Garrison Keillor once said: ‘A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table – there’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about it.’ And how right he was. The pages of silver screen history are filled with iconic swimsuit scenes, but some have managed to etch themselves on our memory better than others. There may be car chases, erotic liaisons, explosions and bitter betrayals… but for sheer glamor and iconic image-making, we’ll take the 20th century’s most dazzling actresses wrapped in perfect bikinis any day…
10. Elizabeth Taylor – Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
The art of bikini movie scenes is really an exact science, requiring a subtle balance of refined chic and raw sex appeal. 1959’s Suddenly, Last Summer may have been on the more melodramatic end of the spectrum, but Taylor’s playfully timelessly poses will forever be engraved on the minds of bikini connoisseurs the world over.
9. Halle Berry – Die Another Day (2002)
In a nod to perhaps the most iconic swimsuit scene of all – Ursula Andress’ shimmering emergence in Dr No – Halle Berry surfaces wrapped in a perfect, curve-hugging number, complete with Ursula-like belt and knife. This time, however, the bikini is updated to a red-hot, blazing orange – more man-eating tiger than ocean sprite. You know a scene is iconic when it more or less carries the whole film…
8. Ursula Andress – Dr No (1962)
When we consider movie bikinis, Ursula Andress and Dr No jump to the front of our minds. What is there that hasn’t already been said? Rising from the water in that quintessentially feminine white two-piece, voraciously set-off by a simple belt, knife and sea shells… And when she begins to speak in her cutesy Swiss-English (sadly not actually her voice), we were all hooked. Bikini iconography at its most urbane and haunting.
7. Cameron Diaz – Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
Once again showing the timeless appeal of the simple white two-piece, Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is as close to a dreamlike vision of bikini heaven as any. In this scene she jogs across the beach, surfboard in arm, echoing another bikini-clad beach beauty, ‘Baywatch’ babe Pamela Anderson. And don’t forget Demi Moore in this one either…
6. Raquel Welch – One Million Years BC (1966)
Raquel Welch is synonymous with movie bikinis, and interestingly, her progression to fame appears inversely proportional to her shrinking bikini. The first Welch bikini to achieve international notoriety – and coincidentally our favorite – was the ‘cave girl’ chamois leather halter and loincloth worn throughout the 1966 film, One Million Years BC Although it’s not quite as revealing as later models, something about the collision of primitive sex appeal and windswept femininity is irresistible.
5. Jessica Alba – Into the Blue (2005)
Proving the point that modern bikini scenes can be just as iconic as vintage ones, Jessica Alba once again, more or less, carried 2005’s Into the Blue with her glorious swimsuit poses. Her simple, sporty blue two-piece reveals just enough to set the imagination racing, yet strangely Jessica herself has claimed she has never been comfortable in bikinis. Who would have guessed?
4. Brigitte Bardot – And God Created Woman (1956)
The bikini that started it all, so to speak. Before Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman any girl with ‘tact and decency’ would think twice before cavorting in such skimpy attire, but as the delectable Bardot burst onto our screens a whole generation were turned on to the sultry charms of what is today a mainstay of women’s fashion. And so much the better for it.
3. Nicollette Sheridan – The Sure Thing (1985)
Before she was a desperate housewife, Nicolette Sheridan was a ‘sure thing’ clad in a skimpy, low cut, white two-piece and tempting Walter ‘Gib’ Gibson (John Cusack). This 1985 comedy saw Gibson cross the country in search of erotic liaisons, but the standout for us was undoubtedly Sheridan sporting her quintessentially ’80s bikini and striking devilishly tempting poses.
2. Pamela Anderson – Baywatch (1992)
Strictly speaking ‘Baywatch’ wasn’t a movie, but how could we leave Pamela off the list in what might just be the most famous bikini in history? ‘Baywatch’ propelled Pamela, and her alter ego CJ Parker, to become one of the 20th centuries’ most coveted sex symbols – and you can see why. That tight, figure hugging one-piece in glowing red perfectly framed her tousled blonde mane and ample assets. Pamela has even admitted to donning the famous bikini in more recent times: ‘I put it on once in a while, jump in the shower and rescue my boyfriend. I have had had quite some moments in that suit.’ Luck, lucky man.
1. Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
When you think of iconic movie bikini scenes, a Kazakh man, overflowing and unkempt chest hair, and a bikini so skimpy you could use it to floss your teeth, don’t leap to mind. Yet Borat’s ‘mankini’ has gone down a storm with college students the world over and is now guaranteed to make an appearance at every campus party this side of Astana. And why not? Going by the picture above, it seems to be quite the lady magnet. Verry niize! I like!