Here is a list of all the best gay movies ever made, many of which are streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime. The list is also sorted from best to worst. Don’t think your favorite gay movie is high enough on the list? Be sure to vote it up so it can take its place among the best gay movies of all time. You can also vote down any movies that you think other fans should skip. Quite a few of these films pack power-house performances and incredibly engaging storylines.
Whether you’re at home and want to watch something on DVD or streaming, or if you’re seeing something in theaters for the first time, this is a list of good gay movies that can be helpful in either situation to see where they all stack up. You can also check back as new gay films are added to the list as they are released.
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Seriously, who doesn’t love movies? With fun news, features, videos, and other special coverage, Pride keeps you up-to-date on everything you could every want to know about the new gay movies that are currently dominating the box office. Gay films aren’t just like any other type of films. LGBT movies show exactly who we are as a global community, and what it means to be queer in the modern day. Pride spotlights the top gay movies and gay short films that are making a serious splash in Hollywood.
The pansexual YouTube and Nickelodeon star is ready to make her mark on the big screen!
PRIDE chats with the creator and the stars of the new, queer, messy AF comedy film!
Carey Mulligan and Heidi Gardner fall in love on a rocky, grey beach in a scarily accurate parody of Ammonite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and other queer period pieces.
Looks like it’s going to be a full moon tonight courtesy of the Winter Soldier himself!
The Oscar-winning Salt and Tomb Raider alum is back in action in the Warner Bros. thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead.
The Oscar winner looks delightfully evil in Disney’s latest live-action flick!
The 50 Best LGBTQ Movies Ever Made
Here are the best movies that depict the queer experience in all its complexities.
The good news: this year you have time for some movies.
Under normal circumstances, June busts out all over with Pride Month parties and parades. The gay neighborhood thumps with house music. Your bank, cable company and sandwich shop rush to remind you of their support for the LGBTQ+ community. And if you can bear the crowds, you leave a Pride festival with a draft-beer buzz, an application for a rainbow-flag credit card, and a paper fan with Chelsea Handler’s face on it. It’s a lot, but it’s ours.
This year, the public events of LGBTQ Pride Month—much like sports, school, and life itself—are cancelled. We’re stuck inside unless we’re marching for police reform. The few bars that have reopened are for the reckless and foolish, and let’s be honest: there’s only so much dancing a person can do on Zoom. The conditions are optimal for you to catch up on your queer cinema.
We’ve come a ways in fifty years, from the self-loathing middle-aged men of The Boys In The Band to the peppy teens of Love, Simon. The range runs from the shoestring brilliance of The Watermelon Woman to the big-budget glitter-bomb that is Rocketman. 1982’s tentative Making Love derailed the careers of its two lead actors; 2017’s Call Me By Your Name cemented its pair as movie stars. While gay characters tended until much too recently to be one-dimensional, white, and doomed, in 2018 Barry Jenkins won a Best Picture Oscar telling the layered and hopeful story of a gay Black man in Moonlight.
There’s a lot of history to explore, and there’s never been a better time to do it. Borrow a streaming service password from family– however you define it!–and dive in.
If it feels a bit like a CW version of an Afterschool Special, that’s no mistake: teen-tv super-producer Greg Berlanti makes his feature film directorial debut here. It’s as chaste a love story as you’re likely to see in the 21st century— the hunky gardener who makes the title teen question his sexuality is wearing a long-sleeved shirt, for God’s sake—but you know what? The queer kids of the future need their wholesome entertainment too.
Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine play headmistresses at a school for girls who are accused by a student of being in a lesbian relationship. While the accusation is false, it nearly ruins the women’s standing in their community and threatens their friendship—and forces one of them to reevaluate her own identity.
A gay fantasia on Elton themes. An Elton John biopic was never going to be understated, but this glittering jukebox musical goes way over the top and then keeps going. It might be an overcorrection from the straight-washing of the previous year’s Bohemian Rhapsody, but when it’s this much fun, it’s best not to overthink it.
Charming Irish movie that answers the question: “What if John Hughes were Irish and gay?” Misfit Ned struggles at a rugby-obsessed boarding school until a mysterious new kid moves in and an unlikely friendship changes them both. Along the way, a rousing performance from Andrew Scott as an inspiring teacher with a secret of his own, and a rugby game set to a Rufus Wainwright song. Just the thing to lift your spirits.
