Brian De Palma gets in a ratings scrap over "Snake Eyes"

By Gary Eng Walk
August 03, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Two prizefighters slug it out during a pivotal scene in “Snake Eyes,” but it’s director Brian De Palma who feels like he’s been sucker-punched. The movie, starring Nicolas Cage and Gary Sinise, hits theaters on Friday with an R rating. De Palma is still wondering why. “To be faced with this R rating — over what?! I felt that I was being singled out by the (the Motion Picture Association of America) ratings board because I’ve fought them my whole career,” says De Palma, 57, who had hoped for the more marketable PG-13 rating. “They censor movies, no question about it.”

In “Snake Eyes,” Cage plays a corrupt cop investigating the assassination of the Secretary of Defense at an Atlantic City casino boxing match. The film contains some violence (the boxing itself, minor blood-spurting in the assassination scene, Cage getting beaten during an interrogation) but nothing approaching De Palma’s previous films, including the infamous chainsaw massacre in “Scarface.” The director told EW Online that he tried toning down the boxing scene for the MPAA, but that the original R rating was upheld nonetheless. “I felt that it was going to affect the movie if I cut it anymore so I put everything back the way it was and that’s what you’re seeing — a PG-13 film which is now rated R.”

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