19 Movies About Cheating We Secretly Can't Stop Watching

Damarys Ocaña Perez | Jan 22, 2020 Movies
19 Movies About Cheating We Secretly Can't Stop Watching

Demi Moore and Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal (1993)
Paramount Pictures

Movies about cheating are great, aren't they? We get to shake our heads in shock at the secret lovers' cheating ways, feel superior when they get busted, and still get to enjoy the scenes of forbidden temptation realized. (Sue us, we are complex creatures.)

Not surprisingly, there are plenty of films that center around infidelity, and there always have been, because stepping out on a significant other has been happening as long as there have been significant others -- whether it's because married couples have drifted apart (or weren't compatible to begin with), or whether someone in the relationship has always had a wandering eye and hips that follow. 

Maybe we bump into a stranger that turns out to be Olivier Martinez while out shopping (in our very best dreams), and he's not the type of hot-blooded hunk whose well-oiled loins we can just turn away from and go back home to calmly roast a chicken for dinner. 

But we digress.

The diversity of movies about cheatin' hearts means that whatever #mood we're in, there's one that's bound to satisfy. 

Funny revenge flicks to watch after we dumped a would-be Lothario? Check. 

Heartbreaking dramas in which entire lives fall apart because of infidelity, for when we need to know we're not the only ones it's happened to? Check.

Thrillers where a couple somehow goes back to normal after someone in a hot love triangle literally gets killed, for when we want our hearts to race for two different reasons? Check. 

Balls (and everything else) to the wall on-screen cheat-a-paloozas for when we're in strictly fantasy mode? Check.

Best of all, movies about cheating don't have to compromise quality for cheap thrills, because plenty of great actors and directors have made movies about the subject, and because the underlying reasons for the cheating give them an opportunity to explore the human psyche. 

... or ya know, sex.

Whatever reason, we're watching them for, here are 20 movies that have set our TVs, couches, heck, our whole houses, on fire from repeat viewing.

  • 'Unfaithful'

    1

    The G-spot of cheating movies, amiright? Cougar extraordinaire (and the woman we want to be in our 40s) Diane Lane plays a suburbanite bored to tears by her bland husband (Richard Gere). She then meets a sexy stranger (Olivier Martinez) and gets turned inside out by him -- and wow, does this smoking hot French actor know his way around a woman's body. (The man should give sex seminars as a side hustle.) 

    Anyway, back to the movie. 

    This beyond torrid affair does not end well, but that's what rewind buttons are for.  

  • 'Indecent Proposal'

    2
    Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal
    Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

    Everyone likes to think that they -- and their bodies -- can't be bought, but lots of us watch this movie and wonder what it would be like to be desired to the extent that someone is willing to pay $1 million for one night. We're also curious what it feels like to roll around on a bed littered with Benjamins. Demi Moore plays half of a broke married couple (hubby is played by Woody Harrelson) approached by a wealthy man (Robert Redford) who makes them an offer they don't refuse.

    ... and it destroys their marriage.

  • 'Chloe'

    3

    Oh, the webs we weave! In Chloe, Julianne Moore plays a woman who suspects that her college professor husband (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her with a student (Amanda Seyfried). This chick is an escort on the side, because student debt is real, guys -- so wifey hires her, and that's when things get interesting.

    Chloe is definitely NOT what we expected.

  • 'The Other Woman'

    4
    Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann in The Other Woman
    Raymond Hall/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Game of Thrones alum Nikolai Coster-Waldau going horizontal on screen is never a bad thing, but this comedy is less about sexy times and more about taking revenge on a cheating dude. Cameron Diaz stars as a woman who thought she was in a great relationship until she found out her guy was married. She teams up with his wife (Leslie Mann) and a third woman he's been seeing (Kate Upton) to make him pay big time.

  • 'Fatal Attraction'

    5
    Michael Douglas and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction
    Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

    It's amazing, but Fatal Attraction barely has any sex in it. It's actually a cautionary tale about cheating, especially with an unstable person who is not above boiling a pet bunny and threatening to kill an entire family. Michael Douglas plays the cheating husband, and Glenn Close, of course, plays the woman who goes bananas after their one-weekend cheatfest. 

  • 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'

    6
    Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, and Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    MGM

    Between all the gorgeous actors, all the steamy scenes, and the beautiful setting of Barcelona, this movie is endlessly watchable. Two best friends -- one a single free spirit (Scarlett Johansson), and the other an engaged, then married repressed soul (Rebecca Hall) -- spend the summer in Spain. Basically, they take turns bedding a Spanish artist (Javier Bardem) and his crazy ex-wife (Penelope Cruz).

  • 'Lust Stories'

    7

    The title says it all, but Lust Stories shows even more. It's really four short films about sex and relationships in contemporary India, with plenty of secret sexy times peppered into the stories. India may be more known for relatively wholesome Bollywood musicals, but it's also got plenty of filmmakers who walk on the wild side. 

    More please!

