We are going to share with you the list of top 10 Game-Changing Gay Movies of all times. Are you ready for an evening of great films? So let’s start then!
Directed by German avant-garde director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and based on the novel Querelle de Brest by French author and playwright Jean Genet, this surrealistic, tastefully erotic cinematic masterpiece tells the story of young sailor, Querelle (the late, gorgeous Brad Davis), who lands in a strange brothel in the city of Brest, France, on the western tip of the Breton peninsula, where he gets “caught” in a peculiar game of dice. If he wins, he gets to make love with the whorehouse’s Madam; if he loses, he must make love to her husband. Querelle loses… on purpose… A ground-breaking film.
When young Father Greg Pilkington (dreamy Linus Roache), a conservative Catholic priest, is assigned to St. Mary’s parish in inner-city Liverpool, England, he finds a gay lover (Robert Carlisle from The Full Monty and ABC’s Once Upon A Time) and hears a horrible secret in the confessional. He is torn between keeping the sacred vow of confession, his love of God and his love of men, and is severely judged when he is found out. This film was vehemently criticized by the Catholic Church, particularly in Ireland, where it tried to have the film banned from theatrical release. Thank the Lord the Irish Film Censor Board disagreed and the film was shown. How things change! Ireland recently voted for gay marriage, right? Beautiful gay love scenes and interesting perspective on human respect (or disrespect) of others’ beliefs and positions.
Before he directed Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club and Reese Witherspoon in Wild, Québec filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée co-wrote and directed this work of genius, the coming-of-age story of Zachary Beaulieu (the Z in the title), played by the amazingly talented Marc-André Grondin, fourth son of traditional Québécois parents, coming to terms with his homosexuality in 1970s Montreal. This amazing movie won 38 awards including Best Film at the Genie and Jutra Awards, the Canadian and Québécois equivalent of the Oscars®. Another must-see.
Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
Tony-Award winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein (remember Robin Williams’ brother Frank in Mrs. Doubtfire? Yup, that’s him!) adapted his own smash Broadway play for the big screen and re-created the role of New Yorker Arnold Beckoff who searches for love… and finds it in the arms of Matthew Broderick! But life ain’t easy for poor Arnold who also has to deal with his well-meaning, yet overbearing Jewish Ma (played by the amazing Anne Bancroft). This film, directed by Paul Bogart, is just wonderfully moving, funny, heart-wrenching. Treat yourself to a great story and some great acting.
Set in Edwardian England, two young men (played by James Wilby and Hugh Grant – how can you go wrong?) meet and fall in love while studying at Cambridge University. This being the early 1900s, the College students must suppress their feelings but Maurice (Wilby) will eventually come to terms with his homosexuality. This great film, directed by James Ivory (of Howards End and Remains of the Day fame), is based on a novel by E.M. Forster who apparently wrote from his own painful experience as a repressed gay man. This is a slow, poignant movie with tastefully erotic love scenes.
Based on the Martin Sherman play (the American playwright also wrote the screenplay), Bent is set in the Dachau concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Because he is gay, Max (British actor Clive Owen) is sent there and tries to deny his homosexuality so he can obtain a yellow ribbon (the one pinned on Jews) instead of a pink one (the one they put on gays). But in the camp, he falls in love with Horst (played by Quebecer Lothaire Bluteau) who wears his pink ribbon proudly. The brilliantly written story deserves your attention… and you’ll be amazed with the stellar cast which also includes Sir Ian McKellen, Jude Law, Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau… and Mick Jagger!
The Boys in the Band (1970)
When this William Friedkin film came out in the movie theaters, it had as much of an impact as the Mart Crowley play it is based on had had when it hit the stage. Except a movie is seen by a much wider audience. This is a fish-out-of-water scenario where a straight man is inadvertently invited to a gay party that turns ugly. Although it might seem somewhat dated today, it is a fascinating study of gayness in the wake of the sexual revolution and was very controversial and groundbreaking. Sadly enough, the whole cast – with only two or three exceptions – has passed away, which makes it somewhat eerie to watch.
Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
Acclaimed, brilliant British director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen) and screenwriter Alan Bennett teamed up to bring us a film adaptation of John Lahr’s biography of gay British playwright Joe Orton (played by Gary Oldman) who was bludgeoned to death with a hammer by his long-time, jealous live-in lover Kenneth Halliwell (played by Alfred Molina). This is a chilling, fascinating story and a great movie which also stars Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters and Lindsay Duncan. Once you will have seen the film, you will want to see the movies based on Orton’s twisted plays Entertaining Mr. Sloane and Loot.
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Before directing Good Will Hunting and Milk, legend filmmaker Gus Van Sant directed Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho which takes us to Portland, Oregon, on the West coast of the United States. Reeves and Phoenix play best friends, one (supposedly) straight, the other gay. Scott (Keanu) and Mike (River) are hustlers who live on the streets, and sell their bodies to men and women. Mike is in love with Scott who maintains he is not into guys. The two will go on a wild journey from Portland to Idaho before heading to Italy in the hopes of finding Mike’s mother. This cinematic gem, which also stars James Russo, was loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV.