43 Important Gay Moviesby HoldenSpark | created - 15 Aug 2016 | updated - 08 Jul 2018 | Public
Until today, 7/7/2018 this list was called 42 Important Gay Movies. And it gave my top picks for the most important gay movies through 2017. Today I've added another movie to the list. Making this list now called 43 Important Gay Movies. But it's not just any movie I'm adding. There is a new most important gay movie. It's called "Alex Strangelove". If you can only ever see one gay movie, "Alex Strangelove" is the one to see. But if you want to see all that lead up to 'Alex' then enjoy the remaining movies on this list. For they are wonderful too. --------------------------------------------------------------- (42 Important Gay Movies UPDATED through 2017) (Which are the 42 most important Gay Movies of all time through 2017) + (Which includes the top 20 most important Gay Movies of all time through 2017) 5 (Which includes the top 5 most important Gay Movies of all time through 2017) 2 (Which includes the second-most important Gay Movie of all time though 2017) ^ (Which includes the most important Gay Movie of all time through 2017) . After creating the "Gay Movies - Gay History" list, I felt I should single out a group of movies from that list which I feel stand out as important gay movies ("gay movies" meaning movies that are centered around a gay-related theme or a movie that includes a gay character important to the movie.) . I feel that this group of movies show the transition of gays from outcasts in society towards the greater acceptance gays enjoy today. . If you watch these movies in the order they were released (which is the order I've presented them here on this list) it will give you a feel for the history of the subject. Certainly there could be some more films on this list that are not there, and certainly some are more obscure than others, but overall I think this list shows gays not just as society saw them, but even, when gays were finally allowed to be more than just jokes, or villians, or sterotypes on screen, show how gays began to work out for themselves how to live with themselves in society. And its not always easy. . The bulk of these films are in english, only three are not, but those three made an impact in the english speaking world. . + I've singled out with a plus sign (+) in the comments/notes section of the movies I consider to be the top 20 movies on this list, meaning these are the top 20 gay movies I think are the most important gay movies of all time. . 5 And of those top 20 movies, I've singled out with the numeral five (5) the very top 5 of those top 20 movies, meaning those with a plus (+) and a numeral five (5) are the gay movies I feel are currently the five most important gay movies of all time, as of the end of 2017. . 2 For the movie I feel is the second most important gay movie made to date (as of the end of 2017) I've added the numeral two (2). . ^ And finally the movie I think is the most important gay movie made to date (as of the end of 2017) I've added an arrow up symbol (^). . Please feel free to comment, as with my main list "Gay Movies - Gay History ", this list too is always under construction so if you feel I should add or subtract a title let me know. . I will, however, keep the list at 42 titles (now, 43 titles) since that is, as they say, the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
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1. Some Like It Hot (1959)
Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Music, Romance
When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
Votes: 229,002 | Gross: $25.00M
This movie was very popular with the general public. It's popularity hinted that the public was less judgemental about individual sexual tastes than was generally thought at the time.
2. Psycho (1960)
R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.
Votes: 561,394 | Gross: $32.00M
+ Psycho shook people up in its day. In shocking its audiences it reminded people there were people in the world who were really very tormented. This film didn't really advance the public's understanding of gay people, in fact it made them a little more worried about gay people and what they might be capable of. Still, because of this movie's huge popularity it caused people to think further about homosexuality.
3. The Children's Hour (1961)
Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Romance
A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.
This movie again brought homosexuality to the forefront and made people think about it. This time in the context that sometimes people lie and call something bad that isn't bad at all.
4. Victim (1961)
Not Rated | 90 min | Drama
The death of a young man leads to the discovery of a blackmail plot against several gay men in 1960s London.
"Victim" showed that laws against homosexuality were wrong and unjust. A rare shout against the pain and strain laws against homosexuality placed upon everyone .
5. The Boys in the Band (1970)
R | 118 min | Drama
Tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual is accidentally invited to a homosexual party.
Votes: 3,808 | Gross: $7.63M
+ This is the first gay movie that received a true widespread audience and the first one to try and present gays as they are. Of course in watching this movie it presents a fairly negative portrait of gays, but it presents a portrait nonetheless, and that was a real first. It was a movie all about gay people and not about anything else. There were other movies before this one to do that, but this is the first one that recieved widespread notice and acclaim, both good and bad.
