The man has forever been enchanted by the naked female form. Since the advent of cinema, countless filmmakers have pushed their female stars to go naked in front of the camera. Without any intent of sounding sexist, it is, however, a fact that female nudity is more sought after than male nudity in cinema. Some call it an objectification of women while others call it artistic freedom. As cinema has evolved over time, nudity is being used in various forms and for different purposes – either as cheap publicity or for artistic reasons. As ex-teenagers, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw Kate Winslet stripping for the all iconic scene in Titanic, could we?
Nudity is arguably one of the best selling points of the film, be it of any genre for that matter. The more the nudity, the better it sells. However, only a handful of filmmakers have succeeded to make nudity appear artistic than vulgar. From some of the top Hollywood actresses to downright rising potential stars, many have dared to bare it all, despite the no-nudity clause in some of their contracts. Moreover, at most of the times, the nudity is only implied and a body double is used to garner the impact that the original actress could’ve have made. Frontal nudity, however, cannot mostly involve a body double because of umpteen reasons. The usage of prosthetics and body doubles have undoubtedly made it easier for filming nude scenes and is perhaps one of the reasons why we see more of the bare in the movies nowadays.
Since always, I am sure all ardent cinema goers (especially men) have sought out films and scenes where the actress goes fully naked. Here is a list of best of them. This is by no means a definitive list or a best to worst list. It is just to give you a teeny-tiny idea that all these exceptional women dared to bare it all on screen in front of a film crew and yet were comfortable in giving a perfect shot. Here goes,
32. Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls)
There is something about strippers that enthrals men to no end. Logically, it makes no sense to just sit there and watch girls get naked for you and you are not allowed to do anything. But watching the beautiful Elizabeth Berkley stripping, teasing and eventually getting fully naked in front of a couple is a different ballgame altogether. Though the film was box office bomb, it has gained a bit of a cult status in recent times and her performance was lauded all over.
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31. Betsy Rue (My Bloody Valentine 3D)
This slasher reboot relies on sex and nudity to sell itself. It’s a typical teenage-camp-party-turned-violent kind of film. Betsy Rue who is best known probably for this role has a full-blown sex scene along with a couple of long shots of her being fully naked as she runs after her boyfriend. Crassness apart, Rue looks insanely sexy and gives the movie a much-needed viewing chance.
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30. Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol)
Despite many applauds for her performances in a scintillating career so far, David Fincher’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is by far Mara’s most critically acclaimed flick, and incidentally, she also received nominations for Best Actress at the Academy and the Golden Globes, among others. With a wide range of critically acclaimed works to her credit, including ‘The Social Network’, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’, ‘Side Effects’, ‘Her’ to name a few, Mara has come a long way glamorous roles to character-based roles, thus defining her stance as a seasoned actress in Hollywood. The brutal rape scene of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, along with multiple sex scenes Mara has featured in, only shows us the artistic independence the actress roots for, which is not only admirable but is worth remembering.
29. Liv Tyler (The Leftovers)
Although Liv Tyler was never known for sporting frontal nudity, apparently she left her inhibitions behind for ‘The Leftovers’ – a television series which revolves around an apocalyptic event which renders 2% of the world population disappearing. Liv Tyler has had a career spanning more than 20 years and she has given semi-nude appearances in many films – ‘Stealing Beauty’, ‘The Ledge’ to name a few. Known and critically acclaimed for her work in ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise, ‘Armageddon’, ‘Reign Over Me’ and now with ‘The Leftovers’, Tyler has a long way to go as an actress and a potential superstar.
28. Olga Kurylenko (L’annulaire)
The French actress has always been known for her on-screen exposure and her charming beauty which is reminiscent of her modelling career. Starting her film career with L’Annulaire, in which she played Iris, a young factory worker who has lost her ring finger and is in between jobs, Kurylenko was awarded the Brooklyn International Film Festival Best Actress award for her role in the film, incidentally in which she also shot sequences with frontal nudity. After ‘Hitman’, alongside Timothy Olyphant, Kurylenko came into the limelight and filmmakers began to recognize her as a potential character actress, which followed with her appearances alongside the likes of Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Rowan Atkinson to name a few. She shot to fame when she landed at the role of playing the Bond Girl for ‘Quantum of Solace’ alongside Daniel Craig. Her latest venture, ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’ has recently hit theatres.
