Nude scenes aren’t particularly unusual for Hollywood actors. Academy Award winners who have given the world memorable performances still aren’t above bearing it all if the part calls for it. Of course, some actors began their careers a little more loose and free with deciding to disrobe before eventually gaining enough success so that they could chose not to take more risqué parts that might make them uncomfortable.
Many actors and actresses seem to appear nude in films, but often what you’re actually seeing is a body double and some clever editing. However, the actors seen here all decided to take the risk and bare it all, without the use of a body double. The results have gone on to live in film infamy – these are the 12 most memorable nude scenes in mainstream film history.
12. Boogie Nights/Heather Graham
It’s not hard to imagine that a film revolving around the adult film industry will have its fair share of nude scenes. But Boogie Nights had quite a few, involving famous Hollywood names. One in particular, involving Heather Graham, ended up boosting the actress’s career. Graham starred as the adult film star “Rollergirl,” and in the film she is the one who introduces a young Mark Wahlberg into the world of “erotic film”. The particular scene we have in mind is memorable for her character’s refusal to ever take off her roller skates – even when everything else comes off. She went on to have roles in Austin Powers, The Hangover, and other Hollywood blockbusters.
11. Basic Instinct/Sharon Stone
This movie’s most iconic scene has been etched into film lore forever. Sharon Stone’s famous interrogation scene likely had more teenagers hitting the pause button than any other film in history. In the film, Sharon Stone wore that white dress while being questioned by police and at one point she crosses her legs in a suggestive way. After the film came out, this particular scene became a definitive pop culture moment and has lived on in infamy ever since. Sharon Stone has said she didn’t even realize that she was going to show what she showed in the film. She admitted to smacking the director of the film in the head when she saw the first cut of the movie.
10. Blue Velvet/Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini is one of the all time classic beauties in film. The Italian actress bared it all in Blue Velvet, directed by David Lynch. It is hailed as one of the great films from the 1980s. Rossellini plays Dorothy Vallens, who is kidnapped by Dennis Hopper and enters into a strange criminal underground situation. What unfolds is one of the most surreal and strange love scenes in cinema history. Leave it to David Lynch to make a love scene so oddly uncomfortable – but memorable.
9. Swordfish/Halle Berry
Halle Berry was reportedly paid half a million dollars as a bonus for appearing topless in the film Swordfish. That went on top of the 2.5 million dollar salary she was already earning. Some critics were unimpressed by the scene and saw it as a cheap stunt that had no impact on the narrative of the film. That might be true, but this is Hollywood and the buzz surrounding the scene was big enough to help out at the box office.
8. The Dreamers/Eva Green
Eva Green is a bonafide Hollywood star who has featured in blockbusters such as Casino Royal and 300: Rise of an empire. However, one of her earliest films was the cult hit The Dreamers and in it she made her provocative debut on film. In her very first role she bared it all and made a giant splash in the world of film. The risqué film went on to become known as one of the most erotic films ever shown in mainstream theaters and received an NC17 rating.
7. Eastern Promises/Viggo Mortensen
The scene is memorable for its visceral nature and is one of the most aggressive nude scenes ever put on film. Viggo Mortensen plays a Russian gangster and he gets into a fight for his life trying to defend himself against a rival. He ends up naked during the scene and what ensues is a daring piece of drama that Viggo Mortensen does entirely in the nude.
6. Taking Lives/Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has appeared nude in many films since she first burst onto the scene as the supermodel Gia Carangi in the TV movie about her life. She appeared nude in that film, but it was a memorable scene in Taking Lives that will go down as her most provocative. Fresh off her Lara Croft fame, Jolie made a memorable addition to the nude scene hall of fame opposite her co-star Ethan Hawke. The scene was so steamy that there was discussion of giving the film an NC-17 rating, but cooler heads prevailed and it was dropped to a more modest R-rating.
5. American Pie/Shannon Elizabeth
One of the most popular teen comedies of all time features many memorable scenes – some involving inappropriate uses for home cooked desserts. However, the most famous scene involves foreign exchange student Nadia, played by Shannon Elizabeth. She get’s interrupted while in a very personal situation, and Jim (Jason Biggs) tries to put the moves on. She accepts his proposal and makes him strip to get even. What happens next is unfortunate for Jim, and is one of the most awkward moments in film history.
4. Take this Waltz/Sarah Silverman
Comedienne Sarah Silverman isn’t known for doing dramas or for taking part in any type of nudity. But in this indie film Silverman disrobed for a decidedly non-sexual shower scene featuring three female friends at the gym. The internet started heating up and creating rumors when it was confirmed that Silverman would appear nude in the film. However, the final result was a relatively tame affair that was more about the bonding between friends than any sexual connotations.
3. Shame/Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is arguably one of the most popular and in-demand actors working in film today. He’s appeared in the latest iteration of the X-Men franchise and in Inglorious Basterds. But it was his role in 2011’s Shame that turned the most heads. This dark tale about a man who tries to hide his sex addiction features a few scenes where Mr. Fassbender bares all. One in particular is notable for the trauma that ensues after he tries to get intimate with a woman that he actually has feelings for. It was a brave choice for one of the biggest stars in Hollywood to take it all off for the sake of making the part feel more authentic.
2. Titanic/Kate Winslet
One of the biggest box office hits of all time featured Kate Winslet’s first nude scene and probably one of the most parodied scenes of all time. Innocent Rose disrobes for Jack (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) and gets an intimate portrait drawn by him. The scene helped bring attention to the two stars of the film. It also left teenagers swooning over the romantic scenario and helped bring in repeat moviegoers to the theaters. This scene among others made Titanic one of the most popular films ever.
1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High/Phoebe Cates
The pool scene involving 80’s icon Phoebe Cates will probably go down as one of the most re-watched scenes in film history. Teenage boys went out in droves to buy the VHS of this classic film after it came out. This scene goes down in film lore, but in the film it’s actually dream sequence: When she famously exits the pool, drops her top and kisses Brad (Judge Reinhold), it is all going on inside his imagination. Can’t blame the man in the slightest, Phoebe Cates was one of the most popular teen idols of the 1980’s.