75 Best Gay Movies

The most glorious, groundbreaking gay and lesbian movies of all time

Latest News



    • malestorm

      Jul 6th 2012, 6:29

      Tut Tut!!! Call yourself a film magazine and not including one of the best "gay" films, from an award winning play and with a stellar cast!!?? I,m of course talking about Torch Song Trilogy! Get thyselves back in the closet of shame!

      Alert a moderator

    • piffle

      Jul 6th 2012, 8:21

      Brokeback Mountain wasn't really "snubbed" at the Oscars. Fair enough the inferior Crash made off with Best Picture, but Ang Lee got Best Director for his efforts (not to mention a screenplay award). I'd have liked to have sen Y Tu Mama Tambien on this list. Certainly the ho-eroticism is all subtext (until right at the end anyway) but it does a great job of showing a relationship teetering on the brink between bromance and romance. Plus its brilliant.

      Alert a moderator

    • ASmileSoDevious

      Jul 6th 2012, 10:28

      Where is Cruising???

      Alert a moderator

    • QuietLife

      Jul 6th 2012, 10:41

      Ok, are Total Film just trying to lure Dalidab out of his seeming retirement?

      Alert a moderator

    • applestretching

      Jul 6th 2012, 10:47

      Truly shameful and embarrassing journalism. Why I'm surprised I don't know, but half of these films are from the past decade, the majority are American....yawn. To not include truly groundbreaking works - and British ones!! - such as Victim (1960), A Taste of Honey (1961), The L-Shaped Room (1962), Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) etc etc etc, as well as things like Cruising and Torch Song Trilogy mentioned above - and to then put things like Shelter and Latter Days in there because because Peccadillo or TLA happen to have put them out on DVD... Shocking! This mag may be aimed at a general audience but that is no excuse for constantly dumbing down film history through sheer ignorance and laziness.

      Alert a moderator

    • allneonlike

      Jul 6th 2012, 11:03

      This is a disappointing list. While it's good to see lesser known titles like The Wedding Banquet and When Night is Falling get a mention (and the amazing The Celluloid Closet), it's a shame so few foreign-language films were considered, and there seems to be a huge bias towards films made in the last decade. The omission of key films that were genuinely groundbreaking, such as Madchen in Uniform, Victim (a film that helped change the law) and Desert Hearts is a real oversight. I know this type of list is highly subjective, but it feels like this was rushed through by looking at the LoveFilm gay films list rather than a properly considered feature.

      Alert a moderator

    • tommyhawkins

      Jul 6th 2012, 11:26

      Seriously who came up with this list, so many amazing films have been overlooked, yet brokeback has been put at number 1. what a farce!

      Alert a moderator

    • strongplum

      Jul 6th 2012, 11:33

      Once again, Wong Kar Wai's gorgeous "Happy Together" gets snubbed, also Yen Tan's "Ciao." "The Birdcage?" Really? What about Ana Kinkinos's gritty "Head On"? Or other great documentaries like "Before Stonewall," or the influential and controversial "Paris is Burning." And "Mulholland Drive" is not gay filmmaking to me.

      Alert a moderator

    • Nancyboy1

      Jul 6th 2012, 11:50

      Well it's great to be reminded of some of the truly great films like Dog Day Afternoon and Boys in the Band and Mysterious Skin. Andrew Haigh's Weekend is an amazing achievement. But there are some stinkers which wouldn't make it into my top 1000. And it's good to see Total Film engaging with a queer theme.

      Alert a moderator

    • reeceindie

      Jul 6th 2012, 12:27

      I wouldn't begrudge Brokeback at number one as it is a modern classic which we will still be talking about in decades to come but I would say the same of Dog Day which is disappointingly low. Have to agree with the majority of comments though, too much emphasis on the past six years leaving out Sunday Bloody Sunday, Lianna, Desert Hearts, Law of Desire....

      Alert a moderator

    • MxMagpie

      Jul 6th 2012, 12:29

      "Tomboy" isn't a "Gay" movie. It's about gender nonconformity and trans* discrimination. Considering how antsy the LGB community can be towards trans* people being included alongside them, I don't really think this should be lumped along with it at all. Also Mullholland Dr has a lot more to it than that but okay.

      Alert a moderator

    • MxMagpie

      Jul 6th 2012, 12:35

      " Brandon, a young girl who wants to be a boy" This is what I mean. Do a "Gay" list and you show no damn respect for Trans* issues. It has NOTHING to do with sexuality, it's about gender. Know the difference. Brandon was in a straight relationship. He was a man and he was murdered because of it. Show some f*****g respect. If you don't understand trans* issues, don't include them

      Alert a moderator

    • stevenpottle

      Jul 6th 2012, 13:02

      Watch "Undertow" ("Contracorriente"), it should feature somewhere in the top 20. Go into the film blind (don't read ANYTHING about it!) and you will be rewarded with subtle, yet outstanding performances, beautiful moments, genuine surprises and a rewarding conclusion. You will laugh, feel cold and warmth...and you will cry.