27. Léa Seydoux (Grand Central, Blue is the Warmest Color)
We all know Léa Seydoux from movies like ‘Inglorious Basterds’, ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’, ‘Grand Central’, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, and ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ to name a few. Her one of the biggest career breakthroughs, however, is considered as her appearance in ‘Spectre’ as the Bond Girl. Widely considered as a rising star and bestowed with several Award nominations and wins, Léa Seydoux is also known for her bold appearances in most of her movies and notably, her scenes of frontal nudity for movies like ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’, ‘Grand Central’ etc. had created quite a buzz back in the day.
26. Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac)
‘Nymphomaniac’ is widely regarded as sexually one of the most explicit mainstream movies of all times. Stacy Martin, who started her film career with ‘Nymphomaniac’ played a young Joe in the movie, while the older version of the character was played on-screen by Charlotte Gainsbourg. The film revolves around a nymphomaniac Joe and her sexual adventures through the ages. Stacy Martin’s other prominent movies include ‘Taj Mahal’ – a film based on 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, ‘Redoubtable’ – a French comedy surrounding the life and times of Jean-Luc Godard, and ‘Vox Lux’ in which she appeared alongside the likes of Natalie Portman, Jude Law et al while the story revolves around two teenage sisters who’re also aspiring singers. Apart from ‘Nymphomaniac’, Stacy Martin is yet to hit the success button in her acting career.
25. Rosario Dawson (Alexander)
Rosario Dawson has always been known for her intense, dramatic portrayals – be it a movie or a television series. From Marvel’s Defenders franchise to character-oriented roles such as those in ‘Seven Pounds’, and for her rare comic portrayals such as the one in ‘Top Five’, Dawson has conquered most of the cinematic genres with her talent and prowess, while having featured in more than 70 different films and tv shows, many of which turned out to be major blockbusters. Although not known for on-screen nudity, one of her rare nude appearances came up in ‘Alexander’, wherein we saw Colin Farrell play the titular role. She played Roxana, the wife of otherwise alleged homosexual Alexander the Great.
24. Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades)
Although many viewers claim that the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise never had any frontal nudity, to begin with, there exist many uncut versions which do have ample frontal nudity, although momentary. Dakota Johnson first came into the limelight with a small role in ‘The Social Network’ followed by her next big breakthrough that was ’21 Jump Street’. After her ‘Fifty Shades’ breakthrough, that catapulted her career graph and recognition to another level altogether, she has since appeared in movies like ‘Black Mass’, ‘A Bigger Splash’, ‘Suspiria’ to name a few, although, most of them were met with average successes. A very few people know that she’s the daughter of yesteryear’s actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.
23. Juno Temple (Killer Joe, Horns)
And now to an actress who’s mostly known for her frontal nude appearances, however momentary they might have been, Juno Temple is also a widely recognized character-actress, having oftentimes given pathbreaking yet underrated performances. Juno Temple began her acting career with ‘Pandaemonium’ – a film directed by her father Julien Temple. Thus far, she has appeared in smaller and larger roles in close to fifty titles and counting – an impressive feat for an actress who’s yet to reach 30. Although she’s given a lot of nude appearances on-screen, her depiction of full-frontal nudity in ‘Killer Joe’ beside Matthew McConaughey was the talk of the town.
22. Kelly Preston (Mischief)
Mischief is a light-hearted teen comedy-drama where three teenagers are shown dealing with their raging hormones. Kelly Preston has gone the distance when it comes to nudity in one of the scenes as she seduces the young and shy Jonathan. Though most of the scene is with Preston being topless, you can see her fully naked as the camera zooms out.
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21. Adrienne Corri (A Clockwork Orange)
I have purposely included this name on the list. The only entry in the list where the actress getting fully naked is nowhere close to being sexy. Though Adrienne Cori has done quite a few notable roles in her life, she is known for her short one in Kubrick’s disturbingly dystopian A Clockwork Orange. In a horrifying scene, she is stripped down completely naked and raped by Alex (Malcolm McDowell). After two actresses quit the role because it was too humiliating, Kubrick praised Adrienne’s patience and comfort while shooting the scene in which she had to stand on a guys’ shoulders completely naked for weeks and was repeatedly hit by Malcolm to get Kubrick the perfect shot.
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20. Heather Graham (Boogie Nights)
A film about the porn industry without any nudity would be an exception. But instead of relying on tricky camera angles and object placements to hide the nether regions, we can see Graham take off all her clothes and jump in bed with Mark Wahlberg. Though there is Julianne Moore in the movie she isn’t seen fully naked, well at least in this movie. The appropriate place to find Julianne Moore naked would be the film Shortcuts (1993).
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19. Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones)
The “Red Woman” of the critically acclaimed British Television Drama ‘Game of Thrones’, Carice van Houten was otherwise famous for her roles in movies like ‘Dorothy Mills’, ‘Valkyrie’, ‘Jackie’, to name a few. A revered and widely respected Dutch actress, van Houten has, apart from the GoT nudity, has given frontal nude appearances in several other Dutch and European flicks. Regardless, ‘Game of Thrones’ has elevated her stature as a powerful actress who knows no inhibitions in exploring her artistic side – a fact for which she deserves all the respect and applause.
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18. Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color)
The sultry French actress grabbed all the attention with the infamous lesbian sex scene with Lea Seydoux in ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’, essentially a career-defining movie for Adele. Controversial, yet regarded as one of the most intense lesbian love sagas ever made, ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ is the narrative of Adele and Emma, two teenagers who fall for each other. Although Adele is yet to come mainstream and appear alongside the bigwigs of Hollywood, ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ was definitely her stepping milestone to potential success.
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17. Jennifer Connelly (Shelter, Requiem for a Dream)
Often known to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly needs no introduction. Prominently known for her roles in horror and thriller flicks, Jennifer Connelly has come a long way from her debut (horror) movie ‘Phenomena’ to her 2017 flick ‘Only the Brave’. Known for her award-winning performances in movies like ‘A Beautiful Mind’, ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘Hulk’, ‘Dark Water’, ‘Blood Diamond’, ‘Winter’s Tale’, ‘Aloft’, ‘Noah’, ‘Shelter’ to name a few, there isn’t a movie wherein her performance wasn’t praised or appreciated. Although Connelly hasn’t been averse to showcasing on-screen nudity, her frontal nudity scenes began only with ‘Requiem for a Dream’ and were mostly artistic in nature. A lesser known fact about Connelly – she’s married to Paul Bettany, our beloved Jarvis from MCU.
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16. Rachel Weisz (Stealing Beauty, I Want You)
Just like Jennifer Connelly, Rachel Weisz has had a decorated and outstanding acting career right from the beginning. Weisz, a British actress by origin, appeared in smaller roles till the 1999 fictional action-horror film ‘The Mummy’ which made heads turn. For Weisz, there was no looking back afterwards and she appeared in a host of critical and commercial successes like ‘Enemy at the Gates’, ‘The Mummy Returns’, ‘Constantine’, ‘The Constant Gardener’, ‘The Fountain’, ‘Definitely, Maybe’, ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ et al to her latest movie ‘Disobedience’ wherein she could be seen in an intense lesbian relationship (alongside Rachel McAdams), perhaps her one of the firsts. Weisz first sported frontal nudity in the film ‘Stealing Beauty’ but was mostly shadowed by Liv Tyler’s role. Her intense, sensual role in ‘I Want You’, along with sexually explicit scenes made all the news and also won the film a couple of awards.
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15. Helen Mirren (Savage Messiah)
Like Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren isn’t someone who is averse to nudity. Though she has done umpteen nude scenes, her monologue in Savage Messiah stands out as she poses nude for a painter. Seldom you would find anyone delivering a short monologue without their clothes on! She is so comfortable taking off her clothes even in her ripe old age that she herself confessed that beyond a certain, one really stops caring what men in the audience think about your naked body.
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14. Maria Schneider (Last Tango in Paris)
Another Bertolucci entry, this very controversial film has Maria Schneider go fully nude with Marlon Brando. A very graphic rape scene follows where Marlon Brando assaults Schneider. Apparently, Schneider was not of legal age then and the film as a whole is full of debatable moments.
