10 Best Sex Scenes In Foreign Films

Foreign cinema has always been sex-friendly, as this list of the 10 best sex scenes in foreign films will demonstrate. America has never grown past a teenager’s attitude toward sex: fascinated, but too embarrassed to admit it. Other nations, however, can be more mature about sex in cinema, more daring, or simply hotter.

  1. “Last Tango in Paris.” Marlon Brando wasn’t the first American actor to seek creative freedom in Europe, nor was he the last. Working with Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, he made this groundbreaking film in 1972. Its graphic “go get the butter” scene shocked audiences of the time and is still pretty strong stuff today.

  2. “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” Pedro Almodovar’s 1990 Spanish comedy made kidnapping and drug addiction the ingredients for a terrific sex scene, but only Almodovar could pull this off; don’t try it at home. Sexy Victoria Abril realizes her abductor Antonio Banderas truly loves her after drug dealers beat him senseless. In the love scene that follows, she shouts graphic instructions to him, winning this film one of the first NC-17 ratings.

  3. “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” In this 2001 Mexican film, two horny young men meet an older woman who offers to teach them a thing or three about sex. During the resulting road trip, the sexual tension threatens the friendship between the two youths. But the final sex scene provides surprises for all three of them, and the audience as well.

  4. “Stealing Beauty.” Lovely Liv Tyler spends the summer at an Italian artist’s colony in this 1996 film. An indiscreet friend lets slip that she’s a virgin, and soon everyone is trying to fix her up with her first conquest. When the sex scene finally does happen, it’s realistic, sweet and involves the right guy; every virgin should be so lucky.

  5. “Devil in the Flesh.” An Italian student becomes involved with an older woman whose husband is in prison. This otherwise unremarkable 1986 film gained notoriety for an unsimulated scene of oral sex involving actress Maruschka Detmers. It was a first for a mainstream film, although it would not be the last; see below.

  6. “Intimacy.” Like “Last Tango,” this 2001 French film portrayed the no-strings-attached affair between two virtual strangers. Also like that film, “Intimacy” broke new ground for sex scenes in mainstream films. While the sex was portrayed unromantically as evidence of their emotional disconnect, one ultra-realistic scene showed actress Kerry Fox in the act of oral sex.

  7. “The Tall Guy.” This 1989 British comedy was noteworthy as the first film of screenwriter Richard Curtis, later famous for “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Like his later films, this one seamlessly blends romance and comedy. This was especially true in the frenetic, comedic sex scene between Emma Thompson and Jeff Goldblum, which demolishes an entire apartment before they’re done.

  8. “Betty Blue.” This 1986 film by “Diva” director Jean-Jacques Beineix won over audiences worldwide, including an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Its tale of a star-crossed romance on the beach included many love scenes. But it was the slow, close-up sex scene that opened the film that really got the audience’s attention.

  9. “The Piano.” Another Oscar nominee, 1993’s “The Piano” was a French-Kiwi production, featuring American stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin. The exchange of music for love forms the basis of the story, as Hunter teaches Keitel how to play the title instrument. In the climactic sex scene, each steps outside the previous bounds of their relationship, and both soon come to regret it.

  10. “Beyond the Clouds.” Sensuous Sophie Marceau shares a bed with John Malkovich in this 1995 experimental film from influential European directors Michelangelo Antonioni and Wim Wenders. Their long lovemaking scene, under and over the sheets, serves as a metaphor for intertwining lives, the main focus of the film. Since he also made love to Uma Thurman in “Dangerous Liaisons,” it’s easy to see the appeal of being John Malkovich.