The life of Cuba’s „transformistas“ is captured beautifully in this father-son story about a boy who wants to perform drag and his father, newly released from prison and unable to accept who his son is. Shot beautifully, with great music and a close look at Havana in all its run-down and colorful glory.
The quintessential ’80s lesbian romantic drama, Desert Hearts follows an English professor and a young sculptor as they fall in love at a Nevada ranch in the 1950s. Unique for its time, it sets its romance in a warm, affirming environment and lets its leads enjoy their relationship without angst or fear of death.
Ira Sachs’s autobiographical drama packs a hard punch as it follows a filmmaker, Erick, throughout his relationship with a young lawyer, Paul, which begins as a random sexual encounter and implodes following Paul’s drug and sex addiction.
Wong Kar-wai won Best Director at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for this film about two Hong Kong men who emigrate to Buenos Aires, after the handover of Hong Kong to China put LGBT lives in jeopardy.
Former SNL head-writer and The Other Two co-creator Chris Kelly makes his directorial debut in a semi-autobiographical account of his mother’s death from cancer. Molly Shannon gives a devastating performance, the tragic qualities of the Sacramento gay bar are hilariously explored, and the viewer is forced to re-evaluate Train’s “Drops of Jupiter.” Given how much you will cry, this is perhaps a risky watch in a time when tissue paper is scarce. We say pull a full-size bath towel out of the cabinet and dive in.
Cheryl Dunye directs and stars in this microbudget indie about an African-American lesbian searching for an uncredited black actress from a 1930s film. Along the way, she falls in and out of love, and meets the real Camille Paglia.
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play lesbian mothers to two teenagers whose blissful modern family is rocked when their kids seek out their sperm-doner father played by Mark Ruffalo. The family unit falls into crisis when his sudden appearance into their lives causes a rift between the two women as well as their kids
Starring Mariel Hemingway and a raft of real-life track and field stars, Personal Best follows a young bisexual pentathlete vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team and exploring a relationship with her lesbian coach—played by Olympic hurdler Patrice Donnelly.
Eliza Hittman’s dark and moody film plays out a bit like a thriller, one in which a Brooklyn teenager named Frankie (a superb Harris Dickinson, in a nearly wordless performance), who spends his idle hours hanging with his delinquent friends, fooling around with his girlfriend, or hooking up with men he meets online. Beach Rats is a provocative look at the personal and secret urges we often fear will come out into the light.
Gus Van Sant’s loose Shakespearean adaptation brought the New Queer Cinema movement into the mainstream, with River Phoenix as a young, narcoleptic hustler and Keanu Reeves as his best friend and unrequited love interest.
„Don’t you know I would have gone through life half-awake if you’d had the decency to leave me alone?“ All the lushness of a Merchant Ivory production, with gay men at its center. Even if this weren’t a beautiful, affecting film, Hugh Grant’s hair alone would earn it a spot on this list.
Peter Jackson was journeying through fantasy worlds long before Lord of the Rings—albeit one conjured up by two very real New Zealand school girls (played by then-newcomers Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey) who escape their own realities through their imaginations. But their connection turns intense and dangerous when they conspire to commit murder in one of the most notorious true crime stories of all time.
The first wide-release studio film with a homosexual relationship at its center (and for decades, the last). Making Love follows Michael Ontkean’s Zack, who is married to Claire (Kate Jackson) but exploring his homosexuality with Harry Hamlin’s Bart. It’s not a perfect film, but it took a giant risk, and gives us a rare snapshot of Los Angeles‘ gay life in the moment just before AIDS.
Long before his groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee directed this sweet, comic tale about a Taiwanese immigrant living in New York with his partner. When he offers to marry a Chinese woman so she can obtain a green card, the marriage of convenience spirals out of control when his parents find out and throw a lavish wedding party.
Mike Mills’s sweet 2010 film concerns a Los Angeles artist, played by Ewan MacGregor, building a relationship with his newly-out father (Christopher Plummer) in the last year of the older man’s life. Beginners earned Plummer an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and features a talking Jack Russell terrier. In short, it’s pretty much perfect.
When Megan (Natasha Lyonne) shows more interest in being a vegetarian and female-fronted folk rock, her parents send her away to have her presumed homosexuality cured. Conversion therapy is no joke, but Jamie Babbit’s satire perfectly skewers puritanical homophobia on its head—and it has a joyful, happy ending. (Plus, RuPaul!)
