Trends in film may come and go, but hookers are forever. Some miss the mark (Heather Graham, The Hangover), while others are pure exploitation (Angel, 1984), but recent offerings have injected new life and dimension to this oft-misrepresented archetype.
Just look at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Golden Globe-nominated performance as Candy, the dead-on-the-inside prostitute from HBO’s The Deuce: a complex character not to be pitied, but rather admired for her ability to persevere in the direst of circumstances (James Franco notwithstanding).
But not all fictional ladies of the night measure up. The following is an unbiased ranking, from worst to best, of big- and small-screen hookers both then and now: