Here are 50 Outstanding GLBT-Themed Films (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender), released between 1919 and the present, including several international works. These pictures represent a wide range of genres, from drama to comedy to documentary, even a science fiction musical comedy. By "outstanding" I mean both that dramatic structure, visual/sound design and performance come together in exceptional ways (detailed in Film Guide), and that there is also an insightful exploration of GLBT experience.
Most, but not all, of these pictures were made by GLBT directors. Several great filmmakers not represented here including Murnau, Cocteau, Eisenstein, Cukor, Carné, Olivier, and Vincente Minnelli were bisexual or gay, but because of censorship they could not directly explore GLBT experience in their work. On another page, I list notable GLBT-themed films made by prominent directors who are not GLBT-identified; some of those films are included below.
For more information, titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb); several also link to my reviews. For each film, I've indicated its director, release year, country of origin, genre(s), and whether it has substantial gay (G), lesbian (L), bisexual (B), and/or transgender (T) content. A gold star indicates my "Top 10" picks; my #1 choice is the ever-controversial Fellini Satyricon. For additional information or to buy these films (almost all are now on DVD), use my Amazon.com link (costs nothing extra, and helps support the site Thanks!). Here are all GLBT Cinema resources at this site. LATEST! It is agonizing to replace any films here, but between 2011 and 2013, I added Lisa Cholodenko's wise comedy/drama The Kids Are All Right, the riveting science-fiction thriller Torchwood: Children of Earth (directed by Euros Lyn; Torchwood series by Russell T Davies, who also created Queer As Folk), and the so-far two connected films (get out your handkechiefs, but not always for sadness) from Israeli director Eytan Fox, Yossi & Jagger and its recent continuation Yossi (currently Yossi is free on Hulu). Besides the pictures below, also take a look at Fassbinder's poignant Fox and His Friends (1975 — three other Fassbinder pictures remain on this list), Hettie MacDonald's Beautiful Thing (1996), Urbania (2000 — directed by Jon Matthews as "Jon Shear"), lesbian novelist and filmmaker Shamim Sarif's romantic drama I Can't Think Straight (2008), and the tender coming out story of two rural Germans in Benjamin Cantu's Harvest (original title Stadt Land Fluss / 2011 — currently Harvest is free on Hulu). If you have comments or suggestions, email Jim.
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