Film history knowledge girls sex education: The 50 Greatest Female Sex Symbols in Film History
The 50 Greatest Female Sex Symbols in Film History
A style icon is one thing; a great actress another. A sex symbol can be neither, though our favorites are both. The women on this list inflamed the lusts of entire generations. Many of them changed the cultural history of sex itself. Ranking them was not easy, but we can’t say it wasn’t fun. Expect more fun next week, when we get intimate with Paul Newman and forty-nine other male sex symbols; in the meantime, read on.
50. Cameron Diaz
An accomplished goofball, Cameron Diaz fits snugly between the “dippy blonde” and “flirtatious spitfire” tropes that define most sex symbols. Her blue eyes and long legs meet sex-symbol prerequisites, but it’s her remarkable capacity for playing innocent in the face of overwhelming innuendo that secure her the spot.
49. Helen Mirren
A highly-lauded and wise English actress like Helen Mirren should hardly be diffident, but when today asked about her notoriety as a ’60s and ’70s sex symbol, she blushes. Demure as she may be now, looking at her in Age of Consent, we have to think that she knew exactly what she was doing.
48. Melanie Griffith
When a baby voice emerged from a barely-clothed Melanie Griffith in films like The Drowning Pool and Night Moves, the world paused.
47. Jane Russell
Jane Russell’s oxygen-depriving turn in 1943’s The Outlaw earned her a place on this (or any) list of female sex symbols. The iconic image of her lounging in a bed of hay with an intimidating snarl on her face caused a stir with the censors, thanks to the work of a widely-publicized brassiere.
46. Marlene Dietrich
Dietrich’s high cheekbones and exotic stare in Shanghai Express and Desire pummeled audiences into aroused submission without her ever having to say a word. Taking on iconic and sexually provocative roles was second nature to Dietrich, and though she was often bathed in stark butterfly lighting, her haunting leer needed no cinematic tricks to do its work.