By TIME Staff
February 10, 2017

Pulling together a wholly objective list of the sexiest movies ever made is impossible: One person’s erotic fever dream is bound to be another’s snoozefest, and vice-versa. But survey any moderately sized group of individuals (or TIME’s culture staff) and certain titles come up again and again.

Some movies—like In the Mood for Love and Before Sunrise—are more noteworthy for their ambient erotic charge than for outright graphic sexiness. Others, like Body Heat and Mulholland Dr., feature sequences of such exquisite and tantalizing carnality that they’ve come to define all that we think a sex scene should be. The sexiest movies often showcase glamorous, otherworldly creatures (like David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as The Hunger’s vampire lovers) or disreputable schemers (like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe’s conniving stepsiblings in Cruel Intentions, a modern take on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ 1782 sexual-manipulation masterpiece Les Liaisons Dangereuses). Sometimes the nastiest or naughtiest characters are the biggest turn-ons.

There are as many ways of defining a movie’s sexiness as there are, well, ways to have sex. But in one way or another, all of these movies on this list have the power to put us in the mood for love.

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