The Top 25 GLBT Feature Films

Starting with the best one, and with all of the rest listed in release-year order, this is a group of films that portray at least one lead character who is a gay man or woman, or is bisexual or transgender. They're all very good motion pictures.
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1.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years. (134 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
“ This is a film adaptation of E. Annie Proulx’s short story "Brokeback Mountain" 1997). It's a profoundly touching story of a long-time forbidden love between two men in rural America. It portrays one of the most powerfully romantic relationships that has been shown on screen, where the characters' irrepressible feelings for each other endure, in the face of very deep prejudice against and fear of same-sex romance. ” - kuzzn
 
2.
The Children's Hour (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians. (108 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ This film adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s play "The Children’s Hour" (1934) is one of the earlier films that addressed the subject of a character's sexual orientation, with this one focusing on a woman who is struggling with her attraction to another woman. Even though she does not act on these feelings, in a time when showing such affection was considered scandalous, she faces a false allegation about it having happened. Tremendous inner conflict, fueled by a one-sided and very intense lesbian affection, is portrayed so convincingly in this film. ” - kuzzn
 
3.
The Boys in the Band (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual is accidentally invited to a homosexual party. (118 mins.)
“ It's a film adaptation of Mart Crowley’s play "The Boys in the Band" (1968) and a great example of gay camp, with a mixture of loyalty, friendly and sexual playfulness, and sometimes vicious cattiness. Although somewhat dated, this movie is a time capsule gem that displays a classic drama about living with and moving beyond self-loathing and fear. ” - kuzzn
 
4.
Cabaret (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them. (124 mins.)
Director: Bob Fosse
“ This film is an adaptation of the stage musical "Cabaret" (1966), which was based both on Christopher Isherwood’s story "Sally Bowles" (a writing that was later included in his book "Goodbye to Berlin," both c1930s) and John Van Druten’s play "I Am a Camera" (1951), which was inspired by Isherwood’s novel. Among the best musicals ever filmed, this motion picture looks at how people deal with prejudice, denial, and survival, in a precursor to one of the darkest times in the twentieth century (in pre-war Nazi Germany). Sexual difference is portrayed as part of this drama. ” - kuzzn
 
5.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus. (125 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ Though not as pointedly about a GLB or T experience, this motion picture (which was inspired by a real-life bank robbery) portrays a passionate act of desperation, demonstrating an extent to which one man will go, for another man. ” - kuzzn
 
6.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
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. (100 mins.)
Director: Jim Sharman
“ This is a film adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s stage musical "The Rocky Horror Show" (1973). Cross dressing and sexual boldness are pitted against prudish traditionalism, and it appears that the former may be coming out on top. Whether or not there's a clear winner, this is a lot of musical fun. ” - kuzzn
 
7.
La Cage aux Folles (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
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... (103 mins.)
“ An adaptation of Jean Poiret’s play "La cage aux folles" ("Birds of a Feather") (1973), this film is the epitome of gay flamboyance, where the clash of drag queen extravagance with rigid self-righteousness has never been funnier. Forget the sequels. ” - kuzzn
 
8.
Making Love (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A successful young L.A. doctor and his equally successful television-producer wife find their happily-ever-after... (113 mins.)
Director: Arthur Hiller
“ A groundbreaking film, in that it was the first major Hollywood release to portray, so beautifully, gay love and one man's heart-rending coming out experience. This underrated classic is a fine motion picture. ” - kuzzn
 
9.
Victor Victoria (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A struggling female soprano finds work playing a male female impersonator, but it complicates her personal life. (132 mins.)
Director: Blake Edwards
“ A remake of the feature films "Viktor und Viktoria" ("Victor and Victoria") (1933), "First a Girl" (1935), and "Viktor und Viktoria" (1957), here is another musical about sexual differences, with a comical twist on gender bending entertainment. It takes place at about the same time as the setting of "Cabaret" (1972), another love story that involves stage performers, but these two are definitely contrasting kinds of quality musicals. ” - kuzzn
 
10.
Maurice (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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. (140 mins.)
Director: James Ivory
“ An adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel "Maurice," which was begun in 1913 and published posthumously in 1971. One of the best dramas about gay love, this motion picture is a period piece that is set in the early twentieth century, with a daring (for that time in history) liaison between two men of different classes, in a highly class-conscious and homophobic society. ” - kuzzn
 
11.
Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein re-creates his role as the unsinkable Arnold... (120 mins.)
Director: Paul Bogart
“ A film adaptation of Harvey Fierstein’s collection of three plays, called "Torch Song Trilogy" (1982), this is a gay dramedy that has cross dressing entertainment, romance, heart-wrenching loss, colorful family interactions, and humor, all within a "sink or swim" story about taking risks and dealing with life's ups and downs. ” - kuzzn
 
12.
Longtime Companion (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The emergence and devastation of the AIDS epidemic is chronicled in the lives of several gay men living during the 1980s. (96 mins.)
Director: Norman René
“ A touching movie about love and friendship, this is a poignantly frank early film drama about AIDS. ” - kuzzn
 
