Full Frontal Male Nudity in Films

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Full Frontal: Male Nudity Video Guide
by Steve Stewart (editor) $12.95

The book lists male full frontal appearances in mainstream films, shorts, and documentaries. If you want to know who was nude where, this is the book to own. It even has an actor's index, so you can look up your favourite leading man.

You may also be interested in Total Exposure: The Movie Buff's Guide to Celebrity Nude Scenes by Jami Bernard.

Both books can be found at Amazon.com

Celluloid Dick is Still a No-No

When Geoffrey Rush's frequently appeared naked in the Oscar-nominated film Quills, a biopic exploring the life of controversial 18th century writer the Marquis de Sade, much was made of his nude scenes.

Rush's co-star Kate Winslet has appeared naked in many of her films, including Titanic and a birth scene in Jude involving a fake vulva, yet few have considered it to be noteworthy. When it comes to nudity on film, a double standard prevails. Naked female flesh is standard, and sometimes expected. Naked male flesh still attracts attention.

Social commentators have debated about why male nudity is still such a taboo in modern cinema. The dichotomy may simply arise because men still make up the majority of film directors and producers. Sex sells, is the motto, but apparently only men are doing the buying. A naked woman appearing in a film is considered to boost the film's profits, whereas full frontal male nudity will frighten away the male viewers, still considered to be more important for some reason.

In the past there have been rare, and treasured, full frontal appearances by male actors in film. Richard Gere appeared in all his glory in American Gigolo was a favourite among women. After that upmarket viewers got a good look at Julian Sands and Simon Callow skinny dipping in a pond in A Room With A View.  But the penis on celluloid was still a very rare sight until the nineties.

A furor broke out about Bruce Willis' nude scene in Color of Night. Legend has it that there were several shots of Willis' cock in both the pool and shower, as well as a good full frontal shot, however anxious studio executives demanded cuts be made, and we only ever got to see fleeting glimpses of little Bruce. It helps to have a good pause button.

It's over a decade old now, but the most impressive inclusion of a penis in a modern film was Harvey Keitel's in The Piano. Plenty of women still fondly cherish the lingering shot of Harvey stark naked, using his shirt to polish the piano of Ada, his lover. Keitel may be wrinkled, grizzled, and best known for violent gangster movies, but that one scene earned him a spot as heartthrob in the minds of many women. Writer and director Jane Campion knew what she was doing with that scene - at last a woman was behind the camera, and she was filming what she wanted to see.

Other films have been daring enough to feature male nudity. In the last few years women have been treated to a number of full-frontal shots, including John Malkovich in The Sheltering Sky, Ewan McGregor in The Pillow Book, Edward Norton in American History X, Russell Crowe in The Sum of Us, and Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley.

Oliver Stone caused a kerfuffle in Any Given Sunday  by having a Cameron Diaz, fully clothed walk through a crowded football changeroom while dozens of stark naked athletes bared all. Some said this scene was a hallmark in the evolution of male full frontal nudity, because the whole scene was treated with a casual disinterest. There was none of the hushed, grave seriousness that often accompanies the appearance of a penis on film.

Catherine Breillat's crossover film Romance  was the latest movie to break the full frontal barrier, and it went a step further - it featured erect penises. While this created a whirlwind of censorship in some countries such as Australia, where the film was initially banned, others barely blinked. The director claimed the erections were necessary to help convey a sense of reality during various sex scenes. Voyeuristic female viewers didn't mind at all.

There still isn't a lot of equality in the cinema nudity stakes. Women still get naked more often than men. Still, we live in hope. Hell, maybe in ten years there'll be an Oscar for the best nude scene, with clips shown at the ceremony. Now THAT would definitely liven up the broadcast, and the ratings. Just as long as Billy Crystal keeps his clothes on.

Another version of this article appears at Sex for Women Info

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