10 Films Every Gay Boy Should See

January 30, 2008 at 8:34 am 77 comments

Following up on my list of 10 Books Every Gay Boy Should Read, here are 10 Films Every Gay Boy Should See.

This list is in no particular order and captures some of the most diverse images of gay men on film. There are undoubtedly other films that have special meaning to you, please share them in the comments.

1. Gay Sex in the 70s – is a fascinating look at gay life in NYC after the Stonewall riots in the period often referred to as the golden era of gay sexual liberation before the AIDS epidemic unleashed its hellacious fury on gay men.

2. Law of Desire – is the 1987 film from acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar shows a young, hot and virginal Antonio Banderas murderously stalking the man of his dreams. And yes, there is a seen with Antonio learning what man-on-man sex is all about.

3. Longtime Companion – follows a group of gay men in 1980s New York City whose lives are changed by the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

4. Tongues Untied – is a gorgeous blend of poetry, biography, dance and imagery created by Marlon Riggs to celebrate the Black gay male experience.

5. My Beautiful Laundrette – follows the relationship between Omar, the son of a renowned Pakistani journalist, and Johnny, a former classmate turned skinhead in 1980s London as they use stolen drug money to renovate a laundrette in a depressed working class neighborhood. The film features Daniel Day Lewis in his breakout role as the gay skinhead.

6. The Life and Times of Harvey Milk – details the life of the heroic Harvey Milk who became the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by anti-gay conservative Dan White. White was sentenced to a mere seven year prisoned sentence after claiming to have consumed a large quantity of Twinkies and other junk food. The mild sentence led to the White Night Riots.

7. Beautiful Thing – is an urban fairy tale of two working class British boys who fall in love despite the disapproval of their families and the neighbors.

8. Before Stonewall – shows that gay history did not begin with the Stonewall Riots, but in fact existed far before it. Through the use of archival footage and interviews, the film shows vividly what life was like when gays were forced to hide their sexuality for fear of reprisals.

9. After Stonewall – documents the progress and challenges facing the gay community since the Stonewall Riots. Like Before Stonewall, the film weaves together archival footage and interviews and chronicles key events from 1970 to the end of the 20th century, including sexual liberation, conflicts with the feminist movement, AIDS and political organization.

10. Another Gay Movie – is an American Pie-like comedy about four gay teen virgins looking to do “the big A.” Its funny, light-hearted and shows our far portrayals of gay characters in film have come since the days of loneliness, despair and suicide.

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77 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shane  |  January 30, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Well, I really like romantic films and have always been jealous those silly straights get so many and we get so few. So with that said, I suggest “Big Eden.” It’s certainly idealized but I love the way this small mountain town embraces and encourages two of their own to fall in love. Their happiness is all the matters.

    Reply
  • 2. Michael Crawford  |  January 30, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Shane,

    That’s a great suggestion. I, too, wish there were more romantic films for gay guys.

    Reply
  • 3. Robert Galik  |  January 30, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    While I wouldn’t throw out a single selection you’ve made, I’d simply have to make room there somewhere for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It’s the one film I can count on to make me laugh, no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

    Reply
  • 4. Holly  |  January 30, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    The Wedding Banquet

    Reply
  • 5. Leo Romo  |  January 31, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Thank you for the listing.

    Add “Brother to Brother” – Nov. 2004

    “Brother to Brother” is one my favorite films.

    PLOT: A feature length narrative which follows the emotional journey of a black gay artist through the Harlem Renaissance.

    http://www.blackflix.com/reviews/brother.to.brother.htm

    Reply
  • 6. Michael Crawford  |  January 31, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

    Reply
  • 7. Bobby  |  January 31, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Where is Brokeback Mountain in this list? Can any movie on this list compare? It led me to The Ultimate Brokeback Forum which, with its 6,500 members, provides over 1,000,000 posts in 1135 topics. With the death of Heath Ledger it has had a renaissance and draws new people daily. This is a worldwide gathering the likes of which the world could not have known before the Internet.

    The movie even led the Forum to publish a book – Beyond Brokeback…the Impact of a Film – where 176 of us, representing the thousands on the Forum, tell our stories of what the movie did to our lives.

    I don’t think there has ever been anything like it for our people.

