Did you know that there was once a time where the best porn movies were given proper theatrical releases?
A lot of them made bank at the box office too. This is known as the golden age of pornography.
A time where filmmaking techniques were blended with a bit of softcore porn.
Honestly, for many of the movies on this list, the focus is not the actual porn. It is the story. It is about cinematography. Some of these movies are absolute classics.
There are a lot of amazing porn movies out there, so we are going to split this list up into two.
This is part 1, and we have a ton of epic porn movies to introduce you to here.
These ones come from the golden age of porn too, so you will be able to see how the world of movies developed as you watch these!
ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1976)
No. We don’t mean the classic Disney film. Back in 1976, perhaps one of the most unique porn films ever came out. Let us introduce you to Alice in Wonderland, a softcore porn extravaganza that somehow managed to clean up at the box office. A couple of years after, a proper hardcore version of the movie was released.
The history of Alice in Wonderland is odd. You see, this is a porn musical. Yep. You don’t get many of those nowadays, do you? Actually, we don’t think we have ever seen a serious porn musical. This is the _only _film that somehow managed to be turned into an off-broadway musical too. Although, we doubt there was any porn involved there.
While Alice in Wonderland is probably not going to be that brilliant for turning you on, it is a classic porn film and is 100% worth watching. This really did come from the golden age of porn.
BARBARA BROADCAST (1977)
If you watch Barbara Broadcast, you are going to be absolutely stunned by the filmmaking techniques this movie boasts. It is easily one of the most wonderfully shot porn films ever made.
We are not going to go into too much detail on the plot of Barbara Broadcast, because it is likely going to make it seem tremendously boring. The movie takes the guise of an interview where the title character goes through the history of her life. The movie mostly takes place in the heart of New York City, and there are some beautiful shots of the place when you are watching it.
A lot of reviewers at the time claimed that Barbara Broadcast was one of the best-written porn films at the time. It is tough to argue with this. The plot may seem exciting, but somehow it manages to keep you clinging on, wanting to discover what happens next. The porn ain’t too shabby either.
BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR (1972)
Behind The Green Door is famous for a number of things. You may love the fact that it boasts some of the best lesbian porn scenes in the world of softcore porn. However, back in the day, it was better known for the fact that it offers the very first interracial porn scene to ever happen on film. Well, at least with anything that got popular.
This movie doesn’t have a whole lot of plot. It is pretty much erotic from start to finish. It is a lot more hardcore than a lot of the porn that you will find on this list too. There aren’t many films that will dedicate a whopping seven minutes to cum shots, right? Oh, and the lead character doesn’t actually have any lines in the film. Behind the Green Door is more one of those films that you are going to be watching for the experience, as opposed for a movie you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the plot of.
BLUE MOVIE (1969)
Blue Movie was the very first porn film to be released during the golden age of porn. This isn’t too surprising either. It was directed by Andy Warhol who was a massive artist at the time (well, he still is, but back then people loved him a whole lot more)
Blue Movie is famous for not really having any sort of plot. In fact, Andy Warhol claimed that this was his intention with the movie. It is hard to describe what happens in Blue Movie, because not a whole lot happens. It is really just people living their day to day lives, having conversations, and then fucking at various times. This is proper hardcore sex too. None of the softcore stuff that happened in a few other movies that came later.
We won’t lie. There are a few people who will not like Blue Movie. However, it is still worth checking out. There is no other movie that has had such a big impact on the world of porn.
BOYS IN THE SAND (1971)
Boys in the Sand only features gay porn, so if you are not a fan of that, then this probably isn’t going to be a great movie for you.
Honestly, we are not 100% sure what goes on in Boys in the Sand. It is just a series of interconnected scenes, all featuring the same guy hooking up with various other men.
You got beach sex. You got pool sex. You got indoor sex. Hell, there may even be a bit of ‘magic’ in the movie, but we are not 100% sure.
