The Best Gay Movies for Men

If you REALLY enjoy watching good movies in every genre, and appreciate a good story and characters.. Being gay or not, it doesn’t matter: Love is Universal. Don’t get me wrong girls, but this list is „specially“ for Guys. Who wants to feel connected somehow to another story. And maybe help them somehow. I don’t know… I tried not to be too pretentious with „cult“ movies, but also I tried not to be stupid with my choices. You see, I like Scorsese, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Malick, Kurosawa, Coppola… so I guess I’m a movie passionate in the average. =D I decided to include the BAD ones too, so you won’t waste your precious time! Check out my comments about the movies! The bads are at the end of the list! So, for now, there are few of them, but soon as I watch, I’ll update! xDIt’s in preference order!Any Suggestions? E-mail

The Best Gay Movies

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.

The Best Gay Movies

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1. Weekend(II) (2011)

After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what’s expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.

Director:Andrew Haigh | Stars:Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman

Definitely the most enlightened gay movie out there! Amazing love story with realistic dialogues. It’s so fresh and delightful, you’ll definitely go for another watch after seeing it! My favorite! And if you watch it, you’ll know why!

 1. Weekend(II) (2011)

2. (2014 TV Movie)

A gay activist attempts to raise H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. awareness during the early 1980s.

Director:Ryan Murphy | Stars:Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Frank De Julio, William DeMeritt

Once in a while a gay themed movie comes along, takes your heart by the gut and make you re-evaluate everything you believe. What is a true love, what is a true friend, a true family. The cast is superb, includes actors like Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jonathan Groff, Jim Parsons, and the list goes on. The screenplay is so well written and the story is about a very important period of time: the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981. By the end of the movie I was in awe. Absolutely brilliant and touching! AMAZING! 10/10!

3. (2009)

An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.

Director:Tom Ford | Stars:Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult

OMG. What was that? Tom Ford directing a movie? I’m completely speechless! The editing, screenplay, art direction… This film is so perfectly well done, that the only name that comes to my mind with an equivalent would be Scorsese’s The Aviator. Colin Firth earned my eternal respect after this one! A masterpiece!

4. (2002)

Romance, politics, sex and humor all collide during two men’s 11-year journey of passion, self-discovery and adventure.

Director:Miles Swain | Stars:Larry Sullivan, Steve Braun, Ray Baker, James Handy

The Trip is so beautifully well done, the actors are just amazing, and the story makes you want it to never end! This is the best gay romantic-comedy movie I’ve ever seen, it is fresh, original and very funny! Amazing love story, this is the type of movie you watch with someone or alone, but beware: You won’t be the same after! 10/10!

5. Holding the Man(2015)

The warm, funny and achingly sad story of the 15-year-long love affair between Timothy Conigrave and the boy he fell in love with at high school, John Caleo.

Director:Neil Armfield | Stars:Ryan Corr, Sarah Snook, Francesco Ferdinandi, Craig Stott

Okay, first things first: This movie is absolutely BRILLIANT. Emotional as it can get, dramatic, fun… a mix of everything you want to watch in a movie! As if these reasons wasn’t enough to be a near-perfect movie, it is loaded with also an alert to young people about (guess what) CHOICES. AIDS is also a plot here, and how it is portrayed, it’s exquisite!Definitely one of the best gay movies out there, just go for it!Thank me later =D10/10

6. (2005)

Ennis and Jack are two shepherds who develop a sexual and emotional relationship. Their relationship becomes complicated when both of them get married to their respective girlfriends.

Director:Ang Lee | Stars:Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid

Ang Lee is a master. This is the famous „gay cowboy love story“ which everybody talked about in 2006, and lost the Oscars unfairly! It’s an amazing film, amazing actors… You won’t regret it!

8. Freier Fall(2013)

A soon-to-be-father policeman falls for a gay fellow officer and his life starts falling apart.

Director:Stephan Lacant | Stars:Hanno Koffler, Max Riemelt, Attila Borlan, Katharina Schüttler

What an AMAZING movie! It’s not all centered in the gay plot, but how a Man take his journey to find himself. Great cast, great dialogues, great EVERYTHING! A german movie you shouldn’t miss for anything in this world! Watch it!

10. Prayers for Bobby(2009 TV Movie)

True story of Mary Griffith, gay rights crusader, whose teenage son committed suicide due to her religious intolerance. Based on the book of the same title by Leroy Aarons.

