There are many reasons why an actor might choose to bare all on screen, and when we are dealing with big names, it’s rarely just for the sake of a little T&A. Sometimes, the role centers on sex: sex addicts, porn stars, prostitutes. Sometimes, however, they just didn’t feel the need to cover it all up- sometimes it just looks a lot more natural to be au naturel.
We put together a list of some of the biggest names to get naked for the camera; as long as they are on screen with nothing on. We start with the more subtle shots and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, before getting to the A-listers who were happy to let it all hang out!
Warning: Because of the nature of this list, it (like the films on it!) is R-rated, so it may not be safe for work.
Sharon Stone – Basic Instinct (1992)
One of the most famous moments of on-screen female nudity is all the more impressive because Stone isn’t even naked! Instead, she’s in a white dress and heels for her famous scene, where it’s not about the dress, but what’s under it… or what isn’t, as crime novelist Catherine Tramell takes back the power in an interrogation by slowly, seductively, uncrossing and recrossing her legs, pointedly flashing her questioners.
The entire scene screams sex, from her purring voice, to her openly admitting to enjoying sex, to her oh-so-subtle cigarette. Sharon Stone became infamous for the shot, and this scene has been deconstructed many times in university classroom discussions about female power and the male gaze in film.
Mark Wahlberg – Boogie Nights (1997)
One of the most famous wangs in the business has to be Mr Wahlberg’s, following his particularly impressive… performance in Boogie Nights. Of course, the final scene where we get to see Dirk Diggler’s business isn’t quite 100% real. The enormous bulge and final shots were actually done with a prosthetic penis – one that Wahlberg apparently held on to after filming!
Nicole Kidman – Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Kidman may have managed to play a courtesan without ever removing her clothes in Moulin Rouge, but she’s not shy about baring all in this Kubrick film. Although there are many carefully-placed mirror frames and the like to keep her pubic area hidden, she spends much of the film naked; whether taking clothes off, putting them on, or just gazing at herself in her marital discontent.
Christian Bale – American Psycho (2000)
Definitely one of the least sexy nude scenes on this list, Christian Bale stripped off for the blood-soaked moment in American Psycho where he chases a prostitute with a chainsaw. There’s much more of a rear view to this one, as the majority of the frontal shots have his chainsaw throwing everything directly below it into the shadows. However, there are a couple moments that are sure to have some fingers hovering over the pause button!
Halle Berry – Monster’s Ball (2001)
Berry won an Oscar for her role in this film, which is about an unlikely romance between a racist prison guard and the wife of an executed inmate, proving that full frontal isn’t a barrier to critical acclaim. In a famously powerful sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton, Berry pulls of her clothes and begs him to make her feel good. It sounds sultry, but is actually an incredibly raw and uncomfortable scene, rather than a sexy one.
Richard Gere – American Gigolo (1980)
The surprising thing about Gere showing us the full monty in this ‘80s classic about a male escort framed for murder is that we don’t see more. In a film about a sex worker, surely you would be forgiven for expecting to see a little more, well… sex?
However, there’s nothing wrong with some subtlety, and Gere still turned heads for his brief moment of standing by a window without needing to hide his man-parts. One of the first films to ever showcase a major star entirely in the nude, American Gigolo will always remain an important movie in the halls of full frontal fame.
Billie Piper – Secret Diary of A Call Girl (2007 – )
Better known for her role as companion Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, Billie Piper also played a London escort in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which was a tad bit more risqué than her adventures with the Doctor. Piper spends quite a bit of the series (based on the real life experiences of a call girl named Belle Du Jour) in various states of undress, from totally naked to carefully coiffed in various fetish outfits and sexy costumes.
Expect plenty of (surprisingly tasteful) sex scenes and casual nudity throughout, with many of the others cast members joining her in the nude. For an actress who often plays the girl-next-door, Secret Diary of a Call Girl is a refreshing change for the British actress.
Ben Affleck – Gone Girl (2014)
That shower scene toward the end of Gone Girl had Affleck fans hitting the pause button to catch glimpse of the famous actor’s “little Ben”- a scene that managed to make headlines despite being short enough to miss it if you blinked at the wrong moment.
