50 Essential Gay Films

by Arthur | created - 06 Mar 2011 | updated - 06 Mar 2011 | Public

50 Essential Gay Films, 50 Movies to see Before You Die, by Out Magazine, March 2011

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1. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

R | 87 min | Horror, Thriller

5.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A teenage boy is haunted in his dreams by deceased child murderer Freddy Krueger, who is out to possess him in order to continue his reign of terror in the real world.

Director: Jack Sholder | Stars: Robert Englund, Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler

Votes: 49,345 | Gross: $30.00M

2. Another Country (1984)

PG | 90 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Based on the life of the young Guy Burgess, who would become better known as one of the Cambridge Spies.

Director: Marek Kanievska | Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Michael Jenn, Robert Addie

Votes: 4,382

3. Beautiful Thing (1996)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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.

Director: Hettie Macdonald | Stars: Glen Berry, Linda Henry, Meera Syal, Martin Walsh

Votes: 20,071 | Gross: $1.50M

4. Cabaret (1972)

PG | 124 min | Drama, Musical

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
80 Metascore

A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey

Votes: 40,152 | Gross: $42.77M

5. Happy Together (1997)

96 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
69 Metascore

A couple take a trip to Argentina but both men find their lives drifting apart in opposite directions.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Leslie Cheung, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Chen Chang, Gregory Dayton

Votes: 17,317 | Gross: $0.19M

6. Clueless (1995)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
68 Metascore

A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil's popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Votes: 140,271 | Gross: $56.63M

7. Cruising (1980)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox

Votes: 14,715 | Gross: $19.80M

8. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

R | 125 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

Votes: 202,994 | Gross: $50.00M

9. Entertaining Mr Sloane (1970)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Sloane, a handsome, sexy and completely amoral young man, joins Kath's household as a lodger and proceeds to manipulate her and her brother, Ed. He is recognized by Kemp (Dadda) as the ... See full summary »

Director: Douglas Hickox | Stars: Beryl Reid, Harry Andrews, Peter McEnery, Alan Webb

Votes: 440

10. Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

R | 104 min | Mystery, Thriller

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A famous fashion photographer develops a disturbing ability to see through the eyes of a killer.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, Rene Auberjonois

Votes: 6,837 | Gross: $20.00M

11. Female Trouble (1974)

NC-17 | 89 min | Comedy, Crime

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A spoiled schoolgirl runs away from home, gets pregnant while hitch-hiking, and ends up as a fashion model for a pair of beauticians who like to photograph women committing crimes.

Director: John Waters | Stars: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole

Votes: 6,076

12. Just One of the Guys (1985)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Terry Griffith has got it all -- looks, popularity, the perfect college boyfriend, and an article that's a shoo-in to win her a summer internship at the local newspaper... or so she thinks.... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Gottlieb | Stars: Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jayne, Toni Hudson

Votes: 11,036 | Gross: $11.50M

13. Mala Noche (1986)

Not Rated | 78 min | Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Tim Streeter, Doug Cooeyate, Ray Monge, Nyla McCarthy

Votes: 3,018

14. Maurice (1987)

R | 140 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
74 Metascore

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

Votes: 12,226 | Gross: $3.13M

15. Mean Girls (2004)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
66 Metascore

Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.

Director: Mark Waters | Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey

Votes: 275,970 | Gross: $86.06M

16. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

R | 113 min | Drama

7.9
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79 Metascore

A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver

Votes: 83,677 | Gross: $44.79M

17. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Richard Graham

Votes: 11,701 | Gross: $2.45M

18. Outrageous! (1977)

R | 96 min | Comedy

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A story about a female impersonator who rooms with a pregnant schizophrenic.