    Bobby

    Reply
  • 8. shannonyarbrough  |  February 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I definitely agree with Longtime Companion, but would probably add Maurice, And the Band Played On, and Lost Language of Cranes to the list!

    Reply
  • 9. More Gay Films « Bloggernista  |  February 21, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    […] Posted on February 21, 2008 by Michael Crawford An enterprising homo saw my list of 10 Films Every Gay Boy Should See and did me one better by listing 12 of his fav gay […]

    Reply
  • 10. bubbleonfire  |  March 27, 2008 at 8:07 am

    I had no idea there would be so many.. nice list

    Reply
  • 11. Will Clark  |  April 3, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Good list.. I think it’s definitely possible to make a list of ten ‘must see’ documentaries and ten ‘must see’ narritives. I thought Another Gay Movie was a piece of junk so I would definitely not even remotely recommend it as a ‘top ten must see’ but maybe it’s important as something for us to use as a benchmark of seeing where gay film is today.

    I’d replace with either the far far superior Parting Glances (1986) because it’s a great story and one of the few (maybe even the first) movie to include a living breathing character with AIDS who was not letting it destroy him or the great All the Rage (1999) a movie that earned the enmity of the community because it dared to show a very messy shallow side of the gay male psyche.

    Reply
  • 12. Michael Crawford  |  April 3, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Will.

    Thanks for your suggestions. I working on other lists now.

    Reply
  • 13. Will  |  April 7, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I would recommend two more – the British High School coming-of-age story “Get Real” and the sweet and painful “Latter Days” about internal religous conflict.

    Reply
  • 14. Paul  |  May 3, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Great suggestions, except for Another Gay Movie which is nothing more than trashy soft-core porn with weak acting and cringe-worthy jokes.

    Reply
  • […] approach of LGBT Pride Month has me thinking in a historical way. So, following on the heels of 10 Films Every Gay Boy Should See and 10 Books Every Gay Boy Should Read, I present to you 10 Gay Documentaries Everyone Should […]

    Reply
  • 16. Mark Wise  |  June 14, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I second the recommendation for “Latter Days”.

    Aside from being a wonderful romance, it does a great job of showing the toxic effects of religious homophobia and the healing power of “found” families.

    Reply
  • 17. Michael  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Another vote for Latter Days as Top. And then there’s the wonderful Parting Glances. And the UK films Get Real and Maurice.
    Summerstorm, a German one, Just une Question D’amour, French etc. etc. The list, I’m pleased to say, is getting longer…

    Reply
  • 18. Kern  |  August 2, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Hi,
    I’d suggest “All over the guy” which is a great romantic comedy with happy ending. Another favorite of mine is the French movie “The Man I Love”. It’s uplifting, touching and absolutely worth seeing despite the sad ending. Well, apart from that I enjoyed “Big Eden” a lot, too. “The Trip” is not bad either, but the ending had me in tears.

    Kern

    Reply
  • 19. Luna  |  August 13, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    A reaaaly cute movie that i recently saw and adored was
    The Curiosity of Chance

    But if you’re going for the more romantic thing i recomend
    Shelter
    Beautiful Thing
    Latter Days
    Trick

    I kno very few with romantically happy endings…i hate the fact that most gay themed movies end tragically…i have seen my good share of gay movies since its my obsesion to study independent cinema and i havent seen one that actually makes my heart sink in with happiness lol

    but yeah…..i recomend shelter
    its happy, the guys are hot :), minimal amount of sex, nice moral, and stereotype free

    Reply
  • 20. suchabastard  |  August 15, 2008 at 7:24 am

    How about, ‘It’s My Party’?

    Reply
  • 21. suchabastard  |  August 15, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Also, ‘And the Band Played On’.

    Reply
  • 22. Miguel  |  August 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I would second Juste une Question d’Amour and and Shelter, from the ones that have been suggested so far.
    I would suggest “Lan Yu” — it’s like the Chinese Brokeback. Truly excellent acting, very moving.

    Reply
  • 23. Jay  |  August 22, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I’d agree with them all, and include To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar!

    Patrick Swayze, Weslye Snipes and John Legiozimo (or something) playing drag queens in a very emotionally charged movie, with Julie Newmar actually making a cameo!

    😛

    Reply
  • 24. Jack Hernandez  |  October 3, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I suggest The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros.