The decision to include the shot was a surprising one; Affleck isn’t known for his willingness to strip down to nothing, and it arguably doesn’t add much to the film (except for controversy). However, Affleck has been happy to joke about the shot, famously saying that it “looks better in 3D”. Good to see that he has a sense of humor about the world discussing his private parts!
Kim Cattrall – Porky’s (1981) and Sex And The City (1998 – 2004)
Cattrall is probably most famous for her naked screen time in the HBO hit of the ‘90s, Sex and the City, where she played the promiscuous Samantha Jones. During her time on the show, she bared all in what seemed like every other episode, as Sam slept her way through most of the eligible men in New York City.
Cattrall’s turn as the sexually adventurous PR girl wasn’t her first time stripping on screen, though. She took it all off for one of her first big roles as the sexy cheerleading coach Miss Honeywell in Porky’s, where she made her mark as a female character completely unashamed by her love of sex.
Jason Segel – Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Funnyman Jason Segel bared all for this rom-com, in a scene where his girlfriend breaks up with him when he is fresh out of the shower. The scene is well-known for including multiple shots of Segel in the buff, as he refuses to put his clothes back on because “that will mean it’s over.”
Somehow, he manages to cover the initial groan-worthy dirty comedy (especially with that invitational shake), awkward humor as his girlfriend attempts to dump a naked man, and some real pity for the character all at the same time. Most tragically of all, Segel has said in past interviews that he wrote the scene based on a real-life experience of his. Ouch!
Kate Winslet – Holy Smoke (1999), Titanic (1997), Jude (1996), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Iris (2001) and The Reader (2008)
Kate Winslet has an impressive back catalog of nude scenes, including her famous moment with Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. While this scene barely counts as on-screen nudity (her drawing is quite revealing, but the scene itself barely lingers on a nipple), the film is not her first, nor her last example of baring it all.
She has multiple bath scenes, sex scenes and standing-around-naked scenes to her credit, including some very explicit skinny dipping in Iris. Back in 2009 in an interview with Time Magazine, she did say that she doubted that she would keep getting her kit off in films, but only time will tell if The Reader was indeed her last full-frontal scene.
Thomas Jane – Hung (2009 – 2011) and Nemesis (1992)
While Thomas Jane may be most recently famous for baring all in the TV series Hung, it’s not the first time that he’s been on camera with his clothes off. He also appeared in the low-budget ’92 sci-fi action flick Nemesis, where he spent an entire 5+ minute scene naked as a jaybird. In fact, he has said in interviews that he’s very comfortable shooting in the nude, so it’s no surprise that he’s the star of a TV series about a gigolo with a particularly impressive package.
Jane also caused controversy when some of his remarks in an interview were taken as a confession that he had worked as a male prostitute in his youth, although he later denied those same rumors. If they are true, it would certainly explain his relaxed attitude to professional nudity.
Helen Mirren – Age of Consent (1969) and Calendar Girls (2003)
Proving that age is no reason to keep your clothes on, Helen Mirren was most recently au naturel in 2003 (while in her late 50s) for the British comedy Calendar Girls. The story of a group of middle-aged women who make a nude calendar is a sweet and funny romp, but it’s not the first time that she took it all off on film.
In the ’69 film Age of Consent, Mirren played the young muse for an older artist, including several scenes entirely naked. While she’s happily gone bare before, she has now said that she won’t be doing any more full-frontal; not because of her age (she still looks incredible, of course), but because nudity simply isn’t shocking any more.
Harvey Keitel – Bad Lieutenant (1992) and The Piano (1993)
Famous for his devotion to method acting, it’s not too surprising that Keitel is willing to strip down to really get inside a character.
In Bad Lieutenant, there’s nothing sexual about his decision, as the titular Lieutenant is generally just a horrible human being and the majority of the audience has no interest in seeing him naked. It’s not even part of a sex scene or a character who needs to be naked for a living. Instead, we are treated to a front-and-center shot of a crooked cop in a clothes-optional existential crisis. His scenes in The Piano definitely make for easier viewing as he seduces the young wife next door.
