by Gary Schubach, Ed.D.
In recent years there has been a renewed interest in regard to adult films and the people who make them. Over 10,000 new porn film titles were released last year with 665 million adult film rentals totaling over $3.1 billion in gross sales. What makes one porn film “better” or even different from another? This is the dilemma the consuming public faces when they go to their local video store in search of good erotica.
I have discussed my criteria in my article, A Critic’s Guide to Adult Film. In my opinion, the following X-Rated movies are the best of the best and are considered true classic porn movies by the serious adult movie connoisseur. While in many cases the plots are somewhat thin, the sex scenes in these classic adult films are among the most sensual and erotic ever filmed.
By special arrangement with Effex Media, you can now purchase most of these adult film classics starring top porn movie stars by clicking on the title or the “order now” tag next to the film title.You MUST be 21 years of age or older to access the Effex Media web site.
X-Rated Adult Film Classics
‘Devil‘ was probably the first true classic, and remains one of the best known adult movies of all time. Although made over 20 years ago it still is a significant film for several reasons, chief among them being that it was the first explicit sex film to cover a serious subject.
Still one of the all time top selling adult movies this movie gave porn viewers the incredible adult movie star, Marilyn Chambers as a girl kidnapped to appear in a strange sex show.
Another early film that deals remarkably well with a realistic subject, in this case a three-way relationship that develops between a couple (played by porn stars Georgina Spelvin and Harry Reems) and a young hippy girl.
Marriage and Other 4 Letter Words (1974, dir: Rick Robinson, VCA)
A very good X-Rated movie about a young happily married couple (played by adult film stars Brigette Maier and Rick Cassidy). But after a year of marital bliss he’s grown tired of her and starts to cheat. After talking it out they decide to try swinging.
In 1974, Radley Metzger, director of many soft-core ‘sexploitation’ movies in the 60’s and 70’s, changed his name to Henry Paris and made his first explicit film: Pamela Mann. It was the first really big budget porno movie and proved that under the guidance of a good movie maker pornographic movies could be produced that approach those of mainstream Hollywood in quality.
This, the directing debut of Robert McCallum, has some of the best acting of any adult film made. With Adult film starsGeorgina Spelvin, Bob Rose, Charles Hooper and Clair Dia in this X-Rated Classic Film.
Honey Pie (1975, dir: Howard Ziehm, VCA)
This movie is proof that even a loop-carrier (a movie consisting of separate scenes loosely held together by a connecting premise) can be a good movie.
This comedy, the second hardcore movie by director Henry Paris, has less explicit sexual images than many others and has often been recommended as a ‘couples movie’ avant la lettre. With Porn Stars Alan Marlow, Christine Hutton, Darby Lloyd Rains, Helen Madigan.
A very good porn adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. With Porn Film Stars Merrie Holiday and Marc Stevens.
Sensations (1975, dir: Lasse Braun)
This X-Rated French film is one of the best European porno films ever made, and on a par with the best porn films from the US. With Adult Film Stars Brigette Maier, Veronica Monet, Pierre Latour.
An interesting story of human degradation with porn star Jamie Gillis as a weird man who makes porn star Terri Hall his personal property after first charming her.
A very nice adult adaptation of the Lewis Caroll classic starring Playmate Kristine DeBell as Alice. This porn film has been released in many versions from R to XXX-rated. With Porn Stars Kristine DeBell and Terri Hall.
A very nicely costumed period piece porn film taken from Victorian literature, this is set in France in 1810 and deals with a very young girl being corrupted by priests. With Adult Film Stars Annette Haven and John Holmes.
Femmes deSade (1976, dir: Alex deRenzy, Mitchell Bros.) Out of Print
This x-rated movie from Alex deRenzy deals with the story of a psychopath who, after being released from prison, starts to rape and brutalize many of the women he encounters.
This amusing movie gives us a take off on the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady theme, with Jamie Gillis betting he can turn Paris street hooker Constance Money into the next ‘Goldenrod Girl.’ It is universally acclaimed as one of the all time greatest adult movies. With porn stars Casey Donovan and Constance Money.
Babyface (1977, dir: Alex deRenzy, VCA)
Another of DeRenzy’s masterpieces, Babyface combines humor, plot and great sex scenes in a story about a new guy in a male whorehouse.
This is another one of the elegant and humorous movies made by Henry Paris. This one has the weakest plot and revolves around reporter CJ Laing interviewing hooker turned best-selling author Annette Haven in a whacky restaurant where sex is the main ingredient. .
Desires Within Young Girls (1977, dir: Ramsey Carson, Caballero)
Desires is a very nice movie about freshly widowed woman (played by porn film star Georgina Spelvin) who spends her last money in her efforts of getting her two daughters married to a rich man in order to secure her financial future .
Eruption (1977, dir: Stanley Kurlin, Nutech Digital)
This masterpiece, which was shot in three weeks on location in Hawaii, contains a great mix of plot, production values, sex and locations, and is porn’s version of the 1944 classic Double Indemnity. With Porn Movie Stars Eric Evol and Leslie Bovee.
Mary! Mary! (1977, dir: Bernard Morris, VCX Video )
A highly erotic movie with a nice story of a husband who has major trouble lasting during sex, and jokingly invokes the devil to help him with his problem. The devil does, and now he can’t get his erection down. With Adult movie stars Angela Hazeand John Leslie.
This great movie tells the story of a couple with sexual problems: she can’t get off, and they gradually start experimenting with different forms of sex. With Porn Stars Constance Money and John Leslie.
Candy Stripers is probably famous more for the two fisting scenes it contains than anything else about it. This is a shame because it really is a well made funny and erotic movie. With Porn movie stars Amber Hunt and Rock Stedie.
This movie showcase the considerable talents (both as an actress and an erotic performer) of Jessie St. James. The fine plot centers on a woman who is looking for love.
Little Girls Blue is light on plot, telling the familiar story of schoolgirls getting to know each other and the faculty very well. However, this is probably the best of the countless movies with this theme, and perhaps its female director is the reason this is a highly erotic movie.
Not only is this the only porno film explosive Jackie O’Neill ever made (which alone would make it memorable) it’s also a very good movie. The story centers on a couple where the husband is, unbeknownst to her, earning his money as a stud for hire, and on her reactions and sexual liberation when she finds out.
This, another thoroughly enjoyable comedy by Alex deRenzy, is the story of an air-headed brunette bimbo who loses her memory in a car accident.
One of the most acclaimed porno movies of all time, with great production values, a terrific cast, and the interesting premise of an exclusive resort catering to the guests’ sexual dreams.
Take Off (1978, dir: Armand Weston, Video-X-pix)
Another of the very best porno movies ever made, this gives us an interesting twist on the Dorian Gray theme, with Wade Nichols as the unaging person in several decades of this century.
V the Hot One (1978, dir: Robert McCallum, Metro Video )
This movie has great acting (especially from leading lady, porn star Annette Haven) and a good story about a high-class woman who secretly has an obsession of being a prostitute.
Another one of those movies which seems to have it all: an interesting plot, great production values, humor, and very good sex scenes. This one revolves around the scheming brother of a puritanical, but extremely rich guy close to his death, who tries to get proof of his families promiscuity in order to get a bigger slice of the future inheritance.
Her Name was Lisa (1979, dir: Richard Mahler, VCA)
This interesting porn movie tells us, in flashback as mourners gather round her coffin, the story of model Lisa’s gradual decline into drugs.
Exposed (1980, dir: Jeffrey Fairbanks, VCA)
A romantic movie about a happily married couple of whom the husband is a former porn stud. Trying to keep this fact from his wife, he is forced to return to the set for one last porn movie.
(Dream Girl of) F (1980, dir: Svetlana, Collector’s video)
Consisting of one sexual fantasy after another, this imaginative movie revolves around John Leslie and his adventures in a house he has entered to find help after his car breaks down.
This film was famous before it was even released, due to the much hyped return after years of absence by legendary porn star Marilyn Chambers. And for once a movie with such hype actually turned out to be a superior movie.
Platinum Paradise (1980, dir: Cecil Howard, Command)
This Cecil Howard masterpiece does not have the heavy plot as some of his later classics, but it does have the same high quality in both production and sexual content, and may well appeal more to the average viewer.
Randy the Electric Lady (1980, dir: Philip Schumann, VCA)
Randy is a highly enjoyable sci-fi comedy with the requisite evil doctor who is out to rule the world, this time through ‘orgasmine’ a substance secreted by Desiree Cousteau upon climax.
