Films examining or exploring sexuality or sexual orientation are rarely made. Whenever they do get made, the subject matter is mostly about someone discovering their sexuality or sexual identity. Only a handful of films have dared to go to the “tabooed” territory of exploring twisted sexuality. It is a difficult subject to pull off, honestly. Two hours of a story that revolves just around sex can quickly become boring. But that didn’t prevent some directors from going the route of twisted sexuality. Many of them actually succeeded in making a good film. Here is the list of top most explicit movies of all time. You can watch some of these most sexually explicit movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. Crash (1996)
‘Crash’ is the story of a TV director who after getting into a serious car accident discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife. David Cronenberg is known for making weird movies and ‘Crash’ is as weird and twisted as a film can get. I am not going to pretend that this film is for everyone (but then none of the films on this list are), but if you want to experience something completely out of the box, don’t look further than this film.
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9. Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)
A provocative edgy drama based on the best-selling novel by Judith Rossner, which itself is based on a true story. The film in a nutshell is about a schoolteacher who spends her nights cruising bars, looking for abusive men with whom she can engage in progressively violent sexual encounters. She begins to wallow endlessly in her new “liberated” sexual lifestyle, the thrill of the evening trysts, which eventually involves drugs and violence has her life spinning out of control with this self-destructive behavior. Shockingly told, the film culminates in an unforgettable and shattering climax.
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8. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
It chronicles the story of the sickening pleasures and twisted sexualities of four powerful leaders and how they exploit 18 young men and women in devious manners. The tale is narrated in an unflinching manner, making it highly intense. The brutal murders, rape for fun and sadism make it one of the most difficult films to watch. It is gory and hurts the viewer almost physically every time it is watched. Some of the scenes are so disturbing that it becomes a nightmare. The torture is unapologetic but poetic justice is served in the end.
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7. Nymphomaniac (2013)
‘Nymphomaniac’ is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is discovered badly beaten in an alley by an older bachelor, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home. As he tends to her wounds, she recounts the erotic story of her twisted sexuality. Oddly funny and provocative, ‘Nymphomaniac’ may not be von Trier’s best work — remember he has several great films to his name — but still it is sufficiently good enough to hold your interest from start to finish of its nearly four-hour running.
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6. Secretary (2002)
A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a twisted sexual relationship: a sadomasochistic one. Sadomasochism provides the backdrop for a very unusual erotic romantic drama. The film isn’t for everyone but it does have some funny and weird moments in equal measure. Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in a bold performance.
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5. Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Paul (Marlon Brando), a middle-aged American, comes to Paris when his estranged wife commits suicide. Chancing to meet young Frenchwoman Jeanne (Maria Schneider), Paul enters into a sadomasochistic, carnal relationship with her. The sexual content in ‘Last Tango in Paris’ is uncomfortably explicit (the infamous “butter scene” is unforgettable). The combination of Brando’s acting, Bertolucci’s direction, Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography, and Gato Barbieri’s music create an exquisitely erotic piece of art.
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4. Belle de Jour (1967)
Catherine Deneuve stars as a wealthy but bored newlywed, eager to taste life to the fullest. She seemingly gets her wish early in the film when she is kidnapped, tied to a tree, and whipped. It turns out that this is only a daydream, but her subsequent visits to a neighboring brothel, where she offers her services, certainly seem to be real. Overall the film is a delicate but passionate study of erotica. Roger Ebert called the film “possibly the best-known erotic film of modern times, perhaps the best.”
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3. The Piano Teacher (2001)
A deeply disturbing examination — what else can you expect out of Michael Haneke — of desire, desperation and twisted sexuality, ‘The Piano Teacher’ may leave you shaken by the time it ends. Not an easy watch by any means, the film will be richly rewarding to only those who patiently and thoughtfully strive to absorb its subtle nuances — after having gotten through the initial shock. In the end, and if you look closely, Haneke’s message with this film is: Love has many shades, and not all of them are beautiful.
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2. Shame (2011)
On the face of it, ‘Shame’ is about a man suffering from sex addiction; but it could so easily have been about any other addiction. How often we try to masquerade our inner fears and weaknesses under the veil of addiction? Shame deals with that. It also disentangles an aspect of human behavior like no other film this century has managed to do. World came to know about McQueen from Oscar-winning ’12 Years A Slave’. But watch ‘Shame’ and you will realize why McQueen is such a great talent. The way he lets camera linger around as if it is a silent, invisible person — and not just an image capturing tool — is pure genius.
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1. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
‘Eyes Wide Shut’ is the story of a New York City doctor, William Harford, who pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. The famous masked orgy scene in the film sets up the surreal and hypnotic mood of the film. William, as a witness to the lustful proceedings, begins to feel a perplexing trap closing in on him, but still continues to explore the darker mysteries of the intricately fashioned manner where the most towering members of high society indulge their most deviant sexual desires. And as an audience, the atmosphere Kubrick creates begins to feel far too dangerous, far too intrusive, but just like Bill, you are entranced, and nothing can help you escape.
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