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Mar 18 2016

The BFI's 30 Best LGBT Films of All Time

Have you seen the British Film Institute's 30 Best LBGT Films of All Time yet?The list was compiled in honor of the 30th London LGBT Film Festival and features a delightfully wide range of global cinema,classics,and new favorites.

There have been complaints of recent films performing so high on an All Time list,but it's important to remember that LGBT film has become increasingly more common and less niche in recent years - such a list is naturally going to be drawing from a larger pool of candidates from the past 20 years.

The BFI's number one is the most recent andwe might have had a few things to say about it hereat The Film Experience.亚博主页Yes,the belovedCaroltook the top spot.Say what you will about this months-old film winning an All Time title,at least our beloved has finally won something!It's also exciting that they awarded a film directed by an LGBT person,as our stories are historically rewarded when told by straight persons.

Following right behind is another gay romance: Andrew Haigh'sWeekend.The film is recent to the world,but an even more recent release in Italy where it is just now opening five years after its debut.It even drew unusually large crowds,too -despite pushback from the Vatican.

The Full List after the jump...

Gus Van Sant's classic "My Own Private Idaho"

  1. Carol(2015)
  2. Weekend(2011)
  3. Happy Together(1997)
  4. Brokeback Mountain(2005)
  5. Paris is Burning(1990)
  6. Tropical Malady(2004)
  7. My Beautiful Laundrette(1985)
  8. Todo Sobre Mi Madre(1999)
  9. Un Chant d'Amour(1950)
  10. My Own Private Idaho(1991)
  11. TIE =Tangerine(2015),The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant(1972),andBlue is the Warmest Color(2013)
  12. TIE =Madchen in Uniform(1931),Show Me Love(1998),Orlando(1992),andVictim(1961)
  13. Je,Tu,Il,Elle(1974)
  14. Looking for Langston(1989)
  15. TIE =Beau Travail(1999)andBeautiful Thing(1996)
  16. TIE =Stranger by the Lake(2013),Teorama(1968),The Watermelon Woman(1996),Pariah(2011),andMulholland Drive(2001)
  17. TIE =Portrait of Jason(1967),Dog Day Afternoon(1975),Death in Venice(1971),Pink Narcissus(1971),Sunday Bloody Sunday(1971),Tomboy(2011),andFuneral Parade of Roses(1969)

The ties make the list somewhat unwiedy (and also make the list more than 30 films),but there is a refreshing amount of variety with multiple countries,features and shorts,and documentaries.It's rewarding to seeParis is Burningso highly ranked,considering that documentaries don't get enough credit for their long history of telling LGBT stories.In fact,the most glaring omission in my estimation is another legendary documentary:The Times of Harvey Milk(1984).

What LGBT film do you think should be on the list?

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Reader Comments (46)

Carol was my favourite of last year but deciding so quickly that it's superior to Brokeback,Happy Together and All About My Mother strikes me as incredibly silly.

And though I like Weekend plenty (roughly as much as I despise Looking),it's not superior to any of the above films.Or in any way superior to (!!) Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant or My Beautiful Laundrette or Tangerine.This is not an opinion,this is demonstrable fact.

I do love Tropical Malady making it into the Top 10 though.And really all of the Top "11"are wonderful films.It's just the order that irks.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Where is The Boys in the Band?
My fav LGBTI movie.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I think the omission of "Longtime Companion"is inexcusable.It's aging beautifully & is a milestone in gay cinema.One can argue that it's more classical in it's form & less daring than some of those movies who made the list & I love the fact that LGBT movies are expending above the "coming out / aids"topic but I also think those lists should serve as remembering us were we came from so we can better know were to go.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Where is the glorious "Shelter' from 2007?
How quickly that film was forgotten...
I thought it was excellent and miles above most gay themed films.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMax

The fact that there are 33 movies stuffed into a top 17 there,and there are STILL some movies missing is pretty heartening.
Now,this weekend,do I watch Weekend for the 100th time,or Happy Together for the 1st time?

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Taking Girls In Uniform (fPS: Mädchen In Uniform) from 1958 instead of the superior version from 1931 strikes me as ridiculous.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

@Willy: The 1931 version is the one they actually listed.Just a small goof here.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Really?!?!Dog Day Afternoon listed behind that many films?This list cannot be trusted in the slightest.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Mulholland Drive,hm.Queer content,sure.But an "LGBT film"?Dubious.

And since most of the top 10 are from the last 20 years,Prideshould have easily made it into this Top 33.

AndMaurice,The Rocky Horror Picture Show,The Hours,Outrageous,Velvet Goldmine,Laws of Desire?!?

