The 55 Sexiest Movies Ever Made

From the art house to late-night cable.

 

The 55 Sexiest Movies Ever Made
The 55 Sexiest Movies Ever Made

On this brave new decade, our definition of what’s and isn’t a Sex film has by no means been broader. Gone are the times of overtly pornographic movies masquerading as “dramas.” I imply, positive, those are also on this listing, but we may be elevated too. Sex is a complicated action to depict on movie as a result of at its most passionate, it embodies so many extra feelings than just being “hornt up.”

What lies under is a mixture of each the overt and the refined: sometimes a superb movie about Sex by no means incorporates a Sex scene. It is all in the construct up. The attract. The power of the key. After which, , sometimes it is only a good ol’ raunchy flick. Take the nuanced with the sexual romp-fest. Take a peek at this listing, with sexiness depicted in all varieties of ways—kink, romance, escape, and thrill. The best is when it is just a few of those issues without delay.

Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writers: James Ivory (screenplay by), André Aciman (based on the novel by)
Stars: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: Italy | France | USA | Brazil
Language: English | Italian | French | German | Hebrew
Runtime: 132 min
Release Date: 19 January 2018 (USA)

Luca Guadagnino’s gorgeous, sun-soaked summer romance finds a precocious young man falling for an older college student. It’s a touching coming-of-age story—one that will change the way you look at (and possibly taste) a peach forever.

The Babysitter

The Babysitter

Director: McG
Writer: Brian Duffield
Stars: Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell
Genres: Comedy | Horror
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 85 min
Release Date: 13 October 2017

Horror-movie horniness is all over the place. There’s sexy vampire, crazy cannibal, and horror-comedy camp, which doesn’t necessarily always work. The Babysitter (have to have the hot-babysitter cliche in here somewhere, right?) will go down in the cult canon years from now, if it hasn’t already.

Malcolm & Marie

Malcolm & Marie

Director: Sam Levinson
Writer: Sam Levinson
Stars: John David Washington, Zendaya
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 106 min
Release Date: 5 February 2021

Sam Levinson directs this sultry, visceral black and white film about a couple who come to blows following a night out. Zendaya and John David Washington star in the film and though the movie itself isn’t revered, the chemistry between Washington and Zendaya is nothing short of electric.

Lust, Caution

Lust, Caution

Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Eileen Chang (story), James Schamus (screenplay)
Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Tang Wei, Joan Chen
Genres: Drama | History | Romance | Thriller | War
Country: Taiwan | USA | Hong Kong | China
Language: Mandarin | Japanese | English | Shanghainese | Hindi | Cantonese
Runtime: 157 min | 148 min
Release Date: 26 October 2007

Directed by the inimitable Ang Lee, Lust, Caution is set in World War II-era Shanghai, where a drama student becomes a secret agent tasked with assassinating a high-ranking government official. When she falls for her target, the situation becomes more complicated than she anticipated. The sensual, explicit sex scenes are memorable, as is the film’s depiction of betrayal and revenge in wartime Shanghai.

God’s Own Country

God's Own Country

Director: Francis Lee
Writer: Francis Lee
Stars: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: UK
Language: English | Romanian | Bulgarian
Runtime: 104 min
Release Date: 24 August 2017

When people think of The Gay Love Story™, Brokeback Mountain comes to mind, but the oft-overlooked God’s Own Country is a just-as-good, if not superior, story about a farmer whose unfulfilling life leads to a series of sexual trysts and drinking. That is, until one day when a Romanian migrant farmer comes into his life and reshapes the world he’d given up on.

Bull Durham

Bull Durham

Director: Ron Shelton
Writer: Ron Shelton
Stars: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: 15 June 1988 (USA)

There’s nothing less attractive than minor league baseball (see: cramped bus rides, chewing tobacco, spitting, just in general) but the chemistry between Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon makes this one a romcom all-timer.

Basic Instinct

Basic Instinct
Basic Instinct

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: Joe Eszterhas
Stars: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza
Genres: Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Country: USA | France
Language: English
Runtime: 127 min | 128 min
Release Date: 20 March 1992 (USA)

It was the leg crossing, uncrossing, and recrossing that raised eyebrows around the world. Sharon Stone’s iconic role in Basic Instinct has the grit and gravitas to keep the film in distinguished territory while also highlighting just how sexy a thriller can be.

Magic Mike

Magic Mike

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 110 min
Release Date: 29 June 2012

If you spawned a freaking Vegas Chippendales-esque residency with your sexy movie, you better be on this list. Magic Mike told a memorable story (thank you Steven Soderbergh, master of all genres), but abs. Right?

Molly’s Game

Molly's Game

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writers: Aaron Sorkin (written for the screen by), Molly Bloom (based on the book by)
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Genres: Biography | Crime | Drama
Country: China | Canada | USA
Language: English
Runtime: 140 min
Release Date: 5 January 2018

The best genre of sexual films are those that have little to do with sex at all. Based on a true story, Molly’s Game follows Jessica Chastain in the titular role as the savvy, sexy ringleader of one of the most powerful illegal poker rings in history.

Talented Mr. Ripley

Talented Mr. Ripley

Director: Anthony Minghella
Writers: Patricia Highsmith (novel), Anthony Minghella (screenplay)
Stars: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law
Genres: Crime | Drama | Thriller
Country: USA
Language: English | Italian
Runtime: 139 min
Release Date: 25 December 1999

While Titanic might be the first film that comes to mind when you think “sexual tension on a boat,” it has nothing on 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. The film about a sociopathic tear in idyllic Italy is full of scandal, but it’s also rife with sexual chemistry between its three main stars: Jude Law, Matt Damon, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw

Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton
Genres: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Country: USA | Canada
Language: English | Chinese | Italian
Runtime: 113 min
Release Date: 1 February 2019

A bit of pansexuality? Art? Jake Gyllenhaal wearing little to no clothing? Yes, that’s a cocktail for a sexy film. Granted, it’s also a horror film, but when you pair that with a little bit of satire, the scary nature of Velvet Buzzsaw has all the ingredients of subtle steaminess.

Moonlight

Moonlight

Director: Barry Jenkins
Writers: Barry Jenkins (screenplay by), Tarell Alvin McCraney (story by)
Stars: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes
Genres: Drama
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 111 min
Release Date: 18 November 2016

Barry Jenkins’ beautifully shot film about a gay black man coming of age is as sensual as it is poignant. As the film tells Chiron’s story from youth to adulthood, it’s clear that Moonlight is weaving a romantic story that Hollywood rarely recognizes.

Weekend

Weekend

Director: Andrew Haigh
Writer: Andrew Haigh
Stars: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: UK
Language: English
Release Date: 4 November 2011
Runtime: 97 min

For anyone who has ever had a one night stand that lingers in the back of your mind, Weekend is the film for you. When two men have a connection after a night of partying, they find themselves spending the next day (and night) with each other and turning a quick fling into a passion-filled weekend that explores both sexuality and romance.

Creed

Creed

Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler (screenplay by), Aaron Covington (screenplay by)
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Genres: Drama | Sport
Country: USA
Language: English | Spanish
Release Date: 25 November 2015 (USA)
Runtime: 133 min

Have you seen Michael B Jordan? In Creed, he’s at peak physical perfection in a movie that is 90 percent him with his shirt off and/or working out. It also helps that Ryan Coogler’s reboot of the Rocky franchise is one of the greatest sports movies of all time.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Director: Doug Liman
Writers: David Bartis, Simon Kinberg
Stars: Martin Henderson, Jordana Brewster, Lauren Birkell
Genres: Action
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 43 min
Release Date: 2007

I mean, it’s Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie waffling back and forth between shooting people, blowing stuff up, and having sex. Add in the bonus that the wardrobe ranges from underwear to formal wear, and what this action movie becomes is one of the sexiest features of our whole damn generation.

