The Best LGBTQ+ Films of All Time

by pbn | created - 3 weeks ago | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

In 2018, for the 30th anniversary of BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, the British Film Institute surveyed over 100 programmers, critics and filmmakers to find the 30 greatest LGBTQ+ films of all time. Which of their picks is your favorite?

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1. Carol (2015)

R | 118 min | Drama, Romance

95 Metascore

An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.

Director: Todd Haynes | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler

Votes: 100,343 | Gross: $12.71M

2. Weekend (II) (2011)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Romance

81 Metascore

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.

Director: Andrew Haigh | Stars: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman

Votes: 25,353 | Gross: $0.46M

3. Happy Together (1997)

96 min | Drama, Romance

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: 19,276 | Gross: $0.19M

4. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

R | 134 min | Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid

Votes: 298,844 | Gross: $83.04M

5. Paris Is Burning (1990)

R | 71 min | Documentary

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: 8,925 | Gross: $3.78M

6. Tropical Malady (2004)

Not Rated | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

78 Metascore

A romance between a soldier and a country boy, wrapped around a Thai folk-tale involving a shaman with shape-shifting abilities.

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul | Stars: Banlop Lomnoi, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Huai Dessom, Sirivech Jareonchon

Votes: 4,428

7. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

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: 12,832 | Gross: $2.45M

8. All About My Mother (1999)

R | 101 min | Drama

87 Metascore

Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his second mother, a trans woman, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña, Antonia San Juan

Votes: 80,626 | Gross: $8.26M

9. Un Chant D'Amour (1950)

Not Rated | 26 min | Short, Fantasy, Romance

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: 2,774

10. My Own Private Idaho (1991)

R | 104 min | Drama

77 Metascore

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.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert

Votes: 44,407 | Gross: $6.40M

11. Tangerine (2015)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

85 Metascore

A hooker tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.

Director: Sean Baker | Stars: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan

Votes: 23,048 | Gross: $0.70M

12. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama, Romance

An arrogant fashion designer falls in love with an icy beauty who wants to be a model.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder | Stars: Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes

Votes: 7,362

13. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

NC-17 | 180 min | Drama, Romance

88 Metascore

Adèle's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche | Stars: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing

Votes: 123,958 | Gross: $2.20M

14. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)

Passed | 87 min | Drama, Romance

At an all-girls boarding school, Manuela falls in love with a teacher, to terrific consequences.

Directors: Leontine Sagan, Carl Froelich | Stars: Dorothea Wieck, Hertha Thiele, Emilia Unda, Hedwig Schlichter

Votes: 2,113

15. Show Me Love (1998)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

73 Metascore

Two teenage girls in small-town Sweden. Elin is beautiful, popular, and bored with life. Agnes is friendless, sad, and secretly in love with Elin.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg, Erica Carlson, Mathias Rust

Votes: 47,186 | Gross: $0.17M

16. Orlando (1992)

PG-13 | 94 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy

74 Metascore

Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British ... See full summary »

Director: Sally Potter | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp, Jimmy Somerville

Votes: 12,291 | Gross: $5.29M

17. 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.

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

Votes: 4,391

18. Je Tu Il Elle (1974)

86 min | Drama

'Je' is a girl voluntarily lock up in a room. 'Tu' is the script. 'Il' is a lorry driver. 'Elle' is the girlfriend.

Director: Chantal Akerman | Stars: Chantal Akerman, Niels Arestrup, Claire Wauthion

Votes: 1,437

19. Looking for Langston (1989)

R | 45 min | Biography, Drama

A black and white, fantasy-like recreation of high-society gay men during the Harlem Renaissance, with archival footage and photographs intercut with a story. A wake is going on, with ... See full summary »

Director: Isaac Julien | Stars: Ben Ellison, Matthew Baidoo, Akim Mogaji, John Wilson

Votes: 399

20. Beau travail (1999)

Unrated | 92 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

This film focuses on an ex-Foreign Legion officer as he recalls his once glorious life, leading troops in Djibouti.

Director: Claire Denis | Stars: Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin, Richard Courcet

Votes: 6,955 | Gross: $0.25M

21. 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.

Director: Hettie Macdonald | Stars: Glen Berry, Linda Henry, Scott Neal, Tameka Empson

Votes: 21,299 | Gross: $1.50M

22. Stranger by the Lake (2013)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

82 Metascore

Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel, an attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this but wants to live out his passion anyway.

Director: Alain Guiraudie | Stars: Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, Patrick d'Assumçao, Jérôme Chappatte

Votes: 11,566 | Gross: $0.32M

23. Teorema (1968)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama, Mystery

A mysterious young man seduces each member of a bourgeois family. When he suddenly leaves, how will their lives change?

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Silvana Mangano, Terence Stamp, Massimo Girotti, Anne Wiazemsky

Votes: 10,360

24. The Watermelon Woman (1996)

Unrated | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

74 Metascore

Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia with her best friend Tamara and consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a Black actress from Philly who... See full summary »

Director: Cheryl Dunye | Stars: Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker, Lisa Marie Bronson

Votes: 825

25. Pariah (I) (2011)

R | 86 min | Drama

79 Metascore

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Director: Dee Rees | Stars: Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Aasha Davis, Pernell Walker

Votes: 5,457 | Gross: $0.76M

26. Mulholland Drive (2001)

R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 290,222 | Gross: $7.22M

27. Portrait of Jason (1967)

Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

Black gay prostitute Jason Holliday is rigorously interviewed on his story and character, revealing nuanced truths about life and art.

Director: Shirley Clarke | Stars: Jason Holliday, Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee

Votes: 748

28. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

R | 125 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 217,643 | Gross: $50.00M

29. Death in Venice (1971)

GP | 130 min | Drama

While recovering in Venice, sickly Composer Gustav von Aschenbach (Sir Dirk Bogarde) becomes dangerously fixated with teenager Tadzio (Björn Andrésen).

Director: Luchino Visconti | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Romolo Valli, Mark Burns, Nora Ricci

Votes: 16,573

30. Pink Narcissus (1971)

Not Rated | 65 min | Drama, Fantasy

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

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

Votes: 1,036 | Gross: $0.01M

31. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)

R | 110 min | Drama

Divorced working woman Alex and well-to-do Jewish family doctor Daniel Hirsh share not only the same answering service but also the favours of young Bob Elkin who bed-hops between them as ... See full summary »

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson, Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft

Votes: 4,892

32. Tomboy (2011)

Not Rated | 82 min | Drama

74 Metascore

A family moves into a new neighborhood, and a 10-year-old named Laure deliberately presents as a boy named Mikhael to the neighborhood children.

Director: Céline Sciamma | Stars: Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Jeanne Disson, Sophie Cattani

Votes: 15,435 | Gross: $0.13M

33. Funeral Parade of Roses (1969)

105 min | Drama

The trials and tribulations of Eddie and other transvestites in Japan.

Director: Toshio Matsumoto | Stars: Pîtâ, Osamu Ogasawara, Yoshimi Jô, Koichi Nakamura

Votes: 3,587



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