      Alert a moderator

    • galiens20

      Jul 6th 2012, 13:11

      Why aren't there any Almodovar movies listed???? All About My Mother? Bad Education? The Law of Desire??

      Alert a moderator

    • TKKSilvergun

      Jul 6th 2012, 13:15

      No NIghthawks? Taxi Zum Klo? Hedwig? Fright Night even? Pretty bland list. By the criteria here, there's some others that should have got a place, and this is a male-biased list (as usual). In terms of sexual friction, why not Picnic At Hanging Rock? Single White Female? The Hunger? The Devils? Lots of dark films with gay female characters have been neglected.

      Alert a moderator

    • damianmurphy

      Jul 6th 2012, 13:23

      Beautiful Thing (1996)!!! Only at No.12, should be far higher, it was a brilliant film which help me when I was a teenager at 13!!! Criminal its not higher!!!

      Alert a moderator

    • vickyburton

      Jul 6th 2012, 14:03

      Hedwig and the Angry Inch, To Wong Fu thanks for everything Julie Newmar, Imagine me and you, Party Monster

      Alert a moderator

    • FBSDeMorgan

      Jul 6th 2012, 17:47


      Alert a moderator

    • s1monb

      Jul 6th 2012, 18:01

      There are a lot of glaring omissions listed above me - it's hard to believe Josh Winning spent more than 20 minutes on this. "Lianna" (John Sayles, 1983) has much more to say about lesbianism then the somewhat iffy inclusion of Bound or Heavenly Creatures. Even "The Children's Hour", with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, should be on the list instead of those two.

      Alert a moderator

    • willster

      Jul 6th 2012, 20:44

      Films that deal with gender issues like 'Transamerica' and 'Boys Don't Cry' and 'Tomboy' are not "gay." There is a big difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. And why films like 'Dog Day Afternoon' and 'Mulholland Drive' are included on a 'gay' films list is baffling as the 'gay' aspect is extremely limited. And yet films that are 'gay' and deal with 'gay' issues like 'Another Country' with Rupert Everett in his fantastic film debut, 'Torch Song Trilogy' from writer/actor Harvey Fierstein, 'Desert Hearts', 'Longtime Companion,' the first film to really deal with the AIDS crisis and done in a much more realistic way than 'Philadelphia' where the lovers never even kiss (name me one longtime gay couple that doesn't show physical affection for one another), 'Edge of Seventeen,' 'Total Eclipse' with Leonardo DiCaprio as poet Arthur Rimbaud or Del Shores' hysterical, but moving look at gay life in the American south. And this isn't even mentioning a couple of Gregg Araki's earlier films like 'Totally F***ed Up' and 'The Living End' or 'Outrage,' the documentary that looks at the outing of American gay politicians or the humourous 'Touch of Pink,' the Canadian-British indie that also looks at Indian culture's view on gay issues or 'Sum of Us,' the Aussie flick with Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson. Not to mention earlier, but still timely British flicks such as 'Victim' and 'Sunday Bloody Sunday.' And I certainly would've ranked 'Shelter' up there with 'Beautiful Thing.' It was a much better film that a few others that you gave higher ranking to. One almost gets the impression this list was either rushed or it was put together by somebody with only a passing knowledge of gay cinema.

      Alert a moderator

    • Hadouken76

      Jul 6th 2012, 23:05

      The performances don't get any better? It did for eventual Oscar winner Heath Ledger.

      Alert a moderator

    • writerdave87

      Jul 7th 2012, 1:17

      Josh Winning you really do continue to reach new depths of underachievement.

      Alert a moderator

    • Fridgemeister

      Jul 7th 2012, 1:55

      What about The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Reservoir Dogs?

      Alert a moderator

    • arlenevinyl

      Jul 7th 2012, 3:16

      where the hell is Long Time Companion? or, And the Band Played On? or Torch Song Trilogy!!!!!!!!!

      Alert a moderator

    • Lampost

      Jul 7th 2012, 12:26

      A better title would be '50 Best Movies That Deal With LGBT Themes'. To call something a 'gay movie' only helps to distance it from being a 'normal movie'. Gay is not a genre.

