Elizabeth Berkley is "extremely appreciative" of the praise 'Showgirls' is now receiving after the film was "blasted with such cruelty" upon its original release.

Elizabeth Berkley

Elizabeth Berkley

The 'Saved By The Bell' actress starred as stripper Nomi Malone in Paul Verhoeven's 1995 erotic drama, which was panned by critics at the time - with Rotten Tomatoes' consensus describing it as "vile, contemptible, garish, and misogynistic" - but has been re-evaluated and praised for its story in more recent years.

Commenting on its legacy, she told Collider: "It was a different time in our culture in 1995. I don’t know if that would’ve been met with the same harsh criticism now. I really don’t know.

"I’m curious about what you think. So, in terms of my evaluation of the film itself, I’m extremely appreciative that this movie that people blasted with such cruelty, it’s so interesting and fascinating how academics have written papers about this film and its effect on pop culture.

"I’m blown away by the appreciation of the film and I love that it’s become a cult classic."

The 46-year-old star recently reprised her role of Jessie Spano in the 'Saved By The Bell' sequel series, and she drew a parallel between the reboot and the way 'Showgirl' is viewed more than a decade-and-a-half later.

She explained: "Like I said about Saved by the Bell and how we could never have known that we were gonna be back here in the Bayside hallway, I could never have known in that more painful moment upon its release, that it would be truly celebrated and held up as this iconic cult classic.

"That blows me away. I’m extremely appreciative. The gay community, especially, has embraced it in a way that’s so beautiful."

And Elizabeth also opened up how the negative reaction to her performance in 'Showgirls' helped her grow as an actress and as a person.

She added: "There’s a distinction between my personal journey around it, which has nothing to do with a film, and everything to do with how I was forced to grow or how I chose to grow from what was handed to me, at that time, not as a victim, but as someone who had to navigate a very hard time, which was highly controversial and there was a lot of blame.

"For me, right now, I can speak of it with distance and not just as a young woman who was doing a film and delivering what was asked of her as a professional."