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The 20 most erotic moments in the history of cinema

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20. The 39 steps (1935)

You don’t have to be a nylon freak to appreciate the way the camera jerks down to Madeleine Carroll’s legs in this ostensibly jolly, but actually if you think about it, it's quite a saucy scene. For a start they’re handcuffed together, then Robert Donat keeps touching her legs. U-rated filth at its finest.

19. La Dolce Vita (1960)

With their smouldering dames and pretty boys, Fellini films are sexy all over. In this scene, after wandering about with a cat on her head, Anita Ekberg climbs into the Trevi fountain in a figure-licking LBD and has a triumphantly sexy wash while Marcello Mastroianni watches. Rudies.

18. Cruel Intentions (1999)

A 90s teen hangover classic, involving Sarah Michelle Geller with a dark dye job, sexy kitten voice, low cut tops and high heeled mules. This is the part where she rubs up against her stepbrother Ryan Philippe like a proper wrong’un.

17. The Lover (1992)

This naughty French film about an affair between a teenage schoolgirl and an older businessman is chock full of full frontal nudity. But this scene, where she says goodbye to him by kissing the window in pigtails, is super charged in its ostensibly quite innocent smuttiness.

16. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

The subtle perving of guilty-pleasure John Malkevich - here in a very frilly blouse and a ponytail - plus the perky cheerfulness of vintage Uma Thurman, combined with a whole lot of tumbling hair, soft focus lighting and lush period costumes, makes a high class slice of dirt.

15. Betty Blue (1986)

Possibly the only film to begin with a two-minute long extended boning session, here’s a very bad French handyman and everyone’s 80s dreamgirl, Beatrice Dalle going at it hammer and tongs in an untidy beach shack. Then they start talking French. French! Steamy.

14. The Duchess (2008)

Another great bit of muck from professional brooding posh bloke Ralph Fiennes. Here he’s getting Kiera undressed and unlacing her corset with agonising slowness - it's a real tease. And then he’s fully dressed and she’s naked and like “Oh no sir, I’m only 16”. Or something. It’s filthy and you love it.

13. Rebecca (1940)

Hitchock’s claustrophobic thriller is all about the sinister Mrs Danvers and her obsession with the first Mrs De Winter – this tense scene in which she strokes a fur pelt across her face and then Joan Fonteyn’s is totally code for girl-on-girl action. A FUR PELT. Think about it.

12. The Dreamers (2003)

Bernardo Bertolucci is being grimy again with this threesomey, incesty romance a la Francaise starring Michael Pitt, Eva Green and Louis Garrel (no, us neither) doing freaky sexy things, like this scene involving cracking off on a Marlene Dietrich poster and nekked sex on the kitchen floor. Bon. 

11. The Notebook (2004)

RYAN F-ING GOSLING IS WET AND THEN NAKED JUST WATCH IT OMG DYING

10. To Have and Have Not (1944)

Bogie and Bacall are bantering while looking all Noir and sexy and then she calls him a stinker and sits on his lap and snogs the face off him twice and he’s not even bothered. Also contains the immortal line about whistling which may be a double entendre. 

9. Bonnie & Clyde (1967)

Warren Beatty. Is. In. a. Tight. White. Vest. *douses self with iced water* In this saucy interlude he is also sexing Faye Dunaway with a very good bob and an UNMADE BED, then Faye goes down town for a bit of a nosh on Warren’s bang stick. He-llo,

8. Secretary (2002)

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s boss James Spader (another one for the guilty pleasure file, under G for Ginger amiright) finally succumbs to the allure of her granny blouses and midi skirts and tells her to bend over the desk and read a letter while he paddles-her sit upon. Maggie is surprised – and delighted! One for the kinksters.

7. Wild Things (1998)

Ahhh Matt Dillon in a polo shirt *slaps self round face*. Here he is stealing a lacey thong and having a hot 90s threeway with Denise Richards in a school uniform and Neve Campbell with a statement berry lip. “Now I want you two to kiss.”  Of course you do. And so do we.

6. And Got Created Woman (1956)

Brigitte Bardot giving excellent hair game gets hot and bothered while freaking out to some beatnik beats and rubs up against a man playing the maracas while wearing a leotard and a saucy split skirt and Jean-Louis Trintignant watches with a sweaty face. Then she gets on the table so everyone can see her crotch. Epic hotness.

5. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Sexy 70s Jake Gyllenhaal and sexy 70s Heath Ledger haven’t seen each other for years so they have to have a very rough, intense, manly kiss, against the wall, while holding each other’s manly faces, wearing workwear separates and being very hot. A snog so good, we can even overlook the gilet.

4. Now Voyager (1942)

Back in the 1940s you didn’t have sex scenes. You had a man lighting two cigarettes and putting one in a lady’s mouth, which makes the lady (who is Bette Davis) smile in a saucy sort of way and then the man and lady stare at each other intensely and blow smoke in each others faces. It’s hardcore porn for librarians.

3. Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

You could cut the sexual tension with a bullwhip in this scene when an attractive Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway play chess in a very suggestive way while they touch their mouths and Fay gives a chess piece a hand-job. It all gets too much for Steve and they have a massive filthy tonguer. 10/10.

2. The English Patient (1996)

While people are singing carols in the background (pervy!) Ralph Fiennes (grr) interferes with Kristen Scott Thomas’s statement brooch, then her pearl necklace (steady), then her slip, then gives her a passionate bang against the wall. The scene where he hungrily rips her dress off is also good. Just watch both.

1. Don’t Look Now (1973)

Proving that married sex can be steaming bloody hot, in this pivotal scene, a sexy, ‘tached-up Donald Sutherland tenderly (and extensively) bones lovely Julie Christie on a hotel bed. What with director Nicholas Roeg’s arty splicing technique and the soundtrack of flute music this is retro humping at its horniest.

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