Top 40 Queer/Gay Movies

by geofjarvis | created - 06 Jan 2011 | updated - 14 Jul 2012 | Public

This list constitutes some of my favourite movies, as well a roster of films that I believe have said something explicit and insightful about gay sex and/or queer identity. To that end, many older films that had to deal with such subjects tacitly have not been included.

The list progresses in no real, or definitive order.

I'm a gay man, so I must own that most of the films deal with man on man relationships, although I believe that the films that I've included that deal with lesbian sexuality are some of the best on the list.

There will no doubt be many that disagree with the contents of this list - although it is nothing more than the subjective meandering of a gay brain, obsessed with cinema.

Many European/foreign language films of note have no doubt been omitted.

Lastly, I would have liked to include at least one film by Bruce LaBruce (Hustler White), but was unable to include any as his oeuvre is not available in IMDB's list-making facility.

Here is my list:

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1. Victim (1961)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The death of a young man leads to the discovery of a blackmail plot against a number of gay men in 1960s London.

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

Votes: 3,950

2. Weekend (II) (2011)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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: 23,014 | Gross: $0.46M

3. The Hours (2002)

PG-13 | 110 min | Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
80 Metascore

The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

Director: Stephen Daldry | Stars: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 110,065 | Gross: $41.68M

4. Maurice (1987)

R | 140 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
74 Metascore

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.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 12,235 | Gross: $3.13M

5. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

R | 134 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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: 281,041 | Gross: $83.04M

6. Shortbus (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
64 Metascore

A group of New Yorkers caught up in their romantic-sexual milieu converge at an underground salon infamous for its blend of art, music, politics, and carnality.

Director: John Cameron Mitchell | Stars: Sook-Yin Lee, Peter Stickles, PJ DeBoy, Paul Dawson

Votes: 29,163 | Gross: $1.99M

7. High Art (1998)

R | 101 min | Drama, Romance

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

A young female intern at a small magazine company becomes involved with a drug-addicted lesbian photographer, both of whom seek to exploit each other for their respective careers, while slowly falling in love with each other.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko | Stars: Radha Mitchell, Ally Sheedy, Patricia Clarkson, Gabriel Mann

Votes: 8,944 | Gross: $1.93M

8. Edward II (1991)

R | 87 min | Drama, History, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In this Derek Jarman version of Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan drama, in modern costumes and settings, Plantagenet king Edward II hands the power-craving nobility the perfect excuse by ... See full summary »

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Steven Waddington, Kevin Collins, Andrew Tiernan, John Lynch

Votes: 2,016 | Gross: $0.69M

9. The Dying Gaul (I) (2005)

R | 92 min | Drama, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
62 Metascore

A grief-stricken screenwriter unknowingly enters a three-way relationship with a woman and her film executive husband - to chilling results.

Director: Craig Lucas | Stars: Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott, Patricia Clarkson, Ryan Miller

Votes: 2,188 | Gross: $0.34M

10. Sitcom (1998)

Unrated | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The adventures of an upper-class suburban family abruptly confronted with the younger brother's discovery of his homosexuality, the elder sister's suicide attempt and sado-masochist ... See full summary »

Director: François Ozon | Stars: Évelyne Dandry, François Marthouret, Marina de Van, Adrien de Van

Votes: 4,034

11. A Single Man (2009)

R | 99 min | Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
77 Metascore

An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.

Director: Tom Ford | Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult

Votes: 94,164 | Gross: $9.17M

12. The Kids Are All Right (2010)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
86 Metascore

Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their biological father into their non-traditional family life.

Director: Lisa Cholodenko | Stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska

Votes: 116,606 | Gross: $20.81M

13. Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

R | 105 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Wallace Shawn

Votes: 4,905 | Gross: $1.65M

14. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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: 11,712 | Gross: $2.45M

15. Fox and His Friends (1975)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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A young West German working-class man wins the lottery and initiates a relationship with a man above his social standing.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder | Stars: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm, Adrian Hoven

Votes: 3,910

16. Chuck & Buck (2000)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

An oddly naive man-child stalks his childhood best friend and tries to reconnect with their past.

Director: Miguel Arteta | Stars: Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt

Votes: 4,835 | Gross: $1.05M

17. La Cage aux Folles (1978)

R | 110 min | Comedy

7.3
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    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. They try to conceal their lifestyle and their ownership ... See full summary »

Director: Édouard Molinaro | Stars: Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault, Claire Maurier, Rémi Laurent

Votes: 8,249 | Gross: $20.42M

18. Bound (1996)

R | 108 min | Crime, Romance, Thriller

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
61 Metascore

Corky, a tough female ex con and her lover Violet concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend Caesar.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan

Votes: 44,224 | Gross: $3.80M

19. Cruising (1980)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.4
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A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox

Votes: 14,735 | Gross: $19.80M

20. Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998)

Unrated | 87 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Biography of British painter Francis Bacon focuses on his relationship with his lover, George Dyer, a former small time crook.