      Alert a moderator

    • Jardoss

      Jul 8th 2012, 0:03

      Jesus people, stop whining. Make your own list if your dear ones wasn't included, or if you just have to say something wrong about it. It's a magazine, they do as they please, and we are here to read if we want to.. These lists always gives me a heads-up on what to look out for, so I enjoy them :)

      Alert a moderator

    • Agent69

      Jul 10th 2012, 9:57

      No Pedro Almodovar?????

      Alert a moderator

    • smellyhands

      Jul 11th 2012, 11:16

      Where the Twilight movies? And Harry Potter? Waggling around his little phallic wand. C'mon.

      Alert a moderator

    • Toph80

      Jul 12th 2012, 2:29

      SOOOOO pleased to see "Weekend" on the list I got it in the post this monring and watched it straight away, such a lovely bittersweet film and it is realistic, not some glossy gay film made to keep all the hetrosexual film goers happy in thinking that we are what they think we are and do. Shows real life relationships or in the films case lack of one. Also pleasently surprised to see Mysterous Skin on the list. But will agree with some of the other comments where are the Almodovar films....Bad Education was a cracking film........Sod f**king Brokeback Mountain, bored the living daylights out of me.

      Alert a moderator

    • FBYBrown

      Jul 13th 2012, 18:51

      Good list, but why did you leave "Longtime Companion," "Torch Song Trilogy," and "Jeffrey" off the list?

      Alert a moderator

    • carriekelly

      Jul 19th 2012, 10:25

      Great little film from the Philippines that should be checked out Markova comfort gay. Funny and moving

      Alert a moderator

    • shanewestwick

      Jul 22nd 2012, 9:29

      are you kidding me? half these movies are pretty s**t. there are loads more movies that should be on this list. where is the Matthew Shepard Story? (I know it was a tv movie but it still belongs on this list)

      Alert a moderator

    • joshallwine

      Jul 22nd 2012, 9:59

      Uh, ya forgot GET REAL.

      Alert a moderator

    • oomwoc

      Jul 23rd 2012, 10:09

      FYI: Be prepared for a very disturbing movie, especially since it's fairly faithful to real-life events, if you plan on watching Heavenly Creatures. It's great, but I doubt I'll ever be able to watch it again. Also, where's The Talented Mr. Ripley?

      Alert a moderator

    • Igrayne

      Jul 29th 2012, 19:11

      Yeah you are all so interested in gay films and pretending you are "hip" as a result, but let's see how "PC" you are when they break the heart of someone close to you like a sister because they are busy playing with another man's unit, enough said ladies.

      Alert a moderator

    • jayhyde

      Aug 7th 2012, 4:47

      Basically a well crafted and balanced list. I agree a film featuring gay, lesbian or transgen characters is not, by definition a "gay movie". In any event, I recommend Big Eden as one of the best feel good Gay films.

      Alert a moderator

    • Petra89

      Aug 19th 2012, 21:55

      yeah, come on guys (or girls) be nice, i mean, we have to admit that it was nice to see a movie about gay men that doesnt involve drugs and a bad ending, right? coz mostly thats how they end, or am i wrong? i know im a girl, but love is love, right :)

      Alert a moderator

    • thomasldonelan

      Aug 27th 2012, 0:41

      I know it is hard to limit oneself to 50 great anythings, but missing some of the groundbreaking films such as: "Sunday, Bloody, Sunday" - one of the first, if not the first, gay films w/ the ending up beat instead of down for the homosexual. "Desert Hearts" with the hottest sex scene between a same sex couple on screen to that time. "For a Lost Soldier" - the challenging and eye-opening film about sex between older/younger people. "Torch Song Trilolgy" for the power of love and the families we create. "History Boys" for not focusing on homosexuality while showing so clearly the world of teenage gay boys. The Spanish cinema door openers of Almdovar and Inglesia as mentioned by others. And personal favorites of "Big Eden" a trail blazing fairy tale with a Native American lead??? showing what the world could be like if we only looked for the best in others rather than focusing on how they have messed up or fall short. "Steam", which has to be one of the of the most sensual movies ever made (need the big screen to get total absorbed into this film - TV doesn't come close to the delivery). And that is from memory & the comments to date - no research or looking at old titles, which I know would make me blanch at what I have left off. Please folks consider these and don't get way laid by some of the fluff included in this list.

      Alert a moderator

    • wynandscheepers

      Aug 28th 2012, 14:57

      To everyone who has commented; thanks! By including your favourite titles to the list, you've helped guys like me who know nothing about gay cinema to fine even more movies in the genre. though they may not have made the Top 50 list, they've still been noticed and appreciated!

