30 years ago, on May 21, 1992, the erotic thriller “Basic Instinct” was released. These productions also caused a scandal.
On May 21, 1992, a murmur went through the Hollywood film world. The erotic thriller “Basic Instinct”, starring a then unknown Sharon Stone (64) and Michael Douglas (77), was released in cinemas. But not only enthusiasm spread among the spectators at the time – among other things, missing underwear caused a lot of excitement. But there were also films before and after “Basic Instinct” that caused a scandal.
“Basic Instinct”, 1992
In “Basic Instinct” the detective Nick Curran, played by Michael Douglas, is at the center of the plot. He must solve the murder of a rock star who was stabbed with an ice pick. Crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Sharan Stone) quickly becomes a target – because in one of her books she writes about such a murder. One scene burned into people’s minds: Sharan Stone crosses her legs during an interrogation without wearing underwear under her dress – her private parts are clearly visible. In general, there are many revealing sex scenes in the strip, for some too much of a good thing.
Stone later explained in her biography The Beauty of Living Twice (2021) that she knew nothing about the dress scene. “I was told, ‘We don’t see anything – you just have to take the panties off because the white reflects the light and that’s how we know you’re wearing something.'” The Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (83), on the other hand, claimed that everything was agreed. Either way, Stone became an overnight star thanks to the film and is still one of Hollywood’s well-known actresses today.
“The Life of Brian”, 1979
“Brian’s Life” didn’t cause a stir in 1979 because of its revealing scenes. The film was penned by the British comedy troupe Monty Python. Among other things, they make fun of Christianity, which has annoyed some believers. The satire is about Brian (Graham Champan, 1941-1989), who was born at the same time as Jesus and, through a misunderstanding, is viewed by people as the Messiah – against his will.
Many representatives of the Jewish and Christian faith community saw the film as a scandal – protests and boycotts were the result. In some countries, satire was even banned for a long time due to blasphemy – including Norway, Ireland and Italy. In Germany, the film may not be shown on Good Friday.
“Die Passion Christi”, 2004
Mel Gibson’s (66) work “The Passion of the Christ” dates from 2004 and also illuminates a religious topic – but not from a satirical point of view. Instead, the 127-minute strip shows the final stages in the life of Jesus of Nazareth – from his arrest to his crucifixion and resurrection. But Gibson didn’t do things by halves, so Jesus’ suffering was portrayed as extremely brutal and very violent. For some viewers, the film simply contains too much blood, and there were also voices that accused the production of anti-Semitism.
“The Interview”, 2014
The US comedy “The Interview” from 2014 is not about religion, but about politics. Actors James Franco (44) and Seth Rogen (40) can be seen in the leading roles. The film tells the story of two reporters hired by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (38) during an interview. Protests erupted before the film even hit theaters. North Korea said a film about the assassination of an incumbent head of state was “supporting terrorism”.
The then US President Barack Obama (60) was not intimidated and did not intervene in the publication – North Korea then threatened “deadly blows” if the US government stuck to it. But that’s not all: Sony Pictures Entertainment fell victim to a hacker attack and the film was stolen from the servers. The dispute escalated even further when a group threatened to attack cinemas – as a result, the premiere in the USA and other promotional dates for the main actors were initially canceled. But that, in turn, led to criticism because North Korea did not want to shut its mouth. In the end, the film was shown in cinemas.
“The Last Tango in Paris”, 1972
Opinions differ widely on this film: tasteless or masterpiece? “Last Tango in Paris” was written by the Italian author and director Bernardo Bertolucci (1941-2018) and was released in cinemas in 1972. In the film, an American, played by Marlon Brando (1924-2004), and a French woman (Maria Schneider, 1952-2011) meet regularly in a Paris apartment to talk and sleep together. Many viewers found the sex scenes repulsive and almost unbearable. Thus, a rape known as the “Butter” scene is shown.
In addition, the actress Maria Schneider is said to have known nothing about the exact course of the scene. “I treated Maria terribly in that I didn’t tell her what was planned. I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to feel the humiliation,” Bertolucci said in a 2013 interview. The director responded after receiving heavy criticism, declaring in a statement that it was a “ridiculous misunderstanding”. Schneider knew about the violent scene, she was “only” not informed about the use of butter as a lubricant.