Before porn became boring, there were adult film directors who made the genre look good, if not acceptable. They were mostly Italians, like Giovanni "Tinto" Brass (Caligula), Aristide Massaccesi (aka Joe D'Amato of Porno Holocaust and Black Emanuelle fame), Franco Lo Cascio (aka Luca Damiano of Snow White & 7 Dwarfs fame), and also Gerardo Rocco "Gerard" Damiano (Deep Throat).
And there were others like Andy Warhol (Blue Movie), Radley Metzger, who also used the Italian pseudonym, Erich Farina (The Opening of Misty Beethoven), French-Hungarian producer Marcel Herskovitz, aka Marc Dorcel, and Japan's Nagisa Oshima, whose film, The Realm of the Senses, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976.
The "golden era of porn" is considered to be the period between 1969 and 1984, when it was called "adult cinema," and films were reviewed by well-known critics and openly discussed on TV talk shows. Some of the movies were even shot in 35mm and released theatrically.
In 1972, porn entered the political discourse, first with the Watergate affair when Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used the title of the porn movie Deep Throat to refer to their secret informant about President Richard Nixon's involvement in the scandal that would eventually lead to his resignation.
Later, in 1987, Hungarian-born porn star Ilona Staller (aka Cicciolina), who was then 36 years old, became a member of Italian Parliament.
Today, porn has re-entered the political arena with the revelation that President Donald Trump was, in 2006, involved with porn actor Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels). This less-than-shocking disclosure is creating a real storm for the Trump administration, and has brought up other issues, such as a possibly illegal financial contribution to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign when Trump's lawyer paid Clifford to keep the affair a private matter.
In the early years, the business aspect of the porn industry was controlled by Italian criminal organizations in the U.S. An Italian-American (and an Al Capone soldier) was also the first porn star, Vincenzo D'Ambrosio (aka Vincent Drucci), who filmed Bob's Hot Story in 1923.
Today, the only things that remain of that era are Wikipedia references, a shelf of books, and about a dozen mainstream movies, with stars such as Richard Dreyfuss, Seth Rogen and George C. Scott. In 1997, Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore starred in Boogie Nights, loosely based on the life (and death) of...