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Pushing the Envelope

”Fifty Shades of Grey” is about to join a long line of films that shattered sexual conventions on screen

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Belle De Jour 1967
Catherine Deneuve is a housewife whose vivid daydreams lead her to moonlight as a prostitute in Luis Buñuel’s carnal reverie.

Cruising 1980
Even after the director cut 40 minutes of hardcore action at the MPAA’s request, this thriller set in the gay S&M underground was still pretty explicit.

Bound 1996
The Wachowskis subverted expectations in following a pair of femme-fatale lovers (Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly) who try to con the Mob.

Last Tango in Paris 1973
Pervy and arty, this erotic classic with Marlon Brando was controversial for adding butter to the sexual lexicon.

9 1/2 Weeks 1986
These days, the words “Mickey Rourke” and “late-night fridge raid” don’t sound sexy, but his gustatory foreplay with Kim Basinger was delicious.

Crash 1997
David Cronenberg’s ode to autoeroticism was as twisted as the metal in its car crashes, thanks to fetishists played by James Spader and Holly Hunter.

In the Realm of the Senses 1977
Set in 1930s Japan, this sensual drama featured violence, actual sex, and an odd use of a hard-boiled egg.

Blue Velvet 1986
The sexual aggression of Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) in David Lynch’s suburban nightmare blurred the erotic and the psychotic.

Secretary 2002
Maggie Gyllenhaal takes more than dictation from her boss (James Spader, again) in an odd romance about dominance and submission.