  • 'Little Children'

    8

    Suburbia is a breeding ground for affairs, this we know. There's only so much grocery shopping, laundry, and homework sessions people can do before they seek release from the extreme boredom. In this exploration of suburbia as prison, Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson play stay-at-home parents married to other people who start an affair between Little League games. And at one point, they enjoy a session on top of a washer in a basement. 

    So relatable.

  • 'Y Tu Mama Tambien'

    9
    Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú in Y tu mamá también (
    MGM

    Two best friends and a dying married woman who wants to live life before she goes take a road trip together. 

    Hmmm. What do we think will happen? 

    Well, that, yes -- but we'd be willing to be that few people who watched this funny and sexy Mexican movie saw that other thing coming: Two guys going from buddies to lovers, which changes them forever. 

  • 'The English Patient'

    10

    This Oscar-winning film has developed a bad rap over the years for being a bit melodramatic. And while that's true, it's also true that affairs like the one portrayed in the movie -- between a passionate woman who settled when she married a friend, and an amoral explorer -- can have devastating repercussions. Plus, that scene where they're doing it in a hidden corner of a building while there's a party going on? 

    Still on our to do list. 

  • 'Match Point'

    11

    The very first sex scene between secret lovers, played by Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, in this movie takes place in a wheat field ... in the rain -- and their subsequent hookups (before the affair turns deadly) are equally hot. There's a lot of shirt ripping and blindfolding and heavy panting between the two very pretty actors. 

    We're not complaining.  

  • 'Disobedience'

    12

    This beautifully acted movie is not explicit, but steadily builds tension as it explores how the simple act of two women loving each other can be so threatening to a community. In this case, the community is a conservative Jewish one, from which Rachel Weisz's character is banished after getting busted carrying on with a female friend (Rachel McAdams) as a teen. When she returns years later for her dad's funeral, she finds her former flame has married a man, but has not been successful in "praying the gay away." 

    And, so they discover that the heat of their passion has not died down.   

  • 'Brokeback Mountain'

    13

    Science says that the range of what turns women on is much wider than a man's, and that probably would come as no surprise to many women who have watched this film and found the scenes where Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are together so compelling. Much of that is due to the two straight actors' -- who play closeted men married to women -- not being afraid to be emotionally vulnerable and intimate onscreen. 

  • 'To Die For'

    14

    We checked, and Joaquin Phoenix was 21 when he made this movie about a weather girl (played by Nicole Kidman) who seduces a high-school student and gets him to kill her husband. So we don't feel gross watching them getting busy, and in any case, the movie is too good to miss -- featuring one of Kidman's best early performances and a great, weirdly funny script. 

  • "Dangerous Liaisons'

    15
    Glenn Close and John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images

    This classic movie is très French but without the subtitles. Set in the (surprise!) very wild 1800s in France, it seems like everyone in it is sleeping with someone other than their spouse or fiancé. Dangerous Liaisons is basically a sport and a way of life, especially for one scamp (played by a young John Malkovich) whose entire mission in life is to seduce married women -- until he falls in love with one (Michelle Pfeiffer), and ultimately destroys her and himself. Well-written and highly entertaining, it also features Glenn Close, then-newcomer Uma Thurman, and an actor who we never expected to see in a period film looking adorable in tights: Keanu Reeves.

  • 'Damage'

    16

    This excellently written and acted movie is also, like, 75% sex by a conservative estimate -- a virtual manual of ways and places and positions in which to do the nasty. Juliette Binoche plays a French woman involved with a nice but blah British dude whose dad (Jeremy Irons) is a smart, handsome politician. So, naturally, she and the dad set the entire movie on fire with their power-struggle laden affair, and the results are devastating. 

  • 'Notes on a Scandal'

    17

    Cate Blanchett plays an art teacher named Sheba who begins an affair with a teen student at the same time that she forms a friendship with an older closeted female colleague (Judi Dench). The movie is actually borderline campy fun, as Dench's character, Barbara, blackmails Sheba into spending time with her in return for her keeping quiet about the affair ... and the fallout for both is not pretty.     

  • 'High Society'

    18

    Netflix has a hidden, filthy little corner full of naughtiness, and this Korean movie could be the poster child for it. The plot of High Society centers around an ultra-ambitious married couple who will do anything -- or anyone -- to move into climb the highest rungs of the social ladder. And viewers get to come along for the ride via abundant sex scenes ...  but we swear we're just watching for the gorgeous cinematography.

  • 'La Mujer De Mi Hermano'

    19

    Barbara Mori is a telenovela star, and this Peruvian import (the title translates to "My Brother's Wife") is the most telenovela-esque movie ever -- with the addition of tons of sex scenes. It centers around a rich woman whose uptight businessman husband will only make love to her on Saturdays, and she becomes, shall we say, restless. Enter his bohemian brother, literally. But wait, there's more drama, because they stuffed this puppy with lots more soapy plot, including pregnancy, closeted gayness, incest, and betrayal. 

    Grab the popcorn. 

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