Director: Richard Benner | Stars: Craig Russell, Hollis McLaren, Richert Easley, Allan Moyle

Votes: 813

19. Paris Is Burning (1990)

R | 71 min | Documentary

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Director: Jennie Livingston | Stars: Brooke Xtravaganza, André Christian, Dorian Corey, Paris Duprée

Votes: 6,356 | Gross: $3.78M

20. Parting Glances (1986)

90 min | Drama, Music, Romance

7.8
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As Michael and Robert, a gay couple in New York, prepare for Robert's departure for a two-year work assignment in Africa, Michael must face Robert's true motives for leaving while dealing ... See full summary »

Director: Bill Sherwood | Stars: John Bolger, Richard Ganoung, Steve Buscemi, Adam Nathan

Votes: 2,364 | Gross: $0.54M

21. Personal Best (1982)

R | 124 min | Drama, Sport

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The intertwined lives and loves of three highly-ranked athletes striving for the national team; Chris bounces between the beds of male coach Terry and her female friend, competitor, and role model Tory.

Director: Robert Towne | Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn, Patrice Donnelly, Kenny Moore

Votes: 2,054 | Gross: $5.67M

22. Pink Narcissus (1971)

Not Rated | 65 min | Drama, Fantasy

6.8
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An erotic poem set in the fantasies of a young male prostitute.

Director: James Bidgood | Stars: Don Brooks, Bobby Kendall, Charles Ludlam

Votes: 925 | Gross: $0.01M

23. Rope (1948)

PG | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.0
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Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Dick Hogan

Votes: 106,200

24. Saved! (2004)

PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Drama

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
62 Metascore

When a girl attending a Christian high school becomes pregnant, she finds herself ostracized and demonized, as all of her former friends turn on her.

Director: Brian Dannelly | Stars: Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit

Votes: 41,859 | Gross: $8.94M

25. Shaft (1971)

R | 100 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

6.6
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Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Director: Gordon Parks | Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John

Votes: 13,281

26. Sleepaway Camp (1983)

R | 84 min | Horror

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Angela Baker, a traumatized and very shy young girl, is sent to summer camp with her cousin. Shortly after her arrival, anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions gets their comeuppance.

Director: Robert Hiltzik | Stars: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields, Christopher Collet

Votes: 19,006 | Gross: $11.00M

27. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Romance

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
97 Metascore

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.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Votes: 197,525 | Gross: $25.00M

28. Spartacus (1960)

PG-13 | 197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

7.9
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87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 106,321 | Gross: $30.00M

29. Strangers on a Train (1951)

PG | 101 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll

Votes: 107,181 | Gross: $7.63M

30. Teen Witch (1989)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

High school misfit Louise, at a loss for romance, discovers magical abilities, but the teenage witch finds that she cannot conjure herself true love, so what?

Director: Dorian Walker | Stars: Robyn Lively, Dan Gauthier, Joshua John Miller, Caren Kaye

Votes: 6,858 | Gross: $0.03M

31. The Angelic Conversation (1985)

77 min | Drama

5.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An unseen woman recites Shakespeare's sonnets - fourteen in all - as a man wordlessly seeks his heart's desire. The photography is stop-motion, the music is ethereal, the scenery is often ... See full summary »

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Paul Reynolds, Phillip Williamson, Judi Dench, Dave Baby

Votes: 570

32. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Romance, Western

6.8
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After being thrown out of her home, a young woman decides to disguise herself as a man to survive the ruthless Wild West.

Director: Maggie Greenwald | Stars: Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins, Ian McKellen, David Chung

Votes: 1,230 | Gross: $0.54M

33. The Hotel New Hampshire (1984)

R | 109 min | Comedy, Drama

6.0
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The film talks about a family that weathers all sorts of disasters and keeps going in spite of it all. It is noted for its wonderful assortment of oddball characters.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Rob Lowe, Jodie Foster, Paul McCrane, Beau Bridges

Votes: 6,982 | Gross: $5.10M

34. The House of Yes (1997)

R | 85 min | Comedy, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
54 Metascore

A mentally unbalanced young woman - who is convinced she is Jackie Kennedy - flies into a murderous rage when her brother returns home to reveal he is engaged.

Director: Mark Waters | Stars: Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling, Freddie Prinze Jr.

Votes: 7,006 | Gross: $0.62M

35. The Hunger (1983)

R | 97 min | Horror

6.7
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A love triangle develops between a beautiful yet dangerous vampire, her cellist companion, and a gerontologist.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff De Young

Votes: 19,350 | Gross: $5.98M

36. The Killing of Sister George (1968)

R | 138 min | Drama

7.1
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George lives with her lover, Childie and plays a cheerful district nurse in a BBC soap opera. However, her character is to be killed off, and George realises that the only other job she can... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Beryl Reid, Susannah York, Coral Browne, Ronald Fraser

Votes: 1,701

37. The Last of Sheila (1973)

PG | 120 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A year after Sheila is killed in a hit-and-run, her multi-millionaire husband invites a group of friends to spend a week on his yacht playing a scavenger hunt-style mystery game. The game turns out to be all too real and all too deadly.

Director: Herbert Ross | Stars: Richard Benjamin, James Coburn, James Mason, Dyan Cannon

Votes: 4,053

38. The Lost Boys (1987)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
63 Metascore

After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes

Votes: 102,495 | Gross: $32.22M

39. The Naked Civil Servant (1975 TV Movie)

77 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

8.0
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The life and times of Quentin Crisp, an outrageous and flamboyant homosexual, coming of age and growing into old age in conservative England.

Director: Jack Gold | Stars: John Hurt, Liz Gebhardt, Patricia Hodge, Stanley Lebor

Votes: 1,243

40. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

R | 100 min | Comedy, Musical

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
58 Metascore

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.

Director: Jim Sharman | Stars: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O'Brien

Votes: 114,459 | Gross: $139.88M

41. Tootsie (1982)

PG | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
87 Metascore

Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor, disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman

Votes: 84,094 | Gross: $177.20M

42. Torch Song Trilogy (1988)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.7
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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 »

Director: Paul Bogart | Stars: Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick, Harvey Fierstein, Brian Kerwin

Votes: 5,903 | Gross: $4.87M

43. Trash (1970)

Unrated | 110 min | Drama

5.7
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The story of Joe [Dallesandro] and his lover-protector, Holly [Woodlawn], who is something to behold, a comic book Mother Courage who fancies herself as Marlene Dietrich but sounds more ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Morrissey | Stars: Joe Dallesandro, Holly Woodlawn, Geri Miller, Andrea Feldman

Votes: 2,385

44. Two Moon Junction (1988)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

5.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A young Southern débutante temporarily abandons her posh lifestyle and upcoming, semi-arranged marriage to have a lustful and erotic fling with a rugged drifter who works at a local carnival.

Director: Zalman King | Stars: Sherilyn Fenn, Richard Tyson, Louise Fletcher, Burl Ives

Votes: 4,365 | Gross: $1.55M

45. A Song of Love (1950)

Not Rated | 26 min | Short, Fantasy, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two prisoners in complete isolation, separated by the thick brick walls, and desperately in need of human contact, devise a most unusual kind of communication.

Director: Jean Genet | Stars: Bravo, Jean Genet, Java, Coco Le Martiniquais

Votes: 2,491

46. Up the Sandbox (1972)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A bored housewife takes refuge in a fantasy world.

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Barbra Streisand, David Selby, Ariane Heller, Terry Smith

Votes: 1,023

47. Velvet Goldmine (1998)

R | 118 min | Drama, Music

7.0
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65 Metascore

In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.

Director: Todd Haynes | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Christian Bale, Toni Collette

Votes: 29,590 | Gross: $1.05M

48. Victim (1961)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The death of a young man leads to the discovery of a blackmail plot against a number of gay men in 1960s London.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price, Anthony Nicholls

Votes: 3,945

49. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)

PG-13 | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

6.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A demented widow lures unsuspecting children into her mansion in a bizarre "Hansel and Gretel" twist.

Director: Curtis Harrington | Stars: Shelley Winters, Mark Lester, Chloe Franks, Ralph Richardson

Votes: 1,034

50. X, Y and Zee (1972)

R | 110 min | Drama

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The venomous and amoral wife of a wealthy architect tries, any way she can, to break up the blossoming romance between her husband and his new mistress; a good-natured young widow who holds a dark past.

Director: Brian G. Hutton | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine, Susannah York, Margaret Leighton

Votes: 776