Director:Russell Mulcahy | Stars:Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Ryan Kelley, Austin Nichols

Such an inspiring movie. Brought me to tears! AMAZING story about unconditional love, God and the ignorance of the churches.

11. (2005 TV Movie)

A young Jewish girl looking to escape the clutches of the Third Reich after seeing her parents and sister brutally slain while attempting to make their way to England is sheltered by an old… See full summary »

Director:Christian Faure | Stars:Jérémie Renier, Louise Monot, Bruno Todeschini, Nicolas Gob

Emotional, sad and brilliant. Not only one of the best gay movies I’ve ever seen. But one of the best movies EVER. Period. Please, do yourself a favor, and watch this film.

12. (2009)

An unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside; a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions.

Director:Javier Fuentes-León | Stars:Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo, Manolo Cardona, Attilia Boschetti

First, I’d like to thank Marcos Garcia and Little Brwngirl for recommending this movie to me. It’s not every movie that touches you just like this does. I was hooked from the very beginning, and I couldn’t help crying at the end. A secret affair between a fisherman and a painter, the utopia of nobody knowing you’re gay, the fear of seeking your own happiness and what comes with that. This movie will change your point of view in a lot of things. I’m speechless. The actors, photography, music, screenplay… everything comes near to perfection. And there’s only one certainty: this is a MUST-SEE. Absolutely amazing! 10/10

14. 4 Moons(2014)

Four stories of love and disgust between men of different generations facing their conflicts and their fears

Director:Sergio Tovar Velarde | Stars:Antonio Velázquez, Alejandro de la Madrid, Cesar Ramos, Gustavo Egelhaaf

WOW. What a pleasant surprise this movie was for me! I loved it! Absolutely loved it! Each moon represents one age of a gay man’s life, and I must be completely honest here, I might not be all interested in all stories at the beginning, but once you let yourself go through the movie, it captures your heart in a way that… gosh! I even share a tear.. It was moving and delicate! You gotta see this one! 10/10!

18. Yossi(2012)

This sequel to Yossi and Jagger finds Dr. Yossi Gutmann reminiscing about his love ten years after his death; however, as he encounters a group of young soldiers, one of them, Tom, reignites his romantic feelings.

Director:Eytan Fox | Stars:Ohad Knoller, Shlomo Sadan, Oz Zehavi, Lior Ashkenazi

This is the sequel to Eytan Fox’s Yossi & Jagger. Ohad Knoller (Yossi) is just brilliant on this movie! One of the best gay movies I’ve ever seen! It’s more powerful than its first, more romantic, more funny and much more touching.

20. Loose Cannons(2010)

Tommaso is the youngest son of the Cantones, a large, traditional southern Italian family operating a pasta-making business since the 1960s. On a trip home from Rome, where he studies … See full summary »

Director:Ferzan Ozpetek | Stars:Riccardo Scamarcio, Nicole Grimaudo, Alessandro Preziosi, Ennio Fantastichini

This is truly a masterpiece! The story is not all centered in the gay plot, but in what secrets and the fear of living a happy life can cause to a whole family. This movie inspire people to follow their hearts, even if other people are against it. Beautiful and sometimes sad, „Loose Cannons“ is one of the best movies I’ve watched this year. 10/10!

22. Maurice(1987)

After his lover rejects him, a young man trapped by the oppressiveness of Edwardian society tries to come to terms with and accept his sexuality.

Director:James Ivory | Stars:James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant, Denholm Elliott

Maurice is about convenience, about people that even knowing they’re gay, rather keep living a life as straight. But it’s also about courage, and what comes with that. Very entertaining and surprising! It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s better than most average movies out there in any genre! Go for it, and you won’t regret!

23. Date and Switch(2014)

Two guys who make a pact to lose their virginity before prom find their friendship tested when one of them comes out of the closet.

Director:Chris Nelson | Stars:Nicholas Braun, Hunter Cope, Dakota Johnson, Gary Cole

Finally a gay movie that is really fun and also breaks the typical gay stereotype. Two best friends have their relationship troubled when one of them come out as gay. Great actors, great story and some really embarrassing moments makes this movie a good one! Worth watching it! 8/10.

25. (2008)

They were the perfect loving couple, well, almost. Emmanuel wanted a child but Philippe didn’t. One day, however, Emmanuel decides to take the plunge, at the risk of losing Philippe. But how do you make a child when you are gay?

Director:Vincent Garenq | Stars:Lambert Wilson, Pilar López de Ayala, Pascal Elbé, Anne Brochet

Very moving and also funny! This french movie was really a treasure to watch. An experience in every scene! One of the best you can find!! AMAZING!

28. (2008)

Jeff is taking care of everything Mark left behind when he died in an accident. Mark was about to have a visitor, Andrea, an Italian guy he met online. Jeff and Andrea have the chance to share memories of the Mark they knew while getting to know each other.

Director:Yen Tan | Stars:Adam Neal Smith, Alessandro Calza, Chuck Blaum, Ethel Lung

While in portuguese, „Tchau“ (same as Ciao) can only mean Good-bye, in italian, Ciao can also mean Hello. And that’s what this movie is about, good byes and hellos. What life bring to us, and how everything can be gone in a second. The movie looks a bit Amateur, but its quality and sensitivity is so impressive that at the end you won’t even notice the camera’s bad movie is spectacular, it’s not so well produced or beautifully done as Tom Ford’s „A Single Man“, but definitely is one of the best gay movies out there. Amazing work of art. 9/10!

31. Christopher and His Kind(2011 TV Movie)

How real-life British-American author Christopher Isherwood and his German boyfriend Heinz met and fell in love during the 1930s and the rise of Nazism.

Director:Geoffrey Sax | Stars:Matt Smith, Imogen Poots, Lindsay Duncan, Perry Millward

The life of Christopher Isherwood (A Single man) told by such an extraordinary movie! I’m very impressed with these actors! Such a beautiful story of love, war and friendship.

32. Boy Culture(2006)

A successful male escort describes in a series of confessions his tangled romantic relationships with his two roommates and an older, enigmatic male client.

Director:Q. Allan Brocka | Stars:Derek Magyar, George Jonson, Patrick Bauchau, Darryl Stephens

Yes, this film is absolutely amazing. The main character „X“ is very complex and unpredictable. And that’s one of the things that keeps you hooked on the movie! This movie analyses how the gay scene deals with love, and I found every single thing on this movie very true about it. „Boy Culture“ is brilliant!

33. Clapham Junction(2007 TV Movie)

A chronicle of 36 hours in the lives of a number of interconnected gay men in Clapham, South London.

Director:Adrian Shergold | Stars:Tom Beard, James Bellamy, Robin Berry, Rachael Blake

This movie is SO good!! The characters are very complex, and the actors are superb! I didn’t think I’d be this hooked when I started to watch this. It’s VERY real. But, I must say, this is no „teenager“ movie. This is for adults.

34. Patrik, Age 1.5(2008)

A Swedish gay couple adopt what they think is an 18-month-old orphan, only to meet their new son, a 15-year-old homophobic delinquent.

Director:Ella Lemhagen | Stars:Gustaf Skarsgård, Torkel Petersson, Tom Ljungman, Amanda Davin

if you wanna watch a light movie, but really well done. This might be your choice!! One of the best!

35. Latter Days(2003)

A promiscuous gay party animal falls for a young Mormon missionary, leading to crisis, cliché, and catastrophe.

Director:C. Jay Cox | Stars:Wes Ramsey, Steve Sandvoss, Mary Kay Place, Amber Benson

Everybody puts this film as the best one in gay genre. I quite disagree, but I don’t take its merits for being called that. It is Amazing indeed. It’s a feel-good movie. So You will enjoy it, for sure. But if you want to watch your first gay movie, go for „Shelter“ xD

36. Protect Me from What I Want(2009)

Saleem, an Indian student living in Leeds with his parents, meets Daz in a gay cruising spot, and they have a night of mutually enjoyable sex. Saleem is nonetheless ashamed of what he has done but, on leaving the next day, does turn round to smile at Daz.

Director:Dominic Leclerc | Stars:Naveed Choudhry, Elliott Tittensor

Beautifully made. Amazing acting. So well done, you will feel impressed!

37. Just a Question of Love(2000 TV Movie)

After his gay cousin dies from hepatitis, young Laurent, who lives with his best friend Carole, falls in love with Cedric, a plant scientist. He’s afraid to inform his conservative parents that he is gay.

Director:Christian Faure | Stars:Cyrille Thouvenin, Stéphan Guérin-Tillié, Éva Darlan, Caroline Veyt

Funny and dramatic. Reminds me Woody Allen! Just AMAZING!

40. Tell No One(2012)

Matthia is about to move to Madrid to be with his boyfriend Eduard, so he won’t have to reveal to the family of being gay. Eduard, however, is convinced that their marriage has the blessing… See full summary »

Director:Ivan Silvestrini | Stars:Josafat Vagni, Monica Guerritore, Francesco Montanari, Antonino Bruschetta

41. The Man Who Loved Yngve(2008)

A teenage boy loses his footing when he finds himself drawn to the new boy in class.

Director:Stian Kristiansen | Stars:Rolf Kristian Larsen, Arthur Berning, Ida Elise Broch, Ole Christoffer Ertvaag

This movie’s touching and funny! It tells the history of a young teen called Jarle on his self-discovery as a gay person when he falls for a new student of his school, Yngve. While Jarle is a „revolutionary“ with his band and girlfriend, Yngve is the opposite: a bourgeois boy. Amazing movie, amazing actors! Watch it!

42. Touch of Pink(2004)

A gay Canadian living in London has his perfectly crafted life upset when his devoutly Muslim mother comes to visit.

Director:Ian Iqbal Rashid | Stars:Jimi Mistry, Kris Holden-Ried, Suleka Mathew, Kyle MacLachlan

Definitely better than what I expected! A great surprise! Amazing movie! One of the best romantic comedy I’ve ever seen!

44. Bad Education(2004)

An examination on the effect of Franco-era religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two longtime friends.

Director:Pedro Almodóvar | Stars:Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Javier Cámara, Daniel Giménez Cacho

Bad Education is a non-stop drama conducted with perfection by Pedro Almodóvar. Really amazing! This was actually my first gay movie! And I can remember until now how shocked I was at the end. Brilliant!

45. (2004)

A close friendship between two crew teammates is tested when one slowly discovers he’s gay and attracted to the other.

Director:Marco Kreuzpaintner | Stars:Robert Stadlober, Kostja Ullmann, Miriam Morgenstern, Jürgen Tonkel

47. Trick(1999)

The misadventures of two young gay men, trying to find a place to be alone, one night in Manhattan.

Director:Jim Fall | Stars:Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, Tori Spelling, Brad Beyer

A really good comedy with a great end! The characters are so charismatics! You’ll definitely love this one!

50. His Secret Life(2001)

After a deathly car accident, Antonia starts dating her husband’s friends and finds the truth about his life.

Director:Ferzan Ozpetek | Stars:Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi, Serra Yilmaz, Gabriel Garko

Intriguing, Emotional and Realistic. This movie makes you think about what would you do in every single situation exposed. Despite the horrible visual effect at the beginning (you will know what I’m talking about when you see it LOL), the movie is really superb!!

55. (2005)

A young French-Canadian, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, struggles to reconcile his emerging homosexuality with his father’s conservative values and his own Catholic beliefs.

Director:Jean-Marc Vallée | Stars:Michel Côté, Marc-André Grondin, Danielle Proulx, Émile Vallée

The soundtrack of this movie has plenty of Pink Floyd and David Bowie… and the actors are incredible!

56. Make the Yuletide Gay(2009)

A gay student who is „out“ at college but not to his family receives an unexpected visit from his boyfriend while at home during the holidays.

Director:Rob Williams | Stars:Keith Jordan, Wyatt Fenner, Steve Callahan, Adamo Ruggiero

I wasn’t expecting THIS good! hahahahaha It’s a very silly movie, sometimes trashy, but it feels so good, and c’mon! It’s a holiday movie!! And, one of the best, by the way! REALLY! This is totally in my top 5 christmas movies ever!

57. (2006 TV Movie)

After a gay party planner discovers his brother is behind the governor’s speech against gay marriage, he decides to go on strike for equal rights.

Director:Jim Fall | Stars:John Stamos, Eric Dane, Bonnie Somerville, Sean Maher

59. (2011)

A gay man nearing 30, and in a 7-year relationship rut, taps into an otherworldly Internet ad that starts omnisciently controlling his life.

Director:J.C. Calciano | Stars:Houston Rhines, Noah Schuffman, Matt Lewis, Andy Anderson

61. The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy(2000)

An insight into the turbulent lives and loves of a gay clique based in Los Angeles.

Director:Greg Berlanti | Stars:Timothy Olyphant, Dean Cain, Zach Braff, Ben Weber

Amazing and funny! This is a real romantic comedy deal! Worth watching!

63. Shank(2009)

A closeted teenage street punk takes up with the latest roughed-up gay victim of his bullying gang, which does not set well with the gang’s drugged-up, brotherly leader.

Directors:Simon Pearce, Christian Martin | Stars:Wayne Virgo, Marc Laurent, Tom Bott, Alice Payne

British gay movies are usually the best. And this movie just proves it.

65. Gayby(2012)

Jenn (straight) and Matt (gay) are best friends from college who are now in their thirties. Single by choice, they decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together… the old fashioned way.

Director:Jonathan Lisecki | Stars:Jenn Harris, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Matthew Wilkas, Christian Coulson

66. The 10 Year Plan(2014)

Best friends make a pact to be together in a decade if neither finds love. With two months left until their deadline, they both scramble to find someone to avoid being each other’s last resort.

Director:J.C. Calciano | Stars:Jack Turner, Michael Adam Hamilton, Teri Reeves, Moronai Kanekoa

Maybe I am becoming too picky.. lol However, this movie is still good! It’s not a masterpiece or the best gay movie out there.. far from it! But it’s great!The actors were good, and story is captivating! I recommend you this one to an afternoon at home!

67. (2013)

A cocky young man travels to Oregon to work on an apple farm. Out of his element, he finds his lifestyle and notions being picked apart by everyone who crosses his path.

Director:Kyle Patrick Alvarez | Stars:Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell

It’s a comedy-drama movie that analyses a „christian“ who’s gay, but want to fight against his own sexuality. Sometimes it makes you want to go into the movie and say something. lol But unfortunately that’s what happens to a lot of people, and this movie will remind you that not everyone is comfortable with his sexuality. Great!

68. Sasha(2010)

Sasha is a piano prodigy under pressure to gain admittance to a prestigious music school. What is really stressing Sasha is his emerging sexuality, plus his piano tutor is moving away, because Sasha is in love with him, and no one knows.

Director:Dennis Todorovic | Stars:Sasa Kekez, Predrag Bjelac, Ljubisa Gruicic, Zeljka Preksavec

Very interesting movie! I would say to watch it if you’re already done with the others. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it only means there are better gay movies out there! =D But it’s very good indeed.

72. Were the World Mine(2008)

A bullied and demoralized gay student at an all-boys school uses a magical flower derived from Shakespeare’s „A Midsummer Night’s Dream‘ to turn many in his community gay, including a comely rugby player for himself.

Director:Tom Gustafson | Stars:Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams

A very interesting story, with good actors and sweet ending. It’s a feel-good movie with all the capital letters on it. A nice entertainment!

73. The Adventures of Felix(2000)

A tale revolving around the carefree and bon-vivant, Felix, who is content living with his boyfriend, Daniel in the town of Dieppe in Northern France. When Felix is laid off from his job, … See full summary »

Directors:Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau | Stars:Sami Bouajila, Patachou, Ariane Ascaride, Pierre-Loup Rajot

A road-movie very interesting and subjective. Great characters and great actors! I liked the way the movie is divided, very original!

77. (2012)

A fourteen year old boy who is gay is struggling with self-acceptance, reconciling who he is with his belief in God, and grappling with the decision of whether or not he should come out to his family.

Director:Peter Anthony Fields | Stars:Daniel Sovich, Dylan Aaron White, Tonee Purnell, Kathy Vogel

82. Another Gay Movie(2006)

Four gay high school friends make a pact to lose their virginity before they go to college.

Director:Todd Stephens | Stars:Michael Carbonaro, Jonathan Chase, Jonah Blechman, Mitch Morris

*TERRIBLE*!!! Geez, skip this one. It was suppose to be something like American Pie for gays, but it doesn’t even get close to the worst of all american pie movies. SERIOUSLY! And it’s not even funny!

83. (I) (2004)

After getting dumped by his slutty girlfriend, Caleb falls in love with Gwen. However, thanks to Caleb’s roommate, Gwen thinks he’s gay and sets him up with her roommate, Marc.

Director:Q. Allan Brocka | Stars:Scott Lunsford, Jim Verraros, Emily Brooke Hands, Rebekah Kochan

*TERRIBLE*!!! Don’t watch it! It’s a completely waste of time, it’s technically horrible, poor acting, and the story is pure non-sense! One of the worst! PLEASE skip this whole series!

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

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