Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Florida, United States
April 27
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.


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MAY 19, 2010 5:30PM

Sex, Sex and More Sex. And Clothes.

Rate: 28 Flag

Some of the most smouldering, sizzling, sexy scenes in cinema have been done in costume, as Mary Ann Sorrentino recently noted.  This post is in response to her call for some of the sexiest scenes in films--with their clothes on:



Some of the most smouldering scenes the screen has seen, Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), the best date movie ever.



The famous chess scene in the original version of The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), with Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen, still delivers.



Katharine Ross did a slow tease for Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid   as Etta to her Sundance, but taking off on a bicycle with Paul Newman's Butch Cassidy showed the full range of sexiness in clothes.



There aren't many scenes in filmmaking more sensual or sensitive than Robert Redford shampooing Meryl Streep's hair in the wilds of Africa in Out of Africa (1985) .



Cher underwent a major transformation and got all dolled up in Moonstruck  (1987) to meet Nicholas Cage at the Met.  There might as well have been fireworks as she crossed toward him at the fountain.



The restaurant scene in Chariots of Fire (1981) is one of the sexiest scenes any two actors have made with clothing.  Alice Krige and Ben Cross show how it's done.


Al Pacino _amp_ Simonetta Stefanelli

When Al Pacino as Michael Corleone falls for the undeniably beautiful Apollonia, played by Simonetta Stefanelli, during his Sicilian exile in The Godfather (1972), his eyes do something to her fully clothed that require no removal of a wedding dress to understand.



Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis proved that Amish country is not without its steamy-in-clothing moments in a dance scene in the barn in Witness (1985).



John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara set the bar high in The Quiet Man (1952), proving you can be in a cottage in Ireland, freezing to death, with clothing, coats and even an apron, and make it steam.



Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's onscreen duet of "Falling Slowly" in Once (2006) is indeed a love scene, clothing, piano and all, with art imitating life. 


Thomas Crown Affair Remake

This particular scene in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair  (1999) is about as sexy as you'll get with clothes on, just barely, but others in the film, Rene Russo's first show of a garter to Denis Leary in the museum, her first meeting with Pierce Brosnan at the cocktail party, and their dinner at Cipriani, are equally steamy, with great clothes.



The piano scene in Pretty Woman (1990) gets Richard Gere and Julia Roberts sizzling hot enough, they might as well not have clothes.



A piano plays an important role in Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel's unusual relationship in The Piano (1993) which becomes a smouldering affair in which she plays to get her piano back, a key at a time.  Even fully clothed, the sexual tension is palpable.



Colin Firth loses his pages as a newly divorced writer off to France, and his Portuguese housekeeper, played by Lucia Moniz, dives into the water for them, in this scene from Love Actually (2003) .  They manage to translate sexiness to the screen even without nudity, although she does strip down to bra and panties before taking the plunge.




No clothes off here, yet deadly sexy, the latest romantic incarnation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (2005), with Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFadyen.



"We have a view."  Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter light up a window overlooking Florence in A Room With a View (1985).



A remarkable dance scene in The Young Victoria (2009) translates through crinoline, and the deft moves of Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as Victoria and Albert.



The American President (1995), Michael Douglas, takes a spin on the dance floor with his date, Annette Bening.  Whether they're in the dishroom or the ballroom, they sizzle.



Rebecca DeMornay and Tom Cruise take a hot ride on a train in Risky Business (1983), with Phil Collins and Tangerine Dream in the background.



Michelle Pfieffer gets Robert Redford and the news anchor job in Up Close and Personal (1996) and steams up the screen through several wardrobe, and style, changes. 




Nicholas Cage has a considerable obstacle to overcome as an angel who's fallen in love with a surgeon, played by Meg Ryan, in City of Angels (1998), but manages to fall to earth to do it.  There's plenty of clothed sensuality in the process.



I dare you to get sexier than this with clothes on. You can't. Scott and Fran's rumba from Strictly Ballroom, followed by their powerful finale Paso Doble:



For my money, the top five:  The Last of the Mohicans, The Thomas Crown Affair (Brosnan/Russo), Pride and Prejudice, Witness, and of course, Strictly Ballroom.

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ahhh... I own all these movies..:)
I am a sucker for a wonderful love scene..
rated with fast heartbeats and smiles
The eating scenes: 9 1/2 Weeks blindfolded at the fridge and Tom Jones twisting lobster meat out of its shell while all kind of shenanigans are happening under the table. Just saying...
Witness is one of my favs of all time. The ones I've seen of these are not only an assault on the senses, but downright beautiful. Love, Actually is one of those movies you just don't forget. And such a cast! I always understood why people liked Pretty Woman (riddled with archetypes, I know) but somehow I never liked it. Maybe it's an aversion to the leading lady (right, so sue me). But yes, beautiful choices. I was also thinking of Girl with a Pearl Earring.
IMHO, the sexiest on-screen kiss ever, naked or clothed: Madeleine Stowe & Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans.
Oh my... The scenes in Risky Business and Witness were hot hot hot. _r
What I love abt this post is the diversity of the films. Rated.
This is simply an amazing article. Your movie memory is "Ebert-ish".

Oh . . . . YUM! This is what I'm talking about! Wooooo!

I'm not a huge romantic but that scene from "Last Of The Mohicans" where Daniel Day Lewis and Madeline Stowe just LOOK at each other smokes! R for research.
Here is a link to The Way We Were?
Does it make the cut?
I'll go for all of them except Nick Cage and Cher who are just not attractive people.. but then I'm not a girl.
The others are inspired picks, and I'm a guy.
JW and Maureen O. top the list for cinematic sizzle, and as was your point - in some strange manner the more thoroughly clothed of the bunch, they transported me. The others are more just hot people together!
Oh, and not present - I missed Katherine Hepburn and the Humpster rollin' on the river in "African Queen!"
Very sexy read...it makes me wish I had net flix.
From my art cinema days: In Luis Bunuel's "Viridiana," a nun (played by the beautiful Mexican blonde Silvia Pinal) is alone in her room, sitting on her bed and hikes her habit up to her knee to remove stockings. A nun showing a beautiful gam + a Catholic viewer (i.e. me) = I'm going to hell.
What about Body Heat with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt?
These are wonderful movies, and you've done a great job formatting them and delivering them on a golden platter for us. My favorite of all of these was The Quiet Man - John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara were never so excellent as when they acted together!!! Thanks!
Oh my god. Oh my god.

You put Last of the Mohicans first and Strictly Ballroom last. Two of my most favorite sexy romantic movies ever!

Those are two best "bookends" I've ever seen.
Oooh, what a great Netflix list! Thanks.

Add in there... Persuasion (1995 Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds). As in all Jane Austen stories, the kiss doesn't come until nearly the end, but it's a good one.
First of all, you must have a lot of stuff on your mind to have so many of these kinds of scenes committed to memory. I am with you on most of them, so I take my hat off to your taste in what makes something sexy.

Strictly Ballroom - now THERE'S an underrated movie!
I once dug the amish Kelly...!
'scuse me while I go take a (cold) shower...
Kathy, you have a wonderful memory. I have seen most of these but I just don't remember movies that well. This is a great post, thanks for doing it. RRRRRRR
Such a smoking list. I need to revisit some of these. Might I add two? A not so good movie with a great sensual clothes on scene was Phenomenon, with John Travolta (I know I know. When he was cute) and Kyra Sedgwick, shaving him at the kitchen sink. Also, the sizzling moment between Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in the Remains of the Day, when he almost reaches out to touch her face then stops. You big dummo, I always yell at the screen!
Incredible list, Kathy! All wonderful films, how do you do it?
I love Strictly Ballroom, my introduction to Baz Luhrmann.
Good list and unique topic. But I would have to add something from Casablanca - probably that penultimate confrontation between Rick and Ilsa where she pulls the gun. Maybe something from Waterloo Bridge too but I'd have to wrack my brains to come up with a specific scene. Thanks for posting this.
Excellent choices all but the scene with Rebecca DeMornay?
Hachcha! I love these movies! xox
How could leave out the picnic scene in Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief where Grace Kelly says to Cary Grant quite innocently, "Would you like a leg or breast." That and the fireworks scene.
I've never seen Strictly Ballroom, but now I very, very badly want to! Thanks for this list.
Great choices but how could you forget the kitchen table scene with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange in the remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice"?
Thanks all of you who've contributed and responded on this thread. I want to address some of your suggestions individually:

Linnnn, I like 9 1/2 weeks, but Mickey Rourke was always a little too weird for me, even before he disappeared into the person now occupying his body.

Vanessa, I'd forgotten about Girl With a Pearl Earring. Good choice.

Dave, The Way We Were had too many personal connections for me at the time and I never completely bought the Streisand/Redford relationship. There's a funny story that used to be told about filming that scene where they first sleep together in the film. Robert Redford's wife at the time, Lola, asked him after she saw the film what he was wearing in that love scene with Barbra Streisand, and he responded, "Aramis."

Fred, one of the longest afternoons of my life was watching "The African Queen" during a school assembly in high school, so unfortunately I attach all that to it.

Cranky, I'm not familiar with that film, and will have to fix that. Interesting suggestion.

Leepin, I love Body Heat, one of my favorite movies, even though Kathleen Turner has gotten progressively weirder over the years (actually, the movie I should have listed her for is Romancing the Stone with Michael Douglas, some steamy Latin American fiesta stuff going on there). Mary Ann Sorrentino already mentioned Body Heat on her post, so I didn't. I probably subconsciously tried not to list the crazies here.

froggy, I didn't see the 1995 Persuasion, just the 2007 one, but that's a good suggestion.

Cindy, I enjoy Sense and Sensibility, have it in my permanent collection. All the Jane Austen movies are popular contenders here, obviously.

greenheron, Phenomenon and Remains of the Day are both great suggestions, thanks.

Abrawang, my husband would agree with you on Casablanca.

Sheepie, can't go wrong with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. Or Cary Grant and anyone. Or Grace Kelly and anyone.

Buffy, see above. I was probably subconsciously filtering out the crazies, and Jessica Lange kind of goes into that category for me, although Postman has its heat. For my money, I prefer Jack Nicholson in the more recent Something's Gotta Give with Diane Keaton, in scenes like this one: Something's Gotta Give

To those of you who commented on my memory, like Catherine, Bernadine, Poppi, DArt, and others, thanks. And to all of you who appreciated and left comments, agreed with choices and generally enjoyed this post, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness in being here and commenting. If there's a film you haven't seen (like Saturn), go remedy that. Stat.

Those of you who haven't commented yet, or added your own suggestions, please feel free to continue to do so. I just wanted to get some of my own responses in here, but the thread is still very much open.
OK, then how about Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca?