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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.