Johnny Got His Gun (1971): Dalton Trumbo’s anti-war novel—concerning a WWI soldier who’s lost all appendages and most of his face—wasn’t terribly filmable in 1939 when it was first published. By the downer ‘70s, its time had come, and, with Trumbo himself directing, it could wallow in a deeply miserable premise, experiment with film form as it delves into his thoughts and include a scene in which a caring nurse gets Johnny’s gun.
1900 (1976): Bernardo Bertolucci’s sprawling cash-in on the success of Last Tango in Paris was distributed at different lengths depending on the country, due both to its extreme length (317 minutes) and certain shockingly racy moments. One scene not originally seen by many features Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu receiving an actual, unsimulated and wholly visible double HJ from the same woman.
Breaking the Waves (1996): Arguably Lars Von Trier’s most tortured female protagonist, Emily Watson’s simpleminded Bess embarks on a series of sexcapades to placate the wishes of her newly paralyzed husband (Stellan Skarsgård) and, she comes to believe, the man upstairs. At one point, she services a man on a bus, making it the only God-approved five-knuckle shuffle on this list. (Von Trier’s Antichrist also features an, ahem, interesting contribution to this list, only with more blood.)
The River (1997): The minimalist films of Taiwan’s Tsai Ming-liang aren’t averse to outré sexuality: The Wayward Cloud (2005) finds its characters immersed in the world of pornography and performing sex acts on juicy watermelons. The arguable topper is Tsai’s twist on the family drama, which culminates in a father and son accidentally, in the dark of a bathhouse hook-up room, giving each other handies.
Eros (2004): Wong Kar-Wai’s contribution to this omnibus film (also boasting work by Steven Soderbergh and Michelangelo Antonioni) is called The Hand. Guess what that refers to.
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012): Three recent films means a trend: The Master, On the Road and Hyde Park—in which Bill Murray’s FDR gets manhandled by distant cousin Laura Linney—all feature dog flogging. But where are the think pieces? (Incidentally, Murray also co-starred in Rushmore, which makes a running gag out of characters getting—or alleged to have gotten—meat tenderizers.)
Six Long-Running Film Franchises