What we can tell you, however, is that Boys in the Sand is wonderfully shot. It is also the porn movie that propelled Casey Donovan to international fame after he starred in this. We guess people loved his body and his acting skills (yep, they were positively reviewed)
CAFE FLESH (1982)
Cafe Flesh is a movie that somehow managed to spawn two sequels, which goes to show just how popular it was at the time.
While the other movies that we have listed so far are pretty focused on the more erotic set-ups and beautiful sex scenes with an amazing plot, that doesn’t really happen in Cafe Flesh. This is a movie that is more about having a bit of fun, and some people may regard the plot as a touch ridiculous. Although, it is great to watch.
In Cafe Flesh, you will be transported to a post-apocalyptic world where for some unfathomable reason, the bulk of the population can’t have sex. It kills them. The people that can have sex are forced to ‘do it’ for the people who can’t in Cafe Flesh. Beyond this, the plot isn’t all that heavy. There is a little bit of a love story, but it is mostly about fucking in that world. To us, it is a tremendous watch and it is a little bit of a break from the norm in a world of highly stylistic porn movies.
Caligula is an epic story set in the Roman Empire (we assume). This is a movie that was absolutely hated at the time but, to be honest, in hindsight, the movie is pretty damn good. It also starred Helen Mirren and Peter O’Toole. Yep. The very same famous actors, although if you are expecting to see either of these get banged, then you probably have another thing coming.
The plot of Caligula is quite complicated. Basically, think along the lines of fights for thrones, pregnancies, and a shit ton of violence. Hell, people complained more about the violence in Caligula than they did the porn.
This movie is available in both English and Italian, with the English being a dub BUT regarded as the ‘original’ version of the movie. Baffling. We know.
CANDY STRIPERS (1978)
We have a nice little comedy in this movie. A group of nurses spends their days having a good shag with their patients. Tons of sex scenes here and the movie caps off with a nice sex orgy. Honestly, this is a hospital that we absolutely wouldn’t mind being a patient of! We think that this one of the only movies on this list that boasts a proper hardcore fisting scene too. Although, if you want to watch that, you are going to need to get your hands on the DVD version of the film. It wasn’t in the original. We doubt it would have had a commercial release if it was!
CENTURIANS OF ROME (1981)
Yep. Another Roman Empire film. We guess there is something about that period that makes people love watching sex happen there? Centurians of Rome is a gay porno, though. It is also the most expensive gay porn that has ever been made. Although, we won’t get too much into the financing of this movie, because it is quite an epic story (involving the theft of some expensive gear)
All you really need to know is that this is a story of slavery and fucking. The Emperor just loves to fuck his slaves for some reason. The story is actually pretty damn decent. It is certainly a lot less complicated than Caligula.
THE CHEERLEADERS (1973)
There has been a lot of controversy around this film, mostly due to the subject matter (cheerleaders fucking High School Football Players), but it is still one of the most successful commercial porn movies of all times. There is even a good number of sequels to the movie, although none managed to hit the dizzying heights that the original was able to achieve.
The plot of cheerleaders is simple. The cheerleaders want their team to win the game, so they go and fuck the opposing team just before they play. This exhausts them, and they can’t perform to the standard they should be able to on the field. To be honest, the plot doesn’t go much beyond this, but the sex scenes are pretty damn hot.
DEBBIE DOES DALLAS (1978)
Even if you have never seen Debbie Does Dallas, you will almost certainly have heard of it. This is one of the most-famous porn movies of all time. The plot is pretty simple, but it is fun. Debbie (played by Bambi Woods) wants to go to Dallas to try out as a cheerleader. She can’t afford it, so the rest of her cheer squad help her out. They charge money for sex (and sometimes just have fun for the hell of it). You will love this movie, and due to its place in the best porn movie history, it is a ‘must-watch’.
DEEP THROAT (1972)
Deep Throat apparently gained $600 million at the box office but, to be honest, this is quite a dubious claim. If it did, this would make it the highest-grossing movie of all time (equating for inflation). However, one thing is for sure, Deep Throat made a shit ton of money, and was one of the most successful commercial pornos of all time.
