The MPAA upheld its R ratingfor Fahrenheit 9/11 yesterday(22), despite an eleventh hour appeal led by Lions Gate Films president TomOrtenberg.

Classification and ratingappeals board members stuck to their guns after watching a screening of MichaelMoore's Palme D'Or winner in Los Angeles and hearing argument from Ortenberg.

The reason for the ratingcited by an MPAA spokesperson was "some violent and disturbing images and forlanguage". It is believed the "disturbing" images refer to footage of US troopsabusing prisoners.

In a statement Ortenbergsaid: "The film will open in all 50 states on Friday (25), and the R ratingwill not deter the tremendous anticipation and enthusiasm that we see buildingfor Fahrenheit 9/11 as more andmore people learn about it."

Lions Gate, IFC Films andHarvey and Bob Weinsteins' Fellowship Adventure Group are releasing the pictureon 868 screens in the US.

"It's very disappointing anddisheartening that they weren't able to reconsider the rating and see that thisfilm is very important to audiences that won't necessarily have access to it,"IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring told

"We wanted 15 and16-year-old kids to see the movie because two or three years from now they aregoing to be able to vote and join the armed forces.

"An informed public is abetter, empowered public, and belief in this notion has traditionally set usapart from some other countries in the world."

Sehring said he reluctantlyaccepted the board's decision and looked forward to a strong theatrical run.

Meanwhile Moore himselfoffered to sneak younger viewers into theatres if they needed his help."Teenagers should be able to see this film and see it on their own," he said ina statement.

"Older teenagers are beingsent to Iraq, some never to return. To say that teenagers shouldn't see thismovie means that the truth should be kept from them. I encourage all teenagersto come see my movie, by any means necessary. If you need me to sneak you in,let me know."