The film of “Fifty Shades” is surprisingly skimpy on salaciousness, not even coming close to older transgressive movie bechmarks. These far naughtier films are all presently streaming:
‘Basic Instinct’ (Netflix Instant)
This Paul Verhoen-Joe Eszterhas neo-noir seemed to rip open the fabric of society two decades ago, and its sex is still pretty shocking. The unrated cut on Netflix makes the big bonking centerpiece even longer, with Michael Douglas spending more time downtown — the kind of thing that, when performed on a woman, still gets movies threatened with an NC-17.
‘Nymphomaniac’ (Netflix Instant)
Lars Von Trier has never shied from sex; “Breaking the Waves” follows one woman who thinks God wants her to sleep with strangers, while “The Idiots” sported real bonking. Even the five-hour director’s cut of his “porn epic” is at least partly fake, with hardcore shots either spliced-in or digitally faked as Charlotte Gainsbourg relates her history of bonk addiction. It may be the only sex movie where the talking parts — featuring Stellan Skarsgard — are more engaging than the shtupping.
‘Stranger by the Lake’ (Netflix Instant)
There’s a whole mess of penises, as far as the eye can see, in Alain Guiraudie’s cryptic art film, set at a gay cruising site that doubles as a nudist spot. Eventually there’s a spate of murders, but that only puts a slight damper on the wang.
‘Wetlands’ (Netflix Instant)
In which a German teen (a truly game Carla Juri) freely, recklessly, giddily experiments with her body, from exposing it to germs to all manner of sexual hijinks. After she accidentally slices up her butthole while shaving it, she winds up in the hospital, recounting misadventures that would make even “Nymphomaniac”’s lead sick.
‘In the Realm of the Senses’ (Hulu) ‘The Night Porter’ (Hulu) ‘I am Curious (Yellow)’ (Hulu) ‘Belle de Jour’ (Hulu) ‘W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism’ (Hulu) ‘Fat Girl’ (Hulu) Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge
Even in the book, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey come nowhere near the couple in Nagisa Oshima’s scandalous Japanese art film from 1976, which features real, endless sex — with one hell of a capper.
Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde aren’t just into BDSM in this 1973 shocker: She’s a former concentration camp prisoner and he’s her former Nazi lover, who run into each other years later and pick things up again. Whee!
This Swedish import, which explores the country’s youth culture and politics in the 1960s, was a big, big hit in America in 1967. Why? Because it was super-frank about sex. In fact, it was the first mainstream film to include male frontal nudity.
Catherine Deneuve likes it rough in Luis Bunuel’s dreamy classic, playing a trophy wife who spends her days at a brothel, entertaining men’s sickest fantasies. Or most of them: the film’s most famous scene is technically G-rated, with a customer asking her to employ in their gameplay a mysterious object in a box. We never see it, but when she does even she admits it’s too much.
The fight for freedom has rarely felt more free than in Dusan Makavajev's hepped-up, sex-drenched essay comedy from the former Yugoslavia, which mixes documentary and fiction while tying the anxieties of life under Communist rule to the sex drive. Its sense of humor overpowers its anger, and this is one angry film.
No serious roundup of sex cinema is complete without a film by Catherine Breillat, France’s most sex-fascinated filmmaker. Though far from her most extreme work — she’s repeatedly cast real-life porn star Rocco Siffredi, including in her notorious “Romance” — this drama does feature one of the all-time great sex scenes: a slow-burn seduction that takes place just a handful of feet from the titular sibling.
‘In the Realm of the Senses’ (Hulu)
‘The Night Porter’ (Hulu)
‘I am Curious (Yellow)’ (Hulu)
‘Belle de Jour’ (Hulu)
‘W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism’ (Hulu)
‘Fat Girl’ (Hulu)
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge