50 shades of actually good bondage scenes

(cw: kink, obviously.)

this is NOT a list of actually good bdsm content/relationships. that’s another list for another day (or maybe never considering how rare that is). it also does not necessarily follow that i find the situation/characters/etc in any scene on here hot, or endorse whatever is going on. it’s just the bondage itself that is visually or conceptually appealing.

suggestions welcome, but no guarantees they’ll make the cut since i’m limiting this list to 50 entries for thematic reasons.

1. planet of the apes (1968)

the entire movie is a dude in bondage peril. he (and all the other human characters) are caught in nets, kept in cages, led around on leashes and otherwise just treated like animals. so on top of the bondage you get the visceral experience of a human being treated like an animal, denied any rights. it helps that the apes themselves are hot, imo. at one point the protagonist tries to stand up for his rights in an ape court, and he’s forcibly gagged while the ape guard keeps him on his knees with his leash held tight.

this is a classic movie, and it has amazing bondage, so a pretty big win/win for me.

2. red nights

an erotic thriller that’s actually both erotic and thrilling!

the film opens with carrie ng’s character blindfolding a girl and leading her into her car, taking her back to her apartment where she has this ridiculously cool vacbed, and using it on her before murdering her. i would like roughly 90% of the things that happened in this movie to happen to me except for all the shooting/stabbing. or losing of teeth. or flaying. uh, here’s a catchall: none of the bleeding. cool? cool. the really cool vacbed or the being strangled with a belt while the strangler steps on my face, on the other hand…

seriously, though, carrie ng’s performance in this is so great that she immediately becomes a pantheon-level killer even though her entire gimmick is basically just “ruthless dom.”

3. the adventurer: the curse of the midas box

this movie is boring and pretty much put me to sleep but there’s a mid-credits scene with a sequel hook where a character is delivered to the villain by like the steampunk equivalent of ups, and she’s totally mummified and in a shipping crate and he opens it and taunts her and like, wtf, what is one of the hottest bondage scenes i’ve ever seen doing in the middle of the credits of one of the worst, most boring movies I’ve ever seen??? (also, i’ve always wanted to try being mummified, just saying. it looks super hot.)

the dialogue in this brief scene is pretty excellent, also. the villain taunts his mummified victim, “hush, now, my darling, there’s nothing to worry about. i know what you’re like, you’ll get yourself all excited. so i think it’s best if you just stay put.” all the while, she can only squirm helplessly and whimper into the mummification bandages gagging her. again, this film is awful, but this mid-credits scene almost makes it worth it, because it’s probably the best mummification scene I’ve ever seen.

there are also assorted other bondage scenes throughout the film, including the same character being ungagged and then regagged when she gets too mouthy, which is always one of my favorite tropes.

4. joy ride (2001)

this horror movie about a trucker stalking three roadtrippers is honestly pretty boring, but it has an incredible scene of one of the protagonists getting tied to a chair with seran wrap. plenty of great struggling and desperate, gagged protests. i really can’t recommend this scene highly enough for bondage fans. you won’t be disappointed.

5. batman forever

for such an awful film, batman forever sure did have a lot of great bondage. at one point chase meridian is handcuffed on a couch and menaced by the riddler, and the film’s climax sees her and robin bound and gagged in clear tubes. the totally-unnecessary tape gags they’re both sporting are extremely aesthetically pleasing, as are robin’s intense, expressive eyes.

6. playback (2012)

so, yeah. gross dude abducts girl and her boyfriend, giving us plenty of good shots in the process of her trussed up and gagged in his van, him duct taped to a chair, and her still bound and gagged in his basement. and, actually, there’s a pretty great scene of him kissing the duct tape over her lips and her loudly protesting into the gag, which honestly, consensual bondage scene goals. another one for the “bad movie, good bondage” pile.

7. house of 1000 corpses

this film was… strange. i can’t really think of a more appropriate descriptor for it. it’s just… strange. if i had to summarize it for you, i’m not really sure i could. i remember pretty much everything that happened in the film, but have absolutely no sense whatsoever of what it was about.

seriously. i don’t know.

lots of bondage, though. we get some cheerleaders cleave gagged and bound with chains, still in their uniforms. also two unlucky travelers, one of whom gets bound to a chair with a dunce cap (it even says “dunce” on it!), while the other is bound to a bed and manages to briefly escape, only to be tossed into a cage.

and then it gets weird. the surviving travelers–two girls and a boy–are dressed in bunny suits (no, really), tied together, and suspended from the ceiling to be taunted some more by the baddies. i’m still just honestly baffled by this film. anyway, the bunny-dressed victims are later marched in the dead of the night, gagged and with their wrists tied in front of them. one of them manages to briefly escape (only to meet a bad end), while the other is forced to get into a coffin with the male, at which point they’re lowered into a well.

this movie is just… yeah. i honestly have no idea. great bondage, though?

8. the texas chain saw massacre (1974)

so, let’s get this out of the way: i might be on an island here, but i really, really do not recommend this film. if you’re a fan of gratuitous gore, you might enjoy it, but i just found it really unrewarding. and in the end, it mostly comes down to, “look! the pretty girl has been kidnapped by the cannibal family! this is really uncomfortable! their house looks really gross and they have furniture made out of human body parts!” just really not my cup of tea.

on the other hand, there’s the kidnapping scene. sally is on the run from leatherface, thinking she’s escaped when she reaches the gas station. but instead of helping her, the gas station attendant helps himself to her. he beats her over the head with a broom until she’s subdued, binds her wrists behind her back, gags her with a filthy rag, and tosses a burlap sack over her before throwing her in his truck.

9. arachnid (2001)

so, this is a pretty notably awful film that even the director says to avoid, admitting that he just did it for the paycheck. sweet. on the other hand, its ending features one of the scenes that really jumpstarted my interest in bondage. it’s one of those scenes that doesn’t appear to “translate” very well onto stills, sadly. basically, a severely weakened heroine notices a giant spider has positioned itself over her and is wrapping her in its silk. her companions arrive just in the nick of time to save her, but the spider starts dragging her away. i don’t recommend the film, but i do recommend checking out that one scene, for those who are into that sort of thing.

10. scream 4

it’s not especially unusual for someone to end up bound & gagged with duct tape in this series, but having them be at the killer’s feet and having the killer have a super femdommy vibe is a new trick.

11. sleeping beauty (1959)

i can’t say it’s one of my favorite disney films, but maleficent is pretty easily one of the best villains of all time. and we get her and her minions kidnapping prince phillip to prevent him from breaking the curse on princess aurora. he is initially bound with ropes and gagged with an over-the-mouth gag, and later shackled in maleficent’s dungeon. honestly, i’m jealous. i wanna be bound and gagged for maleficent.

12. band of outsiders

the protagonist gets bound and gagged and one of the dudes explicitly says something like “you can tell us later” as she had been insisting she had to tell them something right up until being gagged, mmmph.

13. brick mansions

it’s just too bad all this otherwise awesome girl/girl tension was clearly there to satisfy male gaze, because holy fuck the main character’s girlfriend being led around on a chain leash by a girl with twice as much muscle mass as her would’ve been even more hot otherwise.

14. teenage mutant ninja turtles ii: the secret of the ooze

one of my favorite subplots is (perhaps unsurprisingly) raphael being ambushed by foot soldiers and then used as bait in one of the most obvious traps in the history of obvious traps. the excessive rope bondage and over-the-mouth gag he’s in definitely don’t hurt. 

meanwhile, the rest of the turtles show up to rescue him and end up being caught in… a net trap! i’ve always had a pretty big weakness for nets, and this scene just has a lot of yummy things going on. raph protests loudly through his gag, and shredder taunts him, “patience! first them… then you.”

after splinter frees the other turtles, raph grows frustrated at not being able to participate in the ensuing melee, visibly straining at his bonds and yelling incoherently into his gag. donatello comes over and rips the tape gag off his mouth, and–in one of my favorite sequences of the entire film (or any film, really)–when raph proves less than grateful due to the pain of having the tape ripped off, donny looks annoyed and re-gags him. Yummy.

15. annihilation (2018)

i feel like me and gina rodriguez’s character should hang out. why, you ask? no reason. just, she’s gay and her first solution to “shit is getting stressful” is to bind and tightly gag her teammates.

16. the lord of the rings: the return of the king

frodo is ambushed by the giant spider shelob. she sticks him with her venom, paralyzing the hapless hobbit, and wraps him up thoroughly in a web cocoon. although sam manages to drive shelob away, frodo’s ordeal is far from over, as the catatonic and web-mummified hobbit is carried away by a band of orcs. before they carry their prisoner off to the tower, the leader of the orcs gives us some charming insight about shelob: “she jabs them with her stinger and they go as limp as a boned fish. then she has her way with them.” mmm.

frodo awakens as a prisoner in the orcs’ tower. he’s still covered in some remnants of the spider’s web, his wrists are bound with coarse rope, and he’s shirtless. so, uh. tied up and half-naked in an orc stronghold. kinda how i’d love to spend a friday night.

17. urban legend (1998)

one of the kinkiest slashers ever, as several victims were strangled/gagged/tied up/etc.

