The 69 Best Porn Movies of All Time

When it comes to porn, you deserve the best.

woman watching porn movie in lingerie on bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may be surprised to learn that porn has a lot to say about society. Sexual expression can tell us about what a culture is concerned with at any given time, especially as it relates to women. For that reason, Marie Claire's list of the best porn movies of all time serves as more than just a guide for your viewing pleasure (though it is that!), but also a deep dive into the history of the pornography genre through the last half-century. It’s a celebration of where erotic filmmaking has been, where it’s going, and how it’s shifted the conversation. 

You’ll find several categories of female-friendly pornography below, depending on what you’re interested in. (And if you’re not that into porn for porn’s sake, it makes for an interesting read, even if you don’t watch the films themselves.) Up top, you’ll find some of the all-time pornographic classics, like Aphrodesia’s Diary and The Devil in Miss Jones. There’s also a section for artsy porn films that go hot and heavy on…well, plot, among other things. Then we’ve included some of the best softcore porn movies, which have always held a special place for viewers who may feel cautious about hardcore scenes. And, of course, what list of the best porn films would be complete without looking at some of the more out-there parodies too? (Don’t sleep on the porn-heist movie hybrid Tonight for Sure, or the somewhat self-explanatory A Dirty Western.)

Without further ado, the best porn movies of all time, for your viewing pleasure.

The Best Classic Porn Movies

Emmanuelle

emmanuelle

(Image credit: Parafrance Films)

This 1974 French drama was actually the first in a series of softcore porn films all based on the erotic novel Emmanuelle, which was published in 1967. The plot follows a young woman named Emmanuelle who lives with her older husband in Bangkok, where he's serving as a French diplomat in the country. While abroad, Emmanuelle embarks on a journey of sexual discovery (because would it even be a proper softcore classic without a woman embarking on a journey of sexual discovery?).

WATCH IT: KinoNow (USA) | Amazon Prime Video (UK)

Black Emmanuelle

black emmauelle

(Image credit: Stirling Gold)

In 1975, the Black Emmanuelle series, Laura Gemser, kicked off. The movies focus on Mae Jordan, an investigative journalist and photographer who publishes under the pseudonym Emmanuelle, and her erotic adventures around the world. The first installment was set in Africa and filmed mostly in Kenya.

WATCH IT: Brown Sugar (US) 

Score

Score

(Image credit: Amazon)

This ‘70s porn classic is actually based on an off-Broadway play that ran for several weeks in 1971. It follows a tennis match that gets very sexy, and is actually considered as “erotic romance.” Bonus points for the theater beginnings, because it’s not just porn—it’s culture. Plus, keep an eye out for Sylvester Stallone in a pre-fame camera as a repairman (of course). 

WATCH IT: Mubi (US / CAN) | Amazon (UK)

Mona the Virgin Nymph

mona the virgin nymph

(Image credit: Graffiti Productions)

Also known simply as Mona, this 1970 pornographic film was the second porn movie, after Blue Movie (below), to receive wide release in the United States. It's considered to be the first mainstream pornographic movie with a real plot focused on action, whereas Blue Movie was more of a slice-of-life movie (with sex, of course). Granted, the "action" of plot of Mona is mostly the movement it takes for characters to get to another sexual partner, but still.

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Aphrodesia's Diary

Aphrodesia's Diary

(Image credit: Audubon Films)

Another 1970s classic from porn’s high-ish budget heyday, this one follows the tale of a woman who is rereading her diary and reliving all of the very sexy exploits she’s experienced while in a hotel room. 

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The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders

(Image credit: Cinemation Industries)

This 1973 movie deals is all about the school spirit. A group of enterprising cheerleaders takes it on themselves to secure a win for their team’s football team by exhausting the opposing side the night before the big game. You can guess what ensues.

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Bijou

bijou

(Image credit: Poolemar)

Bill Harrison stars in this 1972 classic as a construction worker who witnesses a car accident and then goes through the victim's purse (you know, as you do), where he discovers an invitation to a club called Bijou. As you might expect, this sets him out on a sexy adventure.