13.
Philadelphia (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a man with AIDS 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. (125 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
“ It's the best of the many films that have portrayed how AIDS affects lives, involving legal action that is taken, in response to a case of prejudice against a person with this terrible disease. The film was inspired in part by the story of an actual attorney who, in 1987, sued a law firm for wrongful dismissal, in one of the first AIDS discrimination cases. ” - kuzzn
 
14.
The Wedding Banquet (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
To satisfy his nagging parents, a gay landlord and a female tenant agree to a marriage of convenience, but his parents arrive to visit and things get out of hand. (106 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
“ "The Wedding Banquet" (originally "Xi yan") is a funny movie about a closeted (with his family) man who is trying to maintain, unsuccessfully, two very different parts of his personal world: the traditional culture of his family, against his true nature, which happens to involve his being gay and conflicts with what he believes his family expects from him. ” - kuzzn
 
15.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two drag queens and a transsexual travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret. (104 mins.)
Director: Stephan Elliott
“ This is a hilarious road film about a small group of performers (two gay men and a transsexual) in Australia. The musical numbers are really spectacular, and the focus on these characters' personal lives is both real (sometimes scarily so) and heartwarming. ” - kuzzn
 
16.
Beautiful Thing (1996)
    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. (90 mins.)
“ What a touching film about first love. As with many gay comedies, this has dramatic points that are so important to the telling of the story. It is a film adaptation of Jonathan Harvey’s play "Beautiful Thing" (1993). ” - kuzzn
 
17.
Get Real (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A tenderly romantic coming-of-age story as two boys in a British school fall in love. (108 mins.)
Director: Simon Shore
“ This very entertaining film adaptation of Patrick Wilde’s play "What’s Wrong with Angry?" (1994) is one of the best coming-of-age films about a gay adolescent. It incorporates teen angst, with young love, friendship (including some pretty funny, campy moments), and overcoming the fear of rejection and ridicule that so many gay people (and their loved ones) struggle with. ” - kuzzn
 
18.
Gods and Monsters (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The last days of Frankenstein director James Whale are explored. (105 mins.)
Director: Bill Condon
“ An adaptation of Christopher Bram’s novel "Father of Frankenstein" (1995), in turn, based on the actual figure James Whale (1889-1957), this is a moving production about a film director who happened to be gay. Whale directed many motion pictures, including "Frankenstein" (1931). ” - kuzzn
 
19.
Trick (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The misadventures of two young gay men, trying to find a place to be alone, one night in Manhattan. (89 mins.)
Director: Jim Fall
“ This movie is about a sensitive young man's discovery of romantic feeling, after having started out looking for a simple sexual encounter (a trick) with a 'go go' boy from a gay bar. It's funny and optimistic. ” - kuzzn
 
20.
Big Eden (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Big Eden is a small, fictional northwestern Montana town. (118 mins.)
Director: Thomas Bezucha
“ This film tells the story of a fantasy world (one where gay romance is regarded as 'normal,' in a mountain community), with average-looking people and where a rural man and an urbanite seem to be falling in love with each other. ” - kuzzn
 
21.
Latter Days (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A promiscuous gay party animal falls for a young Mormon missionary, leading to crisis, cliché, and catastrophe. (107 mins.)
Director: C. Jay Cox
“ This is an emotionally-charged coming out story that controversially highlights a Mormon man who is struggling with his sexual attraction to men. It has humor, angst, and eye candy. ” - kuzzn
 
22.
Mysterious Skin (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth. (105 mins.)
Director: Gregg Araki
“ An adaptation of Scott Heim’s novel "Mysterious Skin" (1995), this film can be hard to watch, due to depictions of and references to child sexual abuse, plus teen prostitution. It focuses on a hardened young gay man who was sexualized as a child and lives with the dangers that go with a life as a street prostitute. It takes a look at his connection with a fellow victim of abuse and how past trauma had so greatly and adversely affected each of their lives, in very different ways. ” - kuzzn
 
23.
Shelter (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
When his college dreams are sidelined by family obligations, a young man finds comfort in surfing with his best friend's brother. (97 mins.)
Director: Jonah Markowitz
“ I had thought this was going to be just another pretty-boy film without much substance, and it's a much more than that. The story is meaningful and realistic, with a theme about following a dream, including a dream of how a family's life can be. Getting beyond the 'hey, dude' macho façade (at least it was a façade for one of the main characters) to what really matters to the guy, he starts thinking more about what's right for himself and the ones he cares about. ” - kuzzn
 
24.
Milk (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
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. (128 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
“ It's based on the actual figure gay activist Harvey Milk (1930-1978) and especially on the feature film "The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984). This 2008 film shows the title character's grass roots rise into political prominence and his eventual assassination (from the beginning, the film is clear about this tragic outcome). What an amazing and inspiring man he was. ” - kuzzn
 
25.
The Normal Heart (2014 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A gay activist attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s. (132 mins.)
Director: Ryan Murphy
“ An adaptation of Larry Kramer's 1985 play "The Normal Heart," this feature-length film is a very moving dramatization of the early years of the AIDS epidemic in America, about a grassroots struggle to get federal assistance, which (at the time) was QUITE slow and meager. ” - kuzzn