We are deep into Pride Month and of course, that means we need to share our list of LGBTQ+ movies to enjoy. It was way too challenging to narrow this list down to just 10, so we’ve compiled a list of 20 in no particular order.
Call Me By Your Name
Nominated for best picture in 2018, and winner of the best-adapted screenplay, Call Me By Your Name is a slightly inappropriate depiction of 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet), and his first true love, 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer) over one summer in 1983, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. Chalamet was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.
Hammer has since been out of the spotlight due to his controversies, but the film is still well worth the watch.
Nominated for 8 Academy Awards and winning 3, including the Academy Award for Best Director, which made Ang Lee the first Asian to win that award, Brokeback Mountain is about two closeted men, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) who fall in love with each other in 1968 and begin an annual affair that lasts decades.
Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star as a committed same sex couple in Miami who must impress their son’s fiance’s super conservative parents by passing as a hetero couple.
Lane plays drag performer Albert and manages to convince Senator Keely (Gene Hackman) and his wife Louise (Dianne Wiest) that he is a conservative wife to the eccentric Armond Goldman (Robin Williams) and mother of Val (Dan Futterman) in drag.
Winner of 3 Academy Awards and nominated for 5 more, Moonlight spans across 3 time periods of young adolescence (Little played by Alex Hibbert), mid-teen (Chiron played by Ashton Sanders) and young adult (Black played by Trevante Rhodes) in the life of gay, black-American Chiron.
It became the first LGBTQ film, the first film with an all-black cast, and the second-lowest-grossing film domestically (behind The Hurt Locker) to win the Oscar for Best Picture.
Dallas Buyers Club
Nominated for 6 Academy Awards and winner of three, Dallas Buyers Club follows electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) as he works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is diagnosed with the disease in 1985 Dallas.
McConaughey took home an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Jared Leto won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal a HIV+ transgender woman named Rayon.
A transgender sex worker (Mya Taylor) rips through Hollywood on Christmas Eve searching for her fiance pimp who cheated on her and broke her heart with her friend Sin-Dee, played by Taylor’s real-life pal Kitana Kiki Rodriguez.
The film was shot exclusively on three iPhone 5s smartphones, along with the Moondog Labs’ anamorphic clip-on lens and a $8 app, FiLMiC Pro in addition to Steadicam Smoothee Mounts. Director Sean Baker revealed this at the Sundance Film Festival.
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Nick Robinson plays Simon who is keeping the very huge secret that he is gay. He reveals his sexuality on an anonymous website where his peers post their secrets anonymously and develops a secret relationship with another boy at his school via email.
When another student discovers the relationship, he threatens to expose Simon if he doesn’t help him woo one of Simon’s friends. Eventually, Simon outs himself and gets the guy in a sugary sweet happy ending.
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
Three drag queens Noxeema (Wesley Snipes), Vida (Patrick Swayze), and Chi-Chi (John Leguizamo) travel across the country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small conservative town, where they must pass as women while they wait for repairs.
While this box office hit received mixed reviews, it was a labor of love for associate producer Mitchell Kohn, the out and proud Amblin executive who inspired all of his closeted coworkers to come out as well.
Set It Off
Four Black women Stony (Jada Pinkett Smith), Cleo (Queen Latifah), Frankie (Vivica A. Fox), and Tisean (Kimberly Elise) partner up to rob a bank in 1996 Los Angeles. Queen Latifa reflected back on the role with Tracee Ellis Ross and told her that the choice to embody Cleo was difficult.
She sat down with her younger siblings in the mid-’90s and told them, “Listen, I’m playing a gay character. Your classmates might tease you or say negative things about it. But I’m doing it because I believe I can bring positive attention to the gay African-American community, and I believe that I can do a great job as an actor.”
Fried Green Tomatoes
Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) is having trouble in her marriage, and no one seems to take her seriously. While in a nursing home visiting relatives, she meets Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy, an outgoing old woman, who tells her the story of Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson), a young, butch woman and her relationship with her beloved Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) in 1920’s Alabama.
While their lesbian relationship is not expressly outlined in the film, it is apparent that the two love each other deeply.
In the Wachowski siblings stunning directorial debut Corky (Gina Gershon), a lesbian ex con hired to work in an apartment as a plumber, meets neighbors Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), who launders money for the Mafia, and his girlfriend Violet (Jennifer Tilly).
