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The Best 14 Movies with Gay Themes that Everyone Should See

Updated on January 16, 2015

The 14 Best Gay and LGBT Movies with Gay Themes and Issues that Everyone Should See

You may not realise but there are a lot of films out there that tackle gay themes, LGBT issues, gay characters and storylines.

Here you will find featured some of the most prevalent, best LGBT films and best gay films of the 21st Century.

There are some films here which may surprise you, you may think that they are not a "Gay Movie" - this list of films is not a list of films that have their pivotal theme about gay related issues, but rather a selection of films that have some sort of Gay or LGBT narrative that is worth pointing out. Worth pointing out because it's a good story, not because of any political agenda. But of course, there a couple of films below that probably sit in the former.

Click here to be taken directly to the Gay and Lesbian Movie department at Amazon.com

Hope you enjoy my list of the best gay films and the best LGBT films - if you notice any that are missing, that you feel would be worth pointing out, please add them to my plexo list below (click "add to"), or share in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

What is LGBT and a LGBT Movie?

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans*, it is the term used to generalise the gay community as a whole. An LGBT film or movie could either be a film that features related stories or themes, or it could just be a film or movie that features Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Trans characters.

*Trans is the general term for people who are Transgendered, Transexual or in any state of transition or transformation from either the male or female gender or sexual identification.

The List starts here...in no particular order

Cabaret

Cabaret - Best Gay Movie #1

The classic Liza Minelli film. Based on the original "Berlin Storyies" by Christopher Isherwood, this musical film tells the stories of Sally Bowles, a wannabe star. We follow her through her relationships with friends and lovers to the backdrop of Nazi Germany.

This film sees a real juxtaposition of emotion and image. The music is great, as the film is emotive and moving.


The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right - Best Gay Movie #2

This films follows the lives of a Lesbian couple. They have 2 children, who upon her 18th birthday, the eldest daughter decides to contact their sperm donor.

We see what happens when an external person, interrupts the flow and routine of their nuclear family. Complications, Frustrations and Love are tested in this extremely well acted film - humour and drama are used to excellent effect to keep the audience absorbed.

I really enjoyed this film and recommend it.


Milk

Milk - Best Gay Movie #3

Biopic about the late, great Harvey Milk. San Francisco's first openly gay man, elected to public office.

With an agenda to inspire equal rights amongst people, this film follows Harvey's journey into politics, with devastating, but incredibly inspiring consequences.

A true tear jerker - but a very important film to be seen - critics called it the Film of Year, in 2009.


Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Priscilla Queen of the Desert - Best Gay Movie #4

Flamboyant and fabulous. This film follows three unlikely artists across the outback of Australia for a very special gig.

A story of family, friendship, love and loss - as well as featuring lead characters that identify as a gay, trans...and a big bus called Priscilla.

With a soundtrack inspired by Abba and the glorious sounds of disco. An awesome movie.


Four Weddings and a Funeral

Four Weddings and a Funeral - Best Gay Movie #5

A film about friendship and love...and as you might expect, some weddings and a funeral.

Featuring a very touching gay storyline of love, that ironically is probably the strongest and most committed of the whole friendship group, yet they don't have their own wedding.

A brit flick in its finest - thoroughly recommended.

The Birdcage

The Birdcage - Best Gay Movie #6

The film version of the classic musical "La Cage Aux Folles".

What happens when a flamboyant drag queen and his straight-acting husband, have a son who wants to marry his girlfriend. Sounds fine? Then the couple find out that the girlfriend's parents are incredibly conservative and want to meet the son-in-law-to-be's family.

A story of pride, love and trying to make the right impression for the sake of loved ones - with hilarious and tender moments throughout.

A very enjoyable film - depicting stereotypes and fighting prejudices.


Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch - Best Gay Movie #7

A very touching and evocative film about how a trans musician, came to be.

A very important film challenging the perceptions of people and how they can hurt each other, and themselves. A really good story, with a satisfying twist at the end. I can't understand why this film isn't a resident musical on Broadway or the West End.

With a fantastic soundtrack and score of wonderful music. I didn't think I would like this film, but it's become that I would happily watch over and over again.

My Beautiful Laundrette

My Beautiful Laundrette - Best Gay Movie #8

A coming of age story, and interracial relationships.

Starring Daniel Day Lewis, this film created a buzz when it was released back in 1989.

The controversy of this film was marked in the tabloids and on talk TV, but more importantly it challenged the role of films and what can presented to audiences. A beautiful story of love and companionship.

Timeless and entralling.

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain - Best Gay Movie #9

Commercial cinema never became so talked about, as when Brokeback Mountain was released.

A beautiful told and presented film about companionship, isolation and loss.

This film was ok - but if you like sheep, you would LOVE this film - nothing dodgy, just a lot of shepherdy fields :)


A Single Man

A Single Man - Best Gay Movie #10

If you choose to watch only one movie from this list - make it this one. Beautifully shot, superbly directed and supremely acted.

Starring Colin Firth and directed by Tom Ford, this film cites the aftermath of a partner passing away. Tendering told, and gorgeously filmed, the themes raised in this film will touch you


Rent

Rent - Best Gay Movie #11

A wonderful musical - exploring gay and straight relationships. The musical is a rock opera, based on Puccini's La Boheme.

Musical is often used as a dirty word in film...this film will change your mind. Set in New York before the millennium, this film depicts a year in the life of friends, faced with the AIDS epidemic.


Angels in America

Angels in America - Best Gay Movie #12

Film adaptation of Tony Kushners acclaimed play, explores philosophy and politics, in the style of a soap opera, in the Reagan era.

With an 80s backdrop, mid AIDS epidemic, this HBO production has something for everyone - an amazing cast, including Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Mary Louise Parker, Michael Gambon, Emma Thompson and Simon Callow.

An epic film, lasting 6 hours - make sure you have plenty of popcorn!


Which films have you seen, and which are your favourite?

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Philadelphia

Best Gay Movie #13: Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks

Philadelphia
Philadelphia

An absolutely stellar cast, with such a moving story. One of the best films to come out of the 90s by a mile.

If you're unfamiliar with it, I recommend you check it out.

 

Urbania

Best Gay Movie #14: Urbania

I can not rave about this film enough. It's not really Hollywood, it's more of your artsy type film. At first, I wasn't sure, it's a real slow burner, then just at is got about three quarters of the way through, I was hooked, and the ending is such a power punch of emotion!

Starring Dan Futterman and Alan Cumming, this is a film about stories and legends. How does a story become an urban legend, and why is it a legend? Why do we like stories? As you start to watch this film, it feels like a documentary, and nothing really makes sense...then as you start putting the pieces together, you start to realise exactly what is going on.

I don't want to say a lot about this film, I don't want to ruin anything. Believe me though, if you want a powerful story, that just so happens to involve gay protagonists, you should try this. 100% recommended!

What are your thoughts about this selection of Gay and Lesbian Films?

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    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      Great selection of films.

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @HealthfulMD: Thanks Comfortdoc

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 5 years ago

      These are great movies.

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      @OrganicMom247: There are some great LGBT films out there :)

    • meggingmad profile image

      meggingmad 3 years ago

      Excellent!

    • MarcoG profile image
      Author

      Marc 3 years ago from Edinburgh

      @meggingmad: Thank Meggingmad! Have you seen many of the LGBT films here? Thanks for stopping by :)

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