Adore

Adore

Director: Anne Fontaine
Writers: Anne Fontaine (screenplay), Doris Lessing (book)
Stars: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: Australia | France
Language: English
Runtime: 112 min
Release Date: 3 April 2013

2013’s Adore is an erotic look into forbidden love. Naomi Watts and Robin Wright star in this film about two friends who raise their sons together before taking up physical relationships with the other woman’s adult son. It’s strangely incestuous, yet somehow not?

Disobedience

Disobedience

Director: Sebastián Lelio
Writers: Sebastián Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: Ireland | UK | USA
Language: English | Hebrew
Runtime: 114 min
Release Date: 27 April 2018

Find something sexier than doing what you know damn well that you shouldn’t. We’ll wait. Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivola star in this complex drama about two women who share a forbidden love. When Ronnit returns home for her Orthodox Jewish father’s funeral, she quickly discovers that the same-sex attraction that once got her shunned is as alive as ever.

Ex Machina

Ex Machina

Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac
Genres: Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Country: UK
Language: English
Runtime: 108 min
Release Date: 24 April 2015

Another sexy movie sub-subgenre: The human crushing on an android story. With Alicia Vikander’s sensitive, wholly believable performance as a robot coming into sentience (which is enough to attract a wayward programmer), Ex Machina does it best.

Support the Girls

Support the Girls

Director: Andrew Bujalski
Writer: Andrew Bujalski
Stars: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula
Genres: Comedy | Drama
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 93 min
Release Date: 24 August 2018

Support the Girls has Regina Hall, a Steph Curry tattoo, and a man who gets stuck in a ventilation duct. Oh, and Barack Obama said the movie—which features, smart, genuinely laugh-out-loud satire—was one of his favorite films of 2018. What else do you need?

Wild Things

Wild Things

Director: John McNaughton
Writer: Stephen Peters
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Matt Dillon
Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 108 min | 115 min
Release Date: 20 March 1998

Wild Things is notorious for two things: Kevin Bacon’s exposed penis and a threesome between Denise Richards, Neve Campbell, and Matt Dillon. The latter is mostly an excuse to feature then-unknown Richards topless.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Director: Céline Sciamma
Writer: Céline Sciamma
Stars: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: France
Language: French | Italian
Runtime: 122 min
Release Date: 14 February 2020

Is there any language as sexy as French? This stirring historical romance puts that thesis to the test in a lustful story about two women, one a painter and the other her reluctant subject. On a windswept coast, they struggle to ignore the pull of forbidden love, resulting in an unforgettable Gothic romance for the ages.

Elisa and Marcela

Elisa and Marcela

Director: Isabel Coixet
Writers: Isabel Coixet (screenplay by), Narciso de Gabriel (based on the literary essay by)
Stars: Natalia de Molina, Greta Fernández, Sara Casasnovas
Genres: Biography | Drama | Romance
Country: Spain
Language: Spanish | Portuguese
Runtime: 118 min
Release Date: 7 June 2019 (USA)

In this biographical true story, Spanish director Isabel Coixet depicts the first same-sex marriage recorded in Spain. After sixteen years of hiding their love for one another, Elisa adopted a male identity in order to marry the woman she loved. Bleak and elegant, this gripping tale of forbidden love is an unforgettable romance.

Atonement

Atonement

Director: Joe Wright
Writers: Ian McEwan (novel), Christopher Hampton (screenplay)
Stars: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn
Genres: Drama | Mystery | Romance | War
Country: UK | France | USA
Language: English | French
Runtime: 123 min
Release Date: 11 January 2008

That library scene, am I right? In this sweeping WWII-era tale of one lie’s disastrous consequences, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy enjoy a torrid tryst against a row of bookshelves, making for one of the steamiest scenes ever committed to celluloid.

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions

Director: Roger Kumble
Writers: Choderlos de Laclos (novel), Roger Kumble (screenplay)
Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: USA
Language: English | Vietnamese | French
Runtime: 97 min
Release Date: 5 March 1999 (USA)

A ’90s update to Dangerous Liaisons sees a pair of horned-up, upper-crust Manhattan teens (and step-siblings) scheming to bring social ruin upon their virginal classmates.

In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love

Director: Kar-Wai Wong
Writer: Kar-Wai Wong
Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: Hong Kong | China
Language: Cantonese | Shanghainese | French | Spanish
Runtime: 98 min
Release Date: 9 March 2001

In the Mood for Love might just be the sexiest movie ever made where no one has sex. Set in Hong Kong in 1962, a journalist and a secretary living next door to one another develop an attraction while their respective spouses work long hours. When they begin to suspect that their spouses are having an affair together, their relationship grows, making for a poignant, provocative story about fidelity, beauty, and youth.

The Dreamers

The Dreamers

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Writers: Gilbert Adair (screenplay), Gilbert Adair (based on the novel)
Stars: Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Eva Green
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: UK | France | Italy | USA
Language: English | French
Runtime: 115 min | 112 min
Release Date: 20 February 2004

Matthew is an American studying in Paris during the tumultuous spring of 1968. There he meets a French brother and sister duo who share a love of cinema and debauchery. The three begin a complex friendship that borders on taboo when the three push the boundaries of desire.

Sex and Lucia

Sex and Lucia

Director: Julio Medem
Writer: Julio Medem
Stars: Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: Spain | France
Language: Spanish | English
Runtime: 128 min
Release Date: 24 August 2001

This film focuses on the lives of various people living on a small island in the Mediterranean Sea—a group of people whose lives are connected by a novelist, whose work affects their complex relationships with each other.

Body Heat

Body Heat

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna
Genres: Crime | Drama | Romance | Thriller
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 113 min
Release Date: 28 August 1981

Arguably the last great American noir film, this ’80s thriller featuring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner harkens to the old-fashioned femme fatale films of the genre. It ups the ante with sex scenes that would’ve made Barbara Stanwyck blush.

Elles

Elles

Director: Malgorzata Szumowska (as Malgoska Szumowska)
Writers: Tine Byrckel, Malgorzata Szumowska (as Malgoska Szumowska)
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Anaïs Demoustier, Joanna Kulig
Genres: Drama
Country: France | Poland | Germany
Language: French | English | Polish
Runtime: 99 min
Release Date: 1 February 2012

A journalist (Juliette Binoche) interviews two sex workers as she works on a story about prostitution. Instead of hearing horror stories, she discovers them to be proud and empowered—and it forces her to re-examine her own view of sexuality.

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writers: Abdellatif Kechiche (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Ghalya Lacroix (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) (as Ghalia Lacroix)
Stars: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: France | Belgium | Spain
Language: French | English
Runtime: 180 min
Release Date: 9 October 2013

This acclaimed romance finds two young French schoolgirls—Emma and Adèle—falling in and out of love. It’s a devastating love story, but one that features some shockingly graphic sex scenes for which its leads wore prosthetic genitals.

9 Songs

9 Songs

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Kieran O’Brien, Margo Stilley, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Genres: Drama | Music | Romance
Country: UK
Language: English
Release Date: 11 March 2005
Runtime: 71 min | 67 min

A Englishman named Matt and an American woman named Lisa form a relationship based on two common interests: seeing rock shows and fucking. Michael Winterbottom’s film is part-concert montage, part boundary-pushing sex film.

Girls Trip

Girls Trip

Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Writers: Erica Rivinoja (story by), Kenya Barris (story by)
Stars: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith
Genres: Adventure | Comedy | Drama
Country: USA | Canada
Language: English
Runtime: 122 min
Release Date: 21 July 2017

To describe Girls Trip, you first have to start with a grapefruit. What you do is you take a grapefruit and cut a chunk off both ends. Then you hollow out a whole in the middle. What you’re going to do then is slide it over an erect penis. Mind you, this grapefruit technique only takes up about five minutes of the film, so that should give you an idea of the kind of content you’re signing up for in this female-ensemble led comedy that helped launch Tiffany Haddish’s career.

