Vivian Ward, Pretty Woman (1990)
Who knew selling your body for sex was so much fun? Garry Marshall’s 1990 smash must be the most dubious romcom of all time, with Julia Roberts zipping up thigh-high boots to woo Richard Gere’s suit-inneed-of-a-soul.
Before Julia made hooking happy, Jennifer Jason Leigh delivered a tour de force performance as Tralala, a worn-down and beaten-up tramp in Uli Edel’s adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr’s bleak book.
Another entry in the “Isn’t prostitution a lark?” sub-genre, with Tom Cruise’s teenage entrepreneur hooking up with Rebecca De Mornay’s prossie to turn a fast buck.
Funny and iconic and not entirely idiotic: amid the jaunts and sex flaunts is a perceptive satire of the American Dream. And the Cruiser-in-shades bit is ace.
Iris Steensmain, Taxi Driver (1976)
Probably the most uncomfortable display of prostitution in mainstream US cinema, with Jodie Foster providing a fragile, frightening depiction of pubescent pain…
Another piece of Scorsese skirt, this time with Sharon Stone delivering the turn of her life as a good time gal who trades love for convenience by marrying Robert De Niro’s smart but deluded Las Vegas gambling boss - while still pining for her no-good lover (James Woods).
A raw, soul-baring performance, which Stone will never equal.
Severine Serizy, Belle De Jour (1967)
OK, it’s hardly Hollywood, but Luis Buñuel’s Belle De Jour remains one of the most intriguing screen depictions of sexuality, as Catherine Deneuve’s frigid housewife is immersed in her fantasies and then spends empty afternoons as a high-class call girl to work through her issues.
Another Oscar-winning streetwalker, with Mira Sorvino adopting an in-yourface persona and push-up bra to play the birth mother of Woody Allen’s adopted child.
A peculiar picture given Allen’s personal life, but Sorvino’s initially grating turn is eventually ingratiating - infusing genuine emotion into the hooker-with-aheart-