The story is a bit crazy. Some woman can’t orgasm. Turns out her clitoris is in her throat. So, uhm, she needs to deep throat a lot. Honestly, the plot is a lot better than what we have written here. It is just a rather crazy concept to put into words. This is a movie that you should really be checking out for yourself, if you haven’t seen it already.
THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES (1973)
Legendary erotic movie that comes on every list.
Another crazy plot, but a fun one. The Devil in Miss Jones starts with suicide. This woman, after discovering she can’t get into heaven, heads to Earth and becomes ‘Lust’.
This is a movie that some people can struggle to stomach, mostly because some of the scenes can be quite violent. However, the plot is surprisingly good, and it is worth a watch if you want a porno that is a little bit different from the norm.
A DIRTY WESTERN (1975)
Surprisingly, in the golden age of pornography, there were not actually that many Western movies made.
This is one of only a few that ended up with a commercial release.
In a Dirty Western, a group of convicts fucks themselves through the west. They take people’s virginities, and there is a bit of lesbian sex along the way too.
Fun movie, if a little bit light on the plot side of things.
EL PASO WRECKING CORP (1978)
Another gay porno this one. It actually has a plot that we have no doubt is happening on the American roads every day. A couple of truckers just have sex on the road. That is pretty much the plot. The movie is apparently meant to be a journey of ‘self-discovery’, but it is really just a bunch of truckers having intercourse. Apparently, this is regarded as one of the best gay pornos ever made. Who are we to argue with that?
FLESH GORDON (1974)
Flesh Gordon is a parody of Flash Gordon (you probably heard of it). We are not even going to go into the plot of this movie because it is downright crazy. Think along the lines of sex rays blasting the earth at regular intervals, causing people to fuck. Oh, and aliens. Lots and lots of aliens. This was a wildly expensive movie to produce. However, it was well-reviewed. If you loved Flash Gordon (who didn’t?), you may as well check out Flesh Gordon. Is a surprisingly accurate parody.
THE IMAGE (1975)
This is Fifty Shades of Grey before Fifty Shades of Grey was a thing. Oh, but it doesn’t tone down the sex that the book and movie have. The Image goes really into depth on that sadomasochism. There are some seriously intense scenes here. There isn’t much of a plot, but hell, this is probably one of the best movies we have ever seen in this niche.
Again, there isn’t really any sort of plot here. It is just a woman who loves sex just having sex with tons of different people. There, honestly, isn’t that much to say about Insatiable. It is a classic porno, but it doesn’t bring a lot to the table beyond some wildly hot sex scenes. You have anal. You have hardcore sex. You have a bit of bating. Honestly, this movie has everything. Worth checking out.
INSIDE JENNIFER WELLES (1977)
This movie stars Jennifer Welles, who was already pretty big in the world of sex movies at the time. While this movie does have a good bit of shagging in, it is more of a biography of Welles’ rise to fame. This means that it is going to be pretty damn heavy on the plot, and you will be introduced to one of the big names in the business.
KANSAS CITY TRUCKING CO (1976)
Yep. Another gay trucking porno. This one apparently ties into El Paso Wrecking Corp. It is part of a trilogy of movies, although there isn’t really any overlap in terms of plot. In this movie, expect a ton of bating and a lot of orgies.
L.A. TOOL & DIE (1979)
This is the final movie in the said gay trucking trilogy. Once again, this movie features road trips. However, there is less pointless shagging in this movie. Here, it is all about two people falling in love. It is actually a pretty brilliant movie.
MARASCHINO CHERRY (1978)
Radler Metzger is regarded as one of the finest hardcore porn film directors in history. Maraschino Cherry was the final commercial movie that he released and, while not regarded as his best, is the one most likely to go down in history. Why? Because it is fun to watch. It is a little bit light on the plot, but there is some fun comment around just about every single corner in this movie. It is a joy from start to finish.