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13. Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
The seasoned British actress’ initial breakthrough was the comedy-drama ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’ which won Hawkins numerous awards. Her other notable works include ‘Blue Jasmine’, which came out to be more famous for the role of Cate Blanchett, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘Paddington’, ‘The Shape of Water’ to name a few. Her first and only frontal nudity portrayal was seen in ‘The Shape of Water’ – a fantasy-drama which witnessed groundbreaking performances from Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and also went ahead to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Direction, Production Design and Original Score. Sally Hawkins received a nomination for her role as a mute girl who falls in love with an Amazonian amphibian humanoid while stationed in a high-security research laboratory. Hawkins will be next seen in ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’.
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12. Olivia Wilde (Vinyl)
Not only Wilde is one of the boldest actresses working today, but she’s also one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood for everyone’s envy. A series regular in the television show ‘House’ in which she played the role of Dr Remy Hadley, Wilde also appeared in numerous diversified roles in movies such as ‘The Girl Next Door’, ‘Cowboys & Aliens’, ‘Tron: Legacy’, ‘In Time’, ‘Rush’, ‘Her’, ‘Meadowland’ to name a few. Her nude appearances came to be known more when she played a role alongside Liam Neeson in ‘Third Person’, followed by her explicit frontal nudity in the television show ‘Vinyl’. So far, Wilde has appeared in more than 50 film and television titles.
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11. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary, The Deuce)
The critically acclaimed film ‘Secretary’, which arguably is also one of the most cherished movies of Gyllenhaal, also featured her scenes of frontal nudity along with a pathbreaking performance. The movie revolves around a socially awkward girl Lee who applies for the job of a secretary for an attorney but gets into an intimate physical relationship with him. Other notable works of Gyllenhaal include ‘The Deuce’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’, ‘Stranger than Fiction’, ‘Hysteria’, ‘White House Down’ among others. Her latest Netflix movie ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ is generating the buzz nowadays.
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10. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
If there has to be a “rising from the ashes” story for an actress, it has to be for Alicia Vikander. Within a span of ten years of her acting career, Vikander has appeared in more than 35 film and television titles, with almost every movie registering a commercial and critical success at the box office. Initially, Vikander appeared in historical dramas such as ‘A Royal Affair’, ‘Anna Karenina’, ‘Testament of Youth’ before she landed at her pathbreaking role of Ava in ‘Ex Machina’. Although there’s frontal nudity in ‘Ex Machina’, it cannot be called explicit given the fact that Ava is a robot with human skin. Following the success of ‘Ex Machina’, Vikander has appeared in numerous films belonging to different genres like comedy, action, drama, romance and fantasy. Her role as Lara Croft in the reboot of ‘Tomb Raider’ was both appreciated and critiqued – for being gritty, realistic and thrilling to the core.
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9. Alexandra Daddario (True Detective)
The 32-year-old actress started her film career as a teenager in various teenage fantasy movies like the ‘Percy Jackson’ franchise, horror flicks like ‘The Attic’, ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’, and thrillers like ‘Bereavement’, ‘San Andreas’ etc. But her primary forte appears to be romance comedy flicks like ‘Baywatch’, ‘When We First Met’, ‘The Choice’ among others. Apart from mainstream movies, Daddario has also appeared in critically acclaimed television shows such as ‘True Detective’, ‘New Girl’, ‘The Last Man on Earth’, ‘American Horror Story’, ‘White Collar’ to name a few. Her explicit nudity, however, was seen only in ‘True Detective’ alongside Woody Harrelson in which she could be seen stripping naked in one of the episodes. Within a less than 10-year career span, Daddario has made appearances in more than 45 film and television titles.
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8. Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin)
An interesting fact about one of the most beautiful women on the planet is that she has had a no-nudity clause in all her contracts from the beginning of her acting career. ‘Under the Skin’ was an out-of-the-league film by many standards and featured an alien (played by Johansson) who lures single men into a mysterious space called “void” and harvests their organs. Although there are a few scenes in which Johansson could be seen completely naked, the implication is that because she’s portraying an alien, it wouldn’t tantamount to human female nudity. Regardless, ‘Under the Skin’ is the only Scarlett Johansson’s movie in which the actress did a fully-nude scene, albeit it wasn’t sexual in nature, and also, the film boasts of an outstanding performance, arguably her best acting performance till date. Need I tell you about other movies of Scarlett Johansson?
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7. Kate Winslet (Jude, The Reader)
There are too many movies to mention where Kate Winslet hasn’t taken her clothes off. In fact, she has gotten naked in 4 roles out of the 6 for which she was nominated at the Academy Awards. Her famous drawing room scene in Titanic would forever be etched in the minds of the average cine-goer but few would know that she bared her entire body for her role in Jude (1994) where she allows a guy to take her virginity. Another notable mention where she is fully naked would be The Reader.
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6. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct)
Well, I don’t need to say much here. Surprisingly though, I don’t remember of a single scene in this film where Sharon Stone has shown her full frontal naked body. We can see quite a few scenes with Stone rolling in bed naked with Michael Douglas but the reason I included her name on this list is for the one iconic scene alone. As a suspect, she is interrogated by the cops as she makes a changeover of her crossed legs and gives the audience a full view of what lies underneath the white dress.
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5. Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
The new chic on the block and probably Martin Scorsese’s best blonde bombshell discovery yet, Margot Robbie appeared in the Wolf of Wall Street along with Leonardo DiCaprio. While watching a Scorsese film, you are bound to expect some sexual activity in a weird sort of way. But Robbie appeared completely naked in one of the scenes just before she and Leo have sex. It was a bit of a shocker as Robbie was just 23 when she did that, but boy has she pulled that one off.
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4. Tilda Swinton (Female Perversions)
British actress Tilda Swinton is often considered as one of the greatest artists that ever walked this planet. An Academy Award winner, Swinton has appeared in a countless number of films and television shows, most of which turned out to be blockbusters and have by far attained a cult status with the passage of time. Her movie ‘Female Perversions’ is the narrative of Eve, an attorney in LA, who has an unsatisfactory sex life and seeks respite from the erotic nightmares she has on a daily basis. Although Swinton has given nude appearances in many films, ‘Female Perversions’ stand out as the only Swinton’s film in which she has sported frontal nudity. By far, Swinton has appeared in more than 70 film and television titles.
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3. Eva Green (The Dreamers)
A Bernardo Bertolucci film has to have nudity and Dreamers (2003) has no dearth of it. The film follows twins Theo and Isabelle (Eva Green) and an American student Matthew who bond and entangle erotically among one another. Green has given multiple full frontal nude shots and the film even has a scene where she performs oral sex on one of her co-stars. Another fairly contemporary mention would be Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For(2014) where Eva Green plays a conniving seductress and has bared it all in many scenes.
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2. Monica Bellucci (Irreversible, Malena)
The Italian model-turned-actress has been known for her sensuous portrayals in various Italian and Hollywood flicks, including her nude appearances that are dime a dozen. Bellucci is also known for some extremely central roles she has played in her career spanning 30 years. Her notable movies include ‘Malena’, ‘The Matrix’ franchise, ‘Under Suspicion’, ‘Irreversible’, ‘Tears of the Sun’, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, ‘Spectre’ among others. Considered one of the sexiest women alive today, it is no wonder that Bellucci was liked by many for her roles in erotic romances like ‘Malena’ and psychological thrillers like ‘Irreversible’. Even though momentary, Bellucci has given frontal nude appearances in both the movies.
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1. Marion Cotillard (Une affaire privée, La Guerre Dans le Haut Pays)
Actress extraordinaire and Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard is widely known as one of the best French actresses working today. With her films have garnered more than $3 billion in revenues at the box office and with more than 50 English, French and other language titles credited to her name, Cotillard remains to be one of the most celebrated actresses even today. As far as Hollywood is concerned, we know her for her appearance in movies like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Contagion’, ‘Inception’, ‘Big Fish’, ‘Assassin’s Creed’ among others. Her nude appearances in ‘A Private Affair’, ‘War in the Highlands’ and a few other titles are reflective of the artistic freedom the actress has always rooted for.
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