Some films are known for being a product of their times. A good number of Hollywood productions from the ’30s and ’40s (and a couple in the ’50s and even the ’60s) sported performances that are now considered straightforward, bland, and wooden, but upon release, they were praised and applauded for the very things we criticize. I guess because of this, we can watch some of these movies just to reminisce about the ideologies and think of those years gone by. With that mindset, just about any picture ever made can be seen for that one thing about it that stands out. The topic observed in this article may be a little on the risque side of things, but it is culturally significant nonetheless.
The nude scenes that have stood out in the movies mentioned below have since become topics of conversation, debate, etc. and they have had an impact upon society, which is funny, because the films that encompass the whole thing, not a lot of people seem to care about. I’ll be trying to explore why these movies with full frontal nudity have become popular in today’s world as well, in order to get a better insight on what worked or didn’t.
12. Lovelace (2013)
‘Lovelace’ is one of my favorite films of 2013. It is flawed in its screenplay and dialogue, but the way it handles its topic is interesting, original, and compelling. Having to do with the life of real-life pornstar, sex symbol, and extremely popular 1970s public figure Linda Lovelace, the film follows her rather horrifying path to fame and what she did with the latter half of her time on Earth to redeem those disastrous years (with an interesting side-note that everything she cooked up might be total baloney). The story is told through intriguing parallels and non-linearity, which keeps your eyes peeled throughout the run-time. Sadly, this picture went as soon as it came, and barely anyone even mentions its merits today. What steals the limelight though, are the numerous nude scenes from the photoshoots and personal affairs of Lovelace depicted in the film. The title character is portrayed by Amanda Seyfried, whose fame as a star only led to the nude moments standing out further.
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11. The Dreamers (2003)
This was a film that was controversial upon release (it’s a Bertolucci piece, why wouldn’t it be?), which led to its many explicit nude scenes (that garnered it an NC-17 rating) gaining popularity. Though some people have started appreciating this picture for its merits, most still know of ‘The Dreamers’ as “that film where Eva Green was naked for a long time.” They’re not wrong, though, and the scenes in question are beautifully shot and distinctive that they catch the eye better than the rest of the picture. A film about cinephiles set in the ’60s, the film isn’t entirely perfect, but it has some great characterization, a neat story, and marvelous direction (again, it’s a Bertolucci piece). It does seem to be leaning on shock value rather than a nuanced and coherent storyline. Nonetheless, the picture is wholly entertaining.
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10. Bolero (1984)
Another highly controversial pick on this list, ‘Bolero’ was one of the first films to pull back from the dreaded X rating from the MPAA to be released without any rating at all. People were convinced that this film had something about it that demanded attention. As you can clearly tell, the focus was already on the nudity. Fresh off of films like the comedy classic ’10’, Bo Derek signed up to make this film with her husband “paying homage” to the Blake Edwards picture in order to get people in the theater seats (even the title refers to Ravel’s beautifully constructed musical piece that turned on Derek’s character in ’10’, her debut). The first people who did go and see it reportedly walked out of the hall during half-time because of how poorly made and uninteresting it was. People remember this film today for being the steamiest picture Derek ever starred in, and the sex scene has been considered one of the most memorable in cinema history (in a good way).
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9. Prime Cut (1972)
Before the nude opening montage of ‘Carrie’ was even shot, there was Sissy Spacek’s 1972 film ‘Prime Cut,’ which had a very strange moment in it wherein two drugged naked girls in a cattle farm are sold to a mobster. This angered many people who saw it at the time and noted it as a moment in cinema that objectified women. The truth of the matter was that it had been worked better into the story than the media and other outlets had portrayed it to be. The film is flawed, but I wasn’t too bored while watching it. With great performances all around, one almost forgives the movie for its terrible plot and irritating characterization. People rarely mention the picture these days, but the shocking nude scene is ever-so-alive even today, more than 45 years after the picture’s release.
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8. Dream Lover (1993)
I think ‘Dream Lover’ is an interesting enough film for most of its run-time. It has that tight, uncomfortable style about it that makes it a great watch. Though I find its third act to be incredibly lazy and poorly filmed, the rest of it builds up the final moments so well that I have to give it credit where it is due. Starring Madchen Amick and James Spader, the film performed poorly at its time of release, and reviews were very mixed. The television program Twin Peaks had just concluded two years prior, and one of its hottest attractions (I mean, apart from David Lynch’s excellent direction and the intriguing mystery of the plot) was Amick, who played a waitress in a bad marriage. Her nude scene in this film was phenomenal, as it had her go full-frontal and was complete with even the element of sex involved. It might be due to this that the scene stood out because many recall this moment, but few do the title of the film itself.
