The Five Greatest Adult Movies of All-Time

Bryn Pryor is an award-winning screenwriter and director whose credits include ‘Corruption,’ ‘Icon’ and ‘Cowboys & Engines.’ His latest documentary, ‘X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time,’ premiered on Showtime on February 6, 2015 at 11pm EST/PST. 

When we started shooting our documentary, X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All Time, our goal was to prove that there are exceptions to the rule that all porn films are embarrassing, cheesy shlock. Okay, most of them are; but there are a few examples of real excellence. We narrowed it down to 32 for the final film, but of those, the below movies are my personal top five best adult movies ever:

Best Adult Movies Of All Time

Best Adult Movies: The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976)

Henry Paris’ adult masterpiece is, well, a masterpiece. It’s smart, funny, sexy, well-acted and well-written. Constance Money is fresh and gorgeous. Jamie Gillis was the best porn actor ever to grace the adult biz, and he was never better than he was in Misty Beethoven. If the aspiration of the time was to make a “real” movie with sex in it, no one has done it better, even 39 years later.


Related: Why Pornography Deserves Better Criticism


Best Adult Movies: Blonde Ambition (1981)

I had never seen this film until we started screening movies to profile for the doc, and it blew me away. It is genuinely hysterical. Patterned after the MGM musicals of the 30s, it’s the story of two girls working their way up the showbiz ladder in New York. The choreographed, Gone With the Wind, “burning of Atlanta” group sex scene is worth the price of admission on its own.

Best Adult Movies: Café Flesh (1982)

Rinse Dream’s surreal piece of performance-art porn really stands up years later. Firmly rooted in the visual language of the off-off-Broadway experimental theater scene, this movie is as original-feeling now as it must have been in ’82. More than just a XXX take on Cabaret, this movie is disturbing, fascinating, and undeniably hot.


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Best Adult Movies: Latex (1995)

This was the first adult movie to prove that adult content shot on video could actually be art. Awash in computer-generated backgrounds and effects, all of them actually well done, and driven by a captivating performance from the late Jon Dough, director Michael Ninn built an entire world, and we believed it.

Best Adult Movies: Upload (2007)

Okay, full disclosure; I directed this movie, but X-Rated producer Paul Fishbein insisted I include it, so I’m going to let him describe the movie and stroke my ego.

Paul says, “Next to Pirates, Upload was one of the biggest adult features ever made, and it shows. It’s a big story with a terrific script, great performances, and incredible sex scenes. It’s a throwback to the golden age, in that it really feels like you’re watching a movie, not a porn film.”



Obviously, this list is as subjective as the entire documentary. The fact is, any of the films we picked — and dozens we didn’t have time to include — could fill these five slots. Porn is considered a disposable genre, but behind the scenes, you’ll find there are people who are every bit as dedicated to their projects, their work, and their craft as in any other art form. The movies in our documentary prove it.

X-Rated: The Greatest Adult Movies of All-Time premieres February 6, 2015 at 11pm ET/PT on Showtime.


ALSO: 10 More of the Best X-Rated Scenes in Films

What do you believe should be considered as the best adult movies ever? Let us know in the comment section below.