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The Playlist Bares All: 20 Unforgettable Nude Scenes

by The Playlist Staff
April 12, 2013 10:51 AM
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“Crazy, Stupid, Love”
If there's one place where where big-screen nudity doesn't seem to be going away, it's in the comedy genre. Maybe steamy sex thrillers like "Basic Instinct" have gone kind of extinct (though "Trance" and "Side Effects" did their best to bring back some of that flavor in 2013), or maybe they've felt played out. Either way, nudity seems to have retreated to the realm of laughs, and often to the specific territory of masculinity in crisis. Because, let's face it, the uncomfortableness of having Ryan Gosling's hulking, chiseled manhood in your face is terrifyingly funny if you're Steve Carell. The scene is essentially Gosling, the lothario, trying to teach Carell, the divorcee, how to get back in the game, but it's set in a locker room while Gosling is butt naked and Carell's head comically and pointedly blocks the young man's junk from being exposed. It's a tease, but it's a damn funny and effective one, and what the hell, we get a very clear view of his abs.

The first nude fight scene between two men in a mainstream movie? Spectacular, kind of gross, jaw-droppingly awesome. In Larry Charles' excellent, subversive, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," Borat, (Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictitious Kazakh journalist/buffoon/genius Borat Sagdiyev from “Da Ali G” show) comes to America to make a documentary on the greatest nation on the planet for the Kazakh Ministry of Information. He comes with his producer Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian) to the "US and A" and instantly becomes smitten with an image of Pamela Anderson, making it his life goal to meet her and have her fall in love with him. Unfortunately, things get heated and come to blows when Sagdiyev catches Bagatov masturbating to a photo of Anderson. All hell breaks loose and it becomes a naked free-for-all brawl with one skinny, apparently well-endowed Kazakh reporter and one incredibly hirsute, sweaty and corpulent producer. It’s, ahem, pardon the phrase, balls out, hysterical and perhaps the finest moment of nudity, action and comedy ever to be caught on film.

Eva Green, Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel in "The Dreamers"
“The Dreamers”
Bernardo Bertolucci's Paris-set film is a charming (if aimless) look at the sexual coming-of-age of three youngsters who love movies almost as much as they love each other. The sexuality is frank, in that fumbling, initial-encounters way (enough to earn the movie another unwarranted NC-17; an R-rated version had to trim three whole minutes of footage). Bertolucci is an equal-opportunity provocateur, though, and while there are plenty of shots that luxuriate in Eva Green's curves, there are just as many moments accentuating Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel's respective anatomies (sometimes within the same sequence). "The Dreamers" has never acquired the cult status it so desperately deserves, although we're sure that it's a favorite of many Mr. Skin subscribers (especially after Green's high-profile turn as a Bond girl in "Casino Royale").

“The Crying Game”
The nude sequence in "The Crying Game" is basically a spoiler for the entire movie, so if for some reason you haven't seen Neil Jordan's kicky, kinky, psychosexual thriller, turn back now. Still there? Okay. So it's possible that a nude scene hasn't carried so much weight, both in terms of narrative shock value and general surprise, either before or after this one. In the sequence, Dil (Jaye Davidson), who has attracted the romantic attention of both an IRA killer (Stephen Rea) and one of their hostages (Forest Whitaker) is revealed to in fact not be the woman she looks like she is, in an expertly graphic way. In the words of Aerosmith, dude looks like a lady. And the fact that Jordan plucked Davidson from relative obscurity (this is before the Internet ruined everything for everyone) really added to the surprise. It was all anyone could talk about (unless someone was around who hadn't seen the movie). Sad, too, that Davidson has had only one more decent-sized role – as an intergalactic demigod in "Stargate." Gender lines are blurred in outer space, too.

“About Schmidt”
Famously, Alexander Payne is a stickler for realism (we've heard stories about how he despises little things like when windshields are too clean in movies) and oftentimes he finds humor in the awkward stickiness of everyday life. He approaches nude scenes in the same way – these aren't the toned, gym-honed bodies you get in standard Hollywood fare. These are real people, with love handles and lumps and body hair (Look no further than M.C. Gainey's amazing full-frontal moment in "Sideways"). Payne took this edict to a hilariously absurd degree in his masterful "About Schmidt," when Kathy Bates gets out of a hot tub, briefly exposing the full enchilada. The scene goes by in a flash, which only adds to its impact – you can't quite believe what you saw. But yes, you did. You saw Kathy Bates' junk. Love.

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  • James | April 15, 2014 12:01 PMReply

    Phoebe Cates nude is the only reason to see that movie. So don't waste the effort wondering about anything else and just fast forward to that scene and don't bother watching the rest!

  • David B | January 14, 2014 1:12 AMReply

    I have to second the comment on how could you have not even mentioned "The Shining", although it was Room 237. That scene owned it own generation of film-goers.

    And the shy Anne Hathaway in "Love and Other Drugs" is another inexplicable omission on your part.

