Viggo Mortensen at the 2008 Chicago Film Festival.

In the 1980 film “American Gigolo,” Richard Gere boldly went where no male actor had dared go before: full monty on film. As Julian Kaye, Richard had a scene standing next to a window in a bedroom (with co-star Lauren Hutton) that started a trend that shows no signs of  abating. It was an important moment in cinema: a break-through,  baring one’s all for one’s art.
Here are 10 examples of Full Frontal since Richard let it all hang out (pun intended).  It does not include those that are closer to porno, like the shower scene in 1980’s “Can’t Stop the Music” with Valerie Perrine (The Village People sang “Y.M.C.A.” in that one, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the film’s quality) and it doesn’t include the edited sequence(s) in “Fast Times at Ridgewood High” or the really obscure Dutch film “The 4th Man” (Paul Verhoeven). The list also excludes “All the Right Moves” (1983) with Tom Cruise and Lea Thompson, where the camera lingered lovingly over the near-naked pair and panned downward.

And, since I’ve mentioned Tom Cruise, it doesn’t include FEMALE full frontal nudity, which has been done  to death for years. If it did, I’d be citing “Risky Business” and the scene with Rebecca DeMornay removing her dress to reveal  she had nothing on underneath, because Tom was not the one showing skin on the silver screen that time. There was also the overly long “At Play in the Fields of the Lord,” with Tom Berenger wearing almost nothing and Darryl Hannah literally wearing nothing, but I’ve left it off the list, too, because that  film about missionaries bringing more than just religion to the poor oppressed natives of South and Central America had  Tom wearing almost nothing, but I think there was a loin cloth or some such involved in the scene where he is nearly starkers.

So, who/what are the few, the bold, the Full Monty Minions?

Here are 10 that you can check out at your leisure. In some cases, don’t blink or you’ll miss it/them. Number Ten represents full frontal male nudity, but not from the likes of  Tom Cruise or a Richard Gere (more’s the pity).

1)      Richard Gere, (1980), “American Gigolo” and  “Breathless” (1983)

2)      Harvey Keitel, “The Piano” and “Bad Lieutenant” (Harvey took it off so often that, for a while, people were saying that it wasn’t truly an indie film unless Harvey was nude in it. More’s the pity that the actor enjoying nudity so much wasn’t someone a lot more attractive; you almost had to shout “Put it on! Put it on!” from your seat in the audience.)

3)      Jason Segel, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

4)      Ewan McGregor: “The Pillow Book,” “Trainspotting,” “Velvet Goldmine,” “Young Adam” (And you thought Harvey Keitel was addicted to shedding his clothes at the drop of a plot point.)

5)      William H. Macy, “The Cooler.”

6)      Bruce Willis, “The Color of Night” (swimming pool scene)

7)      Kevin Bacon, “Wild Things”

8)      Jaye Davidson, “The Crying Game” (Is he a he or a she?)

9)      Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises” (One of the most horrifying fight sequences ever filmed.)

10)  Also, although hardly “star” turns, (which the list above is mainly involved with),

let’s not forget the fat guy in “Borat” (Ken Davitian), the phallic scene in “Boogie Nights” with Mark Wahlberg (no, it wasn’t all real), and the guy offering a beer in “Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story.”

So, there you have it: men who will bare their souls…and a lot more…for their art. Actors who have actively stripped to wearing nothing but a smile. Enjoy!