The plot is your typical modern porn movie plot. Somebody becomes an escort, and then they sleep around with their clients. We got to admit, character development is not the strong point of Maraschino Cherry, but at least you get some quality porn scenes mixed in there. It pretty much helps that the plot of this movie is so damn funny. You can say a lot about Metzger’s films, but they have never been woeful in the scripting department. So, even if you do not get turned on by the porn, at least Maraschino Cherry will probably put an awesome smile on your face.
MEMORIES WITHIN MISS AGGIE (1974)
Memories Within Miss Aggie is pretty much the only movie in porn history that came close to receiving an Academy Award nomination. We have absolutely no idea if this was due to an amazing marketing campaign, or whether it was down to the fact that Memories within Miss Aggie was better than other movies that year but, hey, at least it means it was good. Oh, and no. This movie did not receive the nomination. We guess the board that year didn’t really want a porno hitting the Best Picture nomination.
Again, this is another movie that is somewhat light on the plot. It is just somebody going through the sexual encounters they have had throughout their life. It seems that the whole autobiographical theme genre is pretty big in the world of classic porn films. Not really a surprise, to be honest. It gives a great reason to talk about all of that shagging.
MONA THE VIRGIN NYMPH (1970)
You aren’t going to be seeing any penetrative sex in Mona the Virgin Nymph, but the movie does get pretty damn dirty in places. This is very much a movie that was still trying to test the waters in the world of theatrical porn. This meant that it couldn’t really push the bounds too far. It was only the second porno to be released theatrically, after all.
This movie has everything (apart from full hardcore sex). You have a lass who is willing to do anything but be penetrated because, you know, God hates that sort of thing before marriage. You have affairs. You have a movie that ends with a whopping oral sex party. The fact that Mona the Virgin Nymph became a whoppingly popular movie helped to improve the golden age of pornography and help more movies of this type get introduced to the theatres.
NAKED CAME THE STRANGER (1975)
This is another movie fresh from the mind of Radley Metzger and regarded as one of his best. This has to be one of the best porn movies based on a book. Just before this movie came out, a parody book of the same name was released. This book was designed to be absolutely terrible, but it ended up being a wild success. With the hardcore descriptions of pornography in that book, it is no surprise that somebody eventually came up with the idea to turn it into a full porno film.
Obviously, you can’t expect a great plotline based on a book that is often regarded as one of the worst books of all time, but you can expect a lot of awesome hardcore sex. This movie pretty much just involves somebody having a shag all over New York City. There is even a scene that takes place on top of a bus. Obviously, since the movie is taking place all over an amazing city, you can expect some damn good scenes.
NEW WAVE HOOKERS (1984)
This movie actually has a plot. Not a tremendously brilliant one, but a plot nonetheless. With the way this movie starts out, you would think that a couple of guys are going to start their own escort agency and the movie is going to be based around the shagging that happens in that. However, weirdly enough, New Wave Hookers is just a movie based around dreams. It turns out that all that chatting about wanting to get laid shook up the dreams these men were having. Oh, and don’t worry. Part of the initial weird plot point remains. This is the fact that these people are only going to get turned on by New Wave music. So, the film does have a pretty bitchin’ soundtrack.
This movie was originally banned because it starred Traci Lords when she was under the age of 18. However, a brand new version was edited, and this is the one that is available nowadays. We suppose that it is not going to go down for being a great porn movie, but one that featured Traci Lords, even if she is not in it now. But, hey, she was one of the biggest porn stars of all time.
A NIGHT AT THE ADONIS (1984)
This is the first gay porno we have included on this list. This movie takes place at the Adonis Theatre. Now, you may not know about this theatre, but back in the 1970s, a lot of people believed that this place had a lot of gay sexual activity taking place there. So, guess what? People decided that they wanted to make a movie based on this concept. And, it is actually a movie that ended up being bloody brilliant. Obviously, you do need to be into the gay sex if you want to enjoy everything this movie has to offer because it doesn’t have that much in the way of a plot. However, if you do enjoy a bit of gay fucking, then a Night at the Adonis is going to be an awesome movie.
You don’t get that many pornos that have a horror theme nowadays, which is one of the main reasons as to why we regarded Nightdreams as an absolute classic.
Granted, it isn’t that strong in terms of the plot that it boasts, but it is still a fun watch. It is really a movie about somebody being shocked with electricity, which triggers all these weird sexual thoughts.
Oh, and believe us when we say that there is a shit ton of awesome sex scenes here. Ones that you wouldn’t be able to see in any other sex movie.
Imagine some hardcore fucking deep in hell or inside of a breakfast cereal (no, really).
This is a movie that received amazing reviews when it was first released, and even today it is remembered as being one of the weirdest, but most unique, porn films of all time.
THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN (1976)
This movie involves a prostitute, who is a little bit down on her luck, heading to an expert to find out why she can’t score as many clients as she wants. Cue a plot that involves the lass being taught how to pull some pretty difficult clients and giving them a nice pounding. Think along the lines of her somehow managing to seduce a gay person, and that sort of thing. Honestly, the movie is actually pretty damn fun to watch. The plot is intricate and while you are hopping from sex scene to sex scene, there is a small amount of plot there which does string everything together. It is a joy, especially once you hit the end and realize that the journey was completely worth it.
THE OTHER SIDE OF ASPEN (1978)
The Other Side of Aspen is often touted as the best gay movie in history, and this is something pretty tough to argue with. If that wasn’t enough, this is actually the first adult movie to ever be released on VHS, which goes to show just how well-loved the movie was at the time. It also goes to show just how important it was to the sex industry as a whole.
As the title of the movie suggests, this is completely set at an Aspen ski resort. To be honest, the bulk of the movie time is taking up by a gay sex orgy. Like, a massive one.
You will be surprised at just how intricately shot it is. We think this is why so many people loved it.
Up until that point, gay sex movies were not given that much in the way of love. This was a nice break from the norm.
Yeah. It is just a ton of sex scenes strung together with little in the way of an overarching plot, but it is still fun to watch if you are into gay porn.
PRETTY PEACHES (1978)
Alright. This movie is probably not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, and we doubt that this sort of thing would get the chance of being commercially released nowadays. It starts with a car crash (a literal one), a rape scene, a healthy dose of lesbian rape, and the use of an enema.
So, it pretty much covers the bases of everything that you probably wouldn’t find in a popular porn movie nowadays. This is demonstrated by the fact that many of the craziest scenes in Pretty Peaches were actually removed when it came to the re-release of the movie.
That being said, a lot of people loved this movie at the time, and we have no doubt that you will love it too. It is regarded as a classic one of the best porn films for a reason.
THE PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN (1974)
Do you love voyeurism? Well, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann is all about that. In this movie, a dude is spying on a lass, supposedly to try and catch her cheating so he can hand off the evidence to her husband. Lots of classy sex scenes here and the bulk of it takes place in a single room. We aren’t going to spoil the ending for you, but we must say that it is a nice little twist.
The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann was much heralded at the time. Not so much for the fact that it boasted awesome sex scenes. It was one of the first adult movies that seemed to have a quality plot, and we have no idea that a lot of the movies that followed these got the whole idea of a decent plot from this movie.
REEL PEOPLE (1984)
We are not going to go into depth on the plot of this movie because, honestly, that doesn’t matter. Reel People still holds a place in the world of porn. You see, this was the first movie that featured amateur porn stars i.e. people who were brand new to the business. Pretty much every movie up until this point used famous porn stars. Sure, they appear here, but the bulk of the stars were the amateurs. It is not a tremendous film in any regard, but obviously it kickstarted the world of porn that we know and love today, so at least it has that going for it.
