ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

It comes as no surprise that Penelope Cruz was crowned the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire back in 2014, for the 42-year-old Spanish siren has been lighting fires since her first foray into film back in the early '90s.

1. Sexy Silvia In Jamón, Jamón (1992)

Jamón, Jamón
Jamón, Jamón
  • Character: Silvia

Once described as "a tribute to throbbing Latin manhood," Jamón, Jamón certainly isn't the best film to come out of Spain — although it might be one of the most surreal and amusing — but it did cement two certainties in Penelope Cruz's life: 1) her topless scene meant she was instantly pegged as a sex symbol, and 2) it's here she met her husband, Javier Bardem.

Check out the scene that solidified her sex-symbol status below:

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? Although Cruz hasn't really talked publicly about the movie, she did acknowledge her awesome on-screen chemistry with Bardem to W Magazine in 2006:

“It’s so obvious that we would make a great on-screen couple. Why are we not working together?”

2. The Magnetic Maria In Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Character: Maria Elena

She might play a tortured, mentally unstable artist in Woody Allen's 2007 Vicky Cristina Barcelona but Cruz's charismatically manic performance is captivating to say the least, drawing your attention to her despite the fact she's sharing screen-time with the of the world's most beautiful humans. But, then again, it might also have something to do with that make-out scene with Scarlett Johansson — just a thought.

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? She loved it, as do most people (Vicky Cristina Barcelona holds an impressive 81% on Rotten Tomatoes) — when it came to that kiss though, she wasn't so bothered — as an interview with Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 proved:

"Everybody asked me about the scene when Scarlett Johansson and I had to kiss but all I remember was that Woody left and went to the dermatologist that day."

3. Playing The Game In To Rome With Love (2012)

To Rome With Love
To Rome With Love
  • Character: Anna

In another Woody Allen title, To Rome With Love sees Cruz playing a prostitute called Anna. Although the film is far from Allen's best, it does show the actress tottering around Rome in an outfit that would give Betty Boop a run for her money while teaching her clueless fake husband a few things about sex, so it's not all bad!

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? She thought it was hilarious, and said so to EW during a press junket promoting the movie:

"I loved the scene where they take her to this party and she finds all of her clients and she has to ask all of her clients to call her by a different name because she's supposed to be somebody else this day. She's a really bad liar, and was really funny to play."

4. Begging For A Squeeze In Nine (2009)

  • Character: Carla

While Nine — the musical rendition of Fellini's 8 1/2 — wasn't exactly well received by critics, its eye-candy cast makes it worth a watch. Penelope Cruz stars as the protagonist's mistress, she's vivacious, hilarious and she has a bangin' striptease sequence — and that's enough for me (and you, let's be real).

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? Talking to Collider in 2009, she described how freeing that strip sequence felt:

"When they showed me the choreography for 'Nine,' for 'A Call from the Vatican,' my solo number, I looked at the dancer doing the number and the choreography that Rob Marshall and Joan DeLuca put together, and I almost fainted. I thought, “This is impossible. I won’t be able to do that.”

And then, you start doing it and, day after day, you put in the hours and you feel that it starts taking shape. When you finally do it, you have this feeling of freedom that is amazing."

5. The Sultry Seductress In Blow (2001)

  • Character: Mirtha Jung

Although Blow didn't literally blow the critics away, despite its cocaine smuggling and sassy '70s style — it's a Rotten Tomato with 55% — Penelope Cruz's performance at least was sure to stick in their minds years later — less for the wild substance abuse though, and more for the S&M sex montage with Johnny Depp.

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? While she didn't comment on the film itself, she certainly seemed to enjoy working with Depp as an interview plucked from the Hollywood Archive proves:

"Johnny, I had a great time with him. Working with him was great, we had fun, he made me laugh."

6. An Impulsive Mistress In Broken Embraces (2009)

  • Character: Lena Rivas

Broken Embraces might be brimming with romantic melancholy but the passion portrayed by Cruz within the Spanish drama will grip your goodies from the moment she walks on screen. Does anyone play the lustful mistress more captivatingly than she does? I think not.

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? While she doesn't speak of her enjoyment, it's clear from the way Cruz refers to the director, Pedro Almodóvar, that she greatly admires the characters he creates. During a press junket for the film, she told Empire:

"This character couldn't be more different from myself, and it's more like three characters in one. She's a woman who has to lie a lot in her life and pretends to be someone else but then she's also an actress in a movie."

7. Hot Mama In Volver (2006)

  • Character: Raimunda

Another Almodóvar movie — certified as full-on fresh with a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score — Volver shows Cruz as a fiercely protective mother on the brink of an emotional breakdown. She's at her best here and the fact that she's one hot mama — sporting a prosthetic ass, too, might I add — in it is just the sprinkling on an awesome cake.

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? Or the fake-ass, more to the point. She told The Guardian in 2006,

"Journalists write that the producers forced me to wear a false arse because I didn't have a big enough one. They didn't understand anything about this. Just as Pedro has explained, it's true, the day I tried that on, I thought I have to keep this and take it everywhere with me, because it would make me walk differently. And it's true, because of the way it made me move, something happened to my energy and I felt more down-to-earth; it really happened. It's like when you find the right shoes for a character."

8. Getting Wild In The West In Bandidas (2006)

  • Character: Maria Alvarez

Sure, Bandidas is slap-stick and stupid, but there's a reason — well, two reasons — why this silly movie has garnered a cult following over the years: Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek. The pair ride around the wild west in bustiers and bandanas, thus bringing bags of fun — quite literally — to this madcap movie.

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? Loved it. The movie was her idea in the first place!

10. Getting Soggy Both On & Off Shore in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Character: Angelica

One of the best things about the forth installment of this swashbuckling franchise, Penelope Cruz looked pretty damn smokin' as she raged at Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow while dressed in some sort of pirate's wench garb, don't you think?

What Did Penelope Think Of The Role? By the sounds of things, she had a blast! Talking to back when the movie came out in 2011 she spoke of working with Depp:

"It's always been great, we really connected. We love working together — we laugh all day long."

See also:

Which do you think is Penelope Cruz's hottest role?

(Source: Rotten Tomatoes)


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