WARNING: Somewhat NSFW.
Once upon a time (read: the '80s), movie fans could count on the fact that at some point, someone in the movie would randomly drop trou or rip off their shirt for no apparent reason whatsoever. And frankly, it was great. After all, why worry about things like plot or character development when you can have some good old-fashioned gratuitous nudity instead?
Nowadays, of course, such moments are rare, usually happening only for comic relief or in grade-Z, video on demand dreck. Thanks to Internet porn, there's kind of no reason for movies to bother, right?
Once in a while, though, there's still a shining light — or shining headlights, if you will — such as Rosario Dawson's turn in the new Danny Boyle thriller "Trance," which already has people buzzing and whipping out their iPhones to grab a quick screenshot. So with that in mind, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the most infamous moments of gratuitous nudity in film history. Because, honestly, we'd all feel a little more comfortable with this shirt off, don't you agree?
13. The shower scene in 'Carrie' (1976)
Whether or not the nudity in the opening sequence of the classic horror film "Carrie" is gratuitous or necessary to the plot is a question that has been debated since the movie came out. There's no question that it's shocking, as a naive Sissy Spacek experiences her first period right in the middle of a crowded high school locker room. On the other hand, to some viewers, this kind of seemed like a sneaky way to open your film with a bunch of girls naked in the shower. Pretty clever of director Brian De Palma, if you ask us. One note: Spacek was actually 27 at the time, so it's not quite as pervy as it sounds.
12. Kate Winslet in 'Titanic' (1997)
Speaking of nude scenes that some people don't consider gratuitous, the mega-hit "Titanic" featured one of the most famous — and tastefully executed — nude scenes in film history. Leonardo DiCaprio's budding artist talks his uber-crush Kate Winslet into reclining in the buff on a couch so he can draw her. Of course, every art major in the history of higher education has tried this exact same line at one point or another with no success, so some serious suspension of disbelief is needed. Along with a pause button for your Blu-ray player.
11. Ken Jeong in 'The Hangover' (2009)
We're not sure this is the most gratuitous nudity ever seen — actually, given that it's number eleven on our list, we're sure it isn't — but it sure is the most surprising. When the Wolf Pack hears something banging around in their trunk in "The Hangover," they pop it open, only to have a completely nude Ken Jeong leap out and assault them both physically and psychologically. The scene proved so popular (?) that they made Jeong's junk into a running joke, bringing it back for a sequence in "The Hangover Part II."
10. The shower scene in 'Starship Troopers' (1997)
At least the shower scene in "Carrie" actually sets the tone for the whole film with its creepy high school horror vibe. "Starship Troopers," on the other hand, has a co-ed shower sequence that's basically just a bunch of people chatting. Which they could have done, you know, clothed. But why stage a conversation around a table or in a living room when you can use it as an excuse to show beautiful young people lathering up and washing each other? Why, indeed.
9. Harvey Keitel in 'The Piano' (1993)
Harvey Keitel is a bit of a repeat offender when it comes to gratuitous nudity. In fact, he's so well known for it, urban legends have even grown up around his habit of going buck wild on movie sets (go ahead, google Keitel in "Eyes Wide Shut" if you're really daring). So it was hard to pick just one of his films, especially since his nude scene in "Bad Lieutenant" is so well-known. But we'll go with "The Piano" just for pure shock factor. After all, how many Best Picture nominees give you male full frontal? Now we know what "Lincoln" needed to put it over the top.
8. Denise Richards in 'Wild Things' (1998)
If you haven't seen "Wild Things," here's an overview of the plot: Denise Richards and Neve Campbell have a crazy three-way with Matt Dillon. And ... actually, we're not even joking, that's a major part of the plot. So it's safe to say that we find the entire movie gratuitous, not just the part where Richards takes her top off and everybody goes to town on her. And as a side note, "Wild Things" also gets bonus points for having a completely random shot of Kevin Bacon's junk as well. Equality!
7. Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Trading Places' (1983)
In "Trading Places," Jamie Lee Curtis plays a tough-minded hooker who helps Dan Aykroyd gain revenge on the rich jerks who destroyed his life. Naturally, in the process she randomly rips her shirt off right in the middle of a speech about how she's just another businesswoman. It just happens that her breasts are her business — and business is very, very good. We do wonder if this scene was also intended to refute the long-running urban legend that Curtis was a hermaphrodite. If so, well, it worked.
6. Erika Eleniak in 'Under Siege' (1992)
Once upon a time, actress Erika Eleniak was best known as one of the lifeguards on the cheesetastic hit TV series "Baywatch." That abruptly changed forever when she appeared in probably the most memorable scene in the Steven Seagal flick "Under Siege." The film starts with Seagal's cook preparing a big birthday bash for his ship's captain. After the ship is taken over by terrorists, he's wandering the halls when he comes across a giant fake birthday cake — and Eleniak suddenly pops out, topless, and begins dancing around, apparently unaware of anything except the music in her head. Surreal? You bet. But still not quite as bizarre as ...
5. Linnea Quigley in 'Return of the Living Dead' (1985)
In the zombie flick "Return of the Living Dead," Linnea Quigley plays a punk chick named Trash. And when zombies go on a rampage and start killing everyone, what does a girl named Trash do? Well, obviously she heads to the cemetery, strips naked and does a bizarre, suggestive dance for no apparent reason. We'd put it higher on the list if it weren't for the fact that we do the same thing after watching each episode of "The Walking Dead."
4. Ewan McGregor in 'Velvet Goldmine' (1998)
The man who played Obi-Wan Kenobi has developed quite a reputation over the course of his career for whipping out his lightsaber, so it was hard to pick just one example. We'd say he's basically the modern day Harvey Keitel, except Keitel is still doing it, too. But even Keitel had to be impressed (if that's the right word) with Ewan McGregor's performance in "Velvet Goldmine," where his glam rocker character goes completely nuts on stage and swaps the guitar for the skin flute, if you know what we mean. Hey, Michael Fassbender: This is how it's really done.
3. Phoebe Cates in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' (1982)
Back in 1982, the thought of Phoebe Cates emerging from a swimming pool all glistening wet and then taking off her swimsuit was the stuff of fantasy for boys everywhere. Literally: The sequence in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" where she does exactly that is framed as a figment of Judge Reinhold's overactive imagination. And naturally, he ... how do we put this ... takes full advantage of his powers of fantasy with some serious alone time. So there are two mental images you'll never be able to get out of your head.
2. Katie Holmes in 'The Gift' (2000)
Technically speaking, Sam Raimi's supernatural thriller was a vehicle for Cate Blanchett, who starred as a psychic trying to figure out who killed Katie Holmes. In reality, the only thing anyone remembers about "The Gift" is Holmes whipping off her clothes. Holmes, of course, was still starring in "Dawson's Creek" at the time, so the sight of her nekkid was a major coming-of-age moment for millions of teen fans around the world. It was also a calculated attempt to shed her girl next door image ... and yep, it worked, as Tom Cruise can attest. Talk about a plan backfiring.
1. Halle Berry in 'Swordfish' (2001)
Just how infamous is Halle Berry's topless scene in "Swordfish"? Fans and industry insiders alike were already buzzing about it months before the movie even came out. That's because when the studio approached Berry about the possibility of appearing nude in the movie, she agreed on one condition: They had to pay her an extra half-million dollars up front. Naturally, they paid up, with the result that the marketing for the movie basically became "See Halle Berry's breasts!" Of course, there was no reason in the story for this, so they simply had her randomly reading a book topless while Hugh Jackman stares with the same WTF look on his face everyone in the audience had. Classic.