The 25* Most Important Full Frontal Nude Scenes In Movies

Full frontal nudity.

As titillating as the phrase may sound, baring it all on screen is not always a sexy endeavor. Truth be told, nudity can be as frightening for an audience as it is for the thespian tasked with dropping trou (see The Shining). It can also be hilarious (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), depressing (Requiem for a Dream), politically-charged (Salò), gratuitous (Showgirls), painful (Blue Velvet), or just plain strange (Antichrist).

Regardless of its origins, naturism has a unique ability to generate a response—be it outrage or otherwise—when viewed through a director’s lens. The best uses of birthday suits in film history go more than skin deep. For nakedness that will stir your mind as much as your loins, check out The 25 Most Important Full Frontal Nude Scenes In Movies.

[Sacha Baron Cohen, Stonie, and Ken Davitian in Borat (2006)]

5. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Actor who stripped down: Stonie, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian

Why they're fully nude: Family photos in Kazakhstan have their own dress code.

Believe it or not, there's only one instance of full frontal nudity in Sacha Baron Cohen's brilliantly offensive Borat. And that's when the Kazakhstani reporter shares some family photos with the etiquette coach he has hired... then breaches the very art of politeness by sharing some fully nude photos of his supposedly teenage son. (The actor in the photo, Stonie, is actually a professional porn star who is definitely of legal age.)

Though the scene in which Borat and his producer (Ken Davitian) have a fight in the nude is the more infamous of the two (the fight begins in their hotel room, continues into the hallway and elevator, and concludes in a busy banquet hall), in it Cohen's genitals are obscured by a black bar and Davitian's by his fat rolls. Be thankful for the magic of moviemaking.

[Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises (2007)]

4. Eastern Promises (2007)

Actor who stripped down: Viggo Mortensen

Why they're fully nude: Who wears clothes in a bathhouse?

Viggo Mortensen is the definition of a "swinging dick" in Eastern Promises, David Cronenberg's gritty Russian mob movie, when he's mistaken for the mob boss' son (Vincent Cassel) at a bath house and forced to take out a room full of blade-wielding bad guys—in the buff.

As the ultimate symbol of strength and virility, Roger Ebert declared that the scene "sets the same kind of standard that The French Connection set for chases. Years from now, it will be referred to as a benchmark." It also made Viggo a major badass!

[Jason Segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)]
3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Actor who stripped down: Jason Segel

Why they're fully nude: The mistaken belief that his girlfriend is in the mood for love.

Men have been dumped plenty of times on screen. But never in as pathetic a way as Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), boyfriend to the eponymous starlet (Kristen Bell) in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Which is to say, while he's stark raving naked. And is completely blindsided.

Segel, who also scripted the film, says the scene was inspired by a real-life experience. Talk about writing what you know. Ouch!

[Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe in Antichrist (2009)]
2. Antichrist (2009)

Actors who stripped down: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Why they're fully nude: Random acts of sex and violence.

One almost doesn't know where to begin when it comes to dissecting the parade of nudity that is Antichrist. It starts from the get-go, with a close-up sex scene, as the couple known as He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) make love while their young son climbs out the window and falls to his death. From there, it just gets darker...and stranger.

Sex becomes a weapon of destruction in the hands of director Lars von Trier, who was very open about the severe bouts of depression he was suffering from during the scripting and production of this film. Which might help explain its utterly anarchic tone and truly horrific imagery, including a self-administered female circumcision. Just when you think you understand where it's headed, it veers onto another rocky—and painful—path. A date movie this ain't.

[Michael Fassbender in Shame (2011)]
1. Shame (2011)

Actor who stripped down: Michael Fassbender

Why they're fully nude: Boy can't help it—sex is an addiction.

Michael Fassbender earned a Golden Globe nomination—and the respect of fellow actors, who saw what he had to offer below the waist—for his portrayal of Brandon, a 30-something sex addict fornicating his way through New York City. That is until his sister (Carey Mulligan, who also strips down to nothing) arrives and challenges his intentionally noncommittal lifestyle.

Second only to Showgirls in terms of earning an NC-17 rating for sexual content, Steve McQueen's Shame is no kind of guilty pleasure. It's a carefully constructed drama in which sex is the opposite of intimacy—it's an escape from personal trauma. Something that can happen only when there is absolutely no personal connection. Men, women; one person, multiple partners; sex is Brandon's drug of choice. And a habit that will ultimately unravel him.

[Note: For another, even less titillating, example of Fassbender's bodily commitment to his characters and craft, watch him display a skeletal frame as hunger-striking IRA prisoner Bobby Sands in McQueen's equally powerful Hunger.]

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