Dee Rees’s gorgeous directorial debut stars Adepero Oduye as Alike, a Brooklyn teenager who comes to terms with her own sexuality and puts the comforts of friends and family at risk as she discovers how to express her identity.
On a scorching August day, Al Pacino’s Sonny attempts to rob a bank in Brooklyn, and…things do not go well. The instant, intense media fame Sonny earns feels more relevant than ever, and things turn surprisingly tender when we learn he plans to use the stolen money for his lover’s gender confirmation surgery.
A Pakistani Brit and his former lover, who has become a fascist street punk, reunite and run a family laundromat. The characters deal with the materialism and anti-immigrant furor of Thatcher’s England—elements that feel just a little bit too relevant at the moment.
Based on the autobiography of gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, Julian Schnabel’s film brought Javier Bardem to the world’s attention and highlighted the cruelty and homophobia of Castro’s Cuba and Reagan’s America
John Cameron Mitchell brings his cult musical about „internationally ignored“ transgender rock star Hedwig to the screen. In this version, Mitchell shows us the backstory he was only able to tell on stage, and introduces us to Michael Pitt’s Tommy Gnosis. The rare rock musical that actually rocks.
Tom Ford’s directorial debut adapts Christopher Isherwood’s novel about an English professor in returning to life a year after the death of his lover. As you would expect from Ford, it is a relentlessly stylish affair, with indelible performances by Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.
Some might find this adaptation of Paul Rudnick’s off-Broadway play to be a little dated with its treatment of the dating scene in early to mid-’90s New York City. But Jeffrey’s strength is found in its comic and playful look at a search for love amid the AIDS crisis, offering the kind of unabashed joy most of its contemporaries were unable to match.
Lisa Cholodenko’s chic directorial debut features a revelatory performance from Ally Sheedy as a prematurely retired photographer, and Radha Mitchell as the young woman who can revitalize her career.
Pedro Almodóvar’s comic melodramas are filled to the brim with delightfully absurd characters, and his Oscar-winning All About My Mother offers some of the best. After the death of her son, Manuela seeks out to find his father—who now goes by the name of Lola. Along for the journey is a young nun (played by Penelope Cruz) who is newly pregnant with Lola’s baby.
A group of London LGBT activists form a coalition with striking Welsh miners in Thatcher’s U.K. Stephen Beresford’s Golden Globe-nominated screenplay underscores the need, as urgent as ever, for oppressed groups to join forces. There is power in a union!
Norman Rene’s film follows a group of gay men through the early years of the AIDS crisis, one day per year, starting on the day the New York Times first covered the story of the „gay cancer.“ A deep meditation on grief, gallows humor, and the families we make with our friends.
What do a recently divorced woman and a middle-aged gay man have in common? They’re both having an affair with a charming and stylish artist—and they’re aware that the lover they share in common isn’t exclusive to them. John Schlesinger’s acclaimed drama depicts two people who seek surprising ways to break free of their dull lives and reclaim their untamed youth.
When her older lover, Orlando, dies suddenly, Marina must put her grief on pause as Orlando’s ex-wife and family immediately shun her because she is transgender. The winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, Sebastián Lelio’s drama features a stirring lead performance from actress Daniela Vega.
A closeted Northern Englishman prepares to take over his family farm, with some help from a Romanian farmhand whom his father has hired. A heartbreaking depiction of British repression, with a supporting performance from a newborn lamb that will make you vegan for at least an hour. It’s as delicate and beautiful as it is— let’s be honest here—extremely hot.
Spielberg followed up Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with this adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel. In her film debut, Whoopi Goldberg plays Celie, an African-American woman in the early 20th century, who fights her way through oppression and abuse and finds an unexpected love along the way.
This slice of gay life in mid-’80s Manhattan gave Steve Buscemi his first major film role, and tackled the AIDS crisis in a frank, non-sensational, even humorous manner. Along the way, glimpses of a long-forgotten bohemian New York, Reagan-era Fire Island, and a pre-Drew Carey Show Kathy Kinney
Shot on iPhones along Santa Monica Boulevard’s unofficial red light district, Tangerine follows two transgender sex workers and one lovesick cab driver through a particularly eventful Christmas Eve. Director Sean Baker found his leads—two first-time film actors—at the actual donut shop where much of the movie’s action takes place.
