A look back at the best cinematic strippers

By EW Staff
Updated May 22, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

Despite Powder Blue, it’s actually possible to make a good movie that features a stripper. Take a peep:

Gypsy (1962)
After famously lip-synching in West Side Story the year before, Natalie Wood did her own singing — and stripteasing — as burlesque legend Gypsy Rose Lee in this Technicolor romp adapted from the beloved Broadway stage musical.

Melvin and Howard (1980)
This charming early Jonathan Demme dramedy stars Mary Steenburgen in an Oscar-winning turn as a flighty erotic dancer who becomes the frustrated wife of a dreamer (Paul Le Mat).

The Full Monty (1997)
Finally, some dudity! The Oscar-nominated British comedy about six unemployed lads who bare all for their lasses is hilarious, heartfelt, and buoyed by a terrific soundtrack. Hot stuff.

Closer (2004)
Some critics called Natalie Portman’s portrayal of a manipulative American stripper in London a stretch, but not the Academy, which nominated her for Best Supporting Actress. Cool fuchsia wig.

The Wrestler (2008)
Marisa Tomei earned her third Oscar nom for her gritty, gutsy performance as an aging topless dancer who befriends Mickey Rourke’s has-been wrestler. Does the Academy have a stripper fetish?