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Falsely accused Jackson “Jack” Davis Hammond (Charlie Sheen) is sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s able to escape and steals a car, taking with him a hostage, but not any hostage, the beautiful and wealthy daughter of millionaire Dalton Voss (Ray Wise). Natalie (Kristy Swanson), initially frightened, is soon won over by his story and it’s not long before the two share some very strong feelings. Swooning over his plight, Natalie can’t control herself and as Jack continues to drive at high speed down a crowded highway while police give chase, she undoes her dress and climbs up onto his lap. The two have sex has he struggles to keep on the road while police follow, who wonder why he’s swerving from lane to lane. (It’s the sex).
Aside from the stunning Kristy Swanson taking control and absolutely owning this moment, the moving car gives it a dangerous edge that puts it over the line. Jack clinging to both the wheel and a beautiful girl while trying to keep the car straight is sexy and funny, keeping perfectly in tune with the film’s already absurd premise. No, we don’t believe any of it could happen, but that’s not the point. When Natalie makes her move, and she unbuttons her dress, we’re all in, happily along for the ride.
A married man in a sexually unsatisfying relationship, is involved in a deadly car crash, having a head-on collision. He discovers that not only has the accident aroused him, the surviving driver of the other is also turned on, even flashing her breast from behind a shattered windshield. James Spader plays James Ballard, who, because of their stilted love life, has an open marriage with his wife Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger). When he begins a relationship with Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), their mutual craving for sex and car crashes leads them down a rabbit hole of pain, anguish, and ecstasy. The film features a number of explicit sexual encounters, most accompanied by violent vehicle carnage. In a parking garage, the two meet, not long after they’ve begun their affair. In the backseat, his shattered leg still in the brace holding it together after the accident, Helen strips to her purple silk underwear and facing away from him, climbs onto his lap, holding the headrests in front of her as he gently gyrates her hips. Yet even though they are in a car, without the crash, it doesn’t satisfy.
Okay, so for most of us, vehicular demolition isn’t necessarily a turn on. And to be sure, there is a lot of crash/sex in this film. That aside, both Hunter and Spader are also not particularly known for being sex symbols, yet Hunter, lithe and writhing, her sinewing limbs and torso taut with passion, her fierce eyes staring straight ahead, is breathlessly sexy here. The best in the movie. In full view of the outside world, the couple try to recapture the stimulation they felt before, and that need for (and subsequent lack of) gratification is powerfully present in her face. Unconventionally sexy, and maybe one we’re not proud to admit, this is a sizzling sex-in-a-car moment.
Navy officer Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) begins an affair with mysterious woman, who not only turns up murdered, she is the mistress of his boss, Secretary of Defense David Brice (Gene Hackman). While nobody knows both men were involved with the girl, he’s put in charge of the investigation. Before all this happens, he had met the lovely Susan Atwell (Sean young) at gala event and their attraction was immediate. Slipping out of the event, they find themselves in the back of a stretch limo with lust leading the way.
Costner, dressed in his Navy whites is certainly the sexy type, and Young, in an elegant black gown has the allure. In the limo, they go right for it, with their driver watching in the rearview mirror until he’s asked to kindly raise the divider. Tom and Susan don’t waste time, and as the car drives through Washington D.C., we see clever sexual symbolism as the Washington Monument stands tall and erect while Susan reaches inside Tom’s trousers. A bit cheesy, but all in sexy fun, the moment is the most playful on the list, but still sizzles.
In Mexico City, two high school friends, Tenoch Iturbide (Diego Luna) and Julio Zapata (Gael García Bernal), have just arrived from Spain. They meet Luisa Cortés (Maribel Verdú) at a wedding, a married woman in her twenties. With their girlfriends still in Europe, they attempt to impress the beautiful woman by telling her of a fabulous beach they will be traveling to soon. When she learns of her husband’s infidelity, she tells the boys she wants to go. The problem is, the beach doesn’t exist and now they need to find a substitute. Not to give too much of the plot away, Luisa comes to be in car with Julio for reasons that are sexual yes, but for much more than that. In the backseat, Luisa climbs atop Juilo, stripping their clothes and wildly going at each other with blissful abandon.
Impromptu sex is always a thrill and for Julio, who has been sexually attracted to Luisa since they met, had been reeling from seeing something that seemed unfair. Now, in the car, Luisa makes up for what she feels is the best way to settle a difference and her willingness to make it happen is both sexy and funny. She’s far more experienced than he, is not in it so much for her pleasure but the joy it gives him, understanding that the tall tales of sexual prowess both he and Tenoch have been touting isn’t quite the truth. Her smile when it’s over (very quickly) tells us much about her passion and compassion.
Two young girls, Allison (Anne Hathaway) and Emily (Bijou Phillips), infatuated with the Hip-Hop lifestyle, head to East L.A. to experience it first hand. Naturally, it’s a much different world than they expect, full of violence and drugs. At the beginning of the film, Allison is in a relationship with Toby (Mike Vogel), an upper-class rich white boy emulating the ‘gangsta’ lifestyle with a group of other wanna-be friends, even getting mixed up with some fighting that draws the police. A bit later, after a party, Toby and Allison are alone in the backseat of his convertible atop a scenic, fog-filled hill. They begin to kiss. It’s not long before she strips off her top and bra, and to his delight, performs some spectacular oral sex.
There’s not much more exciting than being with someone you’re attracted to alone in a car on a deserted road with a great view of the night sky. Hathaway, who is not shy when it comes to nudity, is in command here, straddling Vogel right from the start. What’s really sexy is the reveal. The two are flirting, kissing and touching and it feels pretty standard. Then there is this electrifying moment when Allison pulls away and gives Toby an extremely sensual look. It’s the turning point, and one most of us recognize as the moment things are going to get real. When she suddenly removes her passion-red bra and pulls her hair back, we’re a little surprised but more so, thrilled. The camera dips and we only see her feet rise up out out the back seat while Toby voices his sincere happiness in the way his night is going.
The story of troubled couple Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet), who have settled into a suburban life that seems perfect from the outside but is actually bitter and lonely on the inside. In an desperate attempt save their marriage, April suggests they move to Paris where they can pursue their dreams, but circumstances change their plans and further drives a wedge. One evening at jazz bar, April ends up in a car with Shep (David Harbour), their friend and married neighbor. He confesses his love for her and in a moment of lust, she invites him to have sex, right there, right now in the car. She strips off her dress and he climbs on top of her, but his passion for her proves too great and he finishes almost before they begin.
The spontaneity of this sex scene is the real draw. Filmed from the back seat, we feel like witnesses as the two talk lightly while the sexual tension builds. We only see the back of April’s head, her ponytail bounding as she invites and then disrobes. Shep is on her in an instant, his need for her overwhelming him, and her acceptance of his desire so unexpected, he can’t last like the lover she hopes he will be. It’s a short but powerfully effective sexual moment.
Hey, it’s Kate Winslet again. This time she needs no introduction as Rose, a young, wealthy socialite aboard the doomed ocean liner on its first and final voyage. She meets Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), a third class passenger who saves her life when she, frustrated and depressed with the path her life is about to take, tries to jump off the back of the ship. In the days that follow, the two fall quickly in love and one afternoon while trying to avoid her fiancé Caledon (Billy Zane) and his manservant Spicer (David Warner), end up in the hold where they discover a 1912 Renault Town Car in which they hide in the back seat. We all know what happens next.
Jack and Rose have a short time together, but their love seems eternal as they immediately bond. In the back of the car, after a lengthy escape running through the bowels of the ship, their passions overcome them. While we only see the aftermath of the sex, the now iconic palm against the steamed window is really all we need to see to know that this was an emotional experience. When we do see them, they are breathless, clutching each other and staring into each other’s eyes, clearly feeling something neither has ever felt before. This is not sex for lust but for love and it has resonated with audiences ever since.
Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is an average guy with a big crush on his graduating class Valedictorian, a beautiful wallflower named Diane Cort (Ione Skye). With some courage, he manages to ask her out and the two grow close quickly, even though she has a plans in Europe and he, well, he has no plans. Early in their relationship, they end up in the backseat of his car with Peter Gabriel‘s “In Your Eyes” playing on the radio (a song that will have significant impact later in the film). From under a blanket, we hear them finish their first sex together and the two scramble upright and clutch each other in the chill evening.
Parked along the rocky sea shore, the two young lovers emerge from under the blanket dripping with sweat, still hungry to touch and kiss, not wanting to let go the pleasure of the moment. What makes this scene so effective is the rawness, the honesty and innocence. Similar to the previous entry with Rose and Jack, Lloyd and Diane are not acting on lust, but a need to share, to express something that neither has words to describe. In what is essentially the truest, most sincere moment of physical love in the movies, this quiet moment in the backseat of a car is sexy because it feels authentic. This is love and as Lloyd trembles in the arms of the only sure thing in his life, we fall just as hard.