Two drag queens (Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce) and a transgender woman (Terence Stamp) travel across the barren Australian Outback in a giant pink bus named Priscilla en route to a cabaret gig in Alice Springs. Hilarity ensues as their travels involve misadventure after misadventure, but the trio come together as a family unit as they learn more about each other and their personal lives
This film kept its NC-17 rating for some explicit, passionate sex scenes between leads Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, but it is at its heart a movie about youth, art, heartbreak, and the thrill of exploring one’s identity.
Who among us hasn’t been hanging out in the late 1700s, waiting on our customary proposal portrait to be finished so that we can find a proper spouse, only to fall for our portrait artist of the same sex? Rats! Fooled by queer impulses again. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of the most recent additions to the queer canon, and it already boasts quite a reputation for examining the complex relationship between two women who dared to love in an era when their love was absolutely forbidden.
The first mainstream queer film of the new millennium, Brokeback Mountain ushered its themes into the mainstream. Heath Ledger’s shy Ennis del Mar falls in what he cannot articulate as love with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack Twist over a long, lonely winter, and their lives bounce off each other’s for years afterward. Ang Lee and screenwriter Larry McMurtry expand Annie Proulx’s short story into a film without one false moment.
Melissa McCarthy got an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lee Israel, a caustic celebrity biographer who turns to literary forgery when her career stalls. Richard E. Grant is wonderful as her co-conspirator, but it’s McCarthy’s attempt at romance with Dolly Wells’ shy bookstore owner that gives the movie its heart.
The greatest, most achingly beautiful gay male romance movie. Timothée Chalamet plays the precocious Elio, a teenager living in Italy who becomes infatuated with an older American student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), who is staying with his family for the summer. What begins as a contentious friendship turns into a full-blown love affair as the two young men spend their idle summer days in the lush Mediterranean locale, bracing themselves for an inevitable heartbreak.
If any film can be credited with kicking off our cultural conversation on gender, this is it. Hilary Swank’s breakthrough performance anchors Kimberly Peirce’s film about the murder of Nesbraskan trans man Brandon Teena. Boys Don’t Cry was originally given an NC-17 for even addressing trans issues, but was later downgraded to an R.
Mike Nichols’s American remake of La Cage aux Folles features Robin Williams as a gay nightclub owner whose son announces his engagement to the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician. In typical farce style, his partner (Nathan Lane)—the star of his club’s drag show—poses as his dowdy wife in order to convince his son’s future in-laws that they’re a wholesome American family.
Set in the early ’90s, this energetic and emotional drama follows a group of activists in Paris fighting the government and its slow-moving efforts to battle the HIV/AIDS epidemic. While highlighting the dramatic and powerful work from ACT UP, the film also depicts the personal stories of those fighting for their lives, delivering a human and urgent remembrance of the plague that afflicted millions across the globe—and continues on today.
Todd Haynes brings Patricia Highsmith’s cult novel to the big screen in this lush and seductive film following a young shopgirl named Therese (Rooney Mara) who finds herself charmed by an alluring older woman named Carol (Cate Blanchett). The two set out on a road trip on which they consummate an unspoken passion for each other—one that ultimately brings ruin to Carol’s marriage and awakens dark desires within Therese.
Tom Hanks won his first Oscar for his performance as Andrew Beckett, a successful lawyer who is fired from his firm once the senior partners discover he has AIDS. Jonathan Demme’s searing drama was the first mainstream film to tackle the AIDS crisis, and it gave a familiar face and voice to a marginalized community often ignored by their neighbors and left to suffer because of an intolerant society.
Based on the play by Mart Crawley, and released less than a year after the Stonewall riots, The Boys in the Band perfectly depicts the complex experience of being a gay man at the time—at times joyful, often times confusing, painful, and informed by self-loathing. This comedy still manages to balance the bite and the tenderness for its collection of characters, with its group of young gay men in New York City falling in and out of love (and friendship), and unknowingly on the brink of a cultural revolution.
