, Damien, who ends up being the Antichrist. Damien's true nature causes all kinds of horrible things to happen around him and his parents. There is a scene where a woman hangs herself in front of a crowd, claiming she is doing it for Damien, and it is genuinely upsetting. We see a man's head get removed. We see a woman get jabbed in the neck with skewers. Again, it isn't all that gory, but the production team behind the film did a fantastic job of making everything in the film seem uncanny in a way that really sticks with you.

    102 votes

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  • 6
    130 VOTES

    What is one way to ensure your child hates dolls and will never sleep soundly again? Show them Child's Play, of course! The R-rated horror film isn't all that bloody or violent - not by today's standards - but the mere fact that the main antagonist is a sadistic children's toy makes this a no-go for pretty much any kid. And that goes for the rest of the Chucky franchise, as well, parents. Just because there is a doll on the promotional images doesn't mean this is cool for your children. Do some actual parenting now and again, huh?

    Being a small doll, Chucky doesn't get to do too much outlandish killing (at least not in this first picture). It mainly comes down to boilerplate mayhem with guns and knives. A house does catch on fire, though, so that's something. Again, this all comes down to kids getting nightmares from the concept that their dolls will also come to life when they fall asleep. This isn't Toy Story...

    130 votes

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