Unfaithful

Unfaithful

Director: Adrian Lyne
Writers: Claude Chabrol (film “La Femme infidèle”), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
Stars: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez
Genres: Drama | Romance | Thriller
Country: France | Germany | USA
Language: English | French
Runtime: 124 min
Release Date: 10 May 2002

If you’re going to cheat on Richard Gere, Olivier Martinez is as good a choice as any. And that’s who Diane Lane falls for in her Oscar-nominated performance—and it’s not too difficult to see why.

Bound

Bound

Director: Jared Cohn
Writers: Jared Cohn (screenplay), Delondra Mesa (additional writing) (as Delondra Williams)
Stars: Charisma Carpenter, Bryce Draper, Morgan Obenreder
Genres: Drama | Thriller
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 91 min
Release Date: 5 February 2016

The Wachowskis’ debut is a thriller starring Gina Gershon as an ex-con who seduces the wife of her crime boss neighbor. The women conspire to steal $2 million from the mobster—but first, they engage in some sexy scenes choreographed by feminist critic Susie Bright.

Romance X

Romance X

Director: Catherine Breillat
Writer: Catherine Breillat (scenario and dialogue)
Stars: Caroline Ducey, Sagamore Stévenin, François Berléand
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: France
Language: French | English
Runtime: 84 min | 99 min
Release Date: 14 April 1999

Director Catherine Breillat has been labeled a “porno auteuriste;” the term is most applicable with her 1999 drama in which a French teacher, frustrated with her boyfriend’s disregard for intimacy and affection, searches elsewhere to fulfill her insatiable desires.

Secretary

Secretary

Director: Steven Shainberg
Writers: Erin Cressida Wilson (screenplay), Mary Gaitskill (short story)
Stars: James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Davies
Genres: Comedy | Drama | Romance
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 107 min
Release Date: 11 October 2002 (USA)

The timid Lee breaks out of her shell when she takes a job as an assistant for a demanding—and aggressive—lawyer Mr. Grey. Their office relationship quickly evolves when the sadistic Mr. Grey turns his daily taunts into sexual play.

Love

Love

Director: Gaspar Noé
Writer: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: France | Belgium
Language: English | French
Runtime: 135 min
Release Date: 30 October 2015

Gaspar Noé is no stranger to provocation, but his arthouse sexual drama took full advantage of the technological marvels of 3-D. While, uh, objects won’t be flying out of your normal TV or laptop screen when you stream this one online, the titillation remains intact.

Y Tu Mamá También

Y Tu Mamá También

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: Carlos Cuarón, Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho
Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish
Runtime: 106 min
Release Date: 8 June 2001

Tenoch and Julio are a couple of horned-up Mexico City teenagers who take a spur-of-the-moment road trip with Luisa, the wife of Tenoch’s cousin. On the way, the young men must face the facts about their friendship as they embark upon adulthood.

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden

Director: Chan-wook Park
Writers: Sarah Waters (inspired by the novel “Fingersmith” by), Seo-kyeong Jeong (screenplay)
Stars: Kim Min-hee, Jung-woo Ha, Cho Jin-woong
Genres: Drama | Romance | Thriller
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean | Japanese
Runtime: 145 min
Release Date: 1 June 2016 (South Korea)

Combine a little bit of heist-adjacent scam with a tinge of homoeroticism, and you have The Handmaiden. The film, directed by Park Chan-wook, starts as a ruse to fool a Japanese woman out of her inheritance, but when a hired handmaiden gets a bit closer to her than she imagined, an unexpected relationship forms.

Crash

Crash

Director: Paul Haggis
Writers: Paul Haggis (story), Paul Haggis (screenplay)
Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton
Genres: Crime | Drama | Thriller
Country: USA | Germany | Australia
Language: English | Persian | Spanish | Mandarin | Korean
Runtime: 112 min
Release Date: 6 May 2005 (USA)

No, not the dubious Best Picture winner—this is the infamous Crash in which James Spader, Holly Hunter, and co. get their sexual kicks from car crashes in David Cronenberg’s controversial adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel.

The Pillow Book

The Pillow Book

Director: Peter Greenaway
Writers: Sei Shonagon (book), Peter Greenaway
Stars: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida
Genres: Drama
Country: Netherlands | UK | France | Luxembourg | Austria
Language: English | Cantonese | Italian | Japanese | Mandarin | French
Runtime: 126 min
Release Date: 6 June 1997

Nagiko (Vivian Wu) is a Japanese model with an usual fetish: words, particularly calligraphy painted on the human body. She finds an eager partner in Jerome, played by Ewan McGregor (who appears in a few full-frontal nude scenes).

Thirst

Thirst

Director: Chan-wook Park (as Park Chan-wook)
Writers: Émile Zola (inspired by “Thérèse Raquin”), Chan-wook Park (screenplay by) (as Park Chan-wook)
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Kim Ok-bin, Hee-jin Choi
Genres: Drama | Fantasy | Horror | Romance
Country: South Korea | USA
Language: Korean | English | French
Runtime: 134 min | 148 min
Release Date: 30 April 2009

Thirst was released in 2009—long before thirst became a 101-level vocabulary sexy word on the Internet—so rest assured it’s not a 50 Shades spinoff or anything. This thirst is of the vampiric variety. The South Korean horror film follows priest-turned bloodsucker Sang-hyun, who has quite the adventure following his first brush with the taste of human blood.

Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds
Genres: Drama
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 155 min
Release Date: 31 October 1997

Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble-driven film offers a comic—and at times dark—look at the heyday of the American porn industry in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

9 1/2 Weeks

9 1/2 Weeks
9 1/2 Weeks

Director: Adrian Lyne
Writers: Elizabeth McNeill (novel), Patricia Louisianna Knop (screenplay) (as Patricia Knop)
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Margaret Whitton
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: USA
Language: English | Spanish
Runtime: 117 min | 112 min
Release Date: 21 February 1986

A wealthy business man named John Gray seduces a young gallery assistant, Elizabeth. Their relationship becomes more complex as she finds herself succumbing to his demands, slowly allowing him to cross an ever-moving line.

Henry & June

Henry & June

Director: Philip Kaufman
Writers: Anaïs Nin (book), Philip Kaufman (screenplay)
Stars: Fred Ward, Uma Thurman, Maria de Medeiros
Genres: Biography | Drama
Country: USA | France
Language: English | French
Runtime: 136 min
Release Date: 5 October 1990

Henry & June explores the relationship between Henry Miller and his wife as he wrote his infamous novel Tropic of Cancer—as well as his affair with the French writer Anaïs Nin. Practically tame by today’s standards, this is the movie responsible for the creation of the NC-17 rating.

Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Frederic Raphael (screenplay)
Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Todd Field
Genres: Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Country: UK | USA
Language: English
Runtime: 159 min
Release Date: 16 July 1999

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a couple whose relationship is tested when the wife reveals her fantasy about another man. In retaliation, the husband wanders through the night, finding himself at a masked ball that soon turns into an Illuminati-esque orgy.

Intimacy

Intimacy

Director: Patrice Chéreau
Writers: Hanif Kureishi (stories), Anne-Louise Trividic
Stars: Mark Rylance, Kerry Fox, Susannah Harker
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: France | UK | Germany | Spain
Language: English
Release Date: 28 March 2001

Future Oscar winner Mark Rylance plays a failed musician who has a weekly anonymous tryst with a woman he barely knows. When his curiosity gets the best of him, he seeks out to learn more about the woman—which leads to the destruction of their relationship.

She’s Gotta Have It

She's Gotta Have It

Director: Spike Lee
Writers: Spike Lee, Zora Neale Hurston (opening quotation)
Stars: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell
Genres: Comedy | Romance
Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 84 min | 88 min
Release Date: 8 August 1986 (USA)

Spike Lee’s 1986 comedy is a classic and a damn good movie to boot, but that’s what this list is about. You can be sexy and elevated at the same time. When Nola Darling finds herself dating three different men, things get as steamy as they do complicated. And make no mistake, Nola is not the type of character to pass on sexual liberation for fear of hurting a man’s feelings.

Querelle

Querelle

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Writers: Jean Genet (novel), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (screenplay)
Stars: Brad Davis, Franco Nero, Jeanne Moreau
Genres: Drama
Country: West Germany | France
Language: English
Runtime: 108 min
Release Date: 8 September 1982

Brad Davis plays the titular character in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s final film. The sailor Querelle, while on leave in Brest, discovers a brothel where the owner, Nono, has a fondness for gambling. A roll of the dice earns Querelle either a night with Nono’s wife, Lysiane—or Nono himself.

Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour

Director: Luis Buñuel (as Luis Bunuel)
Writers: Joseph Kessel (novel) (as Joseph Kessel de l’Académie Française), Luis Buñuel (adaptation) (as Luis Bunuel)
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: France | Italy
Language: French
Runtime: 100 min
Release Date: 10 April 1968 (USA)

Catherine Deneuve plays a beautiful young housewife who remains unsatisfied in her marriage. So she does what any clever, enterprising woman would do: She becomes a prostitute, fulfilling her desires working in a Parisian brothel.

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Director: Julia Leigh
Writers: Yasunari Kawabata (idea), Julia Leigh (screenplay)
Stars: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie
Genres: Drama | Romance | Thriller
Country: Australia
Language: English
Runtime: 101 min
Release Date: 2 December 2011

Not to be confused with the fairy tale, this erotic drama stars Emily Browning as a young student named Lucy who takes a curious job as a live lingerie model of sorts in an exclusive club catering to various men and their desires.

Stranger by the Lake

Stranger by the Lake

Director: Alain Guiraudie
Writer: Alain Guiraudie
Stars: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick d’Assumçao
Genres: Drama | Romance | Thriller
Country: France
Language: French
Runtime: 100 min
Release Date: 12 June 2013 (France)

Franck visits a gay cruising beach and takes notice of the handsome Michel—and also that Michel has murdered his companion. In this provocative thriller, Franck must reconcile his lust for passion with his potentially deadly object of desire.

Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive

Director: David Lynch
Writer: David Lynch
Stars: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux
Genres: Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Country: France | USA
Language: English | Spanish | French
Runtime: 147 min
Release Date: 19 October 2001

While David Lynch’s neo-noir focuses mostly on an aspiring actress (Naomi Watts) playing amateur detective upon her arrival in Los Angeles, the film features a notorious lesbian love scene between Watts and her co-star, Laura Elena Harding.

In the Realm of Senses

In the Realm of Senses

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Writer: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima
Genres: Drama | Romance
Country: Japan | France
Language: Japanese
Runtime: 109 min
Release Date: 1 April 1977 (USA)

This film tells the infamous tale of Sada Abe, a geisha who murdered her lover by erotic asphyxiation. One of the most notorious films ever made—one that features unsimulated sex between its actors—the film was widely banned in countries across the world.

Love & Basketball

Love & Basketball

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Glenndon Chatman
Genres: Drama | Romance | Sport
Country: USA
Language: English | Spanish
Runtime: 124 min
Release Date: 21 April 2000

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Love & Basketball remains a turn-of-the-century romance masterpiece. Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star as best friends and lovers who try to balance their own relationship with their basketball careers from childhood through adulthood.

 

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