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Reel People

reel people

(Image credit: Arrow Film & Video)

In 1984, Reel People hit the porn world and changed the game as the first major pornographic film to feature sex between professional porn stars and amateurs. This led to the launch of the "Pro-Am" genre; the film is seen as paving the way for the reality porn genre, too.

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The Devil in Miss Jones

the devil in miss jones

(Image credit: VCX Ltd.)

There are porn movies with "plots" and then there are porn movies with actual PLOTS. For the record, 1973's The Devil in Miss Jones is the latter. The movie is about a depressed woman who commits suicide, only to be told in the afterlife that even though she lived a good life, her suicide excludes her from entering heaven. Faced with an eternity in limbo, Miss Jones requests to be sent back to earth as the embodiment of lust so she can earn her place in Hell instead.

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9 Lives of a Wet Pussy

9 lives of a wet pussy

(Image credit: Navaron Films)

This 1976 porn has a very 1976 porn plot: A wealthy, married New York heiress named Pauline sets out on an adventure of sexual discovery and exploration involving ~sexy~ times with several different people. Classic.

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The Grafenberg Spot

the grafenberg spot

(Image credit: Mitchell Brothers Film Group)

In this 1985 movie, a couple visits a sex therapist for help finding the elusive and magical (in 1985, at least) G-spot. The movie stars Ginger Lynn, Harry Reems, and Annette Haven and is considered a classic among porn aficionados.

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Babylon Pink

babylon pink

(Image credit: Command Cinema)

This smoking hot classic takes viewers inside the sexual fantasies of several women, from a bored housewife and a lady boss businesswoman to an older woman and a curious teenager, touching on as many parts of the female sexual spectrum as you could expect a movie from 1979 to do.

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The Ultimate Pleasure

the ultimate pleasure

(Image credit: Vinegar Syndrome)

Here's another '70s classic from back when plot and porn were much more linked than they are today. In The Ultimate Pleasure, an unhappily married couple jet to Vegas to indulge in their hedonistic sides when the husband finds a suitcase full of money in the back of his taxi.

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Pink Velvet 3: A Lesbian Odyssey

Pink Velvet 3: A Lesbian Odyssey

(Image credit: Viv Thomas)

The final installment in the Pink Velvet trilogy is widely considered one of the best lesbian films of recent years in the adult genre and is praised for its sensual love scenes, which feature real female orgasms.

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Sex Pursuits

sex pursuits

(Image credit: Alpha Blue Archives)

This classic is basically a who's who of early '70s porn actresses. The movie is a series of sexy, sexy vignettes and the film's narrator acts as our tour guide on the erotic adventure quest. Yes, please.

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Deep Throat

deep throat porn movie

(Image credit: Alamy)

Perhaps the best-known pornographic film of all time, this 1972 classic helped to usher in the Golden Age of Porn and tells the story of Linda Lovelace (played by the actress of the same name), a woman who discovers that her clitoris is located in her throat. Despite its iconic status, however, Deep Throat has now become something of a controversial watch, as Lovelace would ultimately go on to amend her original claims that making the film was a liberating experience, writing later on that in fact she’d been violently coerced into performing many of the sexual acts depicted in the film.

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Talk Dirty to Me

talk dirty to me porn movie

(Image credit: Four Rivers Productions)

Not only has this 1980 film been hailed as one of the best of porn’s so-called Golden Age, but it also spawned a series of 14 spinoffs and sequels in the decades after. It has a simple premise, with a suave ladies’ man (John Leslie) making moves to seduce a beautiful woman (Jesie St. James) while his dimwitted best friend (Richard Pacheco) looks on. It took home four trophies at the Adult Film Association of America’s annual awards ceremony, including Best Film and both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for Leslie and Pacheco.

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The Best Artsy Porn Movies

The Bite

The Bite

(Image credit: Olympic International Films)

This Japanese film from 1966 follows a somewhat classic plot: A beautiful young man is paid by wealthy older women to act as a gigolo who seduces young women so that his clients can watch their encounters from behind a two-way mirror. It’s a “pink film,” a designation given in Japan to films that received a theatrical release but contained nudity and sex.