The only film on this list to earn an Oscar for Best Picture—and deservedly so. Barry Jenkins explores masculinity and repression in his study of Chiron, a young man coming of age in Miami (and played by three different actors at various stages of his life) who grapples with his sexual identity amid his troubled relationship with his crack-addicted mother. Chiron longs to break free of the predetermined path set out for himself by his environment, a journey set into motion by encounter with one of his male peers
Cinema Gay: Filmes e Curtas
Filmes com imagens, situações e personagens gaysIMDb:
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First Trans film (Glen or Glenda 1953) questionnaire
It would be great if you could answer a questionnaire that focuses on a film that hosted the first transgender character. I have shorted the film into a mixture of clips (roughly 5 minutes). You are in no way expected to take part in this survey, if you do, your answers will be used to approve or disapprove a hypothesis regarding minority (LGBT) representation in Hollywood. The questionnaire is roughly 15-20 minutes long.
Please help me identify an indie gay film
It’s been a while, so the details are not entirely accurate, but it was an indie-type film from the early 2000s and I think it features around 3~4 separate but maybe interconnected stories. (NOT Four Moons) One was about a closeted blond college athlete (I think he was featured on the cover) who gets recognized on a college campus (unnamed and huge modern-looking school) by a black man he met at a gay bar. Another takes place in Mexico(?) I think they work at a fast food restaurant? That’s really all I can remember. If any of this sounds remotely familiar I would appreciate your help with some possible titles!
50. The Children’s Hour (1961)
Old-fashioned and melodramatic it may be, but playwright Lillian Hellman’s tale of decent lives destroyed by idle gossip still hits hard. MacLaine and Hepburn play the proprietors of a prestigious all-girls school who are forced to close when an especially psychotic little brat claims she saw them kissing. Hepburn was sold as the movie’s star – she’s the dainty, glamorous one with the macho boyfriend (James Garner). But it’s MacLaine who stands out, as the determined bachelorette forced to face a few things she’s been hiding from herself. The supporting performances are stunning, especially Miriam Hopkins as MacLaine’s voracious aunt, and it’s lovely (and, even in 2015, unusual) to see a movie so dominated by women, with Garner the only guy who gets more than a line or two. TH
47. Pariah (2011)
Dee Rees’s Brooklyn-set 2011 feature is the story of butch African-American lesbian teenager Alike (Adepero Oduye) as she tries to deal with feelings that increasingly put her at odds with her family (check out her mother’s aghast response to things like Alike’s preference for boys‘ underwear). The influence of religion in the family’s life is also crucial – though that nice new girl at church doesn’t exactly turn out to be the straight-and-narrow influence Mom had in mind. Expanded from a short film with the help of executive producer Spike Lee. BW
45. Stranger Inside (2001)
Prison has been a perennial setting for lesbian drama of one stripe or another, from 1960s exploitation pictures to ‘Orange Is the New Black’. ‘Stranger Inside’ – directed for HBO in 2001 by Cheryl Dunye, but released to cinemas in the UK – stands out both for its consultation of actual prisoners, and for its rich evocation of aspects of African American identity seldom seen on screen. Treasure (Yolonda Lee) is a juvenile inmate who engineers a transfer to adult jail hoping to find her birth mother. Instead she finds herself navigating a daunting world of aggression, intimacy, religion, politics and an unforgiving pecking order. BW
44. Paris Is Burning (1990)
Jennie Livingston’s 1990 portrait of New York’s drag ball culture might be the most seminal LGBT documentary ever made. Initially a student project, it surveys with acuteness and sensitivity the underground scene that facilitated community and expression for many who were disenfranchised by their sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity and poverty. It also gave the world vogueing, as demonstrated by the legendary likes of Pepper LaBeija, Willi Ninja and Angie Xtravaganza, who are among the revelatory interviews. In many ways a response to mainstream pop culture, the ball scene in turn influenced it – from Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ to ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. BW
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
The first X-rated film ever to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, John Schlesinger’s sad, soulful portrait of a male prostitute trying to get by on the unforgiving streets of New York City may not raise that many eyebrows today – but its view of masculine insecurity and male companionship hasn’t dated at all. Tall, lunkish Texan Joe Buck (Jon Voight, in his best ever role) comes to the city with dreams of becoming a gigolo to society ladies, but gets more attention in the lonelier corners of the gay community. The film never puts a pin on Joe’s own sexuality, but the gay undertow is clear in his gradually tender friendship with scuzzy street hustler Ratso Rizzo — immortally played by Dustin Hoffman. GL
40. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The story, on the surface, doesn’t hold any obvious LGBT significance: it’s the simple fantasy of a country girl, Dorothy (Judy Garland), who encounters a magical land after she receives a bump on the head during a storm. So why has ‘The Wizard of Oz’ become an LGBT classic, even giving us the term ‚friends of Dorothy‘? Cultural theorists have spent many hours debating the answer to that question, with some suggesting that it’s simply a matter of camp and others digging deeper and equating the black-and-white conservatism of the film’s Kansas scenes to repression and even homophobia, and the colour and energy of Oz to being out and proud. Whatever the reason, somehow it just makes sense. DC
35. Pink Narcissus (1971)
Goings-on behind closed doors have always been part of the LGBT experience – including LGBT filmmaking. Throughout the 1960s, James Bidgood shot a series of no-budget luxurious fantasias on 8mm film in his New York apartment, featuring hot young thing Bobby Kendall in such guises as a sexy matador, a sexy belly dancer and a sexy slave boy. Strung together as the erotic imaginings of an idling gigolo, these gorgeously imaginative scenes were released anonymously in 1971 as ‘Pink Narcissus’. Their ability to quicken the pulse while retaining a kind of kitsch innocence made them an influence on French artists Pierre et Gilles, among others. BW
32. Edward II (1991)
Cast: Steven Waddington, Andrew Tiernan, Tilda Swinton
Derek Jarman’s typically eccentric spin on Christopher Marlowe’s 1593 play about the doomed fourteenth-century king (played by Steven Waddington) catapults the present into the past – not least by having protesters from the pressure group Outrage playing characters in the drama. In exploring Edward II’s sexual relationship with the unpopular Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) – a rare example of a gay romance in the literature of the time – Jarman lashes out at establishment forces then and now. Jarman’s interest is more modern than historical, but he forcefully and playfully makes his point about homophobia through the ages. DC
31. Pink Flamingos (1972)
A lot of LGBT films ask mainstream audiences for sympathy, understanding, even pity. That ain’t John Waters’s style. In his delirious realm of bad taste, it’s the straights who deserve pity for their intolerably timid stifling conformity while the freaks live it up on their own grotesque terms. The apex of this sensibility is of course 1972’s midnight movie par excellence, ‘Pink Flamingos’, in which outsized drag legend Divine defends her title of Filthiest Person Alive by any means necessary. Cue sex, drugs, murder, cannibalism, fame and – how could we forget – the shit-eating grin to end them all. BW
26. Bound (1996)
On release, ‘Bound’ was taken to task by some sectors of the LGBT community. Here was a film centred on a lesbian relationship but directed by two male movie nerds, a product of the post-Tarantino irony boom in which a gay relationship was used as a shock tactic to make an otherwise traditional crime flick stand out from the crowd. But in the wake of Larry Wachowski’s gender transition to Lana, the film’s gender politics have been reassessed. Now ‘Bound’ can be appreciated for what it is: a heartfelt, quietly subversive, wonderfully entertaining thriller having a whale of a time flipping genre conventions on their backs and watching them kick. TH
25. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Michelle Williams
Imagine John Waters directing a teen take on ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and you’ve got a rough idea of this genius pray-the-gay-away satire, in which Natasha Lyonne’s pom-pom princess is sent away to re-education camp when her parents and friends suspect she’s a little that way inclined. The cast is flawless – Michelle Williams, Melanie Lynskey, Julie Delpy and RuPaul butching it up as a camp counsellor in a ‘straight is great’ t-shirt – and the use of colour is eye-frazzling. If you’ve not seen it, look forward to a night of pleasure. TH
21. The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo
On the surface, Lisa Cholodenko’s sunny, heartwarming comic drama about family life doesn’t seem very unusual. There’s something familiar, even conventional, about its take on parent-teen tensions and infidelity. In a sense, however, it’s the film’s sticking to convention that makes it sweetly subversive: its portrait of a lesbian two-mum household in Californian suburbia demonstrates how any variety of family can fracture and unite along much the same lines. Also, who wouldn’t want Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as their mums? It’s a ‘love is love’ film made before the catchphrase took off, and a lot less mushy than that makes it sound. GL
20. Pride (2014)
In 1984, when the miners went on strike people got together all around the UK to raise money for the miners and their families. One of the biggest fundraisers was a group of gay and lesbian campaigners in London – who saw the harassment of the miners by Margaret Thatcher’s government as mirroring their own persecution. Calling themselves LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners), they set off from London in two minibuses and a clapped-out campervan to a village in South Wales carrying buckets of loose change raised in gay clubs. In 2014 that story was turned into the gorgeous, biggest-hearted Brit film ‘Pride’. CC
