15 unexpected summer movie hits
Plus: 'Bring it On,' 'The Karate Kid,' 'Babe' and more
Release Date: June 12, 1972
Box Office: $45 million (not adjusted for inflation), though figures vary WILDLY.
Why: In 1972, one of the year's 10 highest grossing films was an X-rated drama about a woman (Linda Lovelace) who can only achieve orgasm while performing oral sex. Stop and think about that. The box office part, not the oral sex part. "Deep Throat" wasn't some European art house movie that got stigmatized with an X rating because American censors weren't prepared for breasts or a glimpse of pubic hair. It didn't come from a French or Italian auteur and it wasn't championed by Pauline Kael. It was a straight-up trenchcoat-and-sticky-floor porno that somehow launched a wave of what was dubbed "porno chic." As a phenomenon, the blockbuster status of "Deep Throat" is so difficult to fathom and so impossible to imagine being repeated that it makes the current interest in "50 Shades of Grey" look quaint, chaste and puritanical.
- Dan Fienberg