6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
R | 100 min | Comedy, Musical
A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry).
Votes: 125,551 | Gross: $139.88M
+ Rocky Horror took on many issues, one of them being homosexuality. And it did it with a complete and total disregard for every kind of social norm that had gone before.
7. Norman... Is That You? (1976)
PG | 91 min | Comedy
A black man is distraught when he discovers his son is gay and is determined to set him right.
"Norman..." shows that discrimination is discrimination and cannot be ignored. It also pleasantly gives parents their first guide (in movie form) as to how to come to understand and accept one's homosexual children. A landmark.
8. La Cage aux Folles (1978)
R | 97 min | Comedy
Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when the son of one of the men announces he is getting married. They try to conceal their lifestyle and their ownership ... See full summary »
Votes: 9,189 | Gross: $20.42M
+ This movie from france and in the french language was a total game changer. It took on everything about gay people and changed the narrative. Prior to this movie, gays were thought to be on the "bad" side of things. This movie showed that wasn't true. Gays are good and know what they're doing.
9. Taxi zum Klo (1980)
Not Rated | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Frank Ripploh is a bit of a rascal: he's a bearded and shaggy-haired teacher, and he's gay with a very active sex life and an interest in making films. He keeps his personal life and ... See full summary »
+ 5 2 The man who made this movie wanted to show that not only were gays good, what they do is just fine. They're like everyone else. They know what they like and they know their limits and they hold to them.
10. Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein re-creates his role as the unsinkable Arnold Beckoff in this film adaptation of the smash Broadway play TORCH SONG TRILOGY. A very ... See full summary »
Votes: 6,432 | Gross: $4.87M
This was a very popular movie with a gay theme that was widely seen and widely appreciated.
11. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.
Votes: 1,183,928 | Gross: $130.74M
This movie wasn't about gay people. And, in fact, its villian is apparently a homosexual with some real horrible issues. But, it was also a best picture and it's female lead was known within the gay community to be a lesbian, and was widely suspected to be a lesbian by the general public. She also won her second Oscar for this, which showed to everyone that one's work, no matter if they're gay or not, is worth noticing. Period.
12. Philadelphia (1993)
PG-13 | 125 min | Drama
When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.
Votes: 212,225 | Gross: $77.32M
+ The first mainstream movie that was widely seen that addressed the AIDS crisis head-on. In portraying a gay man as a real person with AIDS the public finally had a real look at what was happening all around them in the gay community. Tom Hanks received his first Oscar for his performance. It was the first time a person portraying a gay character received an Oscar.
13. Wittgenstein (1993)
Not Rated | 72 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
A dramatization, in modern theatrical style, of the life and thought of the Viennese-born, Cambridge-educated philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), whose principal interest was the ... See full summary »
This movie is uniquely done. It's not presented quite like an ordinary movie. That, alone, makes it extraordinary. What makes it more extraordinary is that Wittgenstein was a gay man who actaully lived, worked, and died as an out gay man in the early 1900's and furthermore was an acclaimed genius acclaimed during his own lifetime by the public at large. A very remarkable thing.
R | 104 min | Comedy, Music
Two drag performers and a transgender woman travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.
Votes: 44,302 | Gross: $11.22M
+ 5 ^ At first, when you watch this movie all the way through, you might wonder why it's such an important movie. After watching this movie for the first time it seems to be a movie about nothing more than two drag queens and one transsexual who are just living their lives in their own way. Exactly. But, if you rewatch it you will discover layers and layers of meaning, aimed directly at the gay community to uplift them, and then to the world at large, to educate them. It is a masterpiece.
15. Beautiful Thing (1996)
R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
In a suburb of London, young Jamie is escaping sport hours, to avoid being the victim of his comrades. Young Ste, his neighbor, is beaten by his father, and comes to sleep overnight. They discover new feelings, sleeping in the same bed.
Votes: 21,750 | Gross: $1.50M
The title says it all. Though it took the Mom in this movie the entire movie to get it. And shows the audience how to understand too.
16. As Good as It Gets (1997)
PG-13 | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.
Votes: 261,384 | Gross: $148.48M
+ Ahhh. The brilliance of movie-making and what it can do. And if you didn't understand what a genius Jack Nicholson's acting is, this movie should give you that understanding. For that is what this movie is all about. Understanding. Truly.
17. Gods and Monsters (1998)
R | 105 min | Biography, Drama
Votes: 28,073 | Gross: $6.39M
This movie shows what it's like to get old and to miss things we once had access to. Everyone who lives to get old will experience these feelings. This movie shows those feelings from a gay perspective. Not the happiest gay perspective, but a gay one nonetheless.
18. Trick (1999)
R | 89 min | Comedy, Music, Romance
The misadventures of two young gay men, trying to find a place to be alone, one night in Manhattan.
Votes: 7,911 | Gross: $2.05M
+ A brilliant look at two men who are attracted to each other but don't quite know how to show it yet. And so they learn. But it's the character called "Judy" who, in delivering her topless monologue gives us, in such a brilliant way, what this movie, and life, is all about.
19. Sordid Lives (2000)
R | 111 min | Comedy, Romance
As three generations of a family in a small Texas town gather for a funeral, we learn the hilarious, sad, trashy truth of their "Sordid Lives."
Votes: 2,718 | Gross: $1.11M
+ At last, gays in the country come out. Legs, cigarettes, bar flies and all.
20. The Hours (2002)
PG-13 | 110 min | Drama, Romance
The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
Votes: 119,352 | Gross: $41.68M
+ You know, I don't quite know how to say why "The Hours" is so great. But I'll try. This movie is the story of three women, each of whom must come to terms with their own sexual desires during the time period in which they live. What the movie does is to look at the 20th Century in the USA, dividing that century into three parts. In each part a woman is shown dealing with the way the world is during that era. Nichole Kidman deals with the first one-third of the century (and for which she won her Best Actress Oscar.) Julitte Moore dieals with the mid-centuiry time period, and Meryl Streep deals with the last part of the 20th Century. Each is presented in such a way as to really show you how sexual interests that were not considered mainstream were handled were dealt with in each period. The is the best way I know how to describe a movie that far exceeds my description of it, for it's a very engrossing and enlightening movie.
21. Monster (2003)
R | 109 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.
Votes: 128,439 | Gross: $34.47M
O. M. G. Charlize Theron justly deserves her Best Actress Oscar win for her perfomance in this movie. She plays the lead character, a woman who is a prostitute but for whom life has never, ever been easy and never, ever has life really shown her love. And yet she wants to be loved so much. But without ever having it modeled for her, she doens't quite know how to deal with it. So when a young lesbian woman becomes enamoured with her she accepts the young woman's love even though she'd not previously been involved with other women sexually. But because she doesn't know how to deal with love, but desperately wants to keep that love that's being given to her, she does some very very bad things to try and retain that love. This movie is based on a true story. It shows that it's possible to allow oneself to engage in homosexual behaviour even when it's not innate in a person. It shows its possible to choose to be gay. Which, is sometimes hard for gays themselves to understand. Because everyone is born with an innate attraction towards others such that most are attracted to the opposite sex, but some are born attracted to the same sex. It shows that whatever your natural sexual desires are, it's possible to do whatever you choose to do when doing things of a sexual nature.
22. D.E.B.S. (2004)
PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Romance
Plaid-skirted schoolgirls are groomed by a secret government agency to become the newest members of the elite national-defense group, D.E.B.S.
Votes: 14,171 | Gross: $0.10M
D.E.B.S. is a movie way way way before its time. Though it just came out in 2004, it presents a world where nobody give a second thought to the sex of the person you're attracted to. All everybody cares is if you love and are truly being loved by the person you're dating or are in a relationship with. What makes all this fun is that this movie is a comedy about a group of four young women who are employed by a secret government agency whose task it is, is to save the world. Day in and day out. A send-up, in a way, of the James Bond films. Except there are four "James Bonds" and they all young women in their early twenties. Who use a variety of high tech devices (ones that are imaginary and only exist in the D.E.B.S. world) to chase and capture criminals and bring them to justice. Except for one, the notorious "Lucy Diamond". The D.E.B.S. are assigned to hunt her down and bring her in. A tall order since Lucy Diamond never takes any prisoners and all who have attempted to arrest her always become dead before completing their mission. Now, the D.E.B.S. are on it.
This is a very overlooked movie. It's great fun, and greatly accepting of others. A great combiination.
