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Great List of the 30 LGBTQ best movies!

Over 100 film experts including critics, writers and programmers such as Joanna Hogg, Mark Cousins, Peter Strickland, Richard Dyer, Nick James and Laura Mulvey, as well as past and present BFI Flare programmers, have voted the Top 30 LGBTQ+ Films of All Time.

The top 30

1. Carol (2015) 


Director  Todd Haynes

Beautiful, moving, with fine performances from Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett. Clearly, but sadly not surprisingly, under-recognised through the awards season, indicating there’s still a way to go for LGBTQ+ films in the mainstream.

Rhidian Davis


2. Weekend (2011)


Director  Andrew Haigh

Real people. Real situations. No gay ‘issues’. A wonderful antidote to the clichés of LGBTQ+ cinema. This is the very best kind of relationship drama – gay or otherwise.


Robin Baker



3. Happy Together (1997)

Director  Wong Kar-wai

 This film is not simply a crystallisation of excellent directing, cinematography, and acting, but also a testimony of the political effect of Hong Kong during the time of its handover from Great Britain to China, mapped onto the painful codependent relationship between the two characters.


Victor Fan


4.Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Director  Ang Lee

 It was groundbreaking to see a mainstream film with big name stars approach a gay romance in such an authentic, sensitive manner, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are both exceptional. Michelle Williams is also superb as the wife left reeling after the discovery of her husband’s true sexuality.

Nikki Baughan


5. Paris Is Burning (1990) Director  Jennie Livingston


Glamour, music, bitches and tragedy; and it’s all real. A special film with a legendary pedigree in class of its own. Like a limited edition Gaultier Bra. A story that says more about life and living life to the full than a thousand hollow promises the heterosexual world could offer.

Topher Campbell


6.Tropical Malady (2004)

Director  Apichatpong Weerasethakul

 Utterly bizarre. Utterly beautiful. The weirdest and most wonderful gay love story ever told. The final encounter between the hero, searching for his lost lover, and the tiger, is completely hypnotic.

Alex Davidson

7. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

Director  Stephen Frears

One of the best films about the Thatcher era – what it meant, how it shaped contemporary life and how its values might be challenged or reworked.

Maria Delgado

8.All about My Mother (1999)
Director  Pedro Almodóvar

The ultimate Almodóvar film, fusing a narrative situation that could have come straight out of a Douglas Sirk melodrama with far more turn-of-the-millennium concerns about transvestism, transsexualism, AIDS, prostitution and out-of-the-blue bereavement.

Michael Brooke

 9.Un chant d’amour (1950)
Director  Jean Genet

Extraordinary and very beautiful.

Catharine Des Forges

10. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Director  Gus Van Sant

Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix give bravura performances as two gay street hustlers in Van Sant’s blistering early 90s exploration of the unforgiving American gay scene.

Nikki Baughan

11.Tangerine (2015)
Director  Sean S. Baker

A breath of fresh air and one that weirdly served to remind me of some of the best of ‘old’ queer cinema, following a working girl on a mission to find her man. LA never looked lovelier; I never smiled so wide.Briony Hanson

12. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)
Director  Rainer Werner Fassbinder

I could easily have included several Fassbinder films in this list (sorry Fox and Elvira), but I’ll allow myself only one. Everything you need to know about the cruelty of love in two hours. So savage. So perfect.

Michael Blyth

13. Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) Director  Abdellatif Kechiche

One of the great films about love, and the destructive aftermath of its failure.

Jon Spira

14. Mädchen in Uniform (1931)
Director  Leontine Sagan

Revolutionary spirit borne of intense erotic lesbian attachment and female solidarity.

Richard Dyer

15. Show Me Love (1998) Director  Lukas Moodysson

Beautiful Thing has peppermint foot lotion. Show Me Love has chocolate milk. Moodysson’s debut is a truly sublime and touching story of star-crossed teen-girl lovers, a relationship clearly destined to go nowhere together but oblivious in their delight at discovering each other.
Nyree Jillings

16. Orlando (1992)
Director  Sally Potter

I remember this having a profound effect on me when I first saw it. The queering of gender seemed an impossible dream at the time, only something in movies! I’ve come back to it time and time again since and each time found something new that resonates.Jason Barker

17.Victim (1961)

Director  Basil Dearden

Dirk Bogarde’s extremely brave performance as a closeted barrister drawn into a gay blackmail case directly influenced public opinion, and played a part in changing the law in Britain when the Sexual Offences Act was finally passed in 1967.Simon McCallum

18. Je, tu, il, elle (1974)
Director  Chantal Akerman

Every frame is breathtakingly beautiful. Possibly the earliest lesbian sex scene in cinema.
Nazmia Jamal

19. Looking for Langston (1989)
Director  Isaac Julien

The original and best. A film that fuses art cinema with historical narrative. Langston revels in its underground credentials while also reminding us that Black is Beautiful. A witness to how we were once outlaws and warriors of desire.Topher Campbell

20. Beau Travail (1999)
Director  Claire Denis

Military men with muscles in the desert would, in real life, be my idea of hell (honest), but Denis’ phenomenal image-making and her absorption of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd achieve a magnificence all her own.Nick James

21. Beautiful Thing (1996)
Director  Hettie MacDonald

Adorable and tender love story portraying a rare optimism about gay relationships which was long-awaited, and something of a game-changer.Rhidian Davis

22. Beautiful Thing (1996)
Director  Hettie MacDonald

Adorable and tender love story portraying a rare optimism about gay relationships which was long-awaited, and something of a game-changer.
Rhidian Davis

23.Theorem (1968)
Director  Pier Paolo Pasolini

Queerness as a crowbar, to force open the cracks in polite society. Funny, too.Mark Cousins

24.The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Director  Cheryl Dunye

“Girlfriend got it goin’ on!” Cheryl’s appraisal of 1930s African American performer Fae ‘The Watermelon Woman’ Richards applies equally to the film and its director. Dunye played Dunye, and Richards was her note-perfect invention. “Sometimes you have to create your own history” ends the film: The Watermelon Woman made history.Sophie Mayer

25. Pariah (2011)
Director  Dee Rees

If ever there was a queer film that tells it like it is when it comes to finding out our ways to be real; this is it. Simple distilled emotion gets full on treatment in this taught family drama. It shows how much we all want to be free. Topher Campbell

26.Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Director  David Lynch

Riffing on identity-merge classics Vertigo and Persona, David Lynch recasts the eponymous highway as a Möbius strip in which Camilla/Rita/Laura Harring is probably always crashing in the same car, always grappling through her confusion to the care of ingénue Betty/Diane/Naomi Watts, before their lives do a switcheroo after a heady night at the Club Silencio. Sam Wigley

27.Portrait of Jason (1967)
Director  Shirley Clarke

Fraught, tense, wonderful. Jason Holliday vs Shirley Clarke one night in the Chelsea Hotel.
Jay Bernard

28.Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Director  Sidney Lumet

Brilliant on so many levels and one of the high points of US cinema’s greatest era. Pacino’s confessional phone call with Chris Sarandon is one of the great pieces of screen acting. Leigh Singer

29.Death in Venice (1971)
Director  Luchino Visconti

Visconti may have melted Dirk Bogarde’s face with toxic theatrical make-up, but this is the most beautiful film about love and death ever made. Sarah Wood

30.Pink Narcissus (1971)
Director  James Bidgood

A joyously sexy, almost psychedelic collection of stories featuring the fabulous beauty of Bobby Kendall in this hugely influential self-produced film by James Bidgood. A miracle of low-budget filmmaking and artistry.
Brian Robinson

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