Special Report

The All-Time Best Performing R-rated Movies at the Box Office

Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

The R rating on a movie has hardly been a scarlet letter when it comes to box-office appeal. Regardless of the genre or the era in which the film was released, R-rated motion pictures are proven winners. (These are the best R-rated movies of all time.)

To determine the highest-grossing R-rated movies, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on box office from film industry site The Numbers, an online movie database owned by Nash Information Services. R-rated movies were ranked according to inflation-adjusted worldwide box office receipts as of August 2023. Documentaries were not considered. Global ticket sales figures were adjusted for inflation using historical ticket prices from the National Association of Theatre Owners. User ratings on IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, and critics’ Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, are current as of August 2023. Director and cast information is from IMDb.

All of the films on our list have grossed more than $630 million, inflation-adjusted, apiece. Twenty-eight of them were made in the previous century, and the top three are from the 1970s. 

Cinephiles have flocked to view horror (“It,” “Alien,” “Se7en”); science fiction (the Matrix and Terminator films): comedy (“Ted,” “Coming to America,” “There’s Something About Mary”); movies based on historical events (“Schindler’s List,” “The Last Samurai,” “Saving Private Ryan”); and thrillers (“Speed,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Basic Instinct”). 

R-rated movie franchises such as Terminator, Deadpool, The Hangover, Beverly Hills Cop, and Lethal Weapon have also found favor among moviegoers. (Here’s a list of the most valuable movie franchises of all time.)

Click here to see a ranking of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time

Leading the most bankable stars on the list is Keanu Reeves with four films, followed by Eddie Murphy and Arnold Schwarzenegger with three movies each. Mel Gibson starred in two films on the list and directed a third.

A noteworthy mention is the presence on our list of Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” the story of a controversial scientist who helped develop the atomic bomb. The movie was released in the United States on July 21 and has already grossed more than $648 million, earning it 35th place on our list.

40. Speed (1994)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $635.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (344,662 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 94% (69 reviews)
> Directed by: Jan de Bont
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock

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39. Ransom (1996)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $639.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (122,663 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 75% (72 reviews)
> Directed by: Ron Howard
> Starring: Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, Rene Russo

38. Ted (2012)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $639.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (586,245 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 69% (221 reviews)
> Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
> Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane

37. Coming to America (1988)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $643.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (198,841 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 72% (54 reviews)
> Directed by: John Landis
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Paul Bates, Garcelle Beauvais

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36. American Beauty (1999)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $644.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (1,104,561 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 87% (190 reviews)
> Directed by: Sam Mendes
> Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch

35. (tie) Oppenheimer (2023)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $648.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (345,753 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 93% (448 reviews)
> Directed by: Christopher Nolan
> Starring: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

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34. (tie) Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $648.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.5/10 (114,253 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 47% (32 reviews)
> Directed by: Tony Scott
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jürgen Prochnow

33. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $649.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (467,833 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 35% (217 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana & Lilly Wachowski
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

32. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $657.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (386,551 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 69% (207 reviews)
> Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken

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31. The Hangover Part II (2011)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $677.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.5/10 (477,678 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 34% (249 reviews)
> Directed by: Todd Phillips
> Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms

30. Alien (1979)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $685.0 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (823,459 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 98% (126 reviews)
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

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29. Se7en (1995)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $690.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (1,517,067 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 82% (82 reviews)
> Directed by: David Fincher
> Starring: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey

28. The Last Samurai (2003)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $693.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (415,450 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 66% (223 reviews)
> Directed by: Edward Zwick
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly

27. The Rock (1996)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $696.5 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (323,201 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 68% (68 reviews)
> Directed by: Michael Bay
> Starring: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris

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26. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $705.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (162,134 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 60% (48 reviews)
> Directed by: Richard Donner
> Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci

25. Troy (2004)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $712.7 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (539,561 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 54% (229 reviews)
> Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
> Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom

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24. Schindler’s List (1993)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $712.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 9.0/10 (1,359,268 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 98% (128 reviews)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

23. It (2017)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $715.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (488,616 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 86% (386 reviews)
> Directed by: Andy Muschietti
> Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard

22. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $722.4 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (300,719 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 83% (84 reviews)
> Directed by: Bobby & Peter Farrelly
> Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller

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21. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $736.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10 (954,220 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 94% (83 reviews)
> Directed by: Milos Forman
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman

20. Fatal Attraction (1987)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $749.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (81,035 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 76% (54 reviews)
> Directed by: Adrian Lyne
> Starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer

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19. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $770.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (373,543 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 60% (75 reviews)
> Directed by: John McTiernan
> Starring: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson

18. Gladiator (2000)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $777.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (1,399,053 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 77% (201 reviews)
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen

17. Basic Instinct (1992)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $778.5 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (188,955 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 55% (69 reviews)
> Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
> Starring: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza

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16. Deadpool 2 (2018)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $790.8 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (517,779 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 84% (420 reviews)
> Directed by: David Leitch
> Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin

15. True Lies (1994)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $820.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (247,499 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 71% (52 reviews)
> Directed by: James Cameron
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold

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14. Deadpool (2016)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $830.4 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (948,399 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 85% (349 reviews)
> Directed by: Tim Miller
> Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller

13. The Matrix (1999)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $842.5 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10 (1,759,161 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 88% (155 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana & Lilly Wachowski
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

12. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $862.3 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (174,081 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 83% (53 reviews)
> Directed by: Martin Brest
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton

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11. The Bodyguard (1992)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $907.1 million
> IMDb user rating: 6.3/10 (126,914 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 34% (47 reviews)
> Directed by: Mick Jackson
> Starring: Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Gary Kemp

10. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $917.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (233,592 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 49% (280 reviews)
> Directed by: Mel Gibson
> Starring: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern

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9. Rain Man (1988)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $920.0 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (490,155 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 89% (80 reviews)
> Directed by: Barry Levinson
> Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

8. Pretty Woman (1990)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $938.9 million
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (304,022 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 64% (69 reviews)
> Directed by: Garry Marshall
> Starring: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander

7. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $947.3 million
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (1,292,307 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 94% (143 reviews)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore

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6. (tie) Joker (2019)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $1.1 billion
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (1,067,897 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 68% (587 reviews)
> Directed by: Todd Phillips
> Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz

5. (tie) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $1.1 billion
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (1,033,964 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 93% (84 reviews)
> Directed by: James Cameron
> Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong

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4. (tie) The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $1.1 billion
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (540,965 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 73% (245 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana & Lilly Wachowski
> Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

3. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $1.2 billion
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (75,813 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 82% (50 reviews)
> Directed by: John Badham
> Starring: John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller

2. The Godfather (1972)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $1.5 billion
> IMDb user rating: 9.2/10 (1,704,373 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 97% (133 reviews)
> Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
> Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

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1. The Exorcist (1973)
> Global box office, adjusted for inflation: $2.3 billion
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10 (411,866 votes)
> Tomatometer score: 83% (83 reviews)
> Directed by: William Friedkin
> Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair

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