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XConfessions

XConfessions

(Image credit: XConfessions)

You can’t go wrong with any of Erika Lust films. The director takes on women-centered porn, and the XConfessions films are the result of her requesting subject matter from viewers who want to see their erotic fantasies played out on the little screen. The cinematography is gorgeous, the actors have real chemistry, and the resulting films are as beautiful as they are super hot. 

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Sex Stories

Sex Stories

(Image credit: Breaking Glass Pictures)

Follow dinner party guests on an otherwise civilized evening, where the couples present recount—and relive—their twisting romantic and sexy adventures. The sex is told from the points of view of both parties, and the reactions from the guests vary in surprising ways. It’s a sexy movie in a very French way. 

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The Dreamers

The Dreamers

(Image credit: Amazon)

This 2003 film may star some big names like Eva Green and Michael Pitt, but it is pure erotic artistry. It follows the story of an American studying in Paris who gets in too deep with a pair of siblings—yes, it’s extremely taboo—who help him to explore all of his sexual fantasies. 

WATCH IT: Max (USA) 

Cabaret Desire

Cabaret Desire

(Image credit: Lust Cinema)

Another Erika Lust film (she's simply the best!), this one won the 2012 Film of the Year award at the Feminist Porn Film Festival, and for good reason—it’s a female gaze-centered exploration of erotic fantasy told through a “Poetry Brothel” where patrons come to hear sexy stories. Each story is played out in beautifully shot sequences that are individually worth the subscription to Lust Cinema. 

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Blue Movie

blue movie

(Image credit: Constantin Film)

Andy Warhol's Blue Movie was a game-changer: The 1969 movie was the first pornographic movie depicting explicit sex to get a wide theatrical release in the United States, kicking off the Golden Age of Porn. For when you're like "porn, but make it critically-acclaimed."

This movie is not readily available to stream online.

Infidelity: Sex Stories 2

Infidelity: Sex Stories 2

(Image credit: Amazon)

Infidelity is a French film that deals with, well, infidelity. Three couples each have a problem: The men have been unfaithful. But they all handle these revelations in different, very sexy ways. It’s got a real story, where the acting doesn’t feel rote and the relationships have a sense of realism, and even humor, to them. That’s just an added bonus to the very sexy sex scenes, though, of course.

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Xana and Dax: When Opposites Attract

Xana and Dax: When Opposites Attract

(Image credit: Comstock Films)

If the sex in this one feels especially realistic (though still very coordinated), there’s a reason for that: Xana and Dax are a real-life couple, and the documentary approach is a hallmark of Comstock Films, who make sure to include interviews prior to any action so that viewers can get to know the couple in a way that makes the real sex scenes feel even more authentic and emotionally fulfilling.

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Perspective

Perspective

(Image credit: Adult Time)

This movie absolutely cleaned up at AVN (American Adult News) when it came out. This feature film is the definition of erotic art. A story of cheating, intense passion, and the ways people react when their fundamental views of the world are challenged, this takes everything you love about drama mixed with the sensuality of a great porn movie.

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A Taste of Joy

A Taste of Joy

(Image credit: Petra Joy)

From feminist porn director Petra Joy, A Taste of Joy features a series of three vignettes that turn, in her words, "existing porn stereotypes upside down." The cinematography is gorgeous and the sex is steamy/female-focused—what more could you want?

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Last Tango

Last Tango

(Image credit: Sweet Sinema)

Loosely based on Last Tango in Paris, this flick is about a woman who rents out a secret apartment to escape her fiancé, and ends up having an affair. The movie won The Feminist Porn Awards' 2012 prize for "Most Arousing Adaptation," and was lauded for its "haunting, explicit sex scenes" and "emotionally rich performances." A must-watch for people who like a lot of romance and plot with their porn. 

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The Good Girl

The Good Girl

(Image credit: Lust Films)

The Good Girl is a 2004 short film by Erika Lust that flips the "delivery guy comes over with a pizza" trope seen in many cheesy porn films on its head, thanks to a female lens. Even better, you can rest assured that this movie was filmed on a safe set with safe conditions for the actors involved, because Lust is a marquee name in the feminist film industry, herself the recipient of several Feminist Porn Awards.

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Snapshot

Snapshot

(Image credit: Pink Label)

Snapshot is an independently funded, award-winning suspense thriller starring queer people of color, and we are here for it. Written and directed by Shine Louise Houston, it's worthy of praise outside the industry. It even has nods to Hitchcock, that's how legit it is. "I’ve been working on this script for about four years on and off and I think it’s finally presentable," Houston said in an interview. "I strive for what Hitchcock describes as pure cinema. Most of the talent I work with have very little acting experience so I write minimal but precise dialogue and film in a way that lets the editing do the acting."

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The Best Softcore Porn Movies

A Perfect Ending

A Perfect Ending

(Image credit: SoulKiss Films)

This 2012 movie goes for more of a softcore vibe, which in this case makes the tension all the sexier. It follows a woman with a long-held secret—she’s never actually had an orgasm with a man—who, after meeting an expensive escort named Paris, shares more than just a passionate night of same-sex lovemaking. 

WATCH IT: Kanopy (US)

Animal Instincts

Animal Instincts

(Image credit: Wilshire FIlm Ventures)

A cop and his wife, bored of their tired sex life, decides to spice things up by secretly videotaping her encounters with sexy strangers. If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to avoid the obvious consent issues involved (do these people know they’re being filmed though?), there are some sexy scenes in this classic 1990s softcore movie. 

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Red Shoe Diaries

Red Shoe Diaries

(Image credit: Amazon)

Your eyes do not deceive you: That is indeed David Duchovny. There are actually a lot of stars in this early-90s Showtime series that stars Duchovny as host Max Winters, who offers payment to women who send in their sexiest stories to his TV show, which then shows reenactments. That’s right, a whole series. It was groundbreaking at the time, and still holds up for being super hot. 

WATCH IT: Tubi (US) | 5STAR (UK) | Microsoft Store (CA)

Love Toy

love toy

(Image credit: Doris Wishman)

Doris Wishman actually directed this 1968 softcore sexploitation film, but she was credited as Louis Silverman at the time. Fair warning: The plot is weird. In the movie, a man with a very bad gambling problem loses everything in a game of Gin Rummy (of all things) and ends up agreeing to give his debtor a night with his teenage daughter in exchange for wiping the slate clean (these kinds of problematic plot setups were pretty standard in sexploitation films of the period, sadly). The night that ensues gets increasingly strange and there's even a twist ending.

WATCH IT: Cultpix (US / UK / CA / AU)

Pink Prison

pink prison

(Image credit: Magma)

Billed as an erotic film for women, 1999's Pink Prison was directed by Lisbeth Lynghøft and produced by Puzzy Power. The movie stars Katja Kean as Mila, a photo journalist who, on a bet from her publisher, breaks into a men's prison trying to snag an interview with its mysterious warden.

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The Best Parody Porn Movies

Flesh Gordon

flesh gordon

(Image credit: Graffiti Productions)

One of the great things about the Golden Age of Porn was the explosion in creativity it brought to pornography. Case-in-point: 1974's Flesh Gordon, which answered the question, "Can a movie be a comedy, science fiction, and porn all at the same time?" with a resounding YES.

WATCH IT: Amazon Prime (US)

The Jade Pussycat

the jade pussycat

(Image credit: I Candy)

This movie, set mostly in San Francisco's Chinatown, is part porn, part heist suspense drama. The movie follows Johnny Wadd on his search for a priceless 13th century Chinese carving known as The Jade Pussycat, which has been stolen from a museum in Japan. The journey to finding the Jade Pussycat involves a lot of sex-filled situations as well, of course, but the movie succeeds so much as a suspense film that Paul Thomas Anderson reportedly recommended that the cast of Boogie Nights see it to prepare for making that film, describing it as being "like Hitchcock doing a porno."

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Naked Came the Stranger

naked came the stranger

(Image credit: VCA Pictures)

Based on the book of the same name, this 1975 movie was filmed in New York City and follows a radio host named Gilly who likes having fun. Sexy fun. She has sexy fun with her husband, Billy. She also has sexy fun with other people, like friends...and acquaintances. And she has that sexy fun in a lot of interesting places, too, like an old-timey ballroom and the top of a moving, double-decker bus.