  • | July 1, 2013 12:23 AMReply

    9 Songs (if you do a NC-17 list)

  • Alex | June 30, 2013 6:13 PMReply

    How has no one mentioned the naked dancing scene in The Master?

  • alan | June 30, 2013 4:18 PMReply

    Start working at home with Google! This is certainly the nicest-work I have ever done . Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link,

  • Butch | June 10, 2013 7:59 PMReply

    As long as there is no tobacco drug use in the film.

  • Erik | May 18, 2013 8:56 AMReply

    Corinne Bohrer in the obscure "Dead Solid Perfect" deserves a mention; beautiful woman, funny, sexy scene.

  • buddysouth | April 14, 2013 1:13 PMReply

    On what planet does The Dreamers, as depressing an example as any of Bertolucci's declined skills, deserve a cult following other than among people who like to look at people naked? It's a coming-of-age story fantasized by people who are depressed that they never had a coming-of-age story like that *because no one has ever had a coming-of-age story like that.* The Hangover is more realistic than The Dreamers, and better made.

    Oh, and if you meant Salo was awful in the sense that awful things happen in it and it is difficult to watch, I agree. If you meant awful in terms of quality, I can only assume you are the sort of person who thinks The Dreamers is a meaningful coming-of-age story.

  • Mr. Wu | April 14, 2013 8:16 PM

    I got in so much trouble here at our local art museum's recent classic Italian cinema film series when I had the nerve to describe to the head programmer and other assorted hangers-on that Bernardo Burtolucci is "a dirty old man."

  • Meredith | April 13, 2013 11:24 AMReply

    You mention Harvey Keitel but you don't mention The Piano?! Shame on you!

  • MDL | April 16, 2013 4:35 PM

    Speaking of Keitel he did three movies in the early 90's where he showed up naked and crying. The Piano and Bad Lieutenant and Ulysses' Gaze. It got to be both distracting and funny.

  • Jo | April 13, 2013 5:54 AMReply

    Love your 'people's puritanical streak towards Kristen Stewart' comment. So true. People make such a drama out of EVERYTHING she does. It's not just nude scenes. If she walks down the street you have comment sections evaluating it every aspect of it, a furore breaks out over how she walks, is she smiling, does her hair look pretty, why isn't she dressed like a movie star instead of jeans/tshirt. Yes, walking down the street creates a great debate these days!

  • jimbo | April 12, 2013 7:39 PMReply

    Needless spoiler about The Crying Game. Shame on you.

  • potion lords | April 12, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    Battle In Heaven

  • Breezy | April 12, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    How is Ewan McGregor, King of the Nude Scene, not on this list? "Trainspotting" should at least get an honorable mention.

  • sharon | April 12, 2013 2:15 PMReply

    Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut.

  • FUCK YOU FINNIGAN | April 12, 2013 2:08 PMReply

    Wow. Playlist editing nearly every comment now, eh?

    So what's the point of even having the fucking things?

    Why not just get rid of them altogether?

    Not like any actual conversation takes place in this dank shit-box anyhow.

  • dubier | April 12, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    Graham Chapman opening up the window to the huge crowd of worshipers in Life of Brian.

  • Toomb | April 12, 2013 12:33 PMReply

    Oops, sorry, no intention of triple posting... Please trim a few of those off! Dang iphone...

  • Toomb | April 12, 2013 12:30 PMReply

    The Shining. When Jack goes into room 213 and the naked woman is in there. I was a kid when I saw it, and it titilated at first, until I realized why the woman was naked... And then she changed to her present "state"... That scene has disturbed me for decades.

    As far as "hot" scenes go, you've GOT to mention Natalie Portman in Closer or the opening scene of Darjeeling Limkted... Since you already covered Eva Green, who is hands down the most beautiful woman on film right now.

    There, done objectifying

  • d | April 12, 2013 12:24 PMReply

    In which The Playlist becomes WhatCulture.

  • Liam | April 12, 2013 12:04 PMReply

    No French movies, WTF? They are the best at this, just watch Rust & Bone for a recent example.
    Also what about Tony Scott's The Hunger, Catherine Deneuve + Suzanne Sarandon wow!

  • caro | April 12, 2013 11:52 AMReply

    is it not a E.W article before?

  • Ptrshr | April 12, 2013 11:26 AMReply


  • Meredith | April 13, 2013 11:23 AM

    I was thinking this one!!

  • John K. | April 12, 2013 11:24 AMReply

    Hello. Just One of the Guys!

  • BEF | April 12, 2013 11:45 AM

    Here, here!

  • Pussy | April 12, 2013 11:14 AMReply

    The Playlist have officially turned into Deadline. They actually changed my comment saying how terrible this article is. You guys are desperate.

  • gert | April 12, 2013 11:09 AMReply

    I would have put Bronson on the list. Nude Tom Hardy.

  • frank | April 12, 2013 11:01 AMReply

    I rolled my eyes, but then started reading. Funny.

  • Vagina | April 12, 2013 10:58 AMReply

    What an incredibly article.

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