The French have given us fine wine, fine food and fine movies, detailed with this list of the five best French adult movies. Find the subtitled versions of these classics, as they’re much hotter in their native language than when they are overdubbed and out of sync.
1. “Emmanuelle” (1974). Directed by Just Jaeckin. Sylvia Kristel stars in the title role as the young, innocent wife of an older diplomat named Jean, with whom she lives in Bangkok. The movie follows her sexual adventures with both men and women, from erotic to forceful. “Emmanuelle” was considered shocking upon its release, although it passes for soft-core today. It remains one of the best French adult movies, and is one of the most successful movies of all time in France. It also led to a string of sequels and related cable-television series.
2. “The Story of O” (1975). Directed by Just Jaeckin. Hot off of the success of “Emmanuelle,” Jaeckin cast Corinne Clery as his lead in “The Story Of O,” one of the best French adult movies and an erotica milestone. It follows the story of a young photographer whose boyfriend brings her to a house where she is subjected to various forms of S&M. And that’s just the start. This cult classic was originally banned in several countries, thanks to its bondage scenes and submission theme. Like “Emmanuelle,” “The Story Of O” is highly erotic without being pornographic.
3. “The Piano Teacher” (2001). Directed by Michael Haneke One of the best French adult movies, “The Piano Teacher” won Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Isabelle Huppert gives a riveting performance as Erika, the tortured, sexually repressed, 40-year-old piano professor who lives at home with her controlling mother. Erika becomes involved in a mutually obsessive relationship with one of her students, 17-year-old Walter. Their lives intertwine as she unravels emotionally and psychologically. Between Erika’s S&M desires and her steady mental decline, “The Piano Teacher” is not for the faint-hearted.
4. “Swimming Pool” (2003). Directed by Francois Ozon Sarah Morton, a mystery writer played by Charlotte Rampling, vacations at her publisher’s summer house in the south of France while working on a new book. Her publisher’s daughter arrives and turns a peaceful respite into a crime scene and hotbed of sexual escapades. Although there is some English in “Swimming Pool,” location and subtitles qualify it as one of the best French adult movies.
5. “Betty Blue” (1986). Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix “Betty Blue” won its share of awards and nominations, as well as criticism for its graphic sex scenes. Beatrice Dalle stars as the title character, who, like most of the women in these best French adult movies, is mentally and emotionally disturbed and prone to fits of passionate rage. She becomes involved with a writer-turned-handyman named Zorg. The movie follows their mercurial relationship and is filled with plenty of hot sex and anger—always a dangerous combination, and both in full force in “Betty Blue.”