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw


March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw


March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Wow at least this is the first sign that CAROL will be loved for eternity.
and while I do think that Brokeback is far and away the best movie in its year,but it just lacks compared to Carol.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commentercraver

The Kids Are Alright?

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCris

Is this list really necessary these days?And what are the criteria?Would Strangers on a Train or The Maltese Falcon count?

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Um,this list without Longtime Companion makes it instantly suspicious.I would put that in the Top 5 without question.

There are other less "important"movies that I've enjoyed over the years like The Wedding Banquet,but their absence doesn't bother me as much.I also loved C.R.A.Z.Y.as I recall and a few others.

I am pretty happy that Happy Together made the list so high.It's more of a feel-bad movie than Brokeback Mountain but I'm glad there is a place for such an arty movie.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

I don't see how Paris is Burning can be anything except No.1.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBD

How gauche!Mulholland Dr.isn't a very apt inclusion,making me imagine the compiling Brit critics don't get a lot GLBT movies out their way.All About My Mother is grand but LAWS OF GRAVITY would be quite a better choice.Methinks they aint seen it.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterErich Kuersten

How gauche!Mulholland Dr.isn't a very apt inclusion,making me imagine the compiling Brit critics don't get a lot GLBT movies out their way.All About My Mother is grand but LAWS OF GRAVITY would be quite a better choice.Methinks they aint seen it.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterErich Kuersten

The lack of "Midnight Cowboy"is,as always,disheartening.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Reese

I love love love this list.Nice to see some consensus coalesce around Carol.Of other recent releases,it feels especially good to see Dee Rees' Pariah on there.And old treasures too - looking at you,Funeral Parade of Roses.

But gotta pour one out for Hedwig and the Angry Inch - not just a breakthrough for John Cameron Mitchell or how it transgressively wraps personal identity politics with a big,bedazzled middle finger around a microphone,but a formal funhouse that breaks down the limits of the frame in myriad fashions.And Bad Education!

March 18,2016 | Registered CommenterDaniel Crooke

I wish more films about LGBT youth were included.Bad Hair?The Way He Looks?

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMojo

My Top 10 would have included Longtime Companion,Pride,The Birdcage,The Hours,Brokeback Mountain,Common Threads.....so many good LGBTI films that a TOP 30 should have been expanded to Top 50.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Brokeback deserved the top spot.Its such a masterpiece.I like carol,but wouldn't put it there.I also get weirded when a movie that recent is all of the sudden called the best in its genre.Let it age before anything can be called #1.I do think that Dog Day Afternoon deserves to be higher too cause the great thing about dog day afternoon is it never completely feels like a LGBT film but it SO is.Dog Day Afternoon was a movie that could have been a full blown satire but it treats all of its characters with such respect that you never question the absurdity of the plot.Oh and its Pacino's best performance as well.Its also my favorite Sidney Lumet film.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

The 1985 TV movie Consenting Adult with Marlo Thomas and Martin Sheen was a memorable experience for myself and many others.Glad to see Tangerine,Victim and Stranger By the Lake on the list.I'd have included the previously mentioned Bad Education,Law of Desire and Maurice.Plus I'm very fond of Like It is,Get Real and Latter Days.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Parting Glances?

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O


March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commenterchrisconcert

"Carol"seriously- yes it belongs on the list but not the best GLBT movie of all time ?!"Mullholand Drive"?!!!

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

OMFG I just realised Wild Reeds and Fox and His Friends don't even feature!!

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Or The Opposite of Sex?!!

That's it.I'm making my own list and pretending this one doesn't exist

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Maybe it's because I later went into comedy,but two comedies of my youth -- "Trick"and "The Broken Hearts Club"-- were SO formative for me.I get that they're not excellent films and that some (okay,a lot) reminds me of stereotypes,but they also helped me to believe that I could grow up gay and have close friendships and be pursuing my passions as the characters in those movies did.

Plus,J.P.Pitoc in a g-string?Dean Cain and Andrew Keegan making out?Also,it's when I first fell in love with Justin Theroux and then the rest of the world got in line,like,15 years later.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

The full list of all 100 critics picks is worth a read.Some of them went way off script.I am surmising here,but some were like 'I know this is only meant to be about movies,but such and such made an excellent music video in the year whatevery,so I am including it here as one of my picks anyway'.WTF.

But I suppose it got me thinking about what would be my picks,and these lists are meant to cause discussion and disagreement anyways.If nobody was up in arms about it,it would be pretty sad.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

Paul -- agreed that Mulholland Dr is not a gay film.just has queer moments.

Ez -- yep.I actually like this list.Yes it leans way too heavily on new stuff but there are so many great films chosen as well as a few i haven't seen that I will seek out.