After her husband has run off with his sexy secretary, Kay Parker finds herself alone, living with only her teen-age son. While the son has an extremely active sex and love life, the mother starts looking around. She visits an all-out orgy, but doesn’t find anything interesting. Then one day she happens to catch her son in the nude coming out of a shower, and tingles run up and down her spine. She fights to control the temptations of her incestuous desires. But her son is a willing victim. The film’s unusual ‘taboo‘ premise and abundant sex has made this one of the most popular movies ever released: an instant classic!
Talk Dirty to Me (1980, dir: Anthony Spinelli, Dreamland)
A superb movie with superb acting all round, this centers on smooth-talking womanizer Jack and his slightly retarded sidekick Lenny.
One of the very best combinations of story and explicit sex ever filmed, this tells the story of a hooker who turns up dead, and the danger her friends are in for possibly being able to identify the killer.
Aunt Peg is every man’s dream: she’s rich, beautiful and as promiscuous as they come. And this summer she’s got an over-sexed niece staying with her, ready to take Hollywood by storm. Pool-side orgies and seduction at the hands of a lusty Italian lover keep her entertained. Add to this her exposure to John Holmes’ 14 1/2″ star maker and Aunt Peg‘s young niece has a pretty full summer.
A fluffy picture which is a classic because of its eroticism and great cast of newcomers more than its faltering plot of 4 models going on a shoot in the wild.
A very unusual film that started a whole new sub-genre of porno movies. It’s innovative, surreal, and sometimes downright bizarre, but it also has a lot of highly erotic moments. And the exceptional photography makes it obvious the makers were Hollywood regulars who knew their craft.
This, yet another Anthony Spinelli masterpiece, is an even better sequel to the superb Talk Dirty to Me, continuing the story of smooth-talking Jack and his sidekick Lenny. Due to the fact that the producer of the original held the right to the Talk Dirty title, its director had to give his sequel another name. That producer, Jerry Ross, made a sequel under the name Talk Dirty To Me 2 which, although a nice film in it’s own right, is nowhere near as brilliant as Nothing to Hide.
Outlaw Ladies (1981, dir: Henri Pachard, VCA)
This, which is perhaps one of Pachard’s finest efforts, centers on the stories of five women who seek their sexual thrills outside of the norms of their society. Its large cast reads as a virtual who’s who of the major early 80’s porno stars.
A big budget movie with an all star cast which clearly shows the care that was taken to produce it. It’s a story of Pandora who finds a magic mirror that reveals sexual scenes to anyone gazing into it.
This sequel actually packs more of an erotic wallop than the original, including better production values and acting. It has everything — an all-star cast enhanced by numerous gorgeous newcomers, and enough thermal energy to create a veritable tidal wave of unbridled sensuality. It’s a true sequel, with Kay Parker and her mammoth breasts getting ample screen time, and that cute redhead Dorothy LeMay getting the starring role. ‘Sinema’ at its finest. “Cecil B. DeMille had his biblical epics, John Ford has his westerns, and Mel Brooks his comic spoofs. In the world of adult porn, Kirdy Stevens has the market cornered on incest.”
This is a very fine rendition of the classic story of Sheherazade telling the sultan an erotic tale every night in order to prolong her life.
Between Lovers (1983, dir: Henri Pachard, Caballero)
This is an excellent movie with two of the best actresses in porn at the time, Jessie St. James and Georgina Spelvin. It centers on Jessie catching her husband John Leslie cheating and starting an affair of her own (with Joey Silvera) during a business trip. Unfortunately she falls in love with Joey and winds up marrying him, which leaves her with a husband each in San Francisco and Los Angeles. To make matters worst John and Joey meet and become buddies. Like I said, an excellent plot oriented movie with great acting, a good story and even hot sex.
Unlike the Damiano original, which was one of the first attempts at making a porno movie with a serious story, this sequel is playing for the laughs, and with excellent effect. It is a funny, but erotic movie with some fine performances all round.
One of the very best examples of a movie that combines a good solid story with high production qualities and explicit sex. This hard-boiled detective story would even be enjoyable without the sex (not too surprising as it was originally intended as an R-rated with the X-Rated explicit footage added later).
Night Hunger (1983, dir: Gerard Damiano, Vivid Video )
The fine movie spans 70 years in the history of the Blair family, who are afflicted with satyriasis, an unending desire for sex.
This hot movie tells us the story of porn movie director Harry Crocker who tried making it in the art movie world and now tries to make a comeback in erotica after seven years.
