Should Christians Watch R-Rated Movies?

I love movies almost as much as I love books. When my husband and I were dating, our go-to date was a fast-food dinner and a dollar movie. Now that we’re parents, we plan date nights that involve more conversation—but we do watch a lot of movies at home and see every Disney/Pixar movie at the theater with our kids!


For Father’s Day, I made over our finished basement into a little movie theater,



complete with pictures of our kids in “movie scenes,”



And eternally blooming “popcorn.”



As I decorated, I wondered if I should be clearing out a little clutter as well.   Perhaps I was harboring some spiritual clutter in our basement.  As a Christian, should I own, or even watch, R-rated movies?


The Godfather.

The Green Mile.

American Beauty.

The Shawshank Redemption.


These are all R-rated movies that resided in my basement next to our big TV. So it seemed my answer to the posed question would be “yes”—or would it?

As a Christian, I’m deeply opposed to the aspects of these movies that make them rated R. Portrayed violence desensitizes us, making the violence seem normal… or making real violence we encounter on the news seem fake. Nudity can causes us to look unfairly upon our own bodies, or those of our spouses, tempting us to look elsewhere. Foul language creeps into our thoughts and our mouths.

None of these things honor God. He knows the cost of polluting our spirit—beginning with feelings of anxiety, longing, and sadness, and progressing into the temptation to sin.

No, He tells us to dwell on things that are good and pure and lovely.


God tells us to do all things for His glory. All things—even watch movies.


So I tossed American Beauty. So what if it won five Academy Awards? It’s amoral and it depresses me in about ten ways. I can’t see the glory of God in this movie at all.

But I’m keeping The Green Mile. I have to fast-forward through the gross parts, true, but I can see the glory of God there. That movie makes me laugh. It makes me weep over the evil in the world. It makes me ponder miracles. It makes me wonder if Jesus was pained by our bad choices in the same way that John Coffey was (those “JC” initials are no coincidence).

Someday I’ll sit next to my teenage kids and watch The Green Mile (with the fast forward button under my thumb), and we’ll talk about those things. In fact, I would watch The Green Mile sitting on our couch next to Jesus if I could. I think it would give me some great questions to ask Him.

For me, this issue boils down to what the Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians: Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.

So what’s beneficial for you? What about the movies currently in theaters, and the movies in your collection?


Take the Challenge: Read I Corinthians 10:23-33, a section the NIV translation calls “The Believer’s Freedom.” Then decide where you stand on R-rated movies, or even PG-13 ones.

You might be inspired to clear the spiritual clutter out of your video collection! (I know I sure was.) Ask yourself:

Can you see the glory of God in this movie?

Does it bring you joy?

Would you watch this with your teenage kids?

Would you watch it with Jesus?


Being all in for God means that our entertainment is all in too.


Are you thinking about weeding out your movie collection?

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