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The Most Disturbing Age Gaps In Movie Kiss Scenes

Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned Hollywood romance — classic love stories tailor-made for the big screen, featuring dashing actors riding off into the sunset with equally beautiful co-stars? "Titanic," "Gone with the Wind," "When Harry Met Sally," "Casablanca" ... the list goes on and on. Audiences swoon over such melodramatic pictures and shell out millions in hard-earned cash to see their favorite stars battle for true love, often in the face of overwhelming odds. 

While most of these films are relatively innocent in nature, occasionally a few sneak in that make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Some onscreen romances take place between two actors who are, shall we say, from very different generations. In other words, one actor is much older than the other — an aspect that takes a little sizzle out of the steak, so to speak. Sometimes the age gap serves a purpose in the overall story, but more often than not young women are paired with much older men (or, on rare occasions, vice versa) because, well, that's how Hollywood works, for better or worse.

What's more, actors in said films usually end up locking lips at some point in time, which just dials up the creep factor even more. Here's a list of the most disturbing age gaps in movie kiss scenes, wide enough to make even the most hopelessly romantic among us cringe. You've been warned.

Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort (52 years)

While not for everyone, the 1971 dark comedy "Harold and Maude" has endured over the years as a cult classic, thanks to its big heart and deep explorations about life and, well, death. Mostly death. The film tells the tale of Harold (Bud Cort), a depressed 20-year-old who spends his days attending funerals and looking for unique ways to kill himself. By chance, he happens upon Maude (Ruth Gordon), an eccentric, free-spirited older woman prone to uprooting trees from the city and returning them to the forest. She's his opposite, you see? The odd couple form a unique union of sorts powerful enough to propel them through the doldrums of life.

Said union eventually crosses into the bizarre when Harold and Maude begin romancing one another. We can buy that a young man could befriend a much older woman, but seeing a 20-year-old boy kiss a woman 52 years his senior is not quite the "happily ever after" we were expecting.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Drew Barrymore and Tom Skerritt (41 years)

Drew Barrymore was only 17 when she swapped spit with 58-year-old Tom Skerritt in the 1992 erotic thriller "Poison Ivy." The story centers around a psychopath named Ivy (Barrymore) who seduces Darryl (Skerritt), the much older father of her best friend, Sylvie (Sara Gilbert), in order to become a part of the their family. Sure, Ivy has to kill Sylvie's mother (Cheryl Ladd) for her plan to work, but you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs, right?

Darryl loses himself to Ivy's seductions and ends up having sex with the young girl on the hood of his car in the middle of a rainstorm. Context aside, seeing a teenager make out with a nearly 60-year-old man doesn't exactly push the thrill buttons. While the scene is intended to make viewers uncomfortable, that doesn't change the fact that Barrymore and Skerritt dove head first into murky territory for the sake of fleeting, superficial entertainment. 

Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones (39 years)

Sean Connery aged incredibly well, which allowed him to play the lead in a number of action films well into his late 60s. Problem is, such genre entries require a young leading lady to star alongside the "aged hero" and Hollywood was more than happy to oblige the iconic star. In the case of 1999's "Entrapment," the 68-year-old actor teamed up with a 29-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones, resulting in an awkward romance that was borderline ludicrous.

To be fair, the film has Connery's 60-year-old Robert "Mac" MacDougal scaling high-rises and breaking into vaults with the best of 'em, actions that require audiences to bury their skepticism under about 50 tons of summer popcorn. Yet, seeing the former James Bond engage in passionate onscreen lovemaking with Zeta-Jones' eager-to-please young thief is simply one ridiculous plot point too many.

Sure, the duo's onscreen chemistry is not to be denied, and it's hard to fault any man for succumbing to Zeta-Jones' sexy charm, but this was a case of a beyond-his-prime actor in desperate need of a reality check.

Jack Nicholson and Amanda Peet (35 years)

As was the case with Sean Connery, legendary star Jack Nicholson enjoyed an illustrious career as a leading man until age finally caught up with him and forced the icon to retire. Nonetheless, the Academy Award-winning actor squeezed every last drop he could out of his star power and enjoyed a number of leading roles alongside much younger women, in films such as "Wolf," "As Good As It Gets," (see below) and the romantic comedy "Something's Gotta Give."

In the latter, Nicholson actually portrays a man named Harry who sleeps with women half his age as a means of retaining his youth, an aspect of his character that figures into Nancy Meyers' script. Harry eventually abandons his ways in favor of a life with Diane Keaton's more age-appropriate Erica (who likewise initially engages in a romance with a much younger man played by Keanu Reeves). All's well that ends well, except audiences are subjected to Nicholson's fleeting romance with an extremely young Amanda Peet, who was 31 years old at the time — 35 years younger than Nicholson. 

