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Theatrical Version vs. Unrated Version: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 3, 2024
Theatrical Version is the edition of a film released in cinemas, while the Unrated Version is a version not submitted for rating, often containing additional content.

Key Differences

Theatrical Version is the cut of a film that has been edited for cinema release, often adhering to rating guidelines. Unrated Version is typically not constrained by these ratings and may include extra scenes, extended footage, or different edits.
Theatrical Versions go through a film rating board (like the MPAA in the U.S.) to receive a classification. Unrated Versions, however, have not been submitted for this process, and thus do not have an official rating.
Theatrical Versions are tailored for a wider audience, often making compromises to fit specific rating categories. Unrated Versions might cater to a niche audience, offering more of the director's original vision.
Theatrical Versions are what audiences first see in cinemas. Unrated Versions are usually released in home video formats like DVD or streaming services.
Theatrical Versions are marketed for general cinema-goers. Unrated Versions are often marketed as having more content, appealing to fans or viewers seeking a more 'complete' film experience.

Comparison Chart

Editing and Content

Edited for cinema release, follows ratings
May contain additional or explicit content

Film Rating

Classified by rating boards
Not submitted for rating

Target Audience

General public, wider audience
Niche audience, fans seeking more content


Released in cinemas
Released on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming

Marketing Strategy

Marketed for mass appeal
Marketed as having exclusive content

Theatrical Version and Unrated Version Definitions

Theatrical Version

Widely Distributed Cut.
The theatrical version is the one most audiences see.

Unrated Version

Home Release Exclusive.
The unrated version was released exclusively on Blu-ray.

Theatrical Version

Cinema Release.
I saw the theatrical version of the movie in the cinema.

Unrated Version

Extended Cut.
The unrated version included additional scenes.

Theatrical Version

Initial Release.
The film's theatrical version premiered last night.

Unrated Version

Not Rated.
This DVD is the unrated version of the film.

Theatrical Version

Edited for Rating.
Scenes were cut to fit the theatrical version.

Unrated Version

Potentially Explicit Content.
The unrated version might have more explicit material.

Theatrical Version

Rated Edition.
The theatrical version had a PG-13 rating.

Unrated Version

Director's Cut.
Sometimes the unrated version is closer to the director's vision.


What is a Theatrical Version?

It's the version of a film that was released in cinemas.

How does the Theatrical Version differ from other versions?

It's often shorter and more conservative to meet cinema standards and ratings.

Why do filmmakers create a Theatrical Version?

To comply with rating boards and appeal to a broader audience in theaters.

Can the Theatrical Version be different in other countries?

Yes, due to varying cultural norms and censorship laws.

Are special effects different in the Theatrical Version?

Generally, no. Special effects are usually the same as in other versions.

Is the Theatrical Version shorter than other versions?

Often, yes, especially compared to a director's cut or extended versions.

What is an Unrated Version?

It's a version of a film not submitted to or rated by a ratings board.

How does the Unrated Version differ from the Theatrical Version?

It may contain additional or extended scenes, often more explicit.

Why do filmmakers release an Unrated Version?

To show their unfiltered vision or include content cut for ratings.

Is the Theatrical Version the original version of a movie?

Usually, but directors might have a different, longer original vision.

Why would someone prefer the Theatrical Version?

For its concise storytelling and the version they first experienced.

Are Theatrical Versions available on DVD/Blu-ray?

Yes, they're commonly released alongside other versions.

Are Unrated Versions released in theaters?

Rarely, as they're usually made for home video release.

How do I know if a DVD/Blu-ray is the Unrated Version?

It's usually labeled as “Unrated” on the cover.

Does the Theatrical Version include all key scenes?

Mostly, but some scenes might be shortened or modified.

Is the Unrated Version longer than the Theatrical Version?

Typically, yes, due to additional or extended scenes.

Why would someone prefer the Unrated Version?

For a more complete, often more mature viewing experience.

Can the Unrated Version have different endings?

Yes, sometimes it includes alternate endings.

Is the Unrated Version always more explicit?

Often, but not always. It could just have different content.

Can children watch Unrated Versions?

Caution is advised as they may contain mature content not suitable for children.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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