The two women have a love affair and decide to steal $2,000,000 that Caesar has in his possession before he gives it back to Mafia boss Gino Marzone (Richard C. Sarafian).
But I’m A Cheerleader
Megan (Natasha Lyonne) considers herself a typical American girl. She excels in school and cheerleading, and she has a handsome football-playing boyfriend, even though she isn’t that crazy about him.
She is sent to True Directions, a conversion camp meant to alter her sexual orientation when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.
While at True Directions with other homosexual teens, Megan meets a rebellious and unashamed lesbian, Graham (Clea DuVall). Though Megan still feels confused, she starts to have feelings for Graham. Ru Paul appears in this Pride film as one of the “coaches” in the conversion camp.
Paris Is Burning
If you love Pose, check out the original, Paris is Burning, a documentary that chronicles New York’s drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing, and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.
The Pride movie features real-life Black and Latinx trailblazers who have opened the doors for transgender women to live their lives authentically.
South-Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook adapted the English novel, Fingersmith, but put it in an Asian setting in the 1930s. It’s a movie about intimacy and deceit in three chapters with three perspectives.
Rich Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) as a handmaiden, hires pickpocket Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri), but Sook-Hee has an ulterior motive. The movie has received the critique of being filmed for the male gaze (the director is a man) but it does fit the movie.
The intimate lesbian scenes are excessive and explicit, but it’s also a reflection of the original book, both are about women learning their own desires through the male gaze.
The Wizard Of Oz
Okay, so The Wizard of Oz is not an expressly “gay” movie, BUT “are you a friend of Dorothy?” has been used since at least the 70’s as a way for gay men to talk about their sexuality without other’s knowing what they were saying. It is unclear how and why the land of Oz has been so greatly celebrated in LGBTQ culture, but it is.
Gay bars and clubs have been named “Oz, gay men dress up as Dorothy, Glinda, and the Wicked Witch of the West for pride parades and Halloween, and gay writers often use Oz imagery and allusions in their work. No Pride movie list for Pride Month would be complete without The Wizard of Oz.
Mulan (Original Cartoon)
We’re sure that Disney didn’t intend for their very first Asian protagonist, Mulan to be a queer icon, but she is, which is why this is on our Pride list. A young woman dresses in drag and passes as a young boy in an attempt to bring her family honor by serving in the military.
Her bisexual Captain, named Li Shang falls in love with her while she is still passing for a boy, but continues to be attracted to her once she is outed as a girl. Two songs from the film Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You have become LGBTQ+ anthems and have resonated deeply to many members of the community.
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) aka Deadpool is openly pansexual, but that’s not why Deadpool 2 is on this Pride list. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), the mutant with “the coolest name ever,” according to Deadpool, returns in Deadpool 2 after her scene-stealing shade in the first film. She has an announcement to make: “This is my girlfriend,” she tells Wade Wilson at the X-Mansion, motioning towards Yukio (Shioli Kutsuna).
Star Trek Beyond
This Academy Award-nominated film attempted to boldly go where no previous Star Trek film had gone before by confirming that Sulu (John Cho) was in a gay committed relationship, married to Ben played by co-writer and producer on the film, Doug Jung after the actor originally cast pulled out last-minute.
Unfortunately, their one scene was lukewarm and their kiss was cut from the final scene, but it’s awesome that they made Sulu gay and hopefully his marriage will be further explored in future films.
Emma Stone plays Abigail, who finds herself down on her luck and looks to her relative Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) who lives and works with Queen Anne, played by Olivia Colman who earned herself an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
After accidentally (and humorously) discovering that Queen Anne and Lady Sarah were having an affair, Abigail quickly moves to use her feminine wiles to seduce and manipulate the Queen into giving her special treatment and luxuries while Lady Sarah is distracted with other things. Lady Sarah and Abigail must battle each other for the love and attention of the Queen in this dark comedy about a lesbian love triangle.
Dissatisfied with the dishonesty they see in dating, strangers Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) make a pact to spend 24 hours straight together, having sex every hour on the hour, in an attempt to fast forward their relationship.
While their definition of “duck butter” is slightly off, the movie is an in depth look at a lesbian relationship and you feel like you, yourself, have hired a u-haul and moved right in with the couple in one of the most authentic lesbian films every made.
Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.