23. Walk on Water (2004)
R | 103 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Following the suicide of his wife, an Israeli intelligence agent is assigned to befriend the grandchildren of a Nazi war criminal.
Votes: 6,389 | Gross: $2.71M
This is a somewhat complicated movie. It was made in Israel and is about a man whose job it is to hunt down and kill people who are still alive but are Nazi war criminals who were never captured and punished back in the 1940's. By 2004 there isn't much need to do this sort of punishment work anymore as most war criminals have gotten old and died. But a few, old as they are now, are still out there and the man in this story is assigned to kill one who is over 80 years old. Along the way he meets the grandson of the man he's trying to kill. They become friends even though the grandson is gay and the killer is not. Their friendship is based on the fact the killer hasn't told the grandson what he's really up to. In the end we are shown some very hard lessons, one in particular, but it's most certainly not the lesson you were expecting to be taught. A very good movie.
24. When I'm Sixty-Four (2004 TV Movie)
90 min | Drama, Romance
One-off drama about the friendship that grows between two men from very different backgrounds, whose paths cross for the first time as they approach retirement age.
There is song by the Beatles of the same name. In the song the singer hopes there will be love in the world for him at that age. This movie borrows that premise and focuses on a man who, at age 64, is retired and his wife dies. As a widower at age 64 he moves on with his life, not expecting to find the love that he does find. And when he allows himself to accept his feelings, he must deal with how the world reacts to the new (male) love(er) in his life.
25. Adam & Steve (2005)
R | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
Follows two New York city couples -- one heterosexual and one gay who explore the peaks and the valleys of their respective relationships.
Votes: 2,893 | Gross: $0.31M
The title says it all. Adam & Steve are just fine, and now, years later, they can let themselves find each other.
26. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
R | 134 min | Drama, Romance
The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.
Votes: 307,918 | Gross: $83.04M
27. Transamerica (2005)
R | 103 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A preoperative transgender woman takes an unexpected journey when she learns that she fathered a son, now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York.
Votes: 39,455 | Gross: $9.02M
28. Breakfast with Scot (2007)
PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
The hockey career of former Toronto Maple Leaf Eric McNally, who was known as a tough enforcer, came to an end with a shoulder injury. He is now a sportscaster. Except to his assistant Nula... See full summary »
Votes: 2,859 | Gross: $0.05M
29. Milk (I) (2008)
R | 128 min | Biography, Drama
The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.
Votes: 158,903 | Gross: $31.84M
30. Watercolors (2008)
TV-MA | 114 min | Drama, Romance
A story about two classmates - one smart and openly gay and the other school swimming star. They grow as friends and discover their attraction to each other. This story has been told many ... See full summary »
Votes: 1,404 | Gross: $0.01M
31. Lucky Bastard (2009)
Unrated | 87 min | Drama, Romance
Rusty is a successful architect with the life of his dreams. However, when his boyfriend leaves town, Rusty meets a mysterious drifter names Denny who opens Rusty up to a strange new world.
32. Beginners (2010)
R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer and that he has a young male lover.
Votes: 85,146 | Gross: $5.79M
33. Strapped (2010)
Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance
A handsome young prostitute learns about life and love during a sex-filled odyssey in an apartment building filled with strange inhabitants.
34. Weekend (II) (2011)
Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Romance
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.
Votes: 26,302 | Gross: $0.46M
35. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
R | 117 min | Biography, Drama
In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is diagnosed with the disease.
Votes: 414,850 | Gross: $27.30M
Far and away, this is the best film about AIDS ever made. Matthew McConaughey richly deserves his Best Actor Oscar for this role. In 2013, there was no other Actor in any other film who could match McConaughey that year in everything. From playing one of the most important male roles ever written, to the absolute urgency of the character itself, to the need for AIDS to be represented on film in ways that show very clearly the horror AIDS brought to the world, and specifially to the gay community in the 1980's. Matthew McConaughey really teaches in this movie.
He played the lead role, portraying a Ron Woodruff, a man that this movie is based on, for this movie is a true story.
