The Most Gratuitous Scenes In Sci-Fi

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Recently screenwriter Damon Lindelof has admitted that Alice Eve’s underwear shot in Star Trek Into Darkness is “gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress”, while JJ Abrams said "I don't think I quite edited the scene in the right way" (and, as some sort of recompense, offered up a cut scene of Benedict Cumberbatch in the shower). Alas, this is hardly the only, or the most egregious, case of gratuitous nudity or scanty costuming in science fiction. We – gratuitously – gather together a few more examples to highlight the issue…


Who’s undressing? Jane Fonda

Possible justification:** **She’s just a free spirit and anyway, in the year 40,000AD they’re not so puritanical about clothing.

But seriously...** **This is more about the swinging 60s than the far future, and most of all about director Roger Vadim showing his wife's considerable charms.


Who’s undressing?** **Sean Connery

Possible justification: On a brutal post-apocalyptic Earth, there isn’t always a toilet handy, so your own personal nappy makes sense.

But seriously...** *The moustache? The knee-high boots? The braided hair? Even aside from the loincloth, how can this ever *have seemed like a good look? The thing about women is we generally prefer to look at Sean Connery in a suit than in a loincloth and bandoleros. Were they trying to make Sean Connery seem unattractive?

Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi

Who’s undressing? Carrie Fisher

Possible justification: She’s been taken prisoner by Jabba the Hutt and made a slave girl – so she hasn’t had any choice in her outfits. And everyone knows that giant slugs like their slave girls scantily clad (ew).

But seriously...** **The bikini that launched a million fanboys into adolescence doesn’t serve any real purpose except titillation.

Who’s undressing? Practically everyone

Possible justification:** *They’re just chatting in the shower! Our general rule for this feature has been that shower scenes are not necessarily* gratuitous. And anyway, in the future they’re not so puritanical about private bathing.

But seriously...** **At least the nakedness here is fairly even-handed, gender-wise, but it does last an awfully long time so you have to question how necessary it really is that they all be naked. But the director’s Paul Verhoeven, so it was probably inevitable.


Who’s undressing? Natasha Henstridge, mostly

*Possible justification:* She’s an alien who’s just here to have sex and get knocked up. Clothes literally get in the way of her aim in life.

But seriously... They just wanted a naked supermodel in their monster movie.

Deep Blue Sea

Who’s undressing?** **Saffron Burrows

Possible justification:** **She’s about to electrocute all the water roundabout to kill a giant intelligent shark who’s hunting her, and needs to take off her wetsuit and stand on it as a circuit breaker.

But seriously...** **They just wanted a naked gorgeous starlet in their monster-shark movie.


Who’s undressing? Sigourney Weaver

Possible justification: She strips down to go into stasis on the ship’s shuttle as she escapes the Nostromo.

But seriously...** **Why do characters even go semi-naked into stasis anyway? Wouldn’t some sort of cosy pyjama make more sense?


Who’s undressing? Chiefly Mathilda May’s alien.

Possible justification
She’s a space vampire! Her nudity lures her victims in close so she can extract their lifeforce and use it.

But seriously...
Earth vampires don’t need to be naked all the time; Dracula wears that big cape. Why are these alien types so nudey?

Who’s undressing? Lycia Naff

Possible justification: She’s a hooker! She may even have a heart of gold, but it’s hidden under her 3 boobs (which are displayed for important thematic reasons, to demonstrate the common mutations on Mars).

But seriously...** **She is mainly there so Paul Verhoeven (him again) could get a three-breasted hooker into his movie.

Iron Man 3

Who’s undressing? Gwyneth Paltrow

Possible justification: She has to strip down some so that she can be injected with the potentially-deadly Extremis potion. Why, if she were wearing a shirt she might have to roll up the sleeve, and we can’t have that!

But seriously...** **If they can make a sports bra and leggings that can withstand Extremis heat, surely they could have sprung for a T-shirt.

Planet Of The Apes

Who’s undressing? Charlton Heston

Possible justification:** **He’s swimming! And later, he’s on trial and the hostile ape guards want to make him feel as vulnerable as possible.

But seriously...** **Everyone else manages to go swimming and on trial without flashing their arse.

Resident Evil

Who’s undressing?** **Milla Jovovich, mostly

Possible justification:** **Well, there’s some medical experimentation, and some cloning, and some dream sequences, and we forget the rest.

But seriously...** **They just wanted a naked supermodel in their game adaptation.

The Fifth Element

Who’s undressing? Milla Jovovich, again

Possible justification:** **She’s just been regenerated from a charred hand. Oh, and later she shows that supreme beings are not so puritanical about clothing.

But seriously...** **They just wanted a naked supermodel in their wacky sci-fi epic.

Logan's Run

Who’s undressing?** **Jenny Agutter

Possible justification:** **In the future, clothing doesn’t have sides because everyone is young and none of them have wobbly bits.

But seriously...** **Sides are useful! Everyone likes 360-degree clothing.


Who’s undressing?** **Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Robert Patrick, Kristianna Loken

Possible justification:** **You can’t bring clothes through time; only stuff covered by human skin can make the journey.

But seriously...** **How would that happen? And why? What quantum-physical property is responsible? And also, what about the liquid metal dudes – they’ve got skin over that? Seems suspect.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Who’s undressing? Alice Eve

Possible justification:** **She’s about to change into a space suit, we guess, so just goes ahead and strips in the middle of a conversation with a guy she's barely met. As you do.

But seriously... While Lindelof and Abrams both pointed to the topless Chris Pine shots as some sort of balance against this one, those came while he was in bed with two cat women, so were a bit more understandable in context. There is literally no reason for Eve's Carol Marcus to strip here, except to put this shot in the trailer.*