Director: John Maybury | Stars: Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig, Tilda Swinton, Anne Lambton

Votes: 2,957 | Gross: $0.34M

21. Gods and Monsters (1998)

R | 105 min | Biography, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
74 Metascore

The last days of Frankenstein (1931) Director James Whale are explored.

Director: Bill Condon | Stars: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich

Votes: 26,310 | Gross: $6.39M

22. I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987)

R | 81 min | Comedy, Drama

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Scatterbrained Polly gets a job as a secretary in Gabrielle's art gallery. Polly aspires to be a professional photographer, and idolizes Gabrielle for her artistic ability. When Gabrielle ... See full summary »

Director: Patricia Rozema | Stars: Sheila McCarthy, Paule Baillargeon, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Richard Monette

Votes: 1,261 | Gross: $1.41M

23. Sister My Sister (1994)

R | 86 min | Drama, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two sisters separated in childhood reunite years later as servants at a household in France. Their happiness to be reunited spirals into an incestuous relationship.

Director: Nancy Meckler | Stars: Julie Walters, Joely Richardson, Jodhi May, Sophie Thursfield

Votes: 2,763 | Gross: $0.22M

24. Swoon (1992)

Unrated | 93 min | Crime, Drama

6.8
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The true story of gay lovers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. who kidnapped and murdered a child in the early 1920s for kicks. The plot covers the months before the crime, the ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Kalin | Stars: Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, Ron Vawter, Michael Kirby

Votes: 1,387 | Gross: $0.34M

25. Milk (I) (2008)

R | 128 min | Biography, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
84 Metascore

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.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna

Votes: 147,496 | Gross: $31.84M

26. Cabaret (1972)

PG | 124 min | Drama, Musical

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
80 Metascore

A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem, Joel Grey

Votes: 40,177 | Gross: $42.77M

27. Ma Vie en Rose (1997)

R | 88 min | Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ludovic is a transgender girl who is coming out. She talks of marrying her neighbor's son and can not understand why everyone is so surprised about it. Her family and neighbors struggle ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Berliner | Stars: Georges Du Fresne, Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Hélène Vincent

Votes: 7,863 | Gross: $2.28M

28. My Summer of Love (2004)

R | 86 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

6.8
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82 Metascore

In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski | Stars: Natalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews

Votes: 17,424 | Gross: $0.99M

29. Priest (1994)

R | 98 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A homosexual Catholic priest finds out during confessional that a young girl is being sexually abused by her father, and has to decide how to deal with both that secret and his own.

Director: Antonia Bird | Stars: Linus Roache, Tom Wilkinson, Robert Carlyle, Cathy Tyson

Votes: 8,755 | Gross: $4.18M

30. Sebastiane (1976)

X | 86 min | Drama, Romance

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Reassigned to a lowly outpost, a Roman guard's Christian beliefs clash with his gay commander's desire for closeness. Being tortured becomes pleasurable.

Directors: Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman | Stars: Leonardo Treviglio, Barney James, Neil Kennedy, Richard Warwick

Votes: 2,092

31. Bad Education (2004)

NC-17 | 106 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
81 Metascore

An examination on the effect of Franco-era religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two longtime friends.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Javier Cámara, Daniel Giménez Cacho

Votes: 48,843 | Gross: $5.21M

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

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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: 6,548

33. Wonder Boys (2000)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
73 Metascore

An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr.

Votes: 56,958 | Gross: $19.39M

34. The Killing of Sister George (1968)

X | 138 min | Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

George lives with her lover, Childie and plays a cheerful district nurse in a BBC soap opera. However, her character is to be killed off, and George realises that the only other job she can... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Beryl Reid, Susannah York, Coral Browne, Ronald Fraser

Votes: 1,703

35. Fire (1996)

Unrated | 104 min | Drama, Romance

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
64 Metascore

Ashok runs a family business that sells takeout food that also has a video rental store at the side. Ashok's extended family includes his wife Radha, his brother Jatin, their ailing mother ... See full summary »

Director: Deepa Mehta | Stars: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Karishma Jhalani, Ramanjeet Kaur

Votes: 5,110 | Gross: $0.40M

36. Boys Don't Cry (1999)

R | 118 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
86 Metascore

Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.

Director: Kimberly Peirce | Stars: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III

Votes: 82,951 | Gross: $11.53M

37. Farewell My Concubine (1993)

R | 171 min | Drama, Music, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

Director: Kaige Chen | Stars: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong, Qi Lü

Votes: 19,992 | Gross: $5.22M

38. Beginners (2010)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
81 Metascore

A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.

Director: Mike Mills | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

Votes: 80,028 | Gross: $5.79M

39. The Boys in the Band (1970)

R | 118 min | Drama

7.7
Rate this
    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.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Kenneth Nelson, Peter White, Leonard Frey, Frederick Combs

Votes: 3,251 | Gross: $0.00M

40. Nighthawks (1978)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama

5.0
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A homosexual man is forced to hide his sexuality by day while living his secret life by night.

Director: Ron Peck | Stars: Ken Robertson, Tony Westrope, Rachel Nicholas James, Maureen Dolan

Votes: 429