The 5 most bizarre porn films of the 1970s

From "Deep Throat" to "Debbie Does Dallas," a look back at the silliest smut the industry's golden age had to offer

Published October 5, 2014 11:00PM (EDT)

Scene still from "Debbie Does Dallas"
Scene still from "Debbie Does Dallas"

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


Call us old-fashioned, but lately we miss the simpler times, when pornographic films involved actual cameras and not grainy, night-vision cell phone footage; when images of Japanese teenagers getting penetrated by squid tentacles wasn’t something we could easily Google; when posting “revenge porn” of ex-lovers would never have entered our thoughts because it didn’t exist.

We sometimes wish modern porn was a little more like the glory hole days of the 1970s, when women were afflicted with clitorises in their throats and courageous cheerleaders with fringed bangs could bang their way to financial prosperity. So it’s with a whiff of nostalgia that we present this list of “classic” adult films worth revisiting. Call it a history lesson if you must, since many of these films still impact popular culture 40 years after their release. Just be sure to get off our lawn afterward.

1. Behind the Green Door

Perhaps the first “psychedelic porn” movie, 1972’s Behind the Green Door was the first feature-length adult film from the infamous Mitchell Brothers, and helped to usher in the “Golden Age” of porn (along with Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones, which we’ll get to). In it are scenes involving a trapeze, stylized, slow-motion money shots that last several minutes, interracial sex, and a public orgy. Marilyn Chambers stars as Gloria, a wealthy San Francisco woman who is abducted and “loved as she has never been loved before.” The movie purportedly grossed $25 million, and launched Chambers’ career to stardom, which is fairly amazing because she doesn’t have a single line of dialogue. In 1973, Behind the Green Doorwas chosen as an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. So, you know, keep at it, artsy XTubers. Someday you too may bone your way to international film acclaim.

Safe for work clip.

2. Debbie Does Dallas

One of the best-known adult films of all time, Debbie Does Dallasis a misnomer, since she never actually does anyone in Dallas (or anyone named Dallas), nor does she even set foot in Dallas. Debbie is trying to raise funds to get to Dallas, however, so she can try out for the “Texas Cowboys” cheerleading squad. Curiously enough, Bambi Woods, the film’s star, did actually try out to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, but she didn’t make the cut. Good thing she had other ambitions. Long story short, Debbie and her cheerleader pals end up screwing pretty much every dude they come across in order to help Debbie reach her goals. Feminism!

The 1978 film was a big commercial success, and it spawned a legion of sequels, spinoffs and parodies, including Debbie Does Dallas AgainDebbie Does Wall StreetDebbie Duz Dishes, and even an off-Broadway musical in 2002, proving yet again that if there’s one thing Debbie does well, it’s get around.

Safe for work trailer.

3. Mona the Virgin Nymph

The first hardcore film to be “known by name and promoted nationwide,” Mona the Virgin Nymph was the 1970 brainchild of Bill Osco. Mona is important because it’s considered to be the first adult film with a plot to screen in American theaters. Its coherent narrative structure and “psychological motivation” (Mona wants to remain a “penis-in-vagina” virgin until she’s married) made it unique. Plus, it had all the sex, obviously. Mona’s (Fifi Watson) forays into oral sex, lesbianism and S&M earned Osco $2 million and helped launch the porn industry we know today (for better or worse). One could say that Mona launched the money shot heard ‘round the world.

No safe-for-work clip, but there are plenty of NSFW ones should you desire to go that route.

4. Deep Throat

Probably the best-known of classic porn films, Deep Throat involves the (dare we say sweet?) story of a sexually frustrated woman’s bizarre medical condition: Her clit is in her throat! Her doctor, thankfully, thinks he has the perfect cure for her, and she happily performs oral sex on both the doc and a number of other men. The film even ends with a farewell: "The End. And Deep Throat to you all," which is a pretty great send-off actually, since when does current mainstream porn ever pretend to care about our sexual fulfillment? Way to get deep, Deep Throat.

Deep Throat was hailed by many as the start of “pornographic chic,” or the “first stag film you could see with a date” as Roger Ebert put it. Helping to launch Deep Throat into pop culture stardom even further was Howard Simons of the Washington Post, who chose it as the code name for an informant during Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

Safe for work clip.

5. The Devil in Miss Jones

After the success of Deep Throat, director Gerard Damiano went on to make The Devil in Miss Jones, a rather serious and avant-garde adult film that starts with, of all things, a suicide. Georgina Spelvin plays a lonely, bored spinster who offs herself to end her miserable life, finds herself in limbo, fucks her way through limbo, becomes a sex addict (sorry, “the embodiment of lust”), and ultimately winds up in the worst kind of Hell—with a man who has zero sexual interest in her (or anything). And you thought porn had no other ending aside from the money shot!

Devil, like Behind the Green Door and Deep Throat, reached mass audiences and the plot was even artistically compared to Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. As a review in Variety put it: "WithThe Devil in Miss Jones, the hardcore porno feature approaches an art form, one that critics may have a tough time ignoring in the future.”

By Anna Pulley

@annapulley writes about sex and social media for SF Weekly, AlterNet, After Ellen and the Chicago Tribune. She's also attempting to lead a haiku revival on her blog, Let her send you overly personal emails:

MORE FROM Anna Pulley

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Adult Films Alternet Behind The Green Door Classics Debbie Does Dallas Deep Throat Porn