18. planet of the apes (2001)

at what point did fox realize they were giving burton studio money to make a fetish film? was it when they read something like “while one ape forces the leashed human female to her knees, another forces the red hot branding iron against her skin” in the script, or were they in the dark until they saw dailies?

19. aladdin (1992)

the part where jafar’s guards grab and bind aladdin is one of the best scenes you’ll see of the entire process of someone being grabbed and bound. we also see abu nearby in a net while aladdin himself is bound with heavy duty cuffs and chains and his protests are stifled with an over-the-mouth gag. (yes, I know over-the-mouth gags don’t really do anything in real life, but they’re aesthetically pleasing.) i really especially like the moment where aladdin is almost completely subdued and jafar just slams his staff down on the ground just in front of his face, driving home the danger that he’s been captured by the villain. and then, of course, aladdin gets bonked on the head and thrown off a cliff and into the water, where he sinks to the bottom thanks to the weight chained to his ankles.

later, jafar’s genie-enhanced sorcery proves more than a match for princess jasmine and aladdin. he traps the princess in a deathtrap that’s familiar to anyone who’s seen particularly over-the-top comics or serials: the giant hourglass. when aladdin rushes to his love’s aid, the villain turns into a giant serpent and catches aladdin in his coils, crushing the life out of him slowly.

20. the world is not enough

elektra is a wonderfully dommy femme fatale, and late in the film she gets bond bound to a torture device that is supposed to break his neck when she turns a crank but also chokes him in the meantime. at one point she straddles him while he’s choking and struggling, and danggggg it’s hot.

21. cat people (1982)

the protagonist of this film learns that she’s descended from a family of werecats. in a nutshell, if she has sex she’ll turn into a panther, and can only regain her human form by killing someone. throughout the film, she is, naturally, rather reluctant to engage in carnal relations knowing what the consequences will be. her boyfriend, knowing full well what she will become, ties her arms and legs to the bed in a spread-eagle position, and proceeds to make love to her. it’s pretty understated compared to a lot of the sex scenes you’ll see in newer films, but the segments where he’s tying her wrists and ankles and the two are holding each other’s smoldering gazes are so incredibly charged they feel almost electric.

and, in the concluding scene, we see him feeding and petting a caged panther that’s highly implied to be her.

22. sinister

this is a pretty awesome horror film about a true crime writer who moves into a house where an unsolved murder occurred. it has a creepy and moody atmosphere without being terribly formulaic. the catalyst of the film’s plot is the writer’s discovery of a box full of old super 8 films titled as though they’re part of a family’s collection of home videos–“hanging out,” “pool party,” that kind of thing. the films start out matching their innocuous titles, but then quickly jump to the families in them being brutally murdered in a manner consistent with the films’ titles. these murders also include copious amounts of bondage. in the style of classic horror films, most of the bloodshed and/or burning/etc is implied–the camera cuts away strategically, that kind of thing. but i certainly don’t recommend the film for anyone with an extremely active imagination about these kinds of things, as the film does make it quite clear what’s happening even if it doesn’t show it. but if you can stomach it, it’s one of the best horror films i’ve ever seen.

23. pitch black

riddick is introduced as a notorious prisoner being transported in cryo-sleep. (although, according to the opening narration, he’s actually awake the entire time, unbeknownst to his captors.) even inside the chamber, his wrists and ankles are cuffed, he’s gagged with some sort of metal contraption, and he’s blindfolded. feels like an excessive amount of bondage for someone who’s meant to be in cryo-sleep. once the ship makes an… “unscheduled” landing, a nearly-escaped riddick is bound to a pole while the crew of the crashed ship tries to formulate some kind of plan to get off the planet they’re trapped on.

24. tangled

rapunzel gets bound with chains and cloth-gagged, and her eyes get really big and expressive as she struggles. Mother gothel uses her wrist chains like a leash to yank her back when she tries to run.

25. star wars: the last jedi

this has got to be the most bondagey star wars movie ever. sorry, the force awakens. kylo’s bondage chair was neat and all, but the last jedi has a scene of three guards bound and gagged (i genuinely never thought I would see a gag in the star wars universe). it does lose significant points for having them gagged with gloves, though, when if you’re going for an improvised gag, obviously socks are the way to go. however, we’re also treated to a variety of scenes of characters handcuffed, which is nothing new for the franchise, but what puts it over the top (in conjunction with the aforementioned bound and gagged guards) is the scene of a stormtrooper aggressively shoving handcuffs towards the camera (rey’s perspective). it was shot in such a way that i almost felt compelled to hold my wrists up obediently.

