With the exception of pornography (which I don't think makes it to the "silver screen"), which movie first made use of nudity?

I realize that the term "nudity" is much different now than it was back then. Wearing a skirt that was thigh high was considered nudity as an example.

What I mean by nudity is a complete shot of an unclothed & exposed area of a male or female body parts.

4 Answers 4


Wikipedia lists Inspiration (1915) as the first film with non-pornographic nudity.

For films that were intended to be erotic or pornographic, you have to go at least back to 1896 for Le Coucher de la Mariée (or Bedtime for the Bride or The Bridegroom's Dilemma), where cabaret performer recreated her striptease act during a bath scene. The short film was released in the US in 1903.

There is more information in this Wikipedia article on nudity in film.

  • 1
    I have an advertising herald from INSPIRATION (1915) from INSPIRATION (1915) at silentfilmstillarchive.com/inspiration.htm . Munson also appeared nude in PURITY (1916). which is not a lost film. A DAUGHTER OF THE GODS (1916) also featured swimmer Annette Kellerman in the buff. Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 22:35

I'm not sure that this is the first full nudity in a Hollywood movie, but Jane is completely naked in this scene from "Tarzan and His Mate" from 1934.

  • +1 that qualifies an answer because your can see her rear end is fully exposed. That's a lot earlier than I thought it would be. Commented May 27, 2014 at 22:46
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    Also the way he throws her in while simultaneously taking her dress of its as pimp as it gets Commented May 27, 2014 at 22:48
  • I would never have guessed. Commented May 28, 2014 at 1:55

If you count the zoopraxiscope as 'silver screen' then this pushes the date back to at least 1883, with Eadweard Muybridge's studies for the University of Pennsylvania. These included Boys playing Leapfrog and Woman Walking Down Stairs. Of course (as you can tell from the names) these are hardly feature films, just several seconds of captured motion.

  • I think for "just several seconds", that would likely fall into the category of pornography. Second, do you have any sources to back up that any nudity was used in "Zoopraxiscope footage"?
    – IQAndreas
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 2:33
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    @IQAndreas: The shorts are not pornographic, they're part of a study on human (and animal) motion, following up on Muybridge's success capturing a racehorse running.
    – Charles
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 2:57
  • Ah, I see. The titles of the moving pictures were so innocuous I thought you just gave random examples of Zoopraxiscope "shorts" (and meant that there were nude clips for this device out there); it was not after Googling them that I realized those you mentioned were in fact nude.
    – IQAndreas
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 3:04
  • @IQAndreas: Sorry if I wasn't clear. Yes, both of these (and dozens of others) were nudes. I don't know that I'd count this as film, but it seems worth a mention in any case. Call it the prehistory of film if you will.
    – Charles
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 3:08
  • @DustinDavis: A lot of early movies were made in other countries; given the different social standards in different places, I would not particularly expect celluloid nudity to have appeared int the U.S. prior to appearing elsewhere.
    – supercat
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 16:54

In Tarzen and his Mate in 1934 there was a swimming scene in which Jane was fully nude. It was not Maureen O'Sullivan who did the nude scene but an Olympic swimmer named Josephine McKim who swam in the same Olympics as Johnny Weissmuller did the nude scene. She was not only a beautiful woman but a superb swimmer as well having won 3 medals in the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. Maureen would not appear fully nude and the scene involved a lot of underwater swimming.

  • 3
    Hello and welcome! Is this actually intended to be a comment in response to another answer? Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 2:43
  • Did you not see @BrettFromLA answer? Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 1:20

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