Heather Graham – Boogie Nights (1997)
Another Boogie Nights nude alum, Heather Graham played “Rollergirl,” the young blonde porn star who never takes off her skates. The preternaturally perky bimbette strips off with a smile, revealing nothing underneath her onesie for Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler.
Like most of the nudity in this ‘90s classic about the adult industry, there’s no shame and little subtlety, which is part of what makes this movie such a classic. Since then, Graham has largely kept her clothes on in film, but she’s often found in lip-locks and lingerie, and has no problem continuing to play the bubbly sex bomb that Rollergirl embodied.
Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting (1996), Velvet Goldmine (1998), The Pillow Book (1996) and Young Adam (2003)
Ewan McGregor has never been shy about showing his private parts on screen. Since he’s reached new heights of fame, he’s tended to keep it in his pants, but a surprising number of his early films involve fully nude moments.
Some offer only a quick glimpse, like the moment in Trainspotting where he gets out of bed, not bothering with the usual coy ways to keep covered up. Others, such as his performance in The Pillow Book give us a straightforward look at “little Ewan,” with no pretense, and no need to pause at just the right moment to catch it.
Eva Green – The Dreamers (2003)
Green isn’t the only one to reveal all in this film about three young people living in Paris in the ‘60s. Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel also spend an impressive amount of the film with their clothes off as the three characters lose what innocence they have left.
The Dreamers, directed by renowned auteur Bernardo Bertolucci, created some controversy for its frank depiction of male and female nudity – Eva leaves nothing to the imagination (nor do the boys). More recently, Green found more controversy in a poster for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, when a semi-exposed nipple caused outrage! She definitely had her sexy moments in that movie, too, although they weren’t quite as risqué as her work in The Dreamers.
Michael Fassbender – Shame (2011)
Like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender has no problems baring all for a role that he feels deserves it. Probably most famous for his stark portrayal of a sex addict in the drama Shame, Fassbender has been in his birthday suit on camera many other times, including his role in the disturbing drama Hunger.
Unlike many actors who will allow the odd glimpse here and there, Fassbender’s work on Shame included an impressively long scene of him wandering around the apartment, letting it all hang out. And there is quite a bit to let hang; George Clooney even made a crack about it at the Golden Globes in 2012!
Margot Robbie – The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
There are plenty of graphic scenes in this film about success and excess, but Margot Robbie’s are some of the most impressive (although cocaine being snorted off of various naked bodies is also quite striking). From her full-frontal moment in nothing but stockings and heels to the incredibly sexy scene where she torments DiCaprio’s Belfort by explicitly refusing him sex while masturbating, Robbie holds nothing back.
Tom Hardy – Sergeant Slaughter, My Big Brother (2011); Colditz (2005) and Bronson (2008)
Tom Hardy has more than a few nude scenes under his belt, although most of them aren’t in a particularly sexy context. From his turn in the short film Sergeant Slaughter, My Big Brother, where he spends much of his time on screen clad in only a military beret while talking to his brother, to his scene in the series Colditz where he is stripped naked and forced to shower in a POW camp, his nudity is largely dramatic, rather than romantic.
His willingness to take it off (especially in scenes with men) has inspired many questions about his sexuality, but despite his willingness to show off his junk, he asserts that what he does with it off screen isn’t anyone else’s business.
Bonus Mention: Daniel Radcliffe
While Daniel Radcliffe has never made it on screen without his pants on, the Harry Potter star created some controversy in 2007 when he starred in the West End production of the play Equus as Alan Strang. The “naked horse scene” was definitely a departure from his work on the young adult series, and many fans felt that he was too young to take it on (he was seventeen at the time).
The play made its way to Broadway, and while it never turned into a film adaptation (at least, not starring Radcliffe), it definitely deserves a mention as some A-List celebrity nakedness, not least because it means that Radcliffe may not be averse to joining the list of full-frontal movie stars in future!
Can you think of any other A-Listers that bared it all? Let us know below!
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