For countless reasons, the ‘80s isn’t considered the sexist of decades. Looking back on those years at the movies, the hair was too large, the shorts were too short, and there was no such thing as HD. But look again, because sexy '80s movies were rampant, providing plenty of fodder for both the multiplex and the rapidly growing industries of home video and premium cable. The ratings system was structured differently than it is today, so audiences were able to get their eyes on a lot more flesh than today’s viewers are used to. And though there were a good deal of flashy action movies and cartoon epics at the box office, adult dramas were more in vogue and successful than they are in 2015. Not to mention, you know... all that spandex.
It’s time for the 1980s to claim its rightful title as a sexy decade for movies. And in the name of that campaign, I’ve composed this list of nine sensual classics that you may or may not have sneaked down to the family room in the middle of the night to watch on Cinemax. If you couldn’t get to them then, nobody’s going to stop you know. These are nine of the very sexiest movies of the ‘80s.
1. Nine 1/2 Weeks
Ready to feel like a total square? This 1986 erotic classic is based on a real affair. There was a time when Mickey Rouke was cast to curl some toes, and if exhibitionism does it for you, then this is your flick. Trigger warning for some unclear consent in places, however.
2. Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing will never die, because it's got the sweet nostalgia of a coming-of-age story all packed up in the thrilling pull of a forbidden romance. A highlight for me is when Johnny and Baby have their first after-hours dance in his little staff cabin and innocent Baby goes straight for the butt graze. Ladies taking charge.
3. Risky Business
Do not attempt Risky Business's gettin-busy-on-a-train scene if you suffer from motion sickness. Stick to sliding around in your socks solo instead.
4. Body Heat
Everyone is hot and also hot in 1981's Body Heat. Kathleen Turner turned heads as a modern-day femme fatale who delights in exercising her persuasive sexual power over her men.
Maybe it wasn't Hollywood's greatest ever idea to remake François Truffaut's original '60s film, the jewel of the French New Wave, but they did it anyway. And with Richard Gere, no less. It's worth a watch for the pool scene alone.
6. Dangerous Liaisons
Without Dangerous Liaisons, there would be no Cruel Intentions. And that's the highest praise I can offer this period romantic drama about the rich, the bored, and their playthings.
The high-cut legged leotard owes everything to Jennifer Beals and her moves as a welder/aspiring dancer in Flashdance. The soundtrack did its job, too.
8. Fatal Attraction
The affair between Michael Douglas and Glenn Close goes horribly, horribly wrong in this movie, but how stable can a relationship that passionate ever be?
9. No Way Out
No Way Out is the rare '80s seducer that's also a pretty great movie. It makes the list for Kevin Costner and Sean Young's limousine tryst, even though most of the film is told backwards through the lens of a very un-sexy deposition.
Grab somebody sexy tell 'em, "hey, let's watch these movies!"
Images: Lionsgate; Giphy (5)