March 18,2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I wonder if queerness isn't the important theme hiding in plain sight inMulholland Dr.The movie (down to its title) is a Lynchian celebration of old Hollywood movies,and in many of those queerness existed beneath the surface as an unspoken fantasy.Mulholland Dris about a queer fantasy that crashes apart upon hitting reality (as Laura Harring chooses Justin Theroux over Naomi Watts) and the unspeakable nightmare of the fantasy that won't let go.So,for me,queerness is one very important theme among many of the film.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

I agree with Marsha on this one.The queerness of "Mulholland Drive"is CRUCIAL to developing the eventual psychological problems Watts' character is going through.None of the movie makes sense without her love/lust/jealousy over how she feels for another woman.It's her ultimate tragedy.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Reese

I think the list is extremely strong.Any list that finds time for movies like LOOKING FOR LANGSTON,PORTRAIT OF JASON,PETRA VON KANT,THE WATERMELON WOMAN and PINK NARCISSUS among all of those other films that get much more attention is okay by me.The list is only 30 titles long,they can't fit every great LGBTQ film on there and,no,movies like LONGTIME COMPANION and SHELTER are not going to be titles that a high brow list like this is going to embrace.This is the BFI,not Out.com

I completely agree with Marsha about MULHOLLAND DRIVE.The film doesn't make a lick of sense if you remove the lesbian aspect.I know people will laugh and say "it already didnt make sense!",but if you think about it for a moment it's true.

March 18,2016 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I don't think any of us is saying that the queer aspect ofMulholland Driveisn't important,crucial or essential,just that it doesn't make it an "LGBT film."Just asMonster's Ballisn't a "black film,"though racial dynamics and themes in the film are important,crucial,essential.

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Monster's Balldoesn't really count as a black film,because it's a racial film.I think there's quite a difference there - and sometimes a film can be a "black film"which just so happens to be about racial conflict.Berry's character isn't the central driving point of the film,because Forster seems more interested in the nature of Thornton's.

WithMulholland Drive,it's Lynch presenting the story of a woman who was driven to madness by her love for another.Everything about the film - from its melodramatic,Hollywood-lite dream logic in the first two acts is all leading up to this point...and it leads to that love-making sequence that really makes the queer element very important to everything that has come before it.


I do think the revelation of it all being in the head of Watts' character is where it makes most sense.The queer aspect isn't presented until the last 40 minutes or so of the film,but that doesn't mean it wasn't existing there before that.Watts' Diane fell in love with another woman,and that woman betrayed her - and she felt rage,jealously,hate,and even lust and that's known in every minute of the "reality"of this character who was previously dreaming.She had the woman she loved killed,because she left her for a man with success in the industry.If that doesn't operate beyond simply being queer elements and not defining the film's entire premise,I don't know what else could.It's especially good that Lynch never objectifies the sex scene.It's quite heartbreaking,actually.

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Reese

The Hours,The Kids Are All Right,High Art,Milk,Fried Green Tomatoes,Hedwig and the Angry Inch,Velvet Goldmine,Far From Heaven,Boys Don't Cry,Heavenly Creatures,Philadelphia,The Crying Game,the list goes on and on...

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Movies not on the list I like:

Burning Blue
Tom at the farm
Kiss of The Spider woman
Before Night Falls
Farewell My Concubine
Singel White Female
Dallas Buyers Club
The Talented Mr Ripley
Eyes Wide Open
The Color Purple
Heavenly Creatures
Albert Nobbs
David's Birthday
My Summer of Love

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

"Carol"is probably the worst movie from this list so its first place is...laughable.

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

La ley del deseo,for heaven's sake!

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Do my eyes deceive me or is there no Boys Don't Cry?

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoFo

Not a great list.Some wonderful surprise inclusions,but just as many head scratchers — does anyone still like Beautiful Thing?Isn't My Beautiful Laundrette just kind eh?

March 19,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTim

While some of the films not mentioned feature some negative stereotypes,I still consider them great films: A Taste of Honey,High Art,Notes on a Scandal,Prick Up Your Ears and L.I.E.And Fellini's Satyricon as well.

March 20,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

I'm quite happy with this list.Yeah the list leans heavily on recent release but I'm very happy with the inclusion of Watermelon Woman (about a lesbian black character from the actual lesbian black director);Tangerine;and Show me love (I think every teenagers should watch this).

The glaring omission that immediately popped up my head are 2 very queer movies: Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

As much as I loved Mulholland Drive;for once I think It's not deserve to be on this list.

March 21,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTombeet

i just saw Sunday Bloody Sunday.Strange film in many ways,but the final scene is all the argument you need for its inclusion on this list

February 11,2017 | Unregistered Commentermatt

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