Early in the film, the couple enjoy some early-morning romance atop a bed — a scene that, while playful, goes on long enough to make audiences wish for Keaton's character to step in and yank Nicholson back to reality.  

Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson (35 years)

Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson light up the screen in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation," a film about two wayward souls who befriend and ultimately help one another during a sojourn through Tokyo. Brilliantly acted and wonderfully directed, the film was a hit with audiences and critics when it was released in 2003. 

Now, far be it from us to knock a film of such high caliber, but were we the only ones a little creeped out by the finale, in which 52-year-old Murray plants a kiss on 17-year-old ScarJo? Especially since, according to Coppola (via an interview with The Daily Beast), the moment was actually improvised by Murray on the spot? "It was always meant to be this tender goodbye where they both knew that they had touched each other in some way," Coppola said. "And I remember sometimes he would always spring things on her, and it was fun to get her reaction."

Of the age difference, the acclaimed director felt that Murray's innocent nature kept the relationship from veering into creepy territory, noting that there's "just something about how Bill is that it never came off lecherous. Maybe because he's such a kid."

Fair enough, but take away the art and it's still a much older man kissing a very young woman. 

Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain (34 years)

Director Adrian Lyne strikes again. This time, the creator behind such erotic thrillers as "9 1/2 Weeks," "Fatal Attraction," and "Indecent Proposal" (see below) explores the sexual relationship between a middle-aged man (Jeremy Irons) and a 14-year-old girl (Dominique Swain) in 1997's controversial "Lolita." Based on the book of the same name by author Vladimir Nabokov, "Lolita" was famously adapted in 1962 by Stanley Kubrick, who matched 14-year-old Sue Lyon with a 53-year-old James Mason. 

Kubrick's version, however, was far less explicit. In Lyne's film, Irons' relationship with Swain doesn't leave much to the imagination. Indeed, as Swain was only 14 at the time, body doubles were needed for explicit sex scenes and moments involving nudity, while cushions were placed between the actors during sequences that required bodily contact, according to The Globe and Mail.

Lyne's aim is to make audiences squirm, and the director certainly squeezes every ounce of sexual tension out of the 49-year-old Irons and his young co-star. Except, in this case, the results are more disturbing than revelatory. 

Michael Caine and Michelle Johnson (33 years)

By the time Michael Caine starred in the 1983 critical dud "Blame It On Rio," the popular British actor had reached his 50s and was long past the "Get Carter" stage of his career. That didn't stop him from engaging in a frivolous romance with a very young Michelle Johnson, who was 17 at the time that the sexually charged dark comedy was filmed. Indeed, the pair spend much of the film's 100 minutes flirting, kissing and having sex to an uncomfortable degree. What's worse, the film treats these deplorable actions as inconsequential bits of good old-fashioned comedy. Don't think about it to much, just enjoy the dirty old man rolling around on the beach with a teenage girl.

As Roger Ebert declared in his review: "'Blame It On Rio' ... has the mind of a 1940s bongo comedy and the heart of a porno film. It's really unsettling to see how casually this movie takes a serious situation." Indeed, director Stanley Donen uses his absurd premise to deliver cheap laughs, which is probably why no one has spoken of this movie since its release. 

Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde (32 years)

Liam Neeson was 32 years older than Olivia Wilde when they appeared together in Paul Haggis' 2013 drama, "Third Person." Of course, even at the ripe old age of 60, Neeson could pass for a reasonably healthy-looking man in his 50s. However, next to Olivia Wilde, who was 29 at the time, the actor's wrinkly features stand out enough to detract from their onscreen romance, resulting in an awkward viewing experience.

Either way, critics didn't take kindly to "Third Person," with only 25% awarding the picture a positive review on Rotten Tomatoes. The $2 million worldwide box office gross also proved audiences were likewise turned off by this tepid effort from the usually reliable Haggis. This might be a rare instance of a poor box office performance actually aiding the creative talent involved, as it's likely only a handful of people know of the existence of "Third Person." Just move on, folks. Nothing to see here. 

Emma Stone and Colin Firth (28 years)

Before she won an Oscar for her work in the hit musical "La La Land," in which she starred opposite Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone took on a number of decidedly interesting roles in order to stretch her acting chops. One of those was in the 2014 Woody Allen comedy-drama "Magic in the Moonlight." While working with Allen was at one time a badge of honor for an actor, it still became an issue over the years that the female lead would inevitably be years younger than her male costar.

In this case, 24-year-old Stone chases after 54-year-old Colin Firth in a plot centered around clairvoyance, of all things.  It's a cute little film and the actors do display wonderful chemistry with one another. But by the end, we are meant to believe that a young woman with a bright future would give up everything to be with a man twice her age, which is a bit of a stretch. Their big kiss at the finale feels more forced than necessary, mostly because Firth regards Stone as nothing more than a friend before a sudden, perfunctory third act change of heart. As much as we like Firth, we think Stone should stick to starring opposite actors closer to her age. 

Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn (28 years)

As it turns out, age discrepancies aren't just a modern device used to cater to older actors who still think they're 25. Classic Hollywood is full of the trope. John Wayne was 24 years older than Angie Dickinson in the classic "Rio Bravo," for example, while Cary Grant basically retired when he realized he couldn't pull off the suave leading man any longer. 

Unfortunately, iconic star Gary Cooper lacked such humility and ultimately starred in Billy Wilder's "Love in the Afternoon," where his character kisses the bejesus out of 28-year-old Audrey Hepburn. The problem was that Cooper was nearly 60 at the time and definitely looked his age on screen, which led to disappointing box office receipts and middling reaction from critics. Even Wilder pointed at the age discrepancy between his two stars as the reason for the film's poor performance. "It was a flop. Why? Because I got Coop the week he suddenly got old," the writer-director quipped in the book "On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder."

Harrison Ford and Anne Heche (26 years)

Harrison Ford and the late Anne Heche made waves when they appeared together in Ivan Reitman's romantic comedy "Seven Days, Seven Nights," in which pilot Quinn Harris (Ford) is stranded with eccentric magazine editor Robin Harris (Heche) on a remote island following a plane crash. 

While light on substance, Reitman's film has enough adventure and warm-hearted humor to warrant a watch or two. But viewers will have to get over the idea of seeing a 55-year-old Ford lock lips with a 29-year-old Heche. If you can get over the enormous age gap, there's plenty to enjoy — but that's a big if

That was only one of the controversies surrounding the picture, which was released right around the time Heche's very public relationship with Ellen DeGeneres made waves throughout the pop culture landscape. Ford ignored the noise and, according to Heche, focused on making a great romantic comedy, prompting the late star to remark to Vanity Fair: "That is why Harrison Ford is my hero. To stand behind me at such a time when the force of what I was standing up for could have been toppled."

Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt (26 years)

"As Good As It Gets" tells the story of cantankerous germaphobe Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) and the eventual friendship he forms with his neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear) and waitress Carol (Helen Hunt). As written by James L. Brooks, the Academy Award-winning picture boasts an abundance of laughs and heart, even as it evolves from a witty tale about three very different people learning to respect each other's quirks to a fairly routine love story.

Said romance doesn't exactly ring in the fireworks, as it occurs between 60-year-old Nicholson and 34-year-old Hunt. It leads to a climactic smooch that feels completely out of place within the context of the film — and more than a little off-putting considering the massive age gap. Brooks chooses to play it safe by delivering an atypical "happily ever after," when the third act probably should have followed Carol's attempts to find Melvin a proper retirement home. 

As Roger Ebert wrote in his review: "It's almost painful, watching the screenplay stretch and contort these characters to fit them somehow into a conventional formula — they're dragged toward the happy ending, screaming and kicking all the way."

Robert Redford and Demi Moore (26 years)

"Indecent Proposal" is one of those silly, but ultimately fun '90s erotic dramas that generates as much pathos as it does unintentional comedy. The 1993 hit follows a young couple, played by Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson, who are approached by a billionaire (Robert Redford) with a strange request: he will pay one million dollars to spend one night with Moore's character. 

Directed with a heavy hand by Adrian Lyne, "Indecent Proposal" received scathing reviews upon its release, but still managed to generate over $266 million in worldwide ticket sales. This was despite the uncomfortable pairing of Redford and Moore, who generate plenty of heat despite their 26-year age difference. Redford was 55 at the time, while Moore was still a very young 29, but that didn't stop the pair of actors from locking lips. 

While the plot itself is purposefully constructed to create maximum awkwardness — Redford's character is essentially paying for a woman, after all — there's a discernible difference between the two leads that's hard to ignore, particularly during the steamier bits.    

Nicole Kidman and Cameron Bright (26 years)

"Birth" is one of those unconventional movies that pushes the boundaries in all the wrong ways. Directed by Jonathan Glazer, the film tells the story of Anna (Nicole Kidman), a widow who believes that a young boy named Sean (Cameron Bright) is actually her deceased husband reincarnated. The boy apparently knows everything about her, right down to her sexual exploits with her husband, which is really all the proof she needs to dive head first into the elaborate fantasy. 

While other films have explored this same concept, often with humorous results, "Birth" goes the extra mile to make the content as creepy as possible by having the 36-year-old Kidman smooch and bathe with her 10-year-old co-star. Thankfully, the scene is meant to be more unpleasant than arousing, but such moments too often feel like a creative mastermind stretching an obscene premise for the sake of generating a little controversy.

In the end, it didn't matter. Audiences avoided "Birth" like the plague, resulting in a meager $14 million worldwide gross, while a majority of critics quickly dismissed the production as little more than a questionable exercise in creepiness.