This very good, and highly erotic movie tells the story of a husband who is obsessed with finding out what goes on at his wife’s coffee-klatches. He tries several ploys to get as close to the action as possible until finally he even attends one in (very believable) drag.
Firestorm (1984, dir: Cecil Howard, Command)
One of Cecil Howard’s very best movies, which has a lot more substance than the average adult movie, with a complex layered plot, superb production values, and a lot of eroticism.
It’s a hot sultry weekend in New York City. The town sizzles with Urban Heat, where the moving camera voyeuristically spies on lovers in a series of vignette-styled movies. These lovers heat up while trying to stay cool: a couple’s erotic dance turns into an orchestrated love scene; an elevator sets the stage for seduction between an older woman and a younger man; a “tar-beach” sunbathing session turns into a lusty tete-a-tete; a couple watching an adult film make love with tenderness and abandon; and more! Great original music from a variety of artists.
The wonderful first stirrings of passion and romance are brought alive in the story of the Claytons and their lovely daughters. Heather blossoms into a young woman, having her very first orgasm through masturbation while reading women’s erotica. She and her best girlfriend sensually explore their bodies, and she has her first tender affair. Mr. & Mrs. Clayton rediscover the passion between them as they watch their daughters grow up and leave home.
One of the first porno movies by Andrew Blake, he already showed that he loves beautiful photography, but at least he didn’t forget to include hot sex scenes here in this X-Rated Classic Film.
This later Andrew Blake movie already shows the gradual change in his products: even more ‘dreamy’ photography than his previous movies, and the sex is already beginning to become less important than the images (a trend which would continue in his next productions).
Andrew Blake uses his singular style to tell a story of Beverly Hills call girls who get caught up in international intrigue. The look of this picture is stupendous and the acting and photography are some of the best you’ll find in adult film. This is a modern porn film for folks who enjoy a story line woven into their erotica. The women and the locations are all magnificent. This is a different style of erotic entertainment which has to be rated highly because of the quality of production.
Wild Goose Chase (1991, dir: John Stagliano, Evil Angel)
A very nice movie with a fairly interesting plot, great camera work which once again shows that Stagliano obviously loves the female physique, and hot sex.
An excellent movie with credible acting, a good original story, and lots of hot sweaty sex.
Two Women (1992, dir: Alex deRenzy, NJF)
The final swan song of Alex deRenzy, who, it seems, has since decided that, with the budgets available these days, can’t shoot a story oriented movie anymore, so he only cranks out wall-to-wall sex movies under his Rex Borsky pseudonym. This was one of his last two story-based movies, and it’s a very good movie.
Michael Ninn, the award-winning director of Sex and Sex 2, has done it again with his groundbreaking Latex, a film that stands as one of the best adult films ever made. It is a truly original vision of the future and sexuality that never lets up in its relentless eroticism. In a futuristic landscape inspired by the classic Metropolis, Jon Dough wanders the land as a psychic freak who can release peoples’ repressed sexual fantasies with a touch. This film is visually astonishing, full of great computer effects, creative latex costumes, knockout cinematography and lots of fantastically hot sex. This is a must-see for anyone interested in adult films, or films at all, for that matter. It is a wholly original vision unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Flatly declared the best adult film ever made by critics throughout the industry, this triumphant exploration of the human spirit starring Gerry Pike is as close to perfection as any adult movie can come. A small-town boy who makes it big as a model in the big city, Pike collapses under the weight of his own success. Director Michael Ninn coaxes from each of his performers acting that would grace any multi-million dollar Hollywood production, and delivers some of the most sumptuously photographed sex scenes ever sculpted on celluloid, most notably Pike’s sublime blending with Sunset Thomas in a convertible in the middle of the Mojave desert. No praise is too high for this film, and if one only watches a single adult film in his or her lifetime, this should be it.
Adult cinema auteur Michael Ninn’s Latex rocked the industry by combining superior production values with a cast that included all of the prime deities from porn’s modern pantheon. With Shock, Latex‘s blisteringly hot follow up, Ninn returns with new and improved applications for latex, lush shot-on-film cinematography and a cast that is even hotter and more all-inclusive than was that he assembled for Latex. The film’s plot is a bit nebulous, but that allows for greater creativity on the part of the filmmakers, who bring forth a fantasy world in which, for example, one of this year’s most anticipated adult scenes, two statues come to life to pleasure a very flesh and blood young woman. And with a cast that seems inspired by the remarkable sets and make up artistry which characterize this production, giving performances of a lifetime while participating in a production which will inevitably raise the high-water mark for the rest of the industry. Shock is porn film history in the making and therefore an absolute must have!
