The King’s Speech Gets a PG-13 Version: Good Thing?

I saw ‘The King’s Speech’ over the Christmas holidays and lamented the fact that it scored an R rating because of all the F-bombs. But the movie, which follows King George VI’s battle with stammering, has some great messages for kids, including the fact that even royal people have hang-ups and insecurities that can be overcome with the proper training and mindset.

the-kings-speech-colin-firth Now that I’ve seen the movie, I’d have no problem taking my teenagers – 13 and 16 – to see it. The R rating is solely because of the language, nothing else.

And now that the film has won an Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Leading Actor (Colin Firth) and Original Screenplay (David Seidler), executive producer Harvey Weinstein’s request for a family-friendly PG-13 cut has been approved by the MPAA.

At first blush, this seems like a good idea, right? But is it? The F-bombs in the film were pivotal to the story, and if they edit those out, some of the story gets lost in the process.

At the Governor’s Ball after the Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter asked Hooper what he thought of the PG-13 version, to which he replied, “I haven’t seen it yet.” Ok, so that means the edits were made without his consent or participation.

Firth was more candid in his response, saying, “I don’t support it. I think the film has its integrity as it stands … It serves a purpose. I’m not someone who’s casual about that kind of language. I take my children to football [soccer] games. I hate hearing that kind of language in their ears, but I won’t deny them the experience of a live game … But in the context of the film, it couldn’t be more edifying, more appropriate. It’s not vicious or insulting. It’s not in the context that might offend … I still haven’t met the person who’d object to it.”

Weinstein and his people are still deciding what to do with the PG-13 version. Release it again in theaters? Only on DVD? I’m guessing it’ll get both a theatrical and DVD release with the new rating, because it’s too much of a cash cow not to pursue it.

I’d love to hear what screenwriter Seidler thinks about it, since he’s the one who penned all the F-bombs.

What’s your take? Think they made the right decision in allowing a PG-13 version without the F-bombs? Should kids be allowed to see the R version? Would you let your kids see it?


  1. sarah henry Avatar

    F-bombs don’t phase me too much, since I throw them around on occasion myself (we Aussies are a bit looser with language, perhaps). It’s violence I can’t abide. So I’d take my 12-year-old to see the unedited version of this movie, no worries. Trust me, he’s heard it all before.

  2. Sandra Hume Avatar
    Sandra Hume

    That version might be good for showing in schools, since some parent or another is going to be up in arms about that language, no doubt. But this parent thinks there are way worse things than a few f-words.

  3. Rachel Avatar

    I heard David Seidler speak last night after a showing of The King’s Speech and he would not address the issue — said everything had already been said — but he related how he overcame stuttering and it involved a healthy dose of the f-bomb so, obviously, this is a key story element to him.

  4. Jane Boursaw Avatar

    Thanks for the note, Rachel, and very cool that you got to hear David Seidler speak. I would imagine that the f-bombs were an integral part of the story, and I can’t imagine the film without them. I’ll see the PG-13 version and see how it all shakes out. The interesting thing is that I’ve seen PG-13 movies with maybe one or two f-bombs, so maybe that’s how they’ll handle it – just limit or shorten the scene somehow.

    1. Alex Avatar

      Will go see this movie with my book club – read it years ago for school but have never seen a screen adaption of it.

  5. Rachel Avatar

    Apparently, they’ve just turned down the volume when Firth swears, and there is that pivotal scene that lasts for maybe 30 seconds where every word is a curse word so I am trying to imagine watching the screen and seeing the mouth move but no sound coming out.

  6. Jane Boursaw Avatar

    Interesting! Definitely not the same impact, but maybe it could work…

  7. […] the point that there should be something between a PG-13 and an R rating. I felt the same way about The King’s Speech, which also scored an R rating for language (although a PG-13 version was eventually released). […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *