The Steamiest, Sexiest Movies Of All Time

Refinery29 Editors

The sexiest movies aren't necessarily lurking in the adults-only section of HBO — or in the deleted archives of one's browser history. Often, the steamiest films are mainstream. Whether a flick actually features a crazy-hot love scene or a more innocent tryst between a forbidden couple, it's perfectly acceptable to find these movies tantalizing. Let's be real: That was totally the filmmaker's point.

As a celebration of the sexiest films to ever grace the big screen, we've rounded up a collection of movies that have a history of encouraging sexy thoughts. While turn-ons are as varied as people are, these movies certainly attempt to evoke certain feelings in all of us.

Is it hot in here? Nope, it's just these movies. Click through to read about the sexiest movies to inspire endless fantasizing.


Gloria (Paulina Garcia) is 53, divorced, and ready to start living. The Chilean movie begins with Gloria dancing in a club, and continues the theme of fun mixed with self-exploration. A crucial part of Gloria's journey comes through her relationship with Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), an older bachelor. Instead of a mid-life crisis, what happens in this movie is a mid-life flourishing.

Fabula/Nephilim Producciones/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Mr. and Mrs. Smith(2005)

Brangelina is no longer, but this movie about married assassins on assignment to kill one another retains its sizzle.

Stephen Vaughan/20th Century Fox/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock


Catherine (Julianne Moore) suspects that her husband, David (Liam Neeson), is having an affair, so she has the bright idea of trying to get a call girl, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to seduce him. As a result, their entire lives spiral out of control, leading to a love triangle with dark, erotic thriller vibes.

In The Cut(2003)

In erotic thrillers, people get together who normally never would in real life. For example, an English teacher (Meg Ryan) willingly has an affair with a stranger (Mark Ruffalo), whom she suspects of murder.

The Lost Boys(1987)

Vampire movies were sexy long before Twilight. In this movie, two brothers move to a quiet town in California. One falls in with the nerds. The other, with an actual gang of vampires. The sexiest moment of this movie must, inevitably, has to be the oiled-up sax man who's been a cultural trope since.

Jane O'Neal/Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

She's Gotta Have It(1986)

Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) chooses that she's just not going to choose. Instead of settling down with one man, Nola dates three. Three decades after his seminal movie came out, Spike Lee adapted She's Gotta Have It for a Netflix series.

Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock

Call Me By Your Name(2017)

Elio (Timothee Chalemet) and David (Armie Hammer) have a breathtaking romance over one Italian summer, and you'll never look at peaches the same way again.

Something New(2006)

For the past few years, Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) has been focused on furthering her career, not on love. Her friend sets her up with an architect, Brian (Simon Baker) — but Kenya balks when she finds out he's white. She runs into Brian later on, and a relationship develops despite Kenya's hesitation. Then, another man comes into Kenya's life: Mark Harper (Blair Underwood), who's everything she'd envision for herself. This is a far smarter love triangle movie than most you've seen before.

The Reader(2008)

This is mostly a dark movie, with a dash of sexiness. When he's a teenager, Michael Berg (David Kross) has an affair with an older woman, Hanna (Kate Winslet). Then, she disappears. Michael finds out why, years later, when he sees Hannah being tried for her Nazi war crimes.

Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

In the Realm of the Senses(1976)

The only adjective you really need to describe this movie is sexy. Super, super sexy. The beautiful, artistic movie takes place in 1930s Japan, and is about a passionate and destructive affair between Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda) and her employer, Kichizo Ishida (Tatsuya Fuji). It features unstimulated (aka real) sex.

Desert Hearts(1986)

In the year 1935, Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) drives to Reno, Nevada so she can expedite her divorce process. While lounging around for the six-week period required for residency, Vivian strikes up a friendship with Cay Rivvers (Patricia Charbonneau), which, to Vivian's surprise becomes something more than friendship.

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Young & Beautiful(2013)

Losing her virginity unlocks something inside of Isabelle (Marine Vacth). She begins to quite willingly work as a prostitute. "It was like a game," she says. It's a game until one of her clients passes away, and her parents find out about her double life led in the name of sexual awakening.

Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

You read that right: Volumes one and two. It takes self-proclaimed nymphomaniac Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) two full length movies in order to fully retell a lifetime's worth of sexual exploits to a stranger who finds her beaten-up in an alley, and brings her home for recuperation.

Zentropa Entertainments/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

A Royal Affair(2012)

In 18th century Denmark, Caroline Matilda of Great Britain (Alicia Vikander) is forced to marry the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Folsgaard), because back then, women were convenient alliance-forming pawns. A doctor, Johann Friedrich Strunsee (Mads Mikkelsen), is brought on to care for the king. Finally meeting someone she likes in that castle, Caroline and the liberal-minded Johann start a passionate affair

Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock


In Paris at the turn of century, a retired courtesan (Kathy Bates) enlists the help of her old colleague, Lea (Michelle Pfeiffer), with a parenting problem. Charlotte's son, Cheri (Rupert Friend), is a difficult, stubborn, thorn in her side — and a virgin. Lea's brought on to teach Cheri the ways of the world. Charlotte never intended on Lea and Cheri's relationship blossoming into something like love, yet that's what happens, despite their 20-year age gap.

Poison Ivy(1992)

Drew Barrymore plays a seductress named Ivy, and Ivy becomes poison for the Cooper family. Seeking a stable home life, Ivy very creepily ingratiates herself into the Cooper family by seducing the father. Then, she attempts to off the mother, and frame the daughter. It's sexy in an erotic thriller sort of way.


From Dusk Till Dawn(1996)

We'll sell you on the sex appeal of this vampire film quickly. Salma Hayek plays a vampire goddess named Santanico Pandemonium who specializes in a "snake dance," and is but one vampire working in a bar straight out of True Blood.

Joyce Podell/Los Hooligans/A Band Apart/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Dangerous Liasions(1988)

Two bored French aristocrats decide to cause trouble by playing games of manipulation and seduction. If you like Cruel Intentions, watch this movie — they're based off the same novel.

Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

In the Mood For Love(2000)

Two neighbors in Hong Kong find that their lonely lives adhere to a similar schedule. They spark up an intimate friendship, especially after confessing that their spouses are both having an affair. While they feel lust for each other, they want to be better than their cheating spouses. So, In the Mood For Love is steeped in unfulfilled and aching sexual tension, which is undeniably its own brand of sexiness.

Dirty Dancing(1987)

Rarely are summer flings are productive as the one between Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze). In addition to giving Baby the strength to rise above her judgmental family, she learns to dirty dance. The tangible chemistry between Grey and Swayze spread sex appeal all over the dance floor.


In actuality, the iconic love story between Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) is chaste, compared to some of the other selections on this list. But the palpable sexual tension, combined with one steamy handprint on a car, makes Titanic one of the sexiest (and saddest) movies ever.

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Kiss Me(2011)

Frida goes to her father's wedding with her fiancé, and finds herself thrown for a loop. She's inexplicably, totally, and completely attracted to her soon-to-be stepmother's daughter, Mia. Kiss Me should be a fixture in the forbidden love genre.

The Lover(1992)

In this film based on the famous novel by Margeurite Duras, a French teenager and a wealthy older Chinese man in 1920s French Indochina carry out an affair in seedy corners of Saigon. The jig's almost up on their forbidden relationship. But when will it end, and how?

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My Golden Days(2015)

Of course a film about a middle-aged French anthropologist remembering his first love is going to be steamy. The lush, romantic film is actually a prequel to the 1996 three-hour epic, My Sex Life or...How I Got Into An Argument," which is all about the French academic's present-day life. My Golden Days explains how he became such a romantic idealist.


Robyn Wright and Naomi Watts' characters grow up in idyll on the Australian coast. When they grow up, they raise their beautiful sons in adjacent beautiful homes. Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

And then, the women start sleeping with each others' sons. Still beautiful? Up to you to decide.


Only Hollywood could take The Iliad, strip it of its poetry and literary significance, and make it an excuse for Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana, and Brad Pitt to prance around on horseback.

My Beautiful Laundrette(1985)

In a rough neighborhood of London, Omar Ali (Gordon Warnecke) inherits a laundromat from his uncle. Then, Omar is beat up by a gang of racist kids — the leader of whom is, surprisingly, Omar's ex-lover, Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). Despite Johnny's connection to the group, he and Omar rekindle their relationship. This acclaimed, heartening movie about love against the odds features what may be the best ear lick of all time.

Body Heat(1981)

Set in Florida during an intense heatwave, this is a movie about passion, heat, crime, and a lot of sweat. Ned Racine (William Hurt), a shy lawyer, starts a passionate affair Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), the wife of a big shot businessman. Ned teams up with one of his criminal clients to kill Matty's husband, so the two can run off together. Of course, Ned finds himself way over his head. Not even the hottest sex can save him now.

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Out of Sight(1998)

What happens when you pit George Clooney's notorious bank robber against J-Lo's Federal Marshal on the hunt? Chemistry, of course. In addition to being steamy, this witty movie received almost universal acclaim from critics.


Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love(1996)

You'd expect that a movie with the title "Kama Sutra" would be sexy, and trust us — it delivers. Set in 16 century India, Kama Sutra is about two childhood friends who become sexual rivals in their womanhood. Tara becomes engaged to the king, and her best friend Maya is groomed into becoming his mistress. This cannot end well, though at least there are drawn-out sex scenes along the way.

Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock


This gorgeous period piece tells the story of a timid shopgirl who becomes romantically involved with a wealthy housewife. The movie's sexiest moment comes when a couple takes a road trip away from Carol's husband and steam up a motel room. What makes Carol a great film, however, are the satisfying journeys of self-discovery that both women embark on.

Wilson Webb/Killer Films/The Weinstein Company/REX/Shutterstock

Original Sin
Sure, the movie was slammed by critics. But upturned noses can't take away from the crazy chemistry between leads Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas in this period piece set in Cuba during 19th century Spanish rule.

Lourdes Grobet/MGM/REX/Shutterstock

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
The artist-and-his-muse archetype gets revamped in this Woody Allen flick. The Spanish setting is romantic enough, but all bets (and clothing items) are off when you add in the allure of the painter, his colorful past lover, and the promise of a new one.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
If there's anything sexier than Mickey Rourke as a Wall Street mogul having an affair with Kim Basinger, we've yet to find it. This movie upped the ante on what erotic means in Hollywood.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Lust, Caution (2007)
A young, virginal woman is tasked with seducing a most dangerous enemy. Thrilling romance follows.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Focus Features.

I Am Love (2009)
Visually stunning, I Am Love is one of those movies you can't look away from. The veneer of the perfect family, under the guise of bougie Italian culture, is questioned in this battle over old and new. The meal scene is a must.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Film.

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
Two teens embark on a road trip when they encounter a stunningly free-spirited woman who helps them discover intimacy and themselves.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

House Of Pleasures (2011)
Instead of submitting to men, the women of this French brothel know how to dominate them.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Haut et Court.

From Here To Eternity (1953)
The scene with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster kissing on the beach is iconic and unforgettable.

Streaming: iTunes

Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Unfaithful (2002)
This movie, despite how disastrous Diane Lane's affair is, will make you want to pull your lover into the nearest restaurant bathroom and get it on immediately.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Cruel Intentions (1999)
Ah... young, rich, pretty people galavanting through hedonism and the recklessness of youth.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Fifty Shades might be all kinky and whatnot, but Stanley Kubrick's sex party is one for the cinematic ages.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Fallen Angels (1995)
Visually, this movie is the definition of sexy. Story-wise, it'll tear you to pieces.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Kino International.

Malèna (2000)
It should go without saying that Monica Bellucci's mere presence amps the sensuality of any film to new heights. But, this coming-of-age tale demystifies the act of growing up and into one's own sexuality.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Miramax Films.

Bound (1996)
Whoever said a sexy movie needed a heteronormative seduction story hasn't seen the Wachowskis' crime thriller. Two femme fatales are better than one.

Streaming: Unavailable

Photo: Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures.

Weekend (2011)
This movie from Looking creator Andrew Haigh is a watershed for queer cinema. Not only does it present an insightful story about a homosexual romance without ostentatious stereotypes, it presents gay sex as perfectly normal.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Selects.

The Dreamers (2003)
Though the film treads the incest line, The Dreamers prompts audiences to question sex with people outside of their "type." Plus, Eva Green just exudes sexuality.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Love & Basketball (2000)
For once, a movie that focuses on the reactions to sex and sexuality rather than the actual act. Love & Basketball made it feel like the first time.

Streaming: iTunes

Photo: Courtesy of New Line Cinema.

The Piano Teacher (2001)
Dark, but moving, The Piano Teacher doesn't shy away from the shame that sex can generate. There's something inherently sexy about that kind of rawness.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Kino International.

Basic Instinct (1992)
Everyone knows this movie for Sharon Stone's interrogation scene, but the sex scene is also incredible. Even more than that, Stone's entire aura is divinely sexy.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures.

In The Mood For Love (2000)
Not only is this film a fabulous study of couples seeking other arrangements, but the costume design exudes sex appeal.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of USA Films.

28 Hotel Rooms (2012)
This is what happens when your one-night stand turns out to be something more. Enjoy the ride.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
So, their actual marriage has gone to hell. But these two gifted us one of the hottest angry sex scenes, ever. Plus, who doesn't want to watch Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt cinematically get it on?

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs gave us all too high of expectations for what shower sex could be.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Take This Waltz (2011)
Michelle Williams has always been subtly sexy, and this scene takes the cake — both artistically and sexually.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Elles (2011)
Juliette Binoche is the definition of French chic. Her portrayal of a woman seeking to rediscover her sexuality through researching prostitutes is as inspiring as it is enticing.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of Memento Films.

Betty Blue (1986)
An erotic drama that opens with an in-your-face sex scene, Betty Blue presents sex without any gimmicks. The most shocking thing about the sexuality is how not shocking it actually is.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Gaumont.

Sex, Lies, And Videotape(1989)
For once, a movie with as many blunt conversations about sex as there are sex scenes.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Miramax Films.

A Single Man (2009)
Tom Ford's screen adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel is far and away the most sexed-up title on this list. However, it's sexier than the rest because Tom Ford has his hand in every bit of this film. Everything from the styling, set design, soundtrack, and coloring is sleek. This is eye candy.

Streaming: Netflix

Photo: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.

Breathless (1960)
Jean-Luc Godard's debut feature film is one of the reasons we're all slightly obsessed with the effortlessly cool French look and life.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Rialto Pictures.

Secretary (2002)
Let's be real: This is the original Fifty Shades. This movie does more than depict sadomasochism, it celebrates it.

Streaming: Amazon

Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.

Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)
This French film explores a romance between two young women and shows the excitement of experiencing true intimacy for the first time. Check it out for the sweet romance, stay for the sexy, sexy scenes.

Stream: Netflix

Photo: Wild Bunch

Mulholland Drive (2001)
Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring find very sexy romance as they attempt to solve a bizarre mystery in David Lynch's steamy neo-noir.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Universal Pictures

Savages (2012)
Is it hot in here, or is it just the polyamorous relationship between the three beautiful leads? Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson play marijuana farmers who get tangled up in a Mexican drug cartel — but not before getting tangled up in one another.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Universal Pictures

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Yes, this movie is devastating, but you also can't find two better-looking guys than Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal to hook up in a tent.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Focus Features

Closer (2004)
Closer isn't filled with sex scenes, but the deep kisses and smoldering looks exchanged between the four gorgeous actors are enough to get anyone hot and bothered.

Buy: Amazon

Photo: Columbia Pictures

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