Why is Zero Dark Thirty rated R?
Official MPAA Rating: Zero Dark Thirty is rated R for for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language.
Violence: We see a man being tortured by CIA agents who use water-boarding techniques (while he is held down a cloth is placed over his face and water is poured on the cloth, causing him to choke). Later, with a female agent present, his pants are removed and an agent teases him about defecating. He is left hanging by his arms while naked from the waist down (rear nudity seen). Other scenes show detainees being interrogated while physically bound, but without the explicit details. Bomb blasts in three scenes leave people with bloody injuries. Militants enter a building and begin shooting people at random. During a military operation, personnel enter a home seeking a key individual; a few other people are shot while horrified women and children look on. Frequent verbal altercations occur, including demeaning remarks intended to extract information from detainees. A man is forced to wear a dog collar and walk like a dog.
Sexual Content: During a torture scene a man is seen naked from the rear.
Language: Frequent use of sexual expletives, as well as other scatological and general profanities.
Drugs/Alcohol: Frequent cigarette use throughout. Some drinking is depicted.