Ron Woodruff was diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980's. When he realized there was little that could be done for him medically within the law, but that there were drugs that had been shown to help those with AIDS but those with AIDS were barred from taking them for various reasons, Ron did what he had to do. He went and got some illegally for himself and realized they were prolonging his life. Though they were clearly not a cure, they did keep him alive for a while more. When others asked him if they could have some of his drugs he did what he thought was right, toi go and get them illegally for anyone with AIDS who asked for them. This became the mission he would spend the rest of his life pursuing. Faced with arrests, and with the deaths of his friends with AIDS and with the suffering of those who still lived with AIDS, he let nothing stop him from getting those drugs for himself and others. He eventually died from AIDS, but he'd shown that it was much more wrong to deny AIDS patients those drugs then it was to enforce the laws against taking those drugs. He was a hero who should never be forgotten, for any any era, whatever the medical emergency of the day may be, one can always look to Ron when in doubl about when it's right to break the law when the law itself is what is the crime. Bless you Ron, may you rest in peacefull peace.
36. The Foxy Merkins (2013)
81 min | Adventure, Comedy
Two lesbian hookers wind their way through a world of bargain-hunting housewives and double-dealing conservative women in this buddy comedy, an homage to and riff on iconic male hustler ... See full summary »
After watching this movie "The Foxy Merkins" one wonders why every writer, director, and producer on earth hasn't written (into whatever movie they're making) a part for Lisa Hass. She is a fearless and brilliant actor. One cannot show Lisa Hass all the love she deserves in the movie-making business. She is that good.
All that said, this movie shows you why. All you have to do is just see her in this movie and you will fall to the ground in worship and praise for her work, and marvel openly of her talent.
Most lesbian-oriented movies that I've seen present certain kinds of sterotypes about lesbians. Either for good, or for boring, I've never seen a lesbian movie stray away from the sterotypical very far. This movie takes those sterotypes and makes a kind of comedy about it that I didn't expect or see coming. As the movie went on, at first I was kind of embaressed for them, then kind of confused and wasn't sure I was going to like this. Then I realized they were really taking it out there and that this was a comedy's comedy. A funny funny movie, funnier still if you can percieve some of the inside jokes. In this movie Lisa Hass takes on the lead role of Margaret. Watching Margaret deal with what befalls her each day becomes funnier and funnier. We realize that this actress is taking on this role without looking back, just doing it. And, well, you'll see.
Why we must bow down to Lisa Hass in wonder and praise is that not only did Lisa Hass star in this film playing the very unusual role of Margaret, Lisa Hass was, indeed, one of the writers of this film.
So, if you are currently writing, directing, or producing a film, it doesn't matter what the film is about, or the genre of the film, or who it's intended audience is, just stop and write in a part for Lisa Hass and then call her up and beg her to be in your film. Sometimes talent is so great it demands this of an entire industry for an entire generation. So, hop to it, you've got your obligation to your art and to your audience to present Lisa Hass in your film, and then, yeah, whatever eles will be in the film. But first, bow to Lisa. Watch this movie and know why and find yourself agreeing with me whether or not you really had wanted to.
37. Philomena (2013)
PG-13 | 98 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.
Votes: 90,592 | Gross: $37.71M
38. The Interview (II) (2014)
R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapaport run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight". When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Jong-Un Kim, they are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.
Votes: 293,262 | Gross: $6.11M
39. Carol (2015)
R | 118 min | Drama, Romance
An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.
Votes: 106,042 | Gross: $12.71M
40. Winning Dad (2015)
95 min | Drama, Romance
A young man tricks his homophobic father into a camping trip with his secret boyfriend.
41. Moonlight (I) (2016)
R | 111 min | Drama
A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.
Votes: 244,335 | Gross: $27.85M
42. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
R | 132 min | Drama, Romance
In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen-year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.
Votes: 174,154 | Gross: $18.10M
43. Alex Strangelove (2018)
TV-MA | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Alex, high school class president, nerd and a straight A student, has been dating Claire a long time. They decide to sleep together but then he meets a gay guy and he's confused.
As of 7/7/2018, "Alex Strangelove" is the most important gay movie ever made.
For all of us old gay people who have lived and live still, and for those who have died, who have wanted for real freedom for gay people this movie is what we wanted. The freedom to be who you are. Freely. As you live your own life, and as life happens to you. Bless you, our sons and daughters. Be free. It is what we wanted for you. It is what we want for everyone. Now, it is who you are. Carry on, carry on, carry on.