1. Life & Culture

10 movies that got sexy long before '50 Shades of Grey'

Fifty Shades of Grey? • I can get you 10 shades of the same plot, right off the top of my head. • You won't find a more standard outline for an erotic odyssey: A sexually naive or repressed woman meets a mysterious man wooing her into forbidden encounters, pulling her into a carnal maelstrom that. . . . • Sorry, cold shower time. • But before I go, take a look back at 10 movies that, like Fifty Shades of Grey, created quite a stir in their days. We'll focus on postsexual revolution releases — after 1970 — because practically everything before in movies was peekaboo innuendo. • We'll lay out the seductive scenarios, highlight the hottest scenes and identify celebs who went some degree of Monty in the movie. (Mostly women, of course, because this is male-centric Hollywood.) • Enjoy, and just leave payment on the dresser.

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Marlon Brando earned an Oscar nomination for Bernardo Bertolucci's film, a largely improvised milestone tamed by time. Brando plays an American grieving his wayward wife's death by renting an apartment for anonymous, misogynistic flings with a French submissive (Maria Schneider).

Hot spot: Brando's character pushed Schneider's beyond the era's limits with a stick of butter used for something besides biscuits.

Celebrity skin: Schneider in full frontal glory, but Brando only when he's mooning a dance hall crowd.

Body Heat (1981)

A shady, sweaty Florida lawyer (William Hurt) schemes with a seductress (Kathleen Turner) to murder her husband.

Hot spots: Rather than the sex, let's honor Lawrence Kasdan's screenplay, packed with stimulating neo-noir banter like:

"Maybe you shouldn't dress like that."

"This is a blouse and a skirt. I don't know what you're talking about."

"You shouldn't wear that body." Sexy stuff.

Celebrity skin: Turner is topless with partial frontal nudity, while Hurt is shown naked in bed from the side.

9 ½ Weeks (1986)

An art gallery assistant (Kim Basinger) falls hard for a kinky stranger (Mickey Rourke), acting out soft-core fantasies that made Adrian Lyne's movie a cultural phenomenon.

Hot spots: Basinger's striptease to Joe Cocker's You Can Leave Your Hat On; Rourke feeding blindfold breakfast to her, all the way to the honey smear.

Celebrity skin: Rear and sheer nudity for Basinger. Rourke gets away even easier with a water-soaked T-shirt.

Fatal Attraction (1987)

This time the genders are reversed, with sexually frustrated Michael Douglas seduced away from his wife and senses by an enigmatic vamp (Glenn Close). Across the nation, philanderers thought twice.

Hot spot: Douglas and Close engage in torrid, simulated oral sex in an elevator. Going up, naturally.

Celebrity skin: Close is shown topless in three scenes; Douglas' buttocks are shown in two.

Basic Instinct (1992)

Michael Douglas is to sexual thrillers what John Wayne was to Westerns. Here, he plays a detective investigating a murder that a libertine (Sharon Stone) might have committed.

Hot spot: Stone's interrogation takes a shocking-for-the-day turn when she switches crossed legs, exposing herself to Douglas and his colleagues. (Hello, Newman!)

Celebrity skin: In addition to flashing cops, Stone is regularly naked, and Douglas' buttocks have a cleft complementing his chin's.

Bound (1996)

A gangster's girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly) is drawn to a lesbian ex-con (Gina Gershon), who persuades her in sapphic fashion to rip off millions of dollars in stashed mob money.

Hot spot: Like many movie lovers, it's their first time, with Tilly and Gershon engaging in a graphic simulated tryst.

Celebrity skin: Only the aforementioned scene, but it's a doozy and a groundbreaker for same-sex sex in movies.

Crash (1996)

Not the overwrought Oscar winner about racism, but David Cronenberg's literalization of the term "auto-eroticism." A car accident victim (James Spader) discovers a subculture in which people are turned on by vehicular mayhem.

Hot spots: Highly disturbing scenes of fetishistic sex, often involving Cronenberg's signature of mutilated flesh and metallic contraptions.

Celebrity skin: Oscar winner Holly Hunter and Rosanna Arquette expose their breasts, leaving much of the frontal nudity to B-list co-stars like Deborah Kara Unger. Spader's nudity remains discreet.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Stanley Kubrick's swan song was about a marriage troubled by temptation, starring the hottest celebrity couple at the time: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. That lent an air of voyeurism that had tabloids buzzing. Cruise plays a doctor lured by a carnal underworld. His wife (Kidman) may have already strayed.

Hot spot: Cruise's character attends a masquerade orgy, at which several couplings are shown (some are digitally obscured to avoid an NC-17 rating).

Celebrity skin: Right up front, with an opening showing Cruise and Kidman nude and nuzzling from the waist up. Warner Bros. used it as the film's trailer, suggesting more famous nudity than Kubrick supplied. Lots of extras in the buff.

Unfaithful (2002)

Being married to someone like Richard Gere doesn't prevent a wife (Diane Lane) from taking a lover (Olivier Martinez) she meets by accident. It's a rare movie giving equal weight to a woman's desires that continues to strike a chord.

Hot spots: Plenty to choose from, in places like a public bathroom (while her friends sit nearby having lunch) and a movie theater. But no moment is hotter than Lane sinfully smiling as she flashes back to earlier coital moments.

Celebrity skin: No mainstream actor does it better or bolder than Lane, who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Secretary (2002)

Long before Fifty Shades of Grey, Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader were taking it to the spank bank. She plays a personal assistant getting overly submissive to her boss, who's into bondage games and mild sadism. A comedy as dark as it gets.

Hot spot: Gyllenhaal's character pleasures herself during a montage of sexual humiliations while Leonard Cohen sings I'm Your Man.

Celebrity skin: Gyllenhaal goes full frontal in one scene; Spader stays in his business suit.

Contact Steve Persall at or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.