Since Italy produced one of the sexiest actors of all times, Sophia Loren, picking the 5 best Italian erotic movies is not easy. Though known more for comedies and expressionistic films, Italy still brought a lot of sexiness to the big screen.
- “Ossessione” James Cain’s classic novel plot in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” is too good to waste on one movie. America has two versions, and “Ossessione,” from 1943, is the one that makes the best erotic Italian films list. The film scandalized the church and fascist censors. Sadly, some negatives were destroyed, however, director Luchino Visconti managed to retain an original print. The passionate relationship between the sexually-repressed Giovanna, whose husband is dimwitted and banal, and Gino, the drifter who appears at the inn to work for the husband, is barely hidden from the husband. Their lust is uncompromising and eventually destructive though erotically-charged to the end.
- “The Night Porter” (“Il Portiere di notte”) One of the most controversial movies of any genre from Italy, “The Night Porter” (1974) is one of the best Italian erotic movies. The movie’s shocking premise involves Charlotte Rampling (Lucia), a concentration camp survivor and Dirk Bogarde (Max), the Nazi SS officer with whom she had a sadomasochistic relationship during the war. Thirteen years later, Lucia and Max, resume their relationship. The film won raves for its depiction of realistic though shocking sexual taboos and was heavily derided for mixing eroticism with the Holocaust setting in a kind of “romantic pornography.” In this gruesome story of obsessive love or sex and repressed guilt, Rampling is both compellingly beautiful and scary.
- “Last Tango in Paris” (“Ultimo tango a Parigi”) Though set in France, filmed in English and French, and starring an American movie star, this 1972 film was directed by one of Italy’s greatest filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci. The movie’s carnality paved the way for realistic eroticism in mainstream films. The movie about the sudden and short-lived sexual relationship between an aging widower (Marlon Brando) and a young Frenchwoman (Maria Schneider) was one of few popular films to receive an X rating in America. The two lovers in the film never learn each other’s names, but they learn the parts of one another’s bodies quite well. In one infamous scene, butter is used as a lubricant, and the rest, as they say, is history. While some do not view the movie as erotic or even sexy because of the lack of emotion the two main characters display, watching the two interact is compelling and haunting.
- “Passione d’Amore” This 1981 film makes the best Italian erotic movie list for several reasons, one of which is its plot, based on the ancient folktale of Beauty and the Beast. The animal-man longing for the beautiful young lady is the story behind such diverse movies as “King Kong” and “The Outlaw,” not to mention the brilliant French adaption of the tale, Jean Cocteau’s 1942 “Beauty and the Beast.” However in “Passione d’Amore,” the beauty and the best theme is turned around, with the man (Giorgio) being the beauty and the beast (Fosca) being a homely girl. Giorgio tries to be friends with Fosca, but there are complications with his sexy girlfriend Clara. The passionate relationships or obsessions in the film give it its erotic appeal, even if it doesn’t have the traditional fairytale ending.
- “City of Women” (“La citta delle donne”) This 1980 movie is one of the best erotic Italian movies based on its stars alone: Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Mastroianni (Guido) battles erotic fantasies about women who control and destroy men, while he is the only man left standing. Though not considered one of Federico Fellini’s better films, the movie’s sexual theme and stars make it a best erotic Italian film. Though the film is a lusty nightmare, it also is funny and sexy, especially in Guido’s memories of past sexual relationships. Though things go very wrong for Guido, because he is basically a womanizer being punished for it, the wealth of naked flesh and naked fun that takes place along the way makes it a very worthwhile film to see.