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7. Striptease (1996)
‘Striptease’ is without a doubt one of the most terrible films ever made in cinematic history. It rightfully deserved every Razzie it won because it is a showcase of just how bad movies can be if done wrong. That being said, I’d be lying if I told you that I hated it. Following a plotline that is almost similar to that of ‘Showgirls’ from 1994 (if it had more CIA and government corruption than it did stripper rivalry), I find the overall product to be rather amusing. It is so bad that it cracks me up. I’m sure leading lady Demi Moore had a fair idea that this project would go south because her performance feels more like a parody of itself than actual acting. There’s a strip-cum-dance moment nearing the end of the third act, which raked in so much attention from the public, given the film’s notoriety and Moore’s popularity at the time. It’s still a bad film, but hey, at least it’s got one memorable moment.
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6. All the Right Moves (1983)
A teen movie starring Tom Cruise in the lead should’ve gone a long way, but despite some commercial success and buzz during its release, ‘All the Right Moves’ remained little talked about. The story was good enough, and it had some neat laughs here and there. It is by no means a classic, but you get what I mean. Lea Thompson played the leading lady here, two years before ‘Back to the Future’ would skyrocket her name to fame. As the years went by, people started taking note of their beloved actress’ earlier movies, and brought into the light this film, particularly its sex scene that involved her and Cruise. The scene isn’t too explicit, but it does have full-frontal nudity which caught the eye of audiences. Now, this scene has become iconic, and the movie remains forgotten, mainly because it had little about it to remember it by.
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5. Porky’s (1981)
Bob Clark has had a career directing some of the strangest films ever. Leaning towards an up-or-down filmography that he became notorious for in the circles that mentioned his work, it is ‘Porky’s’ he gets most of his own style right. The film is crude, nonsensical, and undeniably hilarious in the way it gets its story told, being the type of flick that I’d pop in to watch with my friends. It’s a give-or-take good time, which is why I think the picture should be remembered more. It is, sure, but the film garnered more fame for its shower scene wherein a couple of nude girls are peeped at by a bunch of boys. The scene as it plays out isn’t one of the better moments of the film in my opinion, but it found its fans in the many people who discovered the camera-filling rather long nude scene in the years to come. Sadly, ‘Porky’s’ drowned in all that notoriety, and barely anyone mentions that film these days.
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4. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
If you were to go around and ask anyone – ANYONE – what they thought the most iconic nude scene of all time was, chances are they’d point to the daydream sequence in this film. Also, chances are they’ve never seen this picture. Being another one of those college movies from the ’80s, this performed well both critically and commercially, but Phoebe Cates’ couple minutes of toplessness became a staple conversation topic among highschoolers, college freshemen, and others in that age category. Soon enough, it was labeled the greatest nude scene of all time by most people who saw it. This did help the film to rediscover its popularity, but the fact remains that it is most well known for that one little moment than it is for anything else. The film is kinda fun, and I think it’s great that it is getting the little popularity it has as a result of its sensational nude scene.
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3. Killing Me Softly (2002)
So a couple of entries down, we mentioned ‘Dream Lover’ for being a forgotten gem with a memorable sex scene. ‘Killing Me Softly’ follows the same route, following pretty much the same story, but now with reversed roles. So instead of a husband hunting down his wife’s past, it’s the wife who’s got the job. Unlike the 1993 film, though, this isn’t all that well made. Whenever it tries to be funny, it just becomes sad, and when it tries to be serious, it is laughably bad. That isn’t to say that none of it works, but the experience is very forgettable, apart from the sex scene. Heather Graham had a couple of years before sprung into fame following films like ‘Bowfinger’ and ‘Boogie Nights,’ so her multiple nude scenes in this film caught the attention of the public eye. These have now become some of the most famous nude scenes of all time, but barely anyone’s seen the film, based on its poor box office performance, otherwise damp cultural significance, and overall poor feedback.
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2. Havoc (2005)
I honestly have no idea how to critique this film. It’s interesting but poorly made. Yet, part of me appreciates the bad filmmaking because without it, I wouldn’t have gotten through the boring plot that forms the murky water in which this film stays submerged. One thing that is bad and provides no benefits to the film is the hokey acting. Every significant actor feels like they’re trying way too hard, coming off as unrealistic and over-the-top. Anne Hathaway’s nude scenes (which are rather abundant in this film) caught the eye of the general public once she slowly started getting that A-list celebrity status. Questionably strange, one of the most popular of the nude scenes has Hathaway crawling on a couch, speaking poorly written lines, in a moment that I’m still trying to make sense out of. This is a film that I can frankly understand why people skipped.
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1. Original Sin (2001)
I find it sad that this film is nothing more to most people than the picture where Angelina Jolie went nude. To be fair to them, the nude scene in question is very memorable, attributing such traits from its revolving top shot, inviting music, and attractive stars. The movie isn’t half-bad though. It’s a campy but memorable thriller that I wouldn’t hesitate to rewatch. Sure, it’s riddled with flaws that almost make it laughable, but it is atmospheric to the point that it becomes distinctive in nature. Critics despised this film, and it underperformed at the box office. Recently, some people have begun to rediscover this movie (myself included), and many have found it to be rather interesting. The sex scene here still stands as the most memorable moment in the entire picture, but I think it’s all worth giving a shot. If not for anything else, then for Jolie and Antonio Banderas at least.
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