In these Internet days, it’s hard to remember how important a poster used to be for selling a movie. Back in the old days, it was sometimes all we had to make a decision about whether to buy a ticket. And if the poster had a hot babe on it, that certainly swung things for us. Here’s a trip through the annals of motion-picture history that spotlights the 10 posters with the most sex appeal ever.
"For Your Eyes Only"
James Bond is probably the film character with the most luck with women, so it’s no surprise that a Bond flick would make this list. The iconic poster for 1981’s "For Your Eyes Only" features the unforgettable gams of model Joyce Bartle framing Bond as he spins to handle the latest threat. Oh, and she’s also holding a crossbow, just to spice things up a bit. Not only is it a powerfully erotic image, it’s also influenced literally hundreds of tributes and knock-offs.
"9 1/2 Weeks"
Adrian Lyne’s 1986 drama was one of the hottest flicks of the decade, pairing Kim Basinger at her peak with Mickey Rourke before whatever horrible thing happened to him happened, and it was both popular and very controversial. Some of the film’s success can be attributed to the absolutely over-the-top poster, which depicts Basinger in a sheer bit of lingerie that shows off plenty of cleavage and leg. We won’t talk about the direct-to-video sequels, because they didn’t have posters.
This obscure 2006 British drama didn’t make many waves over here, probably for good reason. You could tell the studio wasn’t too confident in the flick when they decided to sell the poster with a brief scene from one of the movie’s fantasy sequences in which the main character freezes time to sketch women in the nude. That plotline is just a small segment of the overall film, but any excuse to strip a lady’s top off in the middle of a supermarket is good enough for us.
OK, so Maggie Gyllenhaal isn’t really at the top of our Hollywood-hotties list, but you can’t deny that she made an impression in the 2002 indie drama, "Secretary." Playing the newly awakened submissive executive assistant to James Spader’s dominant attorney, she brought a taste of kink to mainstream America (sort of like "50 Shades of Grey"). The poster made audiences sit up and take notice, featuring a pair of shapely gams assuming the position for a well-deserved spanking over a desk.
"The Center of the World"
Wayne Wang’s 2001 drama stars Peter Sarsgaard as an Internet millionaire who yearns for a taste of authenticity, so he pays a stripper $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Las Vegas. The pair enjoy a bizarre and emotionally fraught experience that will have you thinking about the way we treat each other. The poster is equally hot, depicting female star Molly Parker in sensual repose, leg curled up invitingly and a very lucky lollipop in her red-lipped mouth.
Straight up, Asia Argento is on our dream-girls list. Not only is she incredibly gorgeous, but she’s horror royalty as daughter of legendary director Dario Argento. She’s also unafraid of showing off her body, as she proved with the poster for Oliver Assayas’s 2007 thriller, "Boarding Gate." In the movie, she plays an unscrupulous young woman who seduces businessmen for classified information, and the poster shows her in all of her erotic and deadly glory.
Tinto Brass was an Italian master of softcore sex, churning out impressionistic narratives filmed by multiple cameras at the same time. He also totally loved butts, as all good men do. He’s most famous in America for his disastrous adaptation of "Caligula" that was written by Gore Vidal, but his films are all worth seeking out. The poster for 1994’s "Voajer" (translated as "The Voyeur") is one of the most grittily sensual things we’ve ever seen, an image so naked in its lustfulness that it approaches high art.
The '80s were the greatest decade for female pulchritude that this civilization has ever seen, before plastic surgery was the norm but after aerobics toned our women to a perfect luster. And the low-budget films of the decade reveled in all this new flesh. No poster epitomizes the B-movie aesthetic quite like 1985’s "Barbarian Queen." Released in the post-"Conan the Barbarian" rush of swords-and-sandals movies, it stars B-movie icon Lana Clarkson and boasted a staggeringly awesome painted poster depicting the flick’s female cast oiled up and ready for battle.
We're not exactly sure what marketing genius thought the best way to sell a horror flick about a Jewish ghost was with a lovingly photographed image of Odette Yustman’s hind end, but thank God he did. "The Unborn" didn’t set the box office on fire, and critics also ripped it apart, but it will forever have a place in our hearts for its equally ridiculous and arousing poster image. Yustman is probably most famous for her roles in "Cloverfield" and as a doctor on "House," but did you know she was also in "Kindergarten Cop"?
Next: Today's Epically Hilarious Photos
"The Sin of Nora Moran"
Movie producers have known for quite a long time that sex sells, as this poster for 1933’s "The Sin of Nora Moran" well illustrates. The drama, directed by Phil Goldstone, stars German actress Zita Johann as the titular character who is sentenced to die for a murder of which she claims to be innocent. The producers decided to exploit Johann’s lush body to the utmost in the poster, which pictures her clad in the sheerest lingerie and posed to show off her spectacular old-school assets.