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Monday
Jun 24 2019

Best LGBTQ Movies - Nathaniel's List

by Nathaniel R

At the beginning of the month we shared a collection of disparate lists from various websites on the "best LGBTQ films ever"and since that got such a good response let's return to the well for something more personal as Pride month winds down.Naturally when you make personal lists the order can be justifiably odd,even to your own eyes,so we must acknowledge first and foremost that this is by no means definitive: I haven't seen every queer movie ever made,and were the list to have been made on a different day or perhaps a different hour,it might be noticeably different,at least in ranking.

Nevertheless here's to hoping you enjoy this imperfect list of...

Nathaniel's 125 Favourite Queer Movies

  1. Cabaret(Fosse,1972) 8 OSCAR WINS INCLUDING BEST DIRECTOR
  2. Carol(Haynes,2015)

  3. Paris is Burning(Livingston,1990)
  4. Brokeback Mountain(Lee,2005) 3 OSCAR WINS INCLUDING BEST DIRECTOR
  5. Law of Desire(Almodóvar,1987)
  6. Heavenly Creatures(Jackson,1994)
  7. All About My Mother(Almodóvar,1999) OSCAR WINNER BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  8. Far From Heaven(Haynes,2002)
  9. Moonlight(Jenkins,2016) OSCAR WINNER BEST PICTURE
  10. The Times of Harvey Milk(Epstein,1984) OSCAR WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY
  11. My Beautiful Laundrette(Frears,1986)
  12. BPM(Campillo,2017)
  13. The Kids Are All Right(Cholodenko,2010)

  14. Adventures of Priscilla,Queen of the Desert (Elliott,1994) OSCAR WINNER BEST COSTUME DESIGN
  15. Madonna: Truth or Dare(Keshishian,1991)
  16. Tangerine(Baker,2015)
  17. Pride(Warchus,2014)
  18. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant(Fassbinder,1972)
  19. Beau Travail (Denis,2000)

  20. Victor/Victoria (Edwards,1982) OSCAR WINNER ORIGINAL SONG SCORE
  21. Weekend(Haigh,2011)
  22. The Hours(Daldry,2002) OSCAR WINNER BEST ACTRESS
  23. The Handmaiden(Park,2016)
  24. Hedwig and the Angry Inch(Mitchell,2001)
  25. Orlando(Potter,1993)
  26. Can You Ever Forgive Me(Heller,2018)

  27. Rope(Hitchcock,1948)
  28. Bound(The Wachowskis,1996)
  29. Fox and His Friends (Fassbinder,1975)
  30. Call Me By Your Name(Guadagnino,2017) OSCAR WINNER BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  31. Longtime Companion(René,1990)
  32. My Own Private Idaho(Van Sant,1991)
  33. Bad Education (Almodóvar,2004)
  34. Maurice(Ivory,1987)
  35. Pink Narcissus(Bidgood,1971)
  36. Beginners(Mills,2011) OSCAR WINNER BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  37. High Art(Cholodenko,1998)
  38. Priest(Bird,1995)
  39. Prodigal Sons (Reed,2008)
  40. The Rocky Horror Picture Show(Sharman,1975)
  41. Farewell My Concubine (Kaige,1993)
  42. Gods and Monsters(Condon,1998) OSCAR WINNER BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  43. Velvet Goldmine(Haynes,1998)
  44. Love is Strange(Sachs,2014)
  45. Looking for Langston(Julien,1989)
  46. The Crying Game (Jordan,1992) OSCAR WINNER BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
  47. Shortbus(Mitchell,2006)

  48. Suddenly Last Summer(Mankiewicz,1959)
  49. The Birdcage(Nichols,1996)
  50. Teorema (Pasolini,1968)
  51. Farewell My Queen(Jacquot,2012)
  52. The Talented Mr Ripley(Minghella,1999)

  53. Yossi & Jagger(Fox,2003)
  54. The Celluloid Closet(Epstein & Friedman,1995)
  55. Boys Dont Cry (Peirce,1999) OSCAR WINNER BEST ACTRESS
  56. Burnt Money (Piñeyro,2001)
  57. Kiss of the Spider-Woman(Babenco,1985) OSCAR WINNER BEST ACTOR
  58. Lilies (Greyson,1996)
  59. We the Animals(Zagar,2018)
  60. Show Me Love (Moodyson,1999)

  61. Pariah(Rees,2011)
  62. Battle of the Sexes (Dayton & Faris,2017)
  63. Edge of Seventeen (Moreton,1999)
  64. God's Own Country (Lee,2017)
  65. Trevor(Rajski,1994) OSCAR WINNER BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
  66. Milk (Van Sant,2008) 2 OSCAR WINS INCLUDING BEST ACTOR
  67. A Summer Dress(Ozon,1996)
  68. Undertow (Fuentes-León,2010)
  69. The Wedding Banquet (Lee,1993)
  70. Stranger by the Lake(Guiraudie,2014)
  71. Disobedience(Lelio,2018)
  72. Grandma(Weitz,2015)
  73. Heartbeats (Dolan,2011)
  74. Taxi Zum Klo (Ripploh,1980)
  75. Tom at the Farm (Dolan,2013)

  76. The Way He Looks(Riberio,2014)
  77. Happy Together (Wong,1997)
  78. Beautiful Thing (Macdonald,1996)
  79. Poison(Haynes,1990)
  80. Wigstock the Movie (Shils,1995)
  81. My Summer of Love (Pawlikowski,2004)
  82. Wild Reeds (Téchiné,1995)

  83. Swoon (Kalin,1992)
  84. Dottie Gets Spanked (Haynes,1993)
  85. I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Rozema,1987)
  86. Parting Glances (Sherwood,1986)
  87. Futuro Beach(Aïnouz,2014)
  88. The Raspberry Reich (LaBruce,2004)
  89. A Fantastic Woman(Lelio,2017) OSCAR WINNER BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
  90. In a Heartbeat(Bravo & David,2017)

  91. Tongues Untied (Riggs,1989)
  92. For a Lost Soldier (Kerbosch,1992)
  93. Summer Storm (Kreuzpaintner,2004)
  94. The Armoire(Travis,2009)
  95. The Children's Hour(Wyler,1961)
  96. Edward II (Jarman,1991)

  97. Tropical Malady (Weerasethakul,2005)
  98. We Were One Man (Vallois,1979)
  99. Querelle(Fassbinder,1982)
  100. The Saddest Boy in the World(Travis,2006)
  101. C.R.A.Z.Y.(Vallée,2005)
  102. Strawberry & Chocolate (Alea & Tabío,1994)
  103. Sebastiane (Jarman,1976)
  104. Other People (Kelly,2016)

  105. Appropriate Behavior(Akhavan,2015)
  106. No Skin Off My Ass (LaBruce,1991)
  107. Diamantino(Abrantes & Schmidt,2019)
  108. Another Country (Kanievska,1984)
  109. North Sea Texas (Defurne,2012)
  110. Head On (Kokkinos,1998)
  111. Vito(Schwartz,2011)
  112. Gayby(Lisecki,2012)

  113. Tarnation (Caouette,2003)
  114. Achilles(Purvis,1995)
  115. Boys (Kamp,2014)
  116. The Fourth Man (Verhoeven,1983)
  117. Apartment Zero (Donovan,1988)
  118. Funeral Parade of Roses (Matsumoto,1969)

  119. The Boys in the Band (Friedkin,1970)
  120. In & Out (Oz,1997)
  121. Making Love(Hiller,1982)
  122. Desde Allá / From Afar(Vigas,2015)
  123. Bent (Mathias,1997)
  124. Closet Monster(Dunn,2015)
  125. The Sum of Us (Dowling,1994)
  126. A Very Natural Thing (Larkin,1974)
  127. To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar (Kidron,1995)

There are many more LGBTQ movies worth seeing including as well as dozens of great films that are sometimes listed as LGBT that don't strike me as being LGBT even if they could be argued to be so technically (aka:Mulholland Drive,Midnight Cowboy,The Haunting,Dog Day Afternoon,Showgirls,Silence of the Lambs,Booksmart,andThe Favourite)

Disclaimer about the list above: There areseveralqueer-themed films made before the mid 70s that I haven't seen....here's a good list that stretches way way back into film history.The two I feel guiltiest about still having never seen areVictim(1961) andSunday Bloody Sunday(1971).

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Reader Comments (47)

I just saw Diamantino and it was fun in its Almodovar-lite way.But I thought the gay aspects were the weakest parts.The lesbian subplot was completely botched.Yet another movie where a lesbian is really a "lesbian",ready to fall for the first man who turns out to be Mr.Right,plot convenience being more important than psychology.Also,the male gay subplot was weird.He thinks he's falling in love with a man,who,luckily,is really a woman in disguise,yet he never questions it,and neither does anyone else.Huh?

June 24,2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Slight typo,The Handmaiden (Park,2002) should have 2016 as year of release.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Extensive list.Informed me of things I didn't know existed.Five films that came to mind,for me,in my uninformed LGBTQ mind that I didn't see on your list were "Philadelphia","Jeffrey","Trick","The Opposite of Sex"and "I Love You Phillip Morris".I must dig deeper now.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)

-> Stanley Donen's Staircase.

You're welcome.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Well damn,that's a hell of a list.Definitely looking up the ones I haven't seen.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I am going to have to lie down with a G and T,To Wong Foo last,Swayze is endearingly wonderful in that film just as Terence Stamp was in Priscilla.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I've seen about 90 of those.It's a list in which I recognize myself better than in some of the lists you mentioned a while ago.As if I needed a confirmation that I feel at home with your way of appreciating movies.Thanks for all the work and the energy.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterFrank JP

Wonderful list.Putting "Law and Desire"as your number 5 is a great choice.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKl

I would also rank "law of Desire"above "All About my Mother"!Most days,anyway.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Law of Desire is woefully under discussed,so it's great to see it so high!It really features so many of Almodovar's strengths.

I'm also glad to see Moonlight make it in the top ten.Given that it's the first Best Picture winner to be about LGBT people,it feels oddly under discussed.,

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Excellent,exhaustive list.I'd say I'm at about 70% seen out of all of these.

This would be my top 15 (alphabetical-ranking them would tough since I love them all)

Beautiful Thing
Brokeback Mountain
Gods & Monsters
Latter Days
Longtime Companion
Make the Yuletide Gay
Maurice
Shelter
The Sum of Us
The Times of Harvey Milk
Torch Song Trilogy
Trick
The Trip (2002)
Undertow (2010)
The Wedding Banquet

June 24,2019 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Where's the favourite?

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNnnnvg

Excellent list.I'm not going to go crazy picking on this or that,either present or omitted,but I will say that "Trembling Before G-d"is,not merely a great LGBT (not really any T in there) documentary,but one of my favorite documentaries of all time.(I reviewed it many years ago here: http://www.deborahlipp.com/2006/05/monday-movie-review-trembling-before-g-d/)

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Wondering if "A Single Man","The Favourite","History Boys","Gosford Park",and a couple other queer films (that i feel like I recall you enjoying,for the most part?) just got forgotten or were purposefully left off?

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

It's incredible how many queer masterpieces (or near masterpieces) we've gotten in the past few years.Carol,Tangerine,Pariah,Moonlight,etc.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

excellent list,you should post it on letterboxd

June 24,2019 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

Fun list,there are def some films on there that I hadn't thought about in years (We Were One Man,I've Heard the Mermaids Singing & Another Country) and movies like Victor Victoria which I think are far less progressive than they were intended to be).It's very interesting to sort through them.

Def catch Sunday,Bloody Sunday if you can - very excellent movie.Surprised that Desert Hearts isn't on your list.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Thanks for this,an excellent resource and a fun conversation starter.

