Back in the day, before we had YouTube clips and screengrabs of our favorite film scenes always just a click away, whenever we wanted to get a closer look at a particularly spicy scene from a movie, we had to lift up our remotes and pause the video at the precise moment in question. If we paused a little too late, we’d had to tap that rewind button, back up, and try again.
This task was particularly patience-testing when it involved a VHS tape. Fortunately, by the time DVDs and streaming services came along, it became much easier to land on the exact frame we were looking for.
If you grew up as a Baby Boomer, Gen-Xer, or Millennial, chances are you knew you’re way around the remote – especially when it came to catching a glimpse of one of your favorite actresses in a bikini.
From Ursula Andress in Dr. No to Bo Derek in 10, some of the most iconic movie scenes involved a buxom young starlet rocking a swimsuit. In this video, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most paused swimsuit moments in movie history.
Brigitte Bardot – The Girl In The Bikini
This one kind of speaks for itself. After all the film’s title pretty much told you everything you needed to know about it’s content. In this 1952 classic, Bardot was clearly in peak form. Do you think she knew that the movie would become one of the most-paused films in history when she appeared in it wearing that little strapless number?
Elizabeth Taylor – Suddenly, Last Summer
As the character Catherine Holly, in this 1959 film, Taylor is asked by her cousin to wear a sizzling hot one-piece to help attract prospective love interests. Obviously, that plan ended up being successful.
Ursula Andress – Dr No
Andress, as everyone knows, was the OG Bond Girl. In this 1962 007 classic, she’s seen wearing a white bikini. At the time of the film’s release, the sexual revolution was just beginning to get under way. No doubt, with the help of her beachwear, she played a pivotal role in it.
Raquel Welch – One Million Years BC
Less of a bikini and more like artfully draped pieces of animal skinstrategically covering up her naughty bits, Raquel Welch stole the show with her wardrobe in this cult classic.
Bo Derek – 10
The title of this 1979 film is quite apt because Bo Derek undoubtedly was a perfect ten. In our opinion, nude bikinis deserve to come back into style as soon as possible. The world would be a better place.
Brooke Shields – Blue Lagoon
Shields could be seen wearing a makeshift bikini in practically every scene of this scandalous 1980 film. If you watch the trailer today, it almost seems like you’re watching a nature documentary.
Phoebe Cates – Fast Times At Ridgemont High
After Fast Times At Ridgemont High hit theaters, high school boys worldwide suddenly had a new favorite celebrity crush. Phoebe Cates is the reason why millions of thirsty viewers have broken their remote’s pause buttons in the years that have gone by since this 1980 film was given a home video release.
Carrie Fisher – Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
Reportedly Fisher hated wearing this famous bikini. In fact, she was once quoted as saying that being able to kill that giant sand creature at the end of her scenes on Tatooine was the ultimate revenge. While she might not have enjoyed having to wear it in the beading hot desert sun, Fisher’s costume will forever live on at comic cons around the globe.
Pamela Anderson – Baywatch
We couldn’t make this video without giving a shootout to the bikini queen herself, Pamela Anderson. To this day, the high-thigh one-piece that she wore in Baywatch is still just as popular as ever – especially since the dawn of the Instagram age.
Denise Richards – Wild Things
The subject material of this 1989 film is admittedly quite dark. Two teens end up accusing one of their teachers of sexual assault after he starts sleeping with one of their mothers. While that plot is fairly heavy, nothing in the film made as big a splash as Denise Richards’ one piece.
Halle Beery – Die Another Day
Don’t act surprised that another Bond film made this list. And spoiler alert: it won’t be the last. Everyone knows that every 007 flick featured at least one swimsuit scene, and honestly, we think Berry gave Ursula Andress a run for her money when she recreated her famous beach scene wearing a very similar bikini.
Angelina Jolie – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
It’s crazy to think that this video game-inspired movie was made more than two decades ago. While the film itself was only mediocre, it’s arguably Jolie’s now-famous jet ski scene that made it a box-office smash.
Marilyn Monroe – How To Marry A Millionaire
Jean Negulesco’s 1953 comedy had a lot going for it. Many of the films featured in this video are of little interest to anyone outside of the swimwear that they featured, but this one was in a league of it’s own.
Marilyn Monroe donned a red form-fitting one-piece swimsuit that featured a plunging bustline. And like always, she looked dazzling in it.
Deborah Kerr – From Here To Eternity
In this 1953 romantic drama war film directed by Fred Zinneman, Deborah Kerr is seen wearing a halter-top swimsuit featuring a cinch at the waste. She shared the screen with Burt Lancaster, who rocked a square-cut pair of trunks.
Jane Russell – The French Line
In 1953s The French Line, Jane Russell portrays an oil baroness who ends up going incognito to find a lover who appreciates her for herself rather than her wealth. At least in this case, incognito meant cut-outs and spangles!
Trina Parks – Diamonds are Forever
Well, wouldn’t you know, another Bond girl is making an appearance in this video. Go figure!
Parks, as the athletic guard Thumper, wore a dramatic bright yellow while facing off with Sean Connery. She rounded her look off with arm and neckbands, a string cinching her waist, and elegant hoop earrings.
Pam Grier – Coffy
In this 1975 Blaxploitation flick, Pam Grier wore a dramatic white halter-top bikini featuring teardrop cups. To complete her ensemble, she, of course, also wore a pair of those oversized 1970s sunglasses.
Daryl Hannah – Splash
This one might be a bit controversial, because really if you think about it, in this lighthearted 1984 fantasy film Hannah wasn’t actually wearing a swimsuit in the technical sense. Instead, she sported a fishtail and scales while playing a mermaid.
Lacking a proper top, Hannah’s only covering upstairs was her long blonde hair. For obvious reasons, Disney felt the need to censor a few scenes when Splash received a release on the mouse house’s streaming service Disney+.
Annette Funicello – Beach Blanket Bingo
While the high-waisted bikini is now seeing quite a comeback, Annette Funicello was one of the first to popularize it. Rumor has it, she sported hers due to a stipulation in her contract with Disney that forbid her from wearing anything too provocative.
Demi Moore – Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Moore was already 40 when she donned this itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny black bikini in the second Charlie’s Angels film. She made quite a statement to all of her naysayers who insisted that she was past her prime. If anything, that was her prime! In fact, she proved that she could hang with all those young bombshell actresses she shared the screen with who were ten years her junior.
Jessica Simpson – The Dukes Of Hazzard
Back in 2005, when this movie hit theaters, Jessica Simpson was on top of the world. At the time, Simpson was only known to the general public as a pop singer, but after showing off her acting chops, not to mention her stunning figure, she suddenly started appearing on the covers of every top entertainment magazine.
While Simpson knew her way around a pair of Daisy Dukes, her most memorable costume in the film was that hot pink bikini she was hiding underneath her trench coat.
Jill St. John – Diamonds Are Forever
Okay, so we already discussed this Bond film a minute ago, but it deserves another mention – especially considering how jaw-droppingly gorgeous actress Jill St. John looked while playing Bond Girl Tiffany Case.
It’s been said that most of the roles that St. John was cast in required her to wear a swimsuit, and after just one glance at how she looked in Diamonds Are Forever, you’ll understand why.
She ended up spending at least 75% of the film wearing her black and white bikini, searing this image into our minds for eternity.
Kate Bosworth – Blue Crush
When she played surfer girl Anne Marie in this 2002 movie, Kate Bosworth was fairly unknown. Since then she has gone on to appear in films such as Beyond the Sea, Superman Returns, 21, and Still Alice – and most recently she starred in the Netflix sci-fi miniseries The I-Land.
Looking back at her appearance in Blue Crush, it makes sense that that role catapulted her into mainstream popularity. After all, she looked fierce as all get out hanging ten out on the waves.
Nicolette Sheridan – The Sure Thing
This 1980s Rob Reiner comedy featured stellar performances by Daphne Zuniga, John Cusack, Viveca Lindfors, and the ever-lovely Nicolette Sheridan. Of course, the real screen-stealer was Sheridan’s bleach-white bikini.
Well, there you have it. We hope you enjoyed our little stroll down memory lane looking at some of the most iconic – and most paused – swimsuit scenes in film history. Before we sign off, we’d like to go ahead and hand the mic over to you.
Which Hollywood swimsuit scene do you think was the most memorable, and can you think of any other notable examples of pause-worthy swimsuit scenes in any of your favorite films? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching.