If you spend a lot of time analyzing movie sex scenes like we do, you might find yourself rolling your eyes at how many on-screen couples manage to have sex without ever showing any skin…or who fall asleep with a sheet covering them just so…or who always put on a shirt and underpants when they get out of bed to pee, no matter how raunchy things just got. Where’s the nudity? Where’s the raunch?
And even when there is nudity, it isn’t always what it seems: It’s not uncommon these days for actresses to wear band-aids over their nipples during shooting, and then nipples are added later, in CGI (with the actressesâ€™ full permission). Weâ€™re not sure what this accomplishes, exactly — except put a bunch of body doubles out of work.
Fortunately, there are still some directors around who are very, shall we say, comfortable with on-screen nudity. And we mean the real kind — not the CGI kind. Only after we finished this top 10 list did we realize it was entirely male, which we suppose shouldnâ€™t surprise us — after all, most of the nudity is female. But we dug up male nudity — or, at least, equal-opportunity nudity — where we could. You’re welcome!
10. Lars Von Trier
Is there anything Lars Von Trier is afraid of when it comes to movie-making? (Except perhaps slapstick humor — we canâ€™t quite see him going with a banana peel gag.) This Danish filmmaker makes very smart films, which might make you feel like less of a perv about all the nudity if the works werenâ€™t also extremely disturbing. He is one of the founders of the purist avant-garde film movement Dogme 95, which shuns special effects and other Hollywood gimmicks — which is perhaps why heâ€™s known for showing unsimulated sex in his films like THE IDIOTS (1998) and ANTI-CHRIST (2009), as well as full-frontal nudity of both the male and female variety. Oh, and his company, Zentropa, also produces hardcore pornography. Who doesnâ€™t have a hardcore porn-producing hobby these days?
9. Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow was so annoyed at a test audienceâ€™s squeamish response to a penis in WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (2007) –which he wrote and produced — that he announced, “I’m gonna get a penis or a vagina in every movie I do from now on. â€¦ It really makes me laugh in this day and age, with how psychotic our world is, that anyone is troubled by seeing any part of the human body.” That might explain the closing-credits penis montage in SUPERBAD (2007), which Apatow produced. â€śAmerica fears the penis,” he said. â€śAnd that’s something I’m going to help them get over.” The offending schlong in WALK HARD — which appears behind John C. Reilly’s head in an orgy scene — made the cut, though from a different angle than the original, to reduce the delicate audienceâ€™s exposure to too much ballsac. Apatow also produced FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008), which features Jason Segelâ€™s awesome nude breakup scene.
8. Adrian Lyne
Adrian Lyneâ€™s movies are pretty much synonymous with dark sex — think, 9 Â˝ WEEKS (1986), INDECENT PROPOSAL (1993), FATAL ATTRACTION (1987), LOLITA (1997), and UNFAITHFUL (2002). But on the set, while shooting nude scenes, Lyne claims the atmosphere is much lighter. He says he sets the mood by acting like a â€śdemented cheerleader,â€ť shouting encouragement like, â€śGood, good, good. Give me a little more of that. Show me your beast. Water, water! Great!â€ť Heâ€™ll even pop a bottle of bubbly to help his actors relax, like when shooting that kitchen sink scene between Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in FATAL ATTRACTION. Directing this sort of thing, he says, is like a â€śbizarre kind of menage a troisâ€ť with the actors.
7. John Waters
Like Lars Von Trier, John Waters is a fan of equal-opportunity, full-frontal nudity and unsimulated sex scenes — but only Waters includes real live chickens between his actorsâ€™ bodies while they do it (that was 1972â€™s PINK FLAMINGOS). And while we find it hard to defend his infamous dog poop scene, we will say that most of his nudity makes a point — his lifeâ€™s work examines sexuality, homosexuality, and gender issues.
PINK FLAMINGOS was part of a trio that Waters labeled the TRASH TRILOGY, along with FEMALE TROUBLE (1974) and DESPERATE LIVING (1977). These early films are the filthiest and starred his personal troupe of actors known as the Dreamlanders, including Divine and Mink Stole (with names like that, you could hardly expect them to keep their clothes on); heâ€™s also a fan of casting pornstars.
Until THE WIRE came along, John Waters was pretty much the only reason most Americans ever thought about Baltimore.
6. Steven Soderbergh
So thereâ€™s no dog poop in Soderberghâ€™s films, and you probably wonâ€™t find any snuffed chickens, either. This director manages to be incredibly racy (e.g. SEX, LIES, and VIDEOTAPE, 1989) while maintaining his mainstream Hollywood status with movies likes CONTAGION, ERIN BROCKOVICH, and the OCEANâ€™S ELEVEN franchise. Youâ€™d think that to achieve this, youâ€™d have to focus exclusively on female nudity — but he just proved this theory wrong with MAGIC MIKE (2012). Okay, sure, there was plenty of female nudity in there, too, but weâ€™ll take it.
In 2009â€™s THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, about a Manhattan call girl, Soderbergh tried — unsuccessfully, in our opinion — to prove that pornstar Sasha Grey could actually act. But with that film he did manage to make one of the raciest R-rated movies weâ€™ve ever seen.
His position on this list was almost rescinded for calling his 2002 movie with Julia Roberts and Blaire Underwood “Full Frontal” when it didn’t contain any nudity, let alone full-frontal nudity.
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