The 50 Shades epidemic took the world by storm…
…whether we wanted it to or not.
I’m here to tell you that there is A METRIC TON of other choices that are better – everything from serious Hollywood movies and artistic films to porn productions and documentaries.
Starting from oldest and going most recent.
1. THE IMAGE (1975)
Technically classified as adult, but it takes you on a wild ride and makes you feel the journey the characters are taking. The directing is quite beautiful for a film that gets so explicit in some scenes – if you like filmography and pornography you will love this interesting take on a sadomasochistic relationship.
2. MAITRESSE (1976)
A thief breaks into a Dominatrix’s home and ends up intrigued by her lifestyle. Eventually, he starts “training” alongside her and an inevitable romance ensues. More about understanding the power dynamic struggle. 80%
3. 9 ½ WEEKS (1986)
For a movie that is famous for being so sexually charged, there’s actually very little BDSM – save a hinting scene to buy a riding crop and some blindfolds. Where there is plenty of is one woman’s journey through power exchanges and sexual awakenings.
4. PREACHING TO THE PERVERTED (1997)
Not an accurate portrayal of the lifestyle, but it gives a glimpse into fetishes and sub-cultures. Interesting plot (the government wants to shut down the local scene) with some laughs thrown in. This would be a good film if you’re just starting to get into BDSM movies and wondering if you would like to see more.
5. MOONLIGHT WHISPERS (1999)
A Japanese love story between two schoolmates – the boy is a masochistic and the girl transforms into a sadist to please him. The filmmakers boldly portray the fetishes without judgment and allow you to relate to the characters. You’ll empathize with them even if you don’t understand or agree with their actions. I recommend this for people who are intrigued with S/M and are looking to explore it more.
6. QUILLS (2000)
Amazing performances from a star-studded cast including Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sad – focusing on his time in the asylum and his attempts to seduce a wash maid … as well as the young priest. A mix of funny moments and disturbing scenes that all culminate in a less-than-happy ending.
7. BEYOND VANILLA (2001)
This documentary is eye-opening and graphic for most people. The production quality is poor and the film seems to be meshed together in an incoherent way. It does show a look into lots of different kinks, though. Might be good to check out if you’re looking for images of extreme kinks. Don’t view this looking for an insight into the psyche of kinksters.
8. SECRETARY (2002)
This film is surprisingly enlightening when it comes to the psychological aspects of a BDSM relationship. It touches on the underlying reasons for what causes their kinks and desire for a power exchange. The acting is superb and the script is beautifully written. A lot of people like to refer to this as, “The original 50 shades”.
9. HEADSPACE (2003)
This documentary provides a realistic look into a sadomasochistic relationship. It is quite graphic at times and may be disturbing for some viewers. If S/M is something that interests you and you’re looking hearing from real-life practitioners, then this may be for you. FYI – It can be a tad hard to find since there are a bunch of other movies, documentaries, or shows with the same name.
10. THE PET (2006)
This movie covers the idea of a relationship based on power exchange- but not in the best way. The plot is a little out there and tries to include too much into one movie. If you’re already in the lifestyle, then watch to discuss with your partner or friends… if you’re not in the lifestyle and are looking for an inside look then you should avoid it!
11. SUBMISSION OF EMMA MARX (2013)
This is an adult movie but portrays an interesting look at a dom and sub relationship. The relationship is a much more accurate (and healthy) portrayal of a power-exchange based relationship- what 50 shades gets wrong, this one gets right. However, If you’re offended by hardcore sex scenes- skip over this option and keep going down the list.
12. REMEDY (2013)
This film is about a young woman’s journey from the underground kink scene to the professional kink scene. The interesting thing about this movie is that all scenes are based on the director’s own sessions. It thoroughly explores most aspects of commercial BDSM. A great insight if you’re looking into working in the industry or becoming a customer.
13. NYMPHOMANIA VOL. 1 & 2 (2013)
This movie is exactly what you would expect from director Lars von Trier – lots of artistic interpretations, avant guard approaches, and a general feeling of uneasiness with a dash of confusion. On top of it all … piles and piles of weird sexual encounters as a self-proclaimed nymphomaniac tells her life story. No as much BDSM as other movies, but there are some brief encounters.
14. KINK (2013)
A documentary by James Franco looking into kink.com and BDSM dynamics mixed with pornography. A very honest look and shedding a more positive light on the practices. “They aim to demystify the BDSM lifestyle, and to serve as an example and an educational resource for the BDSM community.”
15. BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL (2013)
A documentary, including audio tapes from Bettie Page herself, looking at the life of this iconic pin-up girl influenced people like Dita Von Tease and Huge Heffern, not to mention mainstream kink in general.