The term “sex films” doesn’t have to refer to pornographic works; it can also mean movies that deal frankly with sexuality or feature the act itself as an important part of the plot. And unlike adult movies that usually offer sub-par acting performances, the sex films on this list are often filled with rich, nuanced moments of emotion (or Mickey Rourke’s bare ass).
- Wild Orchid (1990) – When an attractive lawyer (Carre Otis) heads to Brazil to conduct business, she makes the acquaintance of a reclusive millionaire (Mickey Rourke) with a kinky side. Otis and Rourke were involved in a real-life romance during production, and rumors persisted for years that the couple engaged in actual sex during the steamy love scenes. Both, however, have denied this claim.
- Last Tango in Paris (1972) – Marlon Brando plays a widower who begins an affair with an engaged young woman in Paris (Maria Schneider). The consequences are tragic, but the ensuing lovemaking is decidedly steamy (including the use of butter as a lubricant during anal sex). The graphic content of the film caused a firestorm in 1972, and it was banned outright in many countries.
- Coed Report: Yuko’s White Breasts (1971) – Part of Japan’s Roman Porno series of sex films, the motion picture revolves around a high school girl (Yuko Katagiri) who becomes infatuated with her gym teacher. Before that relationship can be consummated, however, she’ll get her lesbian freak on during a slumber party and find a new use for eels.
- The Piano Teacher (2001) – Director Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon, Funny Games) helms this erotic tale of a middle-aged piano teacher (Isabelle Huppert) into sexual self-mutilation, voyeurism, and rape fantasies. When she meets a teenage engineering student (Benoit Magimel), it starts an obsessive relationship that threatens to ruin anyone caught in its wake. At the Cannes Film Festival, this erotic picture won the Grand Prix, as well as Best Actor and Best Actress.
- I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) – A companion piece to I Am Curious (Blue), this Swedish film follows Lena Nyman (played by the actress of the same name), a young woman who yearns for social justice. As she explores political issues and the world around her, she also satiates her growing sexual appetite. A revolutionary film in Swedish cinema, the film includes jump cuts, the director playing himself and becoming increasingly more involved in on-screen events, and even an interview with Martin Luther King, Jr. A scene of Lena kissing her lover’s flaccid penis drew particular criticism, and the protests turned violent in some areas (sadly, my home state of Texas being one of them).
- Sex and Zen (1991) – While this Hong Kong sex comedy was restricted to those 18 and above, it still managed to pull in a big chunk of change thanks to its over-the-top content. In case you’re curious, that includes a man having his penis replaced with one from a horse, paintbrush masturbation, and two bisexual sisters-in-law. The beautiful Amy Yip rose to stardom following the film’s release, and she would go on to become a leading Hong Kong sex symbol during the ‘80s and ‘90s.
- In the Realm of the Senses (1976) – Featuring unsimulated sex, a severed penis, and sexual asphyxiation, this French and Japanese co-production details the unhealthy relationship between the owner of a hotel and one of his employees. As each struggles for power over the other, their sexual games take on an element of increasing danger. And just wait until you see what happens at the end. Based on the real-life case of Sada Abe, who’s risen to mythical proportions in Japan over the years.
- Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990) – Before he became a star in the United States, Antonio Banderas was a well-known performer in Spain. This film comes from that period, with Banderas playing a mentally unbalanced man who becomes obsessed with a former porn star (Victoria Abril). Kidnapping her, he announces his intentions: to make her fall in love with him. Thus begins an erotic and often violent journey that blurs the line between the victim and the victimizer. Directed by Pedro Almodovar.
- The Night Porter (1974) – Sure to cause controversy, this film by Italian director Liliana Cavani spotlights the relationship between a concentration camp prisoner (Charlotte Rampling) and a Nazi SS officer (Dirk Bogarde). Thirteen years after the war, they meet again and resume their rather twisted relationship.
- Love Hunter (1972) – Another entry in the Roman Porno series, this film has a certain historical significance as the last to be prosecuted for obscenity in Japan. The film stars Hidemi Hara as Kyoko, an unhappily married woman whose bizarre sexual daydreams include, among other things, incest fantasies involving her mother and grandfather. The film ends on a high note, as a freaky Japanese sex party brings the spark back into her marriage.
Whether you’re a lone viewer looking for something steamy or a couple searching for a non-hardcore fun, this list of sex films should do the trick. For more articles courtesy of Odd Films, be sure to click on the links below: