Top 50 Favorite Gay Films


A few weeks ago we asked readers to submit up to five of their favorite movies in our third annual favorite gay film poll. We wanted to see which older gay films have timeless appeal and which recent gay films you judged important enough to register in the rankings.

After voting closed we sorted through the nearly 15,000 nominations (representing over 500 individual titles) to identify your top fifty favorite gay films.

Tabulating this data is actually a bit harder than it sounds. For instance, do you know how many different ways our readers can type/abbreviate The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?
We counted about a dozen!

But we’re not complaining, because the list that resulted this year is actually rather interesting.

Nine new films made their way into the rankings, and five of these are of very recent vintage. This represents a strong showing for current queer cinema. Of the new films, Tom Ford’s A Single Man
(2009) made the strongest impression on readers, landing all the way at #6.

We specifically noted that documentaries were eligible for nomination in this movie poll, and yet only one documentary made it into the top 50. Ironically, it’s a film about gay representation in film: The Celluloid
at #47.

Meanwhile, TV films had a strong showing, with HBO’s Angels in America at #22, Lifetime’s Prayers for Bobby at #17, and Just a Question of Love (Juste un question d’amour) at #18. Not
bad for a decade old small French TV movie!

The oldest film on our list is The Boys in the Band (1970) at #33, but most films are of fairly recent vintage. Only six titles on our list were released prior to 1990 – and nearly two thirds come from the aughts (2000-2010).

But that’s enough of an intro. Let’s get to the list itself!


Priest (1994)


#50 Priest (1994)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: Father Greg Pilkington (Linus Roache) struggles with his calling as conservative Catholic priest and his own sexual orientation.

#49 The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: Before Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee directed this film about a gay Asian landlord who agrees to a marriage of convenience with a female tenant in order to satsify his traditional parents.

The Wedding Banquet





#48 Redwoods (2009)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: An unfulfilled gay man in a stagnant relationship finds his life changed forever when he meets a struggling writer.

Further Reading:

Review: Redwoods is a Gay Romance That’s Worth Getting Lost In



The Celluloid Closet


#47 The Celluloid Closet (1995)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: A documentary examining Hollywood’s depictions of homosexuals from silent film to modern cineman. Based on film historian Vito Russo’s book of the same name.


#46 Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: Co-written and directed by Todd Haynes, the film chronicles the story of a 1970’s British glam rock star loosely based on David Bowie’s ’Ziggy Stardust’ persona.


Velvet Goldmine



Scott Pilgrim v. The World


#45 Scott Pilgrim v. The World (2010)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: Based on the comic book, Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes. He gets some help from gay roommate Wallace Wells.

#44 Jeffrey (1995)

Rank last year: 18

Summary: Based on Paul Rudnick’s play, a young gay New Yorker decides that sex is too dangerous and tries celibacy. Then he meets the man of his dreams – who happens to be HIV positive.




Edge of Seventeen

#43 Edge of Seventeen (1998)

Rank last year: 25

Summary: A teenager copes with his sexuality on the last day of school in 1984.



The ROcky Horro Picture Show


#42 The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Rank last year: 42

Summary: The cult musical about a mad transvestite scientist and his dumb, beefy, gold hot pants wearing monster. Susan Sarandon plays “Janet.”

Further Reading:

Official Rocky Horror Fan Site

#41 The Bubble (2006)

Rank last year: 35

Summary: Director / Writer Eytan Fox’s cinematic response to those who claim that Tel Aviv residents live in a “bubble”: isolated from the violence and turmoil in the rest of Israel. The movie follows a group of young people, gay, straight, Jewish and Arab.

The Bubble



Mambo Italiano


#40 Mambo Italiano (2003)

Rank last year: 43

Summary: The son of Italian immigrants struggles to find the best way to come out to his family.

Further Reading:

Ten Great Coming Out Scenes


#39 Eating Out (2004)

Rank last year: 48

Summary: To get close to the girl he has a crush on, a straight guy pretends to be gay. The girl then tries to fix him up with her gay roommate. Hijinks ensue. Written and directed by Q. Allan Brocka. Spawned two sequels.

Eating Out movie poster



The Trip movie poster

#38 The Trip (2002)

Rank last year: 30

Summary: An epic gay romance that traces the relationship between two men from 1973 until 1984.


Making Love the movie


#37 Making Love (1982)

Rank last year: 39

Summary: A doctor falls in love with a gay man and agonizes over the break up of his marriage.


#36 Yossi and Jagger (2002)

Rank last year: 33

Summary: Two Israeli soldiers in a secret gay romance find comfort and respite from the conflict around them.

Further Reading:

Fleshing out the gay in the Entertainment Weekly 50 Sexiest Movies


Yossi & Jagger movie poster



Boy Culture movie poster


#35 Boy Culture (2006)

Rank last year: 27

Summary: An upscale gay hustler yearns for something more substantial in his love life.

Further reading:

Boy Culture: Is This Really All There Is To Gay Culture?


#34 The Birdcage (1996)

Rank last year: 24

Summary: The U.S. remake of La Cage aux Folles. A flamboyant gay couple go to comic lengths so as not to embarrass their son to his fiancee’s staunchly conservative family.

The Birdcage movie poster



The Boys in the Band


#33 The Boys in the Band (1970)

Rank last year: 32

Summary: A group of gay New Yorkers gather together for a birthday party. Alcohol and recriminations flow. Based on the off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley and directed by William Friedkin (who also directed Cruising), this is one of the first films ever to revolve around gay characters.

Further reading:

Our review of the DVD release


Love Songs movie poster


#32 Love Songs (Les Chansons D’amour) (2007)

Rank last year: 42

Summary: A musical interpretation of three young lovers in Paris.

Further Reading:

Our Review of Love Songs


#31 All Over the Guy (2001)

Rank last year: 20

Summary: 20-somethings thrown together by their respective best friends try to sort out their dysfunctional backgrounds in order to have a meaningful relationship


All Over the Guy movie poster



My Own Private Idaho movie poster


#30 My Own Private Idaho (1991)

Rank last year: 46

Summary: Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

Further reading:

Thumbs Down! At The Movies Ends Its Run. How Did Gay Movies Fare?

#29 Parting Glances (1986)

Rank last year: 28

Summary: A gay couple in New York prepare for a two-year separation because of work while dealing with their circle of eccentric friends – one of whom is living with AIDS.

Parting Glances movie poster



C.R.A.Z.Y. movie poster

#28 C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

Rank last year: 37

Summary: A young gay man deals with homophobia and heterosexism while growing up with four brothers and a conservative father in 1960s and 1970s Quebec.


SHortbus Movie Poster



#27 Shortbus (2006)

Rank last year: 31

Summary: From director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). A sexually graphic and largely improvised romp with an ensemble cast – all supposed frequenters of a fictional underground New York City sex salon.

Further Reading:

Our 2006 review of Shortbus

#26 Philadelphia (1993)

Rank last year: 22

Summary: Tom Hanks won his first Oscar playing a gay lawyer who comes down with AIDS and then takes his former law firm to court for firing him.


Philadelphia movie poster



Summer Storm movie poster


#25 Summer Storm (Sommersturm) (2004)

Rank last year: 19

Summary: A German coming of age film about two teenage boys – both members of a rowing club,

Further reading:

Our review of Summer Storm

#24 I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: A middle aged married man comes out of the closet and then resorts to various cons in order to finance his lavish new gay lifestyle. After being sent to prison, he falls madly in love with his cellmate “Phillip Morris” and goes to great lengths in order to be with him.

Further Reading:

Not To Be Seen: Another Gay Movie Only Goes Gay Overseas

I Love You Phillip Morris features trademark Jim Carrey hilarity, only with more “graphic gay sex”


I Love You Phillip Morris Movie Poster



Hedwig and the Angry Inch movie poster

#23 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Rank last year: 29

Summary: An East German transgender rock musician chases after an ex-lover who plagiarized her songs.

Further Reading:

Thumbs Down! At The Movies Ends Its Run. How Did Gay Movies Fare?

Happy Birthday to Hedwig creator John Cameron Mitchell


Angels in America movie poster



#22 Angels in America (2003)

Rank last year: 16

Summary: A six-part miniseries from HBO adapted from Tony Kushner’s two-play political epic about the AIDS crisis during the mid-1980s.


#21 The Broken Hearts Club (2000)

Rank last year: 15

Summary: A group of gay men, all members of a West Hollywood softball team, rely on each other for friendship and support as they search for love and deal with loss. Written and directed by Greg Berlanti.


The Broken Hearts Club



My Beautiful Laundrette Poster


#20 My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

Rank last year: 26

Summary: A young Indian man in Margaret Thatcher’s London takes over his uncle’s laundrette business while conducting a secret romantic relationship with a white punk.

Further reading:

Gay Sex Scenes That Made Movie History

#19 Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom (2008)

Rank last year: 14

Summary: A movie sequel to the Logo series. After various complications, lead character Noah ties the knot with longtime boyfriend Wade.

Further reading:

Noah’s Arc Succeeds at Jumping to the Big Screen


Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom Movie Poster



Just a Question of Love movie poster

#18 Just a Question of Love (Juste un question d’amour) (2000)

Rank last year: 18

Summary: Two gay men conflict over whether the younger man should come out to his parents. Originally a French TV movie.



Prayers for Bobby movie poster


#17 Prayers for Bobby (2009)

Rank last year: 40

Summary: A Christian woman who refused to accept her son’s sexual orientation must deal with the guilt she feels after he commits suicide. Based on a true story.

Further reading:

Answered Prayer: Prayers For Bobby is a Groundbreaking Gay TV Movie

A straight actor’s gay education: Scott Bailey on his Prayers for Bobby experience

#16 Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: A gay couple uneasily settled in a suburban neighborhood anxiously await the arrival of their adoped baby. Complications ensue when the child they are sent is actually a troubled 15-year-old boy.

Further reading:

If You See Only One Gay Indie Movie This Year, Make It Patrik, Age 1.5


Patrik Age 1.5



Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Poster


#15 The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)

Rank last year: 12

Summary: Two drag queens and a transexual take an eventful road trip, meeting up with homophobes, Aborigines and true love while grooving to a near limitless supply of ABBA tracks..

Further Reading:

Priscilla: Sands Sequins and Song

#14 Torch Song Trilogy (1988)

Rank last year: 13

Summary: The life and loves of a Jewish drag queen (and singer of torch songs) in the late 1970s and 1980s. Starring Harvey Fierstein and based on his three act play of the same name.

Torch Song Trilogy



Longtime Companion

#13 Longtime Companion (1990)

Rank last year: 17

Summary: The film’s title comes from the phrase The New York Times began using in the eighties to describe the surviving same-sex partner of someone who had died of AIDS.

This was the first major film to deal with the subject of AIDS.

Further Reading:

Thumbs Down! “At The Movies” Ends Its Run. How Did Gay Movies Fare?

Iconic Gay Movie Roles

Gay Sex Scenes That Made Movie History


Mysterious Skin movie poster


#12 Mysterious Skin (2004)

Rank last year: 21

Summary: Two young boys who are sexually abused by their baseball coach meet again as emotionally scarred teenagers. From director Gregg Araki

Further Reading:

Needs More Gay… Gregg Araki

Iconic Gay Movie Roles



#11 Trick (1999)

Rank last year: 9

Summary: Two boys and a very long night in New York City.

Further Reading:

Christian Campbell’s Gay Roles


Trick movie poster



Get Real Movie poster


#10 Get Real (1998)

Rank last year: 6

Summary: A gay teenager decides to come out to the world.


Further Reading:

Ten Great Coming Out Scenes

#9 Big Eden (2000)

Rank last year: 11

Summary: A succesful gay artist returns to his hometown in Montana to care for his ailing grandfather. There he meets up with his old childhood crush, as well as a shy Native American shopkeeper who has a crush on him.

Big Eden Movie Poster



Were the WOrld Mine movie poster

#8 Were the World Mine (2008)

Rank last year: 8

Summary: A gay high school musical fantasy inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Further Reading:

Were the World Mine Astounds (and Disappoints Some Too)

Exclusive Photos from Were the World Mine


Maurice Movie Poster


#7 Maurice (1987)

Rank last year: 7

Summary: Two male English school chums fall in love while at Cambridge, but then take very different paths. From the posthumously published E.M. Forster novel

Further Reading:

Five Gay Films That Deserve a Sequel More Than Rambo Did!

Gay Sex Scenes That Made Movie History

British Film Forever’s Gay Costume Dramas

#6 A Single Man (2009)

Rank last year: N/A

Summary: A middle aged gay man in 1960’s Los Angeles searches for a reason to continue living himself after the love of his life dies in a car accident.From the Christopher Isherwood novel.

Further Reading:

Review: Tom Ford’s A Single Man

Interview with Tom Ford



A Single man movie poster



Latter Days Movie Poster


#5 Latter Days (2003)

Rank last year: 3

Summary: A young and promiscuous gay man sets his sights on seducing his Mormon missionary neighbor. The resulting affair changes both their lives.


#4 Beautiful Thing (1996)

Rank last year: 5

Summary: Two teenage boys in a London housing estate fall deeply in love with each other.

Further Reading:

Looking Back at Beautiful Thing

Why Beautiful Thing is a Beautiful Thing

Beautiful Thing movie poster




#3 Shelter (2007)

Rank last year: 2

Summary: A young man reexamines his decision to forgo his own dreams in order to take care of his family when he falls in love with the gay brother of his best friend.

Further Reading:

Review of Shelter



Milk movie poster


#2 Milk (2008)

Rank last year: 4

Summary: The story of gay activist Harvey Milk, from his arrival in San Francisco, to becoming California’s first openly gay elected official, to his eventual assasination. Sean Penn won an Oscar for his performance.

Further Reading:

Review of Gus Van Sant’s Milk

Why Did Milk Go Sour?

Two Bite Interview: Milk’s Diego Luna


#1 Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Rank last year: 1

Summary: In the 1960’s two Wyoming ranch hands embark on a beautiful but ultimately doomed lifelong romance. Based on the short story by E. Annie Proulx.

Further Reading:

Success of Brokeback Mountain Named Best Pop Culture Moment of Decade

Iconic Gay Movie Roles

Annie Proulx lays the smackdown on overzealous Brokeback Mountain fans

Was Brokeback Mountain really my last gay moviegoing experience?

A Pictorial Tribute to Heath Ledger

Ang Lee: Homophobia might have cost Brokeback Mountain the Best Picture Oscar

Brokeback Mountain