    Reply
  • 25. RecentlyObsessed  |  October 9, 2008 at 7:19 am

    I would suggest “Edge of Seventeen”

    Reply
  • 26. Handrail  |  October 17, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Great list. May I link to it in my blog?
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    Reply
  • 27. Brandon  |  October 19, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Great list!

    Reply
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  • 29. Camy  |  November 12, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I would add Maurice. I just finished watching it and it’s a great historical film. There needs to be more historical ones~

    Reply
  • 30. robegatto  |  December 14, 2008 at 8:14 am

    What about Strawberry and chocolate, from Cuba. It’s a weel done fillm. I invite everyone to watch it!

    Reply
  • 31. Douglas Gibson Jr  |  December 23, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Add another vote for Latter Days, Trick and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Latter Days is such an excellent movie!

    Reply
  • 32. saint_pol  |  December 26, 2008 at 6:05 am

    i have seen a lot of gay films, and i agree that there are not alot of happy endings. But here’s what i loved so far.. ( in no particular order), and i suggest you should watch it.

    1. Latter days (most would agree)
    2. Shelter
    3. Arizona Sky
    4. 3 day weekend
    5.EAst Side Story
    6. Trick
    7. Big Eden
    8. Phoenix
    9. The Trip
    10. Eternal Summer- Taiwanese
    11. No Regret- Korean
    12. All over the guy
    13. Boy Culture
    14. Love! Valour! Compassion!
    15. Half a person

    these are just some of what i liked…. so far.. =)

    Reply
    • 33. echocaves Wilkinson  |  March 23, 2013 at 3:54 am

      How many of us need to buy an All-Regions Player if we live in Zone 4 (Australia)? These are readily available from Bombay-electronics and cheap too. say $290 + $70 Postage.

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  • 34. saint_pol  |  December 26, 2008 at 6:08 am

    addition:

    1. Love of Siam (thai movie)
    2. BAngkok Love Story (thai)

    oh man. there are alot.

    enjoy!

    Reply
  • 35. Pep  |  December 29, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Hi there !!!
    Well thanks for all this information…what about “the bubble” and “Yossi and Yager”? Two israeli movies by Eytan fox…they worth it…

    Hughs from Spain !

    Reply
  • 36. Andrew J  |  December 31, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Not really into documentrys…….the activisim……im a sap
    alot of saint_pol’s are good
    One more……a canadian film called “Crazy”

    Reply
  • 37. saint_pol  |  January 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    thanks Andrew J. i’ll try to look for Crazy. What’s your favorite film?

    Reply
  • 38. europhile  |  January 3, 2009 at 2:38 am

    The German movie Summer Storm is really beautiful. Romantic coming of age story.
    The Dutch movie For a Lost Soldier is about a man who tries to find the Canadian soldier who liberated him (in more ways than one) after WWII

    Reply
  • 39. kris  |  January 3, 2009 at 8:24 am

    other asian gay films are available at

    http://www.gayfilmfest.blogspot.com

    the link to the torrent are available on the site!

    vote for your favorite film!

    Reply
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  • 41. Darthamian  |  January 31, 2009 at 11:33 am

    i second “love of siam” and “eternal summer”
    those films really made me cry..
    such great movies..

    Reply
  • 42. Wajdan Khan  |  February 4, 2009 at 3:35 am

    What about Urbania and Milk? Cruising is a classic gay themed movie starring Al Pacino and there is a hilarious greek movie STRAIGHT STORY where the world is show upside down – being gay is right and straights are considered perverts – really a classic in its own right especially for gays like me living in gay bashing countries like Pakistan.

    Reply
  • 43. Wajdan Khan  |  February 4, 2009 at 3:49 am

    My Brother Nikhil is an Indian movie – depicting the life of an HIV+ gay swimmer in Goa and how his life was devastated when his family n friends found about the disease. His lover, however, stayed with him during these troubles. The movie is in Hindi/Urdu but you can search for subtitles n stuff on internet.

    Fire is another indian movie on lesbians – a ground breaking one. There are some other bollywood movies with gay characters but only as comic relief – the whole society still is extremely homophobic.

    Reply
  • 44. Wajdan Khan  |  February 4, 2009 at 4:15 am

    The Fluffer is another nice movie. Just loved the hottie playing the porn star….

    Reply
  • 45. Ian  |  February 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I’m glad someone mentioned “Edge of Seventeen,” my favorite gay coming-of-age movie. It’s a very modest production, but nearly every moment in it rings true, with humor, pathos and subtle psychological insight. Also, someone mentioned “Crazy,” the fantastic French-Canadian film. If you’re having trouble finding it, its proper title is “C.R.A.Z.Y.” I would add to the list John Schlesinger’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” his bold (in its matter-of-fact depiction of a middle-aged gay man’s troubled relationship with his younger bisexual boyfriend) follow-up to “Midnight Cowboy.”

    Reply
  • 46. Steve  |  February 4, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I second the motions on “Urbania,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Milk,” “Maurice,” and “Priscilla.” But how about “Paris is Burning”? And shame on everyone for not mentioning “Parting Glances”–it’s THE gay film of the 80s. Most of the other films mentioned here would never have been made without it.

    Reply
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  • 48. John Johnson  |  March 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    OMG! Did you actually leave out Hedwig and the Angry Inch… did you actually leave it out!?!?

    One of the best films of our time! Go watch it!! All of you! now!

    Reply
  • 49. wilfred  |  March 12, 2009 at 8:22 am

    please i want t o be come a member pls can i have any information contact this is my email adress wilfredpoint@yahoo.com

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  • 50. hendra  |  March 13, 2009 at 3:36 am

    wooo???

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  • 51. Passing a Drug Test  |  March 25, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Great videos, thank’s!

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  • 52. kelvin  |  April 4, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Its nice to know dt there’r guys and gals out there that’r jst lyk me and hv same feelings i have. i jst saw there movies but pls if u know really romantic gay movies jst snd me an email thanks

    Reply
  • 53. John Adams  |  April 22, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Has “Priest” never run in the US? A brilliantly directed and fantastically acted Film abut a homosexual Catholic Priest in a working class catholic area in a city in the North of England.

    Reply
  • 54. jonflores  |  April 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    John Adams, “Priest” is one of my all-time faves! I also recommend Ma Vie En Rose (Danish), Shelter, Lilies, Brother Outsider, Kiss Me Guido, Punks, The Watermelon Woman, The Broken Hearts Club… the list goes on!

    Reply
  • 55. JOHNNY  |  May 14, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    SURPRISED NO ONE HAS MENTIONED “THE BOYS IN THE BAND”. IT WAS GROUNDBREAKING FOR ITS TIME AND THE FIRST HALF IS STILL A BRILLIANT COMEDY. THE ENDING IS UNCOMFORTABLE BUT REFLECTS THE THINKING OF FIFTY YEARS AGO.

    Reply
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  • 58. HalfGay  |  May 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I love “Get Real” – it is a great coming of age movie for anyone.

    Reply
  • 59. Lee  |  May 31, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Wow, haven’t seen alot of films mentioned here, will have to
    hunt some of them down. Some of my faves such as get real, curiosity of chance and edge of seventeen were mentioned
    though. Another one I’d recommend would be prayers for bobby,
    unless your after a feel good movie that is.

    Reply
  • 60. Kevin  |  July 11, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I came out when I was 15 in 1973 and wish I had all these movies. I have collected many on vhs and slowly changing over to dvd (very expensive). Anything with gay subject matter has my vote especially documentaries. “Milk” is my latest greatest favorite and the mini series “Angels in America”. I made my mother sit and watch “Torch Song Trilogy” (I really am a jaded bitch). I love everything from “And The Band Played On”, “Longtime Companion” to the funny stuff like “The Birdcage”, Jeffery” and “Sordid Lives”. Yep, I love the boys and anything about boys loving boys. Life is just fabulous!

    Reply
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  • 65. Salvador  |  August 10, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    i suggest one spanish film: El Cielo Dividido (Broken Sky). It’s a mexican film about the process of breaking up between two gays. It’s very heartwarming not to mention hot because they’re latinos :))

    Reply
  • 66. Bjorn  |  September 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    …hey guys, i’ve watched bout half the movies mentioned here….think they all pretty awesome

    ….just wanted to add “His Secret Life”….really great Italian flick (not to worry, it has subtitles) wont say too much bout it, but it has all the essential moments that makes for great viewing……love, anger, beauty, hope, humour…..oh and did i mention love…..lol…..

    …ciao

    Reply
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  • 72. Jack  |  November 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

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