Dream Catcher (1998, dir: Michael Ninn; Producer: Jane Hamilton; VCA)
Dream Catcher is another brilliant film by the team that has brought us Latex, Sex, Sex 2, Shock, and Fade to Blue. Their formula holds wonderfully. The film contains seven sensational sexual “numbers.” I greatly enjoyed Dream Catcher and look forward to more of the same from Michael Ninn, Jane Hamilton, and VCA. They clearly have a winning formula here and one that is very appealing to women and to couples.
Fade To Blue (1998, dir: Michael Ninn; Producer: Jane Hamilton; VCA)
The vast desert is the setting for Juli Ashton’s memories of the gas station/restaurant where she was raised by her father in this signatureMichael Ninn feature. Time unfolds in more than seven retro-scenes of characteristic beauty from an interracial encounter, to a girl/girl scene withAmber Lynn, to a surreal desert tryst between Asia Carrera and Colt Steele. Packed with style and sex, this is a visual adventure you won’t soon forget.
Ritual (1999, dir: Michael Ninn; Producer: Jane Hamilton; VCA)
Two rites never made it soooooooooo wrong!! Meet Katherine Yale, adult film icon. The year, 2008. Katherine is an exquisite creature – a sexual being the likes of which are rarely seen. Pursued relentlessly by her fans, Katherine begins a downward spiral of depression and anxiety ultimately ending with her emotional destruction. Replete with bizarre medical procedures and surreal sitcom parodies, Ritual is an edgy look at the life of a psychotic porn star pushed to the brink by those who created her and the industry that allowed them to do it.
Cashmere is another effort by Michael Ninn. Again, it is bold and imaginative in its concept. Ninn teaches us that, unless a plot adds something to the sex scenes, an idea that sets up the sex scenes is much better than the plots of most adult films. In this case, the concept is the music and styles of the late 60’s and early 70’s. In carrying it out, he replicates the musical styles of the period and wraps them around imaginative and well-filmed sexual “numbers.” Overall, I found Cashmere to be delightful and a film I highly recommend, particularly to couples.
When longing turns to obsession! A soft spoken, beautiful photographer retreats to her friend’s hillside home to rethink her relationship and career. The quiet gives rise to an unspoken longing for so…
Shayla’s Web (1999, dir: Michael Ninn; Producer: Jane Hamilton; VCA)
John Rice is a cyber junkie. Addicted to Web Porn, he’s managed to max out his credit cards, smoke his last cigarette and tomorrow he’ll be evicted. What has he done? Nothing. What John doesn’t know is he’s part of an experiment run by a large Internet provider. Luxus Flux, star of the Internet, is the object of John’s cyber-desires, and unbeknownst to him, the one person who will save him before he becomes another pathetic casualty of The Web.
The year is 2034. The Earth is a dark, polluted, and overpopulated planet, a one-party, totalitarian state. Jon Rice is called in by the police to seek out and destroy the “Mecas,” highly intelligent androids with an insatiable urge for sex — prostitutes under the former regime. Rice, together with his glamorous assistant, Miss Majors, sets out on his quest though a fantastic world, brought alive by top director Michael Ninn’s high-tech wizardry.
Very high budget adult film with extensive story/action sequences, exquisite wardrobe, and cutting edge, full length, very hard sex scenes. There are also several full-on S&M scenes with very real action. Shot on 35mm film, with the lighting and production elements of a mainstream motion picture, this is by far John Stagliano’s most ambitious project. It is a highly charged erotic experience, not intended for the novice porno viewer.
Portrait of An Affair (re-released 2005, dir: Anthony Spinelli, Caballero Video).
An old favorite of DoctorG’s, this film has a sensational scene with Nina Hartley performing the ultimate cunnilingus on Ona Zee. This may be the best female-female cunnilingus scene ever shot. Filmed in a lavish way (reminiscent of high budget night-time evening soaps) it boldly reveals a sexual liasion between four passionate people. Sensitive. Sensual. Unforgettable. Unmistakingly, Anthony Spinelli.