Select Tinto Brass Movies and Why You Should Watch Them


Giovanni “Tinto” Brass is an Italian filmmaker known for his distinctive style and focus on erotic themes. His films feature beautiful, curvy women (with plenty of body hair). His films combine comedy, drama, and avant-garde filmmaking elements.

Brass also uses mirrors to create set pieces and block a scene. The mirrors amplify the voyeuristic boudoir-style experience, inviting us to gaze at the erotic female beauties in their most intimate moments when they are confronting their true selves or exploring aspects of their personalities that they might otherwise hide from the world.

Below, you can see a list of my favorite eight Tinto Brass movies, along with explanations of why you should watch them:

1. Paprika (1991)

  • Genre: Drama, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass, Bernardino Zapponi
  • Starring: Debora Caprioglio, Stéphane Ferrara, Martine Brochard

About the film: Paprika tells the story of a young woman who becomes a prostitute to fulfill her dreams, discovering her identity and sexuality in the process. It’s a journey through desire, love, and self-discovery set against the backdrop of Italian brothels.

Why Watch: Paprika celebrates female sensuality and critiques societal norms, making it essential viewing for those interested in the intersection of eroticism, empowerment, and self-discovery. It’s loosely based on John Cleland’s novel Fanny Hill (1748).

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2. Salon Kitty (1976)

  • Genre: Drama, War, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass, Ennio De Concini, Maria Pia Fusco
  • Starring: Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin, Teresa Ann Savoy

About the film: Salon Kitty is a provocative film set in Nazi Germany, revolving around a brothel, Salon Kitty, used by the SS for espionage. It explores themes of power, sexual manipulation, and moral corruption within the Nazi ranks, revealing the dark underbelly of political control.

Why Watch: Salon Kitty explores the decadence and corruption of Nazi Germany, presenting a provocative mix of historical drama and eroticism. Its controversial subject matter and aesthetic choices make it a study of the use of sexuality and power on screen.

The film’s lavish production design and bold storytelling offer insights into crafting visually striking cinema that challenges viewers. It’s a compelling watch for its audacious critique of fascism and the exploration of moral ambiguity.

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3. Caligula (1979)

  • Genre: Historical Drama, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui (uncredited co-directors)
  • Screenwriter: Gore Vidal (original screenplay), Tinto Brass, Malcolm McDowell (uncredited revisions)
  • Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud

About the film: Caligula is a historical drama focusing on the rise and fall of Rome’s most infamous ruler, Caligula. The film explores his descent into madness and depravity, highlighting the corruption and decadence of the Roman Empire. It’s a controversial mix of history, myth, and explicit content.

Why Watch: Caligula is a landmark in cinematic audacity, blending historical epic with explicit content in an unprecedented manner. The film uniquely portrays the infamous Roman Emperor, combining elaborate sets and costumes with a controversial narrative.

For filmmakers and fans, it studies the limits of artistic freedom and the complexities of collaborative film production. Its unflinching approach to taboo subjects and its tumultuous behind-the-scenes story (where scenes of explicit sex were later edited into the movie by the movie’s producers – without the original cast’s knowledge nor Brass’s consent) make it a fascinating case study in film history.

4. Cheeky! (Trasgredire) (2000)

  • Genre: Comedy, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass, Carla Cipriani
  • Starring: Yuliya Mayarchuk, Jarno Berardi, Francesca Nunzi

About the film: In Cheeky! we follow a young woman’s sexual adventures in London, emphasizing her free-spirited approach to relationships and life. The film explores themes of freedom, jealousy, and the exploration of sexual desires outside traditional boundaries.

Why Watch: Cheeky! stands out for its lighter, comedic take on eroticism, showcasing Brass’s versatility as a director. The film’s playful narrative, combined with its candid exploration of sexual freedom and fidelity, provides an entertaining yet thought-provoking experience.

Its vibrant cinematography and charismatic performances make it an excellent example of how erotic content can be integrated into a broader comedic context. For filmmakers, it’s a lesson in balancing genre elements to create something uniquely engaging.

5. The Key (La chiave) (1983)

  • Genre: Drama, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass (adaptation), Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (novel)
  • Starring: Stefania Sandrelli, Frank Finlay, Franco Branciaroli

About the film: Set in Venice during the 1940s, The Key tells the story of a husband who uses a diary to influence his wife into exploring her sexuality, aiming to rekindle their fading relationship. Themes include desire, voyeurism, and the complexities of marital intimacy.

Why Watch: The Key explores desire, jealousy, and the complex dynamics within a marriage. Brass’s adaptation of Tanizaki’s novel of the same name into the context of 1940s Fascist Italy adds an intriguing layer of historical and cultural tension.

This film is a must-watch for its stunning cinematography and its use of eroticism to explore deeper emotional and psychological themes.

6. Fallo! (Do It!) (2003)

  • Genre: Erotic, Drama
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass
  • Starring: Sara Cosmi, Massimiliano Caroletti, William De Vito

About the film: Fallo! is a collection of six stories that explore various aspects of sexuality and relationships, from infidelity to voyeurism. Each story explores the characters’ intimate desires, reflecting on the complexity and diversity of human sexuality.

Why Watch: Fallo! is a rich source of study for narrative structure and character development within erotic cinema. Brass’s direction ensures that the film remains both titillating and aesthetically pleasing, making it a must-watch for those interested in the dynamics of erotic storytelling and the exploration of sensual themes in film.

7. All Ladies Do It (Cosi fan tutte) (1992)

  • Genre: Comedy, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass, Francesco Costa
  • Starring: Claudia Koll, Paolo Lanza, Franco Branciaroli

About the film: All Ladies Do It focuses on Diana, who seeks extramarital affairs to spice up her life, believing it will also benefit her husband. It explores themes of fidelity, sexual freedom, and the boundaries of trust in relationships.

Why Watch: All Ladies Do It explores themes of fidelity, sexual liberation, and the societal expectations placed on women. Its humorous and provocative approach to these subjects and engaging performances make it a standout in Brass’s filmography.

The film challenges conventional morality and invites viewers to question their prejudices and desires. It’s a valuable watch for its bold narrative and how it uses comedy to address complex issues.

8. The Voyeur (L’uomo che guarda) (1994)

  • Genre: Drama, Erotic
  • Director: Tinto Brass
  • Screenwriter: Tinto Brass, Alberto Moravia (novel)
  • Starring: Katarina Vasilissa, Francesco Casale, Cristina Garavaglia

About the film: The Voyeur centers on a university lecturer obsessed with spying on the sexual exploits of others, including his father’s young fiancée. It’s a deep dive into voyeurism, unrequited love, and the search for sexual fulfillment.

Why Watch: Based on Moravia’s novel, The Voyeur is an intricate exploration of voyeurism and unrequited love. Its psychological depth and Brass’s distinctive aesthetic offer a nuanced look at obsession and desire.

The film’s visual storytelling and the use of the voyeuristic gaze as a narrative device make it a compelling study for filmmakers interested in the themes of watching and being watched. It’s a testament to the power of erotic cinema to explore complex emotional landscapes.


These films highlight Tinto Brass’s eclectic and provocative style, ranging from explicit eroticism to more nuanced, dramatic storytelling.

His work remains a significant, though sometimes controversial, part of Italian cinema and the exploration of sexuality in film.

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