IMDb Polls

Poll: Top 10 Voyeuristic Movies

This list might feel subjective but allow me to believe that these are the all-time Top 10 best movies to depict voyeurism in a way that not only respect the viewers' intelligence but also does more than tickle their own voyeuristic impulses, as explained by the descriptive texts.

So, which of these 10 movies has the most voyeuristic feel?

After voting, you might discuss the list here

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Rear Window (1954)

    The film doesn't question whether spying on the neighbors is defendable, Hitch is stating the obvious: if we were in Jeffries' situation, we would watch. Besides, as sitting viewers, aren't we living metaphors of Jeffries' condition? The movie tackles and tickles this aspect of voyeurism, mirrored by the French saying 'when I see myself, I feel bad, when I see the others, I feel better'. Like Jeffries, we're even more voyeurs because it allows us to ignore our own flaws and responsibilities, a defensive mechanism brilliantly illustrated by the two female characters who indirectly highlight Jeffries' weaknesses and loopholes... which we would notice... if we weren't so busy watching what he watches.
  2. Vote!

    Peeping Tom (1960)

    Once again, the camera becomes a (rear?) window to a person, providing us an access we all long for in reality, whether from the keyhole or behind sunglasses. Indeed, once something is hidden from our eyes, the challenge is to catch it, and when hidden rhymes with forbidden, the excitement is doubled. Cinema proves again to be the perfect medium for an ego-flattering voyeurism. Watching people elevates us, we forget about our troubles, we become the master eye, the Big Brother. We can't change the story, that's the limit, but we're powerful as we know that (at least) nothing will happen to us, that's the edge we share with Mark Lewis.
  3. Vote!

    The Lives of Others (2006)

    What makes the story so particular is that the two persons involved in that observer-observed relationship couldn't have been more opposite. Dreyman represents conflicts, torments, life in fact... while Wiesler is alone with his whole existence totally dedicated to his job, but by following the daily life of Dreyman, a juxtaposition of feelings occurs, building up until till he starts to discover a strange sensation they call "empathy". The film is a fascinating character-study in the sense that it reflects a sort of mirror-effect of voyeurism, in a salutary way as it takes a man the act of 'studying' people to learn the most precious lesson about himself, studying the "lives of others" can be YOUR life-chanding experience.
  4. Vote!

    Blue Velvet (1986)

    The film is one of the greatest mysteries, but less for the thrilling answers than the thought-provoking questions it raises: why are we attracted by danger? by vice? for necessity? or pleasure? Maybe that's what this ear found on the ground is about: people screaming every day but never being heard, the film invites you to look and hear closer, as fear doesn't avoid danger, and the best way to overcome it is to challenge it... the two worlds being so close they might represent the own duplicity of our souls, closets full of secrets and fantasies. Watching the debauchery of others allows you to know where you stand, but isn't being passive observers already like taking part to the game?
  5. Vote!

    Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

    Sex is never the easiest subject to handle but once it's done, it becomes the key to open the Pandora box. The film doesn't explore the theme of infidelity rather than the way 'sex' is used as a mean to convey or conceal the sources of your own insecurities, it doesn't reduce people to sexual attitudes as much as it expands the value of sex as an existential catalysis. Indeed, the most powerful character is ironically the impotent man as his seemingly powerlessness allowed him to record sexual confessions of women on videotapes, which gives ironically more power over his subjects. Once again the line between passivity and activity is so thin you can't see it.
  6. Vote!

    The Conversation (1974)

    The narrative of the film obeys the same rules than Caul's profession by trying to solve a mystery on the single basis of the 'seen' and the 'heard', with that at hands, speculation can hardly pass as deduction. But Caul is a man of action, action guided by a job which is to observe, not to deduce, he never questions why and for whom he works, he's just an intermediary enabling to discover a hidden fact, its usefulness is beside the point... to a certain limit. Indeed, actions can be driven by a job but also a conscience, especially when you discover a secret of macabre implications. A job might force you to observe and stay still, conscience to stand up and act.
  7. Vote!

    Blow-Up (1966)

    Reality can be tricky, the more you try to enlarge a vision of the truth or to dig deeper into it, the more confusing it gets. It is just like impressionist painting, get your eyes closer and you will only see little colored dots. Maybe voyeurism is overrated and the essential lies in the big picture, or maybe the protagonist's profession echoes his own generation. Being a photographer means you can explore all the different layers of societies and capture their seemingly essence in one shot, being an observer but still active, or sort of... as if nothing could be done if it didn't start with observing or penetrating the intimacy of people, to have a disturbing vision of the present to better shape the future... or maybe it's just an illusion and all the youth is doing is flying forward, aimlessly.
  8. Vote!

    Psycho (1960)

    The film takes us to Marion Crane's apartment where we she lies in bed with her lover, they probably just had sex yet this is no voyeurism, but a necessary moment allowing us to understand her motives for stealing the money. Hitchcock's intimate directing creates an incredible feeling of empathy and mutuality, making us as stressed and paranoid as Marion when she sees her boss or meets the cop, it's such an exhausting experience that Norman Bates feels like a good relief... until he reveals himself to be THE real voyeur, which shocks us because we used to be so close to Marion that we also feel somewhat invaded, there's something extremely disturbing about it... and it won't get any better.
  9. Vote!

    American Beauty (1999)

    Ricky is more than a creepy Peeping Tom, he's literally the 'eye' of the film, he keeps on spying on the neighbors and slowly develops a strange ability to see inner beauty in Jane, dead birds or plastic bags. His eye is one of fascination, as he says "so much beauty in this world" he can't take it. Oddly enough, his special eye catalyzes Lester's (r)evolution until it's brutally cut by the one person who could only see "ugliness' and "revulsion" ... the film's bittersweet ending invites us to question its own tag-line "look closer", is this an antidote to the illusionary aspect of things or a remedy for existential pessimism ... so how close should we look to see the beautiful but not too close to pinpoint the ugly bits? or is the other way round?
  10. Vote!

    The Truman Show (1998)

    The appeal of reality shows is a moral issue, especially with that confusing collision between reality and fiction, confusing in the sense that the depiction of suffering and frustration, instead of generating from the audience positive psychological reactions such as compassion and solidarity, will rather inspire a voyeuristic sadism mixed with circumstantial empathy, diluted in the selfish desire to be entertained. With voyeurism as the convenient weapon, "The Truman Show", denounces the fictionalization of reality through a fiction,that makes today's reality look like an even less believable fiction.

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