MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 21,495 this week

The Celluloid Closet (1995)

R  |   |  Documentary, History  |  15 March 1996 (USA)
7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,751 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 30 critic

A documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film.

Writers:

(book), (story), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 19 Apr 2011
 
a list of 38 titles
created 12 Sep 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 26 Sep 2011
 
a list of 37 titles
created 05 Aug 2012
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Celluloid Closet (1995)

The Celluloid Closet (1995) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Celluloid Closet.

User Polls

Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor.

Director: Rob Epstein
Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg
Word Is Out (1977)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

More than two dozen men and women of various backgrounds, ages, and races talk to the camera about being gay. Their stories are arranged in loose chronology: early years, fitting in (which ... See full summary »

Directors: Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Pat Bond, John Burnside, Sally M. Gearhart
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A chronological look at films by, for, or about (or "by, for, and about") gays and lesbians in the United States, from 1947 to 2005, Kenneth Anger's "Fireworks" to "Brokeback Mountain." ... See full summary »

Directors: Lisa Ades, Lesli Klainberg
Stars: Tom Arnold, Randy Barbato, Dan Bucatinsky
Paragraph 175 (2000)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Historian Klaus Müller interviews survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals because of the German Penal Code of 1871, Paragraph 175.

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Stars: Rupert Everett, Klaus Müller, Karl Gorath
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A collection of profiles of people dead from AIDS who are remembered in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Stars: Sara Lewinstein, David Mandell, Suzi Mandell
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Marlon Riggs, with assistance from other gay Black men, especially poet Essex Hemphill, celebrates Black men loving Black men as a revolutionary act. The film intercuts footage of Hemphill ... See full summary »

Director: Marlon Riggs
Stars: Marlon Riggs, Michael Bell, Kerrigan Black
Making Love (1982)
Drama
    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 life torn assunder when he suddenly confronts his long-repressed attraction ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Michael Ontkean, Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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: André Christian, Dorian Corey, Paris Duprée
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Documentary/Concert film covering the annual Drag festival in New York City. Highlights include a performance by drag diva, Ru Paul, and the infamous Lypsinca.

Director: Barry Shils
Stars: RuPaul, John Epperson, Deborah Harry
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The history of the Gay and Lesbian community before the Stonewall riots began the major gay rights movement.

Directors: Greta Schiller, Robert Rosenberg
Stars: Rita Mae Brown, Maua Adele Ajanaku, Red Jordan Arobateau
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    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 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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator
...
Himself
...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Herself
Jan Oxenberg ...
Herself
...
Himself
Quentin Crisp ...
Himself
Richard Dyer ...
Himself
Jay Presson Allen ...
Herself
Mrs. Gustav Ketterer ...
Herself
...
Himself
Will H. Hays ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

A comprehensive documentary of the history of gays and lesbians in cinema, from negative to positive reflections of gay characters and the troubles of actors and actresses. Written by R. John Berggren <jberg@nina.pagesz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some graphic footage of sexuality and violence, and for language | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

Release Date:

15 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Celluloid Closet  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,507,800 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cher, Liza Minnelli, and Bette Midler were scheduled to be interviewed for this documentary, but all canceled at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. See more »

Quotes

Richard Dyer: Most expressions of homosexuality in most of movies are indirect. And what's interesting about that is of course that is what it was like to express homosexuality in life, that we could only express ourselves indirectly, just as people on the screen could only express themselves indirectly. And the sense in which the characters are in the closet, the movie is in the closet and we are in the closet.
See more »

Connections

Features Tarzan and His Mate (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Advise and Consent (Main Theme)
Written by Jerry Fielding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the Most Important Documentaries I've Ever Seen
21 October 2007 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

The Celluloid Closet is a fascinating, well-informed, vastly entertaining, heavily emotional, and infuriating documentary. It reminds us how aware we already were before watching it and makes us even more aware upon watching it that America has always been full of blind hate for things it hardly knows of, when those things may be innate parts of someone, both hoping and scared to be noticed and nonetheless only wanting acceptance. The Celluloid Closet, one of the most important documentaries I have ever seen, makes it clear that in over 100 years of movies, homosexuality has only been depicted on the screen every here and there and almost always as something to laugh at, or pity, or fear, thus hate. These images have always been momentary or subtle and passing, but they have left a deep imprint on America, and so the world. Lily Tomlin narrates, "Hollywood taught straight people what to think about gay people, and gay people what to think about themselves. No one escaped its influence."

Also, when you watch this film, you may hopefully slowly slip out of that defensive shell we as a culture have, a denial that movies affect us, or that any of that depends on age. This film proves beyond the shadow of a doubt how the subtlest alterations to a film and the slightest shades of attitudes can leave lasting conscious or subconscious imprints on us.

The film takes us through the thrillingly interesting period of the 1950s, when screenwriters and directors acted almost as undercover operatives when slipping in the slightest ambiguous homosexual or bisexual undertones, the most shocking of which was Ben-Hur, and the staggeringly angering 1960s, but maybe the focal point of the movie's conclusion is that at the very beginning, starting with Thomas Edison's experimental film of two men dancing together and continuing sparingly through the silent era and shortly after, was a time when men were free to express tenderness with each other on the screen, but as the world grew more aware of homosexuality, affection between males would be seen as a completely unacceptable, shun-worthy act. Two guy friends can rarely even hold each other in a movie! However, there has always been a difference in how audiences look at two men being affectionate or sexual and two women being sexual. There's a comfort with female nudity and affectionate bonding that can be not only acceptable but considered sexy by the general public. Women somehow don't find it threatening the way it is with men, and men find it either completely nonthreatening or arousing, or both. Movies like The Color Purple, Personal Best and Thelma & Louise showcase things between two women that are still highly taboo between two men. Even hit movies like Philadelphia and Brokeback Mountain, which actually is not mentioned in this film only because this was released about a decade before it, are no true steps forward for homosexuality in cinema, because they are about the sadness and alienation of being gay, and, on a very obscure note in case someone hasn't seen one or either, they end with death.

It remains to be seen whether or not Hollywood and American audiences will embrace a movie with a gay hero who lives, and can be integrated with other people. They are the only minority who has yet to be given solid recognition and voice in the most universal and popular form of entertainment and communication in our culture.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Movie list, anyone? choirfreak26
One bad thing about this film... laubklein2
intentionnally homophobic movies dioniscerda
Celluoid Closet Part 2? just_turi
First Film with Homosexual Character(s)? jukebox_era
Films not mentioned kino_vamp
Discuss The Celluloid Closet (1995) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?