Although after Billy's post I'm wondering what you think of A Single Man and The History Boys,and I'm wondering one other thing - putting Death in Venice to the side (because,well,naturally) would you consider any of Visconti's films to be LGBT or queer?I'm thinking of The Damned and Ludwig I guess (or basically any time a camera was pointed at Helmut Berger).I'm just curious what you think of as criteria in these matters.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Billy -- i dont like A Single Man or History Boys and definitely dont think of Gosford Park as queer which is why they're missing.

ScottC -- i'm not a fan of Death in Venice...but I am desperate to see The Damned.I have no excuse for not yet having done so.

Rob -- i've never seen Desert Hearts!

Nnnnvg -- i dont think of The Favourite is a queer movie.I dont know why given that it's a lesbian romantic triangle but maybe because I question if any of the characters are gay or it's positioning of power?

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm not a fan of Death in Venice either,although I love some of his other work.Well I can't wait to hear what you think of The Damned when you get to see it.It's one of those things that I don't even know how to begin to think about discussing.It's just so much (or,part of it is).Nothing else seems quite like it.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

"Staircase"is horrendous- good list but"Far From Heaven"should be in the top ten- a lot more emotional satisfying than that cold fish "Carol"

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon


Brokeback Mountain
All About My Mother
Boys Don't Cry
The Talented Mr Ripley 1999
Moonlight
Bad Education
Blue is The Warmest Collor
Stranger by the Lake
Futuro Beach
Milk
Philadelphia
Far From Heaven
Cabaret
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Priscilla Quen of the Desert
Happy Together
Call me By Your Name
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Gods and Monsters
Querelle

I think is that all.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel


Brokeback Mountain
All About My Mother
Boys Don't Cry
The Talented Mr Ripley 1999
Moonlight
Bad Education
Blue is The Warmest Collor
Stranger by the Lake
Futuro Beach
Milk
Philadelphia
Far From Heaven
Cabaret
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Priscilla Quen of the Desert
Happy Together
Call me By Your Name
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Gods and Monsters
Querelle

I think is that all.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

Maurice
Suspiria (2018)

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

I know Can't Stop the Music isn't an LGBT movie since there's no major gay character in it but in any case,it's in my top 100 for being so f***ing bad that it's a hoot.A piece of fun trash to help take your mind off.Happy Together and Weekend are some of my favourites too.

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJans

Posted this list on Twitter a few weeks ago in response to someone's question about people's favorite queer films so here it is again:
Dog Day Afternoon
Velvet Goldmine
Carol
The Last of England
Fox and His Friends
Moonlight
Bound
Far From Heaven
The Talented Mr.Ripley
Edward II
Boys Don't Cry
Monster
Weekend
High Art
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Pariah
Call Me By Your Name
The Hours
Can You Ever Forgive Me?

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRayLewis1997

Jaragon -- but Far From Heaven IS in the top ten.

June 24,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

First thoughts I had while reading this post:
- I F-ing love Cabaret,which is why I decided to watch it in the middle of the day last week,while my 6-year-old and his friend were running in & out of the house.They were entranced/appalled at "Money,Money,"and I offer no apologies.
- Ayyyyy,is Carol REALLY better than Far from Heaven?Or is it just queerer?
- Where's Billy Elliott?
- Thanks for putting this list together!

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

Interesting...i haven't seen a lot of this films and i dont consider some of them as LGBT movies because the story is not focus in a queer character or situation (Cabaret,Orlando or even Far From Heaven and Victor/Victoria) but i guess is just personal criteria because i agree that Dog Day Afternoon,Mulholland Dr.or The Favourite are automatically out of the list.