RESURRECTION OF EVE (1973)
The Resurrection of Eve can have somewhat of a crazy plot at times. It is kickstarted by the fact a lass has plastic surgery after a car accident and becomes a lot better looking. She then becomes a swinger. There is a little big of everything in terms of porn in this movie. It was one of the first to boast interracial sex scenes. However, it also has a healthy dose of gay porn thrown in for good measure. Honestly, the plot of this movie is far better than in any other porn film that you would have seen before. This is because this movie is more about the plot than the sex. The sex just plays a role in Eve becoming reborn and becoming a far better person.
Yep. Another Radley Metzger film with this one. Although, he goes down a slightly different route with this one. It is very heavy on the plot, and set in Europe. It is mostly a journey of drugs and swinging. The characters that you find in Score are surprisingly well-developed, and the movie is a thrill ride from start to finish. As with many of the films that Radley Metzger produced, it is more about the plot. However, the sex scenes in Score do look absolutely stunning and well-shot. Once again, you have a little bit of everything to enjoy.
Amsterdam is easily the sex capital of Europe. It does play host to one of the largest Red Light Districts, after all. Sensations, Lasse Braun has a simple plot in his movie. So, you can kick back, relax and just enjoy the action. Perhaps the main reason why people know about Sensations nowadays is the fact that it was the first European movie to be brought over to the United States. So, it kickstarted that part of the country’s love of European porn.
SPIRIT OF SEVENTY SEX (1976)
Alright. So some Americans are not going to be fans of this movie. It pretty much just shits all over the founding fathers of the country. But hey, at least it is going to be fun at the same time, right? This movie is pretty much just an exploration of the sex lives of each of them. So, really, just a ton of people in costumes banging. The movie wasn’t particularly well-liked at the time, and probably still isn’t, but it is a unique concept and for that reason we feel it is worth watching.
THE STORY OF JOANNA (1975)
While The Story of Joanna isn’t a particularly great movie, it is regarded as having one of the best hardcore sex scenes in history. This movie is all about sadomasochism, and it can get pretty crazy at times. You will probably need to have a pretty strong stomach when jumping in. In our opinion, while the plot isn’t great, it is a very well-shot movie that is worth a watch.
This movie is known for a lot of things. It boasts incest scenes (one of the first movies to do so), and it was the first movie to win a serious award from genuine award shows. The porn is pretty softcore here, but this is an emotional film that helped to set the stage for pretty much any well-scripted movie that followed. Everything in this movie both looks and sounds great. This is a ‘must-watch’ for anybody that loves classic porn films.
THE TALE OF TIFFANY LUST (1979)
Another Radley Metzger film. Again, a decent plot, but this one is all about the well-shot sex scenes. Most of it is about a bored housewife who just wants a bit more spice in her sex life, so she heads on a radio show to try and get it. This was one of the first adult films to star Candida Royale, although she was a background actor in it.
TALK DIRTY TO ME (1980)
This isn’t a particularly unique movie. It is a story of a man’s quest to seduce a beautiful lass. However, this was a movie that spawned a whopping franchise that ended up featuring a ton of top porn stars, including Traci Lords. To date, there have been twelve sequels to this movie, which goes to show that a lot of people love the basic, but sexy, stories that some adult movies boast.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (1976)
No. This isn’t a sequel to the Alice in Wonderland Musical porn. Instead, it is a sort-of Gothic movie that features ghosts, incest, demons, and a lot of sex. This movie was initially released softcore, but there is a hardcore version available too. This is a dark and depressing movie that focuses heavily on sexual abuse, but the sex scenes are great. The plot is fantastic too and, honestly, to us this is one of the best-written porn movies of the time.
And that’s it. Our complete list of the best porn movies in the world (in our opinion). Over our two lists, you will have been able to see a whopping 42 movies, so you have a good couple of weeks of movie watching ahead…and we are 100% positive that you are going to enjoy nearly every one of these movies!
My name is Emma, I have founded Lustfel.com along with Amy and other webcam models. Writing more about adult industry as a whole. European cam girl.