      Alert a moderator

    • decova

      Sep 25th 2012, 15:39


      Alert a moderator

    • Kilzz

      Sep 30th 2012, 23:22

      No Night Is Too Long. It's a psychological thriller http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKbWad1OnPQ Really worth watching.

      Alert a moderator

    • muckydoggy1

      Oct 26th 2012, 21:11

      I agree with @FBSDeMorgan The film 'Wilde' by the BBC is an exceptional confrontation of primitive views on homosexuality and both on how far we've changed and how far we've left to go in relation to gay/human rights. Not to mention the exceptional acting on all parts and the beautiful Jude Law making the disgusting Bosey look like a saint ;)

      Alert a moderator

    • mikeboca

      Oct 27th 2012, 16:24

      I highly recommend the movie Plan B from Argentina, it´s very good, also Eyes wide open Israel-Germany and Ander which is Vasque.

      Alert a moderator

    • mikeboca

      Oct 27th 2012, 16:27

      Sorry Basque

      Alert a moderator

    • Assiduosity

      Nov 5th 2012, 1:11

      The list seems decidedly light - light on art cinema, light on films in languages other than English and light on anything before 2000.... Putting aside the exact defination of what constitutes a 'gay film', Might I suggest some additions to the growing number of recommendations from those posting comments of truly worthwhile flicks with an LGBT theme: La Cage Aux Folles - surely a cruel injustice to include the execrable Hollywood remake at the cost of the charming original, Death in Venice - Visconti's trangressive meditation on Thomas Mann's novella of consuming obsession. A film containing some of the greatest set pieces and best use of music in history, plus a remarkable performance from Dirk Bogarde. The body of work of Derek Jarman - particularly Edward II or Sebastiane, though Blue is undoubtedly a landmark in cinema and still one of the most affecting films on AIDS and personal mortality ever made. Beau Travail - Claire Denis' early masterpiece of sexual repression. Cabaret - for it's brief but straightforward handling of bisexuality in Weimar and Nazi Germany - all wrapped up in a multi Oscar winning musical with the blessed Liza. Entertaining Mr Sloane - this fetish costumed take on Joe Orton infamous play is an exercise in scene stealing by the sublime Beryl Reid. Fassbinder's absurd but unforgettable Querelle based on Genet's equally evasive writing. The Hunger - or at least Susan Sarandon's hilarious interview on making out with Catherine Deneuve featured in The Celluloid Closet. Last Exit To Broklyn - Uli Edel films the book that many though unfilmable, and doesn't do a Peyton Place. Uncompromising in tone and subject matter this has stood the test of time better than its nonexistent profile would suggest. Different From the Others - the 1919 original of Victim. There are so many..... Suddenly Last Summer, Prick Up Your Ears, The Naked Civil Servant, Michael, Farewell My Concubine, Lawrence of Arabia, Love is the Devil, Silkwood, Une Robe d'Ete, Hamam, The Yacoubian Building, Fellini Satyricon. All worth a look. I'm sure there are many more that others could suggest I've forgotten or just don't know...

      Alert a moderator

    • MykeS

      Nov 5th 2012, 16:42

      Posted this in another site, might as well just copy it here. My personal Top 1 would be WEEKEND though I've heard a lot of people say that the film was a bit overrated. I admire the absolutely brilliant dialogue, the chemistry between the two lead characters and I thought the acting was superb. Sure, the ending might leave you feeling heartbroken and just a tiny bit depressed but I guess that's what made this movie so perfect-- the way it captured me and sent me bawling like no other film in this list has done.

      Alert a moderator

    • CharlieGM

      Nov 26th 2012, 3:39

      Where is Pedro Almodovar? It should be considered a crime not to include any of his movies on a list like this. Bad Education and All About My Mother are brilliant masterpieces.

      Alert a moderator

    • tierneyrainbows

      Jan 17th 2013, 22:21

      Brokeback Mountain was a terrible movie. As was Kissing Jessica Stein (that tag line was a total joke). The only interesting part of Brokeback was the beginning part when they had sex. I couldn't even stand the rest of it.

      Alert a moderator

    • davidjones

      Jan 23rd 2013, 22:43

      different for girls should be included in this list and brokeback mountain was seriously overrated. There are better gay movies out there.

      Alert a moderator

    • jawaidferoz

      Feb 26th 2013, 7:24

      How can i watch 50 best gay movies?

      Alert a moderator

    • gpguy

      Mar 20th 2013, 12:32

      Yes its a pretty crappy list, but it is their list not yours so chill. Probably better to separate out the gay and the lesbian movies that would make more people happy too. On the good side a lot of good movies listed in the comments section. The only reason why I go to these lists is to see if there are any movies I've missed. If you want a less controversial list go to afterelton. Another good list is the rotten tomatoes site. It might have some moves you haven't seen before. Most of these movies you can get from sites like amazon for example if you live in a small center. I am not sure if I have seen "Billy's Hollywood Screen kiss" I really like that one. For a miniseries I liked "Tales of the City" and "Angels of America" I am not sure if that one was listed.

      Alert a moderator

    • kevinw

      Jun 1st 2013, 7:16

      This list is fine as an introduction - definitely not definitive. There's room for improvement. For example, Wong Kar Wai's "Happy Together" should be here, as should Haim Tabakman's "Eyes Wide Open." And a lot of things should be stricken from this list: Priscilla Queen of the Desert for instance. The great thing about this list, and about the ongoing discussion since it was posted, is the fact that we have so many movies we can put forward as being worthy of such a list. Boys in the Band should be first, since it was that movie that gave us the rest of the top 50 and more that we're so concerned with narrowing down. Before it, nothing else matter - since then, everything that matters has been in comparison. There have been truly magnificent movies in the meantime: my top 3 from this list - with respect to Boys in the Band - are Brokeback Mountain, Beautiful Thing and Weekend. I'm a huge fan of Brokeback Mountain. It was gorgeously shot and produced. The acting, direction and screenwriting are superb. And it's a beautiful and original story by Annie Proulx. I have a feeling that one day it will be revived and respected for the impact it had when it first screened. In the same respect, the quiet gem that is "Weekend" will also be looked back upon as seminal in that it is the most real, authentic portrayal of many of the gay guys I've known that I've ever seen on celluloid. And yeah, those guys go home with strangers for one night stands, and do drugs, and are searching, and they are trying to find respite from isolation and doing so in a world where it's damn obvious that guys like them are few and far between. In film, I've seen gay guys be queens, drag queens, muscle queens, dead or dying from AIDS, victims, serial killers, sassy (but sexless) best friends, pitiful, closeted and self-hating - I've even seen them be redneck rapists. Weekend is one of the few films in the last 10 - 15 years that humanizes gay men and doesn't denigrate them into martyrs, lepers, sinners or saints. And that it's a film about falling in love - that makes it even better.

      Alert a moderator

    • irishcyclist

      Nov 2nd 2013, 1:06

      Milk should be at number two. You just can't beat Brokeback.

      Alert a moderator

    • 5tessa8

      Jun 7th 2014, 7:37

      I'm surprised that Bridegroom wasn't on this list. It is a documentary but it is an amazing story.

      Alert a moderator

    • brightlights89

      Oct 11th 2014, 16:43

      On any top whatever list you find, you are going to see movies that you don't think should be there. That's the way it works. Although someone did say something about Shelter should not be on here, and I disagree with that. Shelter is actually one of my personal favorites, for several reasons. Yes, it has the typical storyline about one of the leads having a crisis about being gay, and several people in his life having a problem with that (although it's much more than that). But unfortunately, life is still like that. While I don't want every single 'gay movie' to have that same storyline, it is nice to see something realistic. While heterosexual couples don't face that stigma, and so no movies with a heterosexual couple are ever like that, homosexual couples still do in many places. So I loved the aspect that it was real, not only in that sense, but in everything else. It's not just about the relationship and a big gay freakout. It's about a man who's given up his dreams in order to be there for his family, who's sister is a single mother who likes to go out and party, who's mother has died so he's the only one there to take care of his nephew. I know someone who is in a situation that is fairly similar, and yes, they gave up a lot of their life because they were taking care of their family. I like it because they're not 'stereotypical gays'. neither of them is particularly effeminate or macho. They're both regular guys, which honestly, unless you are a part of the stereotypical gay community (I'm aware of its existence), a lot of gay men are just regular guys that you would have absolutely no idea they were gay unless you asked them. They're not bears or twinks, they're not really well-dressed, in designer clothes, they don't have some sort of nasal accent, they don't cater to simpering women as a 'gay best friend', they're not at the club every day of the week. They're just guys. Gay guys don't fall into one big category just because they like other guys. They're just as different and varied as straight guys. Back to the movie, I love the chemistry between the two leads. All of their actions seemed natural, nothing too staged or cheesy. I felt like I was watching an actual couple. So now that I have stood on my soapbox and said things that pretty much everyone here knows, I think (sorry - I like to listen to myself talk), my point was, basically, that I think Shelter was a very worthwhile movie. It's not flashy, it's not some fairy-tale movie, it's just realistic. And I think sometimes we need movies like that. Because honestly, right now, in this day and age, realistic for homosexual couples can be much more interesting and much more painful than it is for heterosexual couples. It made for a good film.

      Alert a moderator