26. tank girl

fairly early in the movie rebecca, aka tank girl, aka “i use a tank like maybe twice in this entire movie so the nickname is a bit confusing,” finds herself captured by the bad guys, water & power. we see her with zip-tied wrists, which is a bit boring, and a straitjacket hooked to the wall of her cell with a chain, which… is not. you see, the Big Bad Guy, kesslee (yeah, i don’t know) played by malcolm mcdowell (yeah, i really don’t know–he seems overqualified for like 90% of the roles he bizarrely ends up in) finds her defiant spirit amusing, and decides to torture her instead of killing her. we next see her bagged in what looks like a burlap sack, and dropped into a pipe that’s supposed to make her claustrophobic or something. i don’t know.

so, our heroines escape and head to an adult entertainment club where tank girl’s friend/daughter-figure sam is being forced to work. after rescuing sam, they humiliate the establishment’s owner by forcing her to perform a song, and then tapegag her so tank girl can take over the performance. it’s apparently one of the most hated scenes of the film, actually. but, hey! tapegag! anyway, during this performance they manage to let the girl they came here to rescue get kidnapped by water & power. Way to go, heroines!

so, now with a girl to rescue, our girls go to find the rippers, a group of rebels. by the way! turns out the rippers are anthropomorphic kangaroos. the girls get ko-ed with knockout gas, and find themselves chained to chairs while being interrogated by… i don’t remember names, so we’ll go with killer kangaroo (played by ice-t!), reasonable kangaroo, slow kangaroo, and horny kangaroo.

the kangaroos interrogate the girls, using truth gas (i guess that’s a thing?) on them. as tank girls starts to pass out, horny kangaroo points out that they probably shouldn’t use so much gas because it’ll put them under, and then rethinks his position and declares that maybe that’ll work to their advantage before holding the mask over jet girl’s face until she passes out.

so! they talk about what they should do with the girls. killer kangaroo suggests murder! horny kangaroo suggests humping! (no, really. The dialogue goes, “i think we should kill ’em!” “i think we should hump ’em.” so. um. yeah. there’s that.) slow kangaroo suggests not murder! reasonable kangaroo suggests taking a vote. killer kangaroo and two extras vote for murder, while horny kangaroo and slow kangaroo plus one extra suggest not murder. so, having reached an impasse, they throw the girls into a storage room with their wrists chained whilst they deliberate. (or fight to the death with their tails or insane hopping ability. or figure out why reasonable kangaroo didn’t vote. or something.) the girls are knocked out again (or fall asleep; it’s not really made clear, actually), and wake up in that bowling ball foyer/lobby(?) they originally got knocked out in.

in the film’s climax, that girl tank girl & jet girl saved earlier is tied up by the wrists and threatened with drowning in a tube that is very slowly filling with water.

27. the mummy (1999)

when high priest imhotep’s affair with the pharaoh’s wife is discovered, imhotep is sentenced to be mummified alive. we see imhotep’s entire body being wrapped in restrictive bandages until he’s totally immobile (and also gagged and blindfolded, one hastens to add). for good measure, he’s shut into a sarcophagus and buried.

28. robin hood (1973)

this disney film reimagines the story with anthropomorphic animals as the characters, because why not? there’s an infamously yummy scene late in the movie of a captured robin hood in metal collar and rope bondage, which probably made a lot of people discover bondage and furry at the same time.

29. terror of mechagodzilla

at one point our bond-villain-like alien dude baddie literally whips his groveling subordinates for failing. later, one of the film’s protagonists is caught by the aliens, trussed up, and thrown at the leader’s feet.

30. thor: ragnarok

so many people get tied up in this movie, you guys. okay, not exactly tied up, but like. thor opens the movie in a cage in chains basically doing a “so you’re probably wondering how i got here” monologue. and then he’s hanging in chains in front of a big, scary demon thing sitting on an ancient throne and i’m thinking “that’s how i’d like to spend my summer vacation, dude.”

anyway, because this movie loves me and wants me to be happy, thor isn’t free for much longer before he’s told to kneel before his queen (which he refuses because he’s some kind of weird idiot), escapes, immediately gets captured by a gang with some kind of awesome net gun thing, only to be “rescued” and immediately captured by valkyrie. who is amazing, by the way. and then he wakes up in a glass cage literally beneath her feet, and just… okay, i don’t want you to think that the only reason i enjoyed this movie is because it kept putting its hero in bondage peril, but guys, come on.

31. professor marsten and the wonder women

this is one of the few on this list that could also actually make that hypothetical list of actually cool bdsm relationships in movies. it needed a lot MORE bondage, but the part where elizabeth ties olive up in that burlesque shop is high key hot

32. the return of the texas chainsaw massacre

the part where darla was driving around with jenny bound & gagged in her trunk and took time while stopped at a drivethrough to open the trunk and taunt her. #datenight goals.

33. scream 2

sidney’s boyfriend derek is captured and bound to a stage prop by his fraternity brothers as a prank. they humiliate him, splashing beer all over him and verbally taunting him. this seemingly harmless prank turns much more sinister when sidney finds derek still bound to the stage prop, but now gagged as well. and the killer soon arrives on the scene to menace both of them.

34. the house of the devil (2009)

i mean, it’s about a girl watching night of the living dead and ordering pizza and then getting bound and gagged over a pentagram, for crying out loud. that’s like my ideal friday night.

35. prom night

jamie lee’s date plays dude in distress admirably, including ending up bound & gagged.

36. dune (1984)

lady jessica is bound & gagged with a pretty dang cool-looking thick gag to keep her from using a mind-control power known as the voice. baron harkonnen actually spits on lady jessica, which would be hot if he weren’t gross. we also find out that feyd-rautha really gets off on suffocating bound prisoners

37. scream (1996)

for whatever reason, this film really seemed to like the oddly specific “male victim in duct tape bondage being used as leverage against female victim not in bondage” situation, as it uses it both in its opening and climax. this is actually a trend that continues throughout the series. good heavens this series likes duct tape. i think these films single-handedly created a brief boom in the duct tape industry.

38. the secret of nimh

that poor bird manages to get itself tied up and muzzled quite thoroughly.

39. texas chainsaw 3d

the scene where heather is bound and tapegagged was featured very heavily in the marketing for this film. its prominent position in the trailer was admittedly a big reason i decided to give the series a try. i can’t say i was especially satisfied with the overall result (those movies are weird), but there was some nice bondage throughout the series at least.

40. suffering man’s charity

bound to a chair with christmas lights is a good look.

41. godzilla 2000

godzilla 2000 is a (surprisingly good) movie about godzilla punching a flying saucer, and the only one i was fortunate enough to see in theaters as a kid aside from the much-maligned american version. in their first fight, the flying saucer animates some underground cables and uses them to restrain godzilla and even muzzle him.

42. killer klowns from outer space

kidnapping people by encasing them in balloons, storing them in weird cotton candy stuff… pennywise who?

43. ernest & celestine

nothing to see here, just a cartoon bear getting hogtied & muzzled.

44. justice league: doom

wonder woman lassos cheetah (i honestly kind of wish it were the other way around, anyone wanna cosplay that with me?), and star sapphire wraps green lantern in some kind of glowy energy rope thingy.

45. the collector

“he… collects people!” these words from a terrified victim summarize the modus operandi of a villain who seems made for my tastes. and this film and its sequel are pretty explicitly bondage-themed, but unfortunately the vast majority of the bondage in these films is far too bloody to be of any interest for my purposes–blood, nails, barbed wire, that kind of thing. (if you’re into that kind of stuff, there’s plenty there.)

this isn’t a bad film, really. and the collector himself is a very compelling villain, but be prepared for a lot of blood.

46. raiders of the lost ark

indy is overjoyed to discover marion bound and gagged in a nazi tent in egypt. probably not a combination of stimulus/response he ever expected (“my girlfriend’s been tied up by nazis in the desert? awesome!”), but considering he’s spent the last 10 minutes of the film (at least a day or two in realtime) thinking she’s dead, it’s a significant step up.

what i really like about the scene is when jones realizes that freeing marion will have the nazis combing the entire desert looking for them (and probably quite a bit more professionally than the soldiers in spaceballs), and he has no choice but to regag her–over her vehement protests. this scene has some of the best gagged screaming you’ll ever find outside of a horror film. (and it helps that this is an adventure film and she’s not about to have any limbs hacked off; seriously, that always ruins the moment at least a little for me.)

other than that, this film also gives us a much more underwhelming scene of indy & marion bound back-to-back to a pole.

47. bound

there’s also a great lesbian sex scene but sadly they aren’t the same scene. but, yeah. the main characters end up tied up with a ridiculous amount of rope late in the movie.

48. tie me up! tie me down!

awful movie, but there’s a ton of good bondage in it.

49. mission: impossible: fallout

look it’s not as good as the n64 game but at least some of our heroes finally find themselves wearing ropes. and ilsa gets gagged.

50. the hidden fortress

just some terrific rope bondage to round things off!

and there you have it! i could go on for a while, honestly, but these are just some of the many brilliant bondage scenes i’ve seen in movies. i might have to revisit this idea at some point in the future, it was a lot of fun to put together!

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