From Ghost to Titanic to Basic Instinct, all sorts of movies feature love scenes, with these intimate on-screen moments serving to move the plot forward, deepen the relationship between characters, and of course to titillate the audience. In most movies, with exceptions for films like Deep Throat or Debbie Does Dallas, the actors in these love scenes are, well, acting. Which is to say they’re not actually being intimate. Here’s the thing: sometimes, they are.
In fact, in some of the most passionate, believable love scenes ever recorded on camera, the actors managed to achieve such realism simply by really having intercourse. (Talk about method acting, right? Right.) Often the actors participating in these scenes were in a relationship off screen as well, which certainly makes the completion of such performances easier. In some cases, though, they just committed to their roles and went for it. Our list features plenty of both. Here now are fourteen movies where the actors were acting but the hanky panky was real. And no, none of them are pornographic. Technically, anyway; I guess that line gets blurred pretty quickly in some cases. Yeah, we’re looking’ at you, Caligula.
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14. The Brown Bunny
When The Brown Bunny first debuted at the Cannes Film Festival back in 2003, noted critic Roger Ebert called it the worst movie in the history of the festival. He softened his tone a bit after a later re-edited version, but neither version “softened” the very real oral stimulation scene between the two stars. The main reason the scintillating scene was so momentous was that its female component was the actress Chloë Savigny, who was already quite famous at the time of the production.
This 1980 film directed by William Friedkin and starring Al Pacino and Karen Allen wasn’t exactly dealing with the lightest subject matter. It is about an undercover cop trying to track down a serial killer who is murdering gay men. The original cut of the film featured explicit non-simulated sexual acts and got an X rating from the MPAA, though a pared down version without the hardcore scenes got an R rating. Whether as an act of protest or in the name of art, however, Friedkin spliced in multiple single frames of actual penetrative intercourse into the final version.
This 2006 dramedy (that’s a drama-comedy, for the record) is unique in that it both features real adult scenes and was generally well received by critics. The central plot of the movie revolves around a woman’s lifelong failure to achieve orgasm, so it’s also quite natural that the film features a fair amount of sexual activity. In this case, it involves a fair amount of people involved in said activity, too. And lots of love triangles.
In the 2001 feature film Intimacy, the art of lovemaking is at the center of the film. It is about a man and woman having an anonymous affair during the course of which the man falls in love with the woman only to find out that she has a husband and son whom she will not leave. This brings the affair to an end, the lack of intimacy between the pair now no longer possible based on his emotions and her revelations. To make the movie work, the actors went all the way. Well, all the way to third base, anyway.
10. All About Anna
This Danish feature film is unique among our list in that it was written and directed with an eye toward a specific audience: women. It’s a romantic comedy intended primarily for a female audience with a comical series of romantic trysts forming the basis of the narrative. And at the basis of many of those scenes is very real sexual intercourse. It wasn’t exactly a contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, but plenty of Danish women certainly appreciated the movie.
9. Don’t Look Now
The 1973 feature film Don’t Look Now deals with the grief parents feel after the tragic loss of a child. Not exactly lighthearted material, to be sure, but certainly powerful. In the film, Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie portray a husband and wife trying to repair their lives after their daughter’s death, and in one passionate scene they rekindle their romance. For real. This movie is one of the few films that both features real hanky panky and that is actually quite good.
8. 9 Songs
If you love the music of the early 200os, including songs by bands like The Dandy Warhols and Franz Ferdinand, then you just might like the 2004 film 9 Songs. If you love seeing actors have actual, non-simulated lovemaking multiple times during a single movie, you will probably like the film. And if you don’t mind a rather elevated degree of pretension, then you just might love this musically-oriented 2004 feature.
7. Little Ashes
Female Twilight fans who were on Team Edward will probably flock to this 2008 drama not due to a sudden interest in famed painter Salvador Dalí or the poet tragic poet Federico García Lorca, but rather because in the film, actor Robert Pattinson actually masturbates. Now, you can’t see anything other than his face, but it’s still rather rare that an A-list celebrity goes through with an “act” like that and then freely admits it later.
6. Last Tango In Paris
We will never know for sure whether or not the adult scenes in the classic film Last Tango in Paris were real or not, because the participants, Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, are both deceased, and director Bernardo Bertolucci has been tight-lipped about the matter. We’re hoping most of it was simulated, as some of the racy scenes depicted is not exactly consensual, but rumors abound that the stars genuinely got intimate. Schneider would later say she regretted making the movie, which adds to the intrigue.
Surprise, surprise! A movie called Nymphomaniac has lots of adult fun in it! The movie also features multiple well-known actors, including Uma Thurman, Christian Slater, and Shia LaBeouf. But while it certainly looks like said stars are having real, unvarnished “fun”, that’s just movie magic. The production hired body doubles to have intercourse and then used digital editing to place the faces of the starring actors over their bodies. And yet for all that work, the film still isn’t very good. Oh well.
4. Love Actually… Sucks!
If you want a charming feel good film starring Hugh Grant and Keira Knightly, go rent Love Actually. By which I mean download or stream it; no one goes anywhere to rent anything anymore, of course. If you want a decidedly more jaded and visceral movie told in the same interwoven vignette style and with added spice of actual on-screen penetration, instead check out the 2011 Hong Kong feature Love Actually… Sucks!
Actress and comedian Amy Schumer is known for pushing boundaries. Her standup comedy and many of her on-screen exploits are raw and edgy, and she never shies away from material that might make others blush. Did she and pro wrestling star John Cena actually have intercourse during the filming of the movie Trainwreck, though? According to one interview Schumer gave, yes, yes they did. She might have been joking, but she and her co-star have let the rumor persist.
2. Pink Flamingos
Depending on who you talk to, John Waters’ 1972 film Pink Flamingos is either one of the greatest movies ever made, pushing boundaries and redefining cinema, or is an absolutely disgusting piece of filth that should never be watched by anyone. The movie’s own tagline is “An Exercise in Poor Taste,” so you at least know what to expect. Sort of. Among many of the horrid scenes in the movie is a moment where a drag queen performs actual fellatio on another “actor” who is playing the role of “her” son. Yeah.
Caligula was supposed to be a masterpiece. It was supposed to blend art, drama, history, and intimacy in a way the world had never seen before, changing filmmaking forever. The cast included Malcom McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, and other stars. Gore Vidal worked on the script. And who produced this sweeping epic? Penthouse. Yes, that Penthouse. The uncut version of the film features dozens of scenes of real adult fun, mostly performed by Penthouse Pets. Both the uncut and edited versions of the movie are atrocious, but hey, there’s hanky panky.
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