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Warning: Parental Advisory (2002)

The story of the 1985 Senatorial hearings to place "Warning: Parental Advisory" labels on music albums with "obscene" lyrics and themes - and the rockers who tried to fight it.


Mark Waters


Jay Martel


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Priestley ... Charlie Burner
Mariel Hemingway ... Tipper Gore
Dee Snider ... Dee Snider
Deborah Yates Deborah Yates ... Pamela Stone
Lois Chiles ... Susan Baker
Tim Guinee ... John Denver
Deborah Jolly ... Shirley
Lee Burns ... Andrew Norris
John S. Davies ... Sen. John Curtis
Griffin Dunne ... Frank Zappa
Jim Beatty Jim Beatty ... Al Gore
Richard Dillard Richard Dillard ... Senator Sam
Gail Cronauer ... Sen. Paula Hawkins
Joe Berryman ... Donald Bean
David Born ... James Baker


In 1985, Charlie Burner is a hotshot political lobbyist for the music industry pushing for a blank tape tax in Washington DC, only to find himself facing new political headwinds. They come from the Parent Music Resource Center, a lobby group headed by Tipper Gore and several fellow Congressional wives on a self-appointed crusade against what they consider objectionable popular music. Despite Burner's dismissal of this group, the PMRC proves to be a burgeoning new threat to music's freedom of expression and the intellectual avant-guarde musician, Frank Zappa, pushes for him to fight back. Inspired to take a stand with a US Senate hearing scheduled, Burner can only to find three musicians willing to attend in opposition, the provocative Zappa, the outrageous heavy metal star, Dee Snider and the seemingly innocuous folk music legend, John Denver. Together, these disparate musicians would take on the self-righteous crusade against their art with powerful rhetoric no one sees coming. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Censorship is a dirty word.


Comedy | Drama | Music


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Release Date:

21 April 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

PMRC See more »

Filming Locations:

Houston, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The music store depicted in the film is the interior of Sound Exchange, located at 1846 Richmond Avenue in the Montrose District in Houston, Texas. The "Sound Exchange" banner seen before the movie's end is actually the real banner used at the original location, at 1718 Westheimer, before the record store moved to its current location in 1997. See more »


When Tipper Gore is watching Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" video on MTV, the video footage is from the beginning of the song but the lyrics are from the end of the song. See more »


Frank Zappa: So, you want to tell me why you're bending over for the Censor Sorority?
Charlie Burner: They're just a group of concerned parents that are exercising their freedom of speech.
Frank Zappa: Uh huh, yeah, sure, they might even have a point, I mean there's a lot of stuff I wouldn't want my kids listening to, Rick Springfield for example, but they've crossed the line, Charlie, with their connections there's no telling where this is going to end.
Charlie Burner: We're talking about labels, not censorship.
Frank Zappa: Oh come on, Charlie, we know how this ...
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Crazy Credits

During the final credits, the movie cuts back and forth between the video for the Twisted Sister song "We're Not Gonna Take It" and shots of the movie's cast and crew dancing and singing along with the song. See more »


Dress You Up
Written by Andrea LaRusso and Peggy Stanziale
Performed by Madonna
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User Reviews

Tongue planted firmly in cheek...
22 April 2002 | by TW TrullSee all my reviews

This was not a fantastic film, per se, but it was fun. Griffin Dunne played Frank Zappa quite well (as is to be expected from the under-rated Mr. Dunne), and the other performances were laudable for camp value, if nothing else. Generally, VH1 makes little effort to make their "true life" stories anything other than cartoonish entertainment, and this film was no exception. The framing story of a shallow lobbyist's quest for work of real value was given very little depth, and I am not sure whether this is a result of poor writing or the performance of Mr. Priestly; I would tend to suppose the problem lay in the writing. The film does favor the musicians against the PMRC (no surprises here, as it debuted on a music network), but great care seems to have been taken not to paint the PMRC as malicious -- the closest to slander comes in the frequent characterization of the PMRC as "bored Washington housewives." An interesting side note: after each commercial, we were treated to a "parental discretion advised" warning because of coarse language.

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