Anyway...this is my top 25

1.Undertow (Javier Fuentes-Leon)
2.Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell)
3.Boys Don't Cry (Kimberly Pierce)
4.Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie)
5.Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki)
6.Bad Education (Pedro Almodóvar)
7.Plan B (Marco Berger)
8.The Living End (Gregg Araki)
9.Strella (Panos H.Koutras)
10.Eyes Wide Open (Haim Tabakman)
11.Burnt Money (Marcelo Piñeyro)
12.Quemar las Naves (Francisco Franco Alba)
13.4th Man Out (Andrew Nackman)
14.Angels of Sex (Xavier Villaverde)
15.But I'm a Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit)
16.Longtime Companion (Norman René)
17.Beautiful Boxer (Ekachai Uekrongthan)
18.Get Real (Simon Shore)
19.Doña Herlinda and Her Son (Jaime Humberto Hermosillo)
20.Private Romeo (Alan Brown)
21.Strawberry and Chocolate (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea,Juan Carlos Tabio)
22.Leo's Room (Enrique Buchichio)
23.Boys (Mischa Kamp)
24.Elena Undone (Nicole Conn)
25.20 Centimeters (Ramón Salazar)

June 24,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

I had to look at this list seven or eight times to verify that My Beautiful Laundrette is not in it.Really?You gotta be kidding!Every time I enter this blog and review the list I think it's just my mistake and ...That's inconceivable.My Beautiful Laundrette is better than half (half not,I'm perhaps overstating,but a third I would say) from this list including (ahem) nominees and Oscar winners.How to forget a movie with this title?And Daniel Day-Lewis blonde?And ...Inconceivable.

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterFeline Justice

Thank you so much for this list - it's by the far the most thoughtful and diverse of those I've read amongst the glut of lists that have surfaced this month.I would be one of those who makes the case for including Mulholland Drive and The Favourite (high up!) but I do understand the other side of those respective arguments.Your list makes me feel celebratory and optimistic about LGBTQ representation in the cinema,despite there still being a long way to go...Happy Pride Month!

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSally W

@Jaragon
Staircase's politics of course are not todar's politics,but it's a haunting portrait of loneliness in a relationship that happens to be a gay relationship.In the 60's.This was not common at all,to make a film in which gays have an enduring relationship and deal with marriage crisis.

I think it's pretty delicate,even if the gay part of teh characters is obviously too broad for our 2019 tastes.

June 25,2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Feline -- my beautiful laundrette is at #11

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

@NATHANIEL
It looks like some readers of this page doesn't READ your entire posts.

And now that i remember why don't you include a latinamerican classic like Strawberry and Chocolate?

Just kiding...

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

Disobedience!Yes!I LOVE the film and those performances.

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterFernando Moss

Nathaniel,forgive me!- I swear I haven't seen it.Forget everything in the message.Except about the qualities of My Beautiful Laundrette..

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterFeline Justice

Yes,History Boys is terrible,but A Single Man?I loved it.Oh well,we're all different.

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

The Watermelon Woman!

And I love The History Boys.To each their own!

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ.B.

Didn't see in your list "Cruising","Bear Cub"or "Bearcity"(1&2,3 is not on par)."Stranger by the lake"and "The Wedding Banquet"are alarmingly low.Great pic for #1,of course.

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

Also...no "Chasing Amy",1997's best film?Wow.

June 25,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

Great list,thanks for writing it!- so many places to go with my own viewing.I've seen quite a few on the list but got some good gaps to fill in...

June 26,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Nice list,but two of my favourites are missing:
Blue is the warmest color & Laurence anyways.

June 26,2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Kris -- ack i did intend to list Blue is the Warmest Colour.

June 26,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The Hunger (1983) is not on the list ?

June 27,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLuiz Carlos

My number one would probably be LOOKING FOR LANGSTON.

June 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Wonderfull list Nathaniel - and such a great reference to go back to ...so many I haven't seen in ages!On that note - I do wonder what will happen to the good old DVD?Do you guys still buy them - have collections?Not sure how it works in the U.S.but living in South Africa today the last DVD rental shop in the area closes its doors - which had a fantastic collection of classics and always quirky reviews & chats.Netflix is fun - but not a movie treasure trove!Somehow I feel I don't want to join numerous streaming sites to see what I want ...

June 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Great to see Heavenly Creatures so high on the list!

I was heartened to have seen so many of these and will definitely start to research some of the others :) Incredible list

July 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEoghan McQ

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