5 Movies That Were Almost ‘Banned’ Due To Explicit Sex Scenes

Paul Verhoeven’s camp classic “Showgirls” may be a cult favorite today, but when it was released in 1995, it courted controversy due to its explicit sex scenes — something the director knew would happen even as he was filming it.

As he told Rolling Stone in 2020, Verhoeven struggled to ensure that his previous film “Basic Instinct” was only rated R so it could perform at the box office, and he more than accepted the fact that something like “Showgirls” would end up rated NC-17. “So I told Joe [Eszterhas, the film’s screenwriter] and the others, ‘If you don’t do this as an NC-17, I’m not going to do it.’ Because I didn’t want to fight with the MPAA about one breast here, or another breast there, and another breast over there. So from the beginning, I was very clear that I only wanted to make the movie with that rating.”

The film, which focuses on the sexual awakening and strip club tenure of Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkeley), did bomb at the box office, but in recent years, critics and fans have revisited the film and declared that it’s actually a biting satire and not a “bad” film. “Showgirls” is, to be clear, a frothy, campy, often absurd delight, and audiences who took it at face value seriously missed out (if they got to see it at all, thanks to the rating).

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