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A Dirty Western

a dirty western

(Image credit: Realité)

One of the few porn movies in the western genre, 1975's A Dirty Western is, well, pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Orgies and other displays of lust in the Wild Wild West make up the plot of this pornographic classic from the Golden Age. 

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Once Upon a Girl

once upon a girl

(Image credit: Severin Films)

If you have an irreverent side and a love for classic animation, then Once Upon a Girl might just tickle your fancy. The movie mixes live action and animation (from actual Walt Disney and Hanna-Barbera animators, at that) and was billed as "bedtime stories for grownups." The film's framing device has Mother Goose on trial for obscenity when she dares to tell the "true" versions of several classic children's stories.

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Bend Over Boyfriend

bend over boyfriend

(Image credit: Good Vibrations)

Sometimes, learning is sexy. Case in point: The Bend Over Boyfriend series, produced by sex toy company Good Vibrations in the '90s. The sex education video series focused on best practices for pegging—a sex act in which a woman penetrates a man's anus with a strap-on dildo. The first video in the series became a best-seller and something of a classic in its own right.

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High Test Girls

high test girls

(Image credit: Elite-Film AG Zürich)

Sometimes, in porn, a simple premise is a perfect premise. In 1980's High Test Girls, six women run a gas station together and pass the time by having sex with customers who are waiting to have their cars filled with gas. 

WATCH IT: Mutant Sorority Pictures (UK/CA)

Sensational Janine

sensational janine poster

(Image credit: Herzog Filme)

This 1976 movie is a little of everything—seriously, Wikipedia describes it as a "West German hardcore costume drama-sex comedy." Also known by its much-longer German title, Josefine Mutzenbacher... wie sie wirklich war - 1. Teil, this movie actually has literary roots. It's based on an anonymously penned Austrian novel called Josephine Mutzenbacher, which focused on the life of a fictional Viennese courtesan. In the movie version (which was pretty groundbreaking in its incorporation of comedy amid the hardcore scenes), Josefine is a Viennese teen who undergoes a major sexual awakening after losing her virginity to her neighbor's lover (you know, as you do...in porn) that includes a relationship with her stepfather following her mother's unexpected death and, eventually, a career as a prostitute.

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Insatiable

insatiable movie cover

(Image credit: I-Candy)

This 1980 classic stars Marilyn Chambers as supermodel/heiress Sandra Chase and industry legend John Holmes as Sandra's fantasy lover. In the movie, Sandra learns that no amount of money can buy satisfaction—but that doesn't stop her from trying to find it with several of her costars while filming her first movie.

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Flashpoint

flashpoint x

(Image credit: Wicked Pictures)

Flashpoint, starring legendary porn actress Jenna Jameson, was released in 1998 and it remains unique in the porn world thanks to its massive budget and impressive special effects and action sequences. The plot? Jenna plays a firefighter who's habitually hot in more ways than one. 

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The Xterminator

the xterminator

(Image credit: Paradise Visuals)

If you love a good porno parody, then The Xterminator deserves a spot on your personal watch list. If it weren't evident from the title and DVD cover, this movie is a direct riff on 1984's The Terminator, but instead of being a futuristic robot with a one-track mind for murder and destruction, the lead is a futuristic robot with a one-track mind for vintage porn and '80s bangfests.

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Barbara Broadcast

Barbara Broadcast

(Image credit: VCA Pictures)

reviewer called this flick "a playful, funny and beautifully made film for grownups, a celebration of carnality and earthly delights." The movie is about Barbara Broadcast, a bestselling author who has a sexy interview with a journalist at a Manhattan restaurant.

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The Fashionistas

Poster, Hero, Movie, Fictional character, Musical, Advertising,

(Image credit: Amazon)

When it comes to porn-with-plot, The Fashionistas, which follows a fashion designer exploring the underground S&M scene, is a must-watch. Considered by many porn aficionados to be one of the best adult films ever made, this ambitious undertaking was shot on 35mm film by pornographic actor-turned-director John Stagliano. The movie won 10 AVN awards and even spawned a critically-acclaimed stage show in Vegas.

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Sexual Chronicles of a French Family