19. The Boys in the Band (1970)
A decade before he sparked outrage with ‘Cruising’ (in which the leather scene supposedly nudges Al Pacino towards homicide), director William Friedkin presented this portrait of a group of New York friends on the cusp of liberation. Set around a birthday party, it’s one of the first features dealing with gay life on its own terms, including copious boozing, relationship strains and lacerating self-recombination. It’s noteworthy for some electrifying performances, transplanted from the stage – playwright Mart Crowley adapted his own hit play – and location footage shot at Julius, now the oldest surviving gay bar in Manhattan. BW
16. Fox and His Friends (1975)
Cast: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm
‘Fox and His Friends’ might just be the unstoppable Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s most lacerating, mordant and righteous takedown of postwar bourgeois hypocrisy (and Lord knows there’s some competition). The enfant terrible of radical German cinema stars in his own 1975 feature as a working-class gay boy who wants love, craves acceptance and happens to have won the lottery — the cue for his merciless exploitation by more savvy acquaintances. As well as being a trenchant case for class consciousness, it’s a bruising reminder that people can share your sexuality without giving a shit about your welfare. BW
6. The Killing of Sister George (1968)
Six years after delivering the 1962 Grand Guignol camp classic ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’, director Robert Aldrich was back at it with this towering exercise in macabre lesbian psychodrama. Beryl Reid wolfs down the scenery as June, an actor known and loved as sweet Sister George in a TV soap but in real life a boozed-up monster given to molesting nuns in taxi cabs. Her behaviour threatens both her work and her relationship with pliable Childie (Susannah York), yet Reid maintains our sympathy. The film includes scenes shot at real-life legendary London lesbian club the Gateways. BW
5. All About My Mother (1999)
Pedro Almodovar’s filmography practically constitutes an LGBT cinema canon in itself. But this rich, ripe, wrenching Oscar winner from 1999 may represent his most generous Valentine to the community. It’s also the ideal bridging point between the messy, manic high camp of his earlier career and his later, more refined embrace of melodrama and ‘women’s cinema’. Cecilia Roth is Manuela, a grieving mother searching Barcelona’s colourful queer scene for the transvestite who unwittingly fathered her late son. If that sounds like a lot, Almodovar isn’t afraid to overload his film, incorporating pregnant nuns, stage divas and the Aids crisis into a heady stew. It’s a film that finally celebrates the togetherness of outsiders. GL
4. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
For years, ‘playing gay’ was seen as a brave move for young male movie stars (what did Hollywood think: that straight women would get all confused and suddenly stop fancying their boy-crushes?). ‘My Own Private Idaho’ is the film that conclusively disproved that lazy assumption. River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves play a pair of rent-boy drifters on the streets of Seattle – and still the tweenies swooned and put their posters up on the walls. Gus van Sant’s film is dreamy, earthy and pretentious in the best sense, and both leads are impossibly beautiful. TH
2. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
‘We have come a long way,’ Hilary Swank said on stage at the 1999 Oscars, brandishing the Best Actress prize she’d just won for starring in Kimberly Peirce’s tough-minded but profoundly compassionate biopic of Brandon Teena, a young transgender man murdered for living his truth in the American Midwest. It sounded self-aggrandising to some, but Swank was right: Peirce’s film was one that opened minds and hearts to the concept of trans identity at the turn of the millennium, dramatising Teena’s identity crisis with unsentimental frankness and shivery sensuality. (The latter most present in an aching romance with Chloe Sevigny’s trailer-park dreamgirl.) And while trans activists continue to decry the casting of a cis actor in the lead, Swank’s bruised, many-layered performance remains astounding. GL
1. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
It made over £140 million worldwide, which means that Ang Lee’s muscular yet delicate cinematic interpretation of a slender Annie Proulx story will be hard to beat as the highest-grossing gay romance of all time. It’s something of a miracle that it reached such a summit – in addition to scoring eight Oscar nominations – without compromising the subtle, laconic sadness of Proulx’s prose. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the tragedy-bound love story as strapping sheep-herders in 1960s Wyoming. Lines like ‘I wish I knew how to quit you’ immediately entered the all-time quote list. And to this day, no one can look at a flannel shirt on a hanger without getting misty-eyed. GL