every lgbtq+ film i've watched everby loobeyloo | created - 10 Sep 2018 | updated - 1 day ago | Public
ranked, in my opinion. biased towards films with a lil kick to em. a lil spice. ginger beer flicks. plus i prefer films that give a perspective i don't commonly hear. brings something new to the table.
i take racial representation, straight gaze, the male gaze and general ethics behind the film into account for a good few of these. cos as many of us know, race, gender and industry connections have this gargantuan impact on how much your voice is heard in cinema
also, my rating doesn't always correspond to the ranking :) did that on purpose. sometimes the content is more important & relevant to this list than other films of higher quality
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1. Paris Is Burning (1990)
R | 71 min | Documentary
A chronicle of 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.
Votes: 11,592 | Gross: $3.78M
Again really good, like a bona fide classic. heard some sad stuff about the director not actually paying the subjects she filmed or giving them their dues but just taking all the shine for the film herself I hope that's not true, I don't really know how documentary royalties work tbh. sounds really exploitative if it is true, the stars and originators of the ball scene are largely low income black and latinx LGBTQ+ folks. they would've definitely needed that opportunity to profit from their own art.
2. The Aggressives (2005)
Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary
An insightful exposé on the subculture of lesbian butches and their "femme" counterparts who tow the line between gender definitions. Filmed over five years in NYC, the featured "Aggressives" share their dreams, secrets and deepest fears.
fuckin ace man. just so great. all the people filmed are genuinely so interesting and add so much colour to the spectrum of queer visibility.
3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
R | 100 min | Comedy, Musical
A newly-engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must seek shelter at the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-n-Furter.
Votes: 127,540 | Gross: $139.88M
A f-ing classic.
4. Moonlight (I) (2016)
R | 111 min | Drama
A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.
Votes: 256,959 | Gross: $27.85M
boom film, but it loses a bit of its magic every time I see it so I don't see it too much. it's great okay it's a good film.
5. Tongues Untied (1989)
Not Rated | 55 min | Documentary
A documentary about the experiences of black homosexual men living in the United States of America.
classic. a staple. definitive, educational, self-actualising, self-loving, black gay film. brothertobrotherbrothertobrother.
6. BEYOND There's always a black issue Dear (2018)
30 min | Documentary, Short, History
Growing up Black and Queer in 1970s and 80s Britain.
Director: Claire Lawrie
Awesome 30-minute documentary about an assortment of black BRITISH gay and bi men, and one trans woman. The film explores their lives in 1970s/80s London. Lots of rare queer arts and culture gems, and important perspectives on race AND sexuality. I saw it at an intergenerational screening at Age UK, check the film's website if you wanna find where you can catch it next. So rare to find black lgbtq+ experiences depicted onscreen, especially british ones, and especially those from a few decades back.
(EDIT: it's on vimeo :) https://vimeo.com/307596231?fbclid=IwAR1y2CQZvF6ZNzftu2ycbMOo1OqqKwdKZK4FVn3T1DP60vcJuE8ZPZrn2w0)
7. But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)
R | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A naive teenager is sent to rehab camp when her straitlaced parents and friends suspect her of being a lesbian.
Votes: 24,771 | Gross: $2.21M
i like stylised gay films. and it's actually really on point with its humour, its kind of like a gay bring it on. and i loved bring it on. plus rupaul's in it.
8. The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
Not Rated | 91 min | Drama
In 1993, a teenage girl is forced into a gay conversion therapy center by her conservative guardians.
Votes: 17,094 | Gross: $0.90M
The book is amazing. A lot better than the film, but the film is still great. Probably the most charismatic acting I've seen in a queer film, great characters, tells an important story, and actually really believable romance/sex scenes, which is rare. It reminded me of my first encounters as a lil gay pup (teehee). My biggest peeve is that they removed so much of the book's plot, leaving really just a shell of a story. Because of that it's just not as poignant or as touching.
9. The Iron Ladies (2000)
Not Rated | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport
A triumph over adversity. Based on the true story of the 1996 Thailand National Champion Volleyball Team.
Votes: 1,310 | Gross: $0.11M
Awesome Thai film about a queer volleyball team made up of gay men and one trans woman. It has such personality, memorable characters, great humour and just the right amount of cheese to make it fun retro viewing. perfect gay feelgood movie.
10. Totally F***ed Up (1993)
Unrated | 78 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Six queer teenagers struggle to get along with each other and with life in the face of varying obstacles.
Votes: 2,579 | Gross: $0.10M
content warning for suicide :( v edgy cool 90s film with some queer main characters. kinda mtv, very much a satire of teen culture and being a dissaffected youth, at least that's how i took it. it's like a mix between skins and daria.
11. Pride (I) (2014)
R | 119 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.
I loved this movie when I saw it in the cinema at uni. Proper loved it. Great bit of UK LGBT history
12. Lilting (2014)
Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance
A young man of Chinese-Cambodian descent dies, leaving behind his isolated mother and his 4-year male lover, who grieve but don't speak a lick of each other's language.
Votes: 5,658 | Gross: $0.02M
thoroughly enjoyed this one. kind of an indie flick, about a gay man whose boyfriend dies, and his journey with the grief.
Really well done, lots of personality in it, done with these light dramatic strokes that land brilliantly.
13. Angry Indian Goddesses (2015)
115 min | Comedy, Drama
A photographer invites her closest friends to vacation at her family's home in Goa in celebration of her upcoming marriage.
now this is how you tell a gay story. a randomly assorted group of young Indian women staying over at their mutual friends' place in Goa for a week, all at different stages in life with vastly different personalities. Having a real vibrant time with each other, basking in feminine energy... partying together, genuinely supporting each other, sharing their struggles in romance, at work.... AND THERE'S A BIG LESBIAN PLOT IN THE CENTRE. To top it off, there's a strong, empowering, Indian, feminist, anti-rape culture vein running through it. It's also funny, and genuinely engaging. nah this is really how you do it guys. perfect balance.
14. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
R | 132 min | Drama, Romance
In 1980s Italy, romance blossoms between a seventeen-year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.
Votes: 192,288 | Gross: $18.10M
critically-acclaimed, really well made film about heartbreak and yeah sujfan stevens' on the soundtrack yeah yeah yeah but it's actually about an adult man and a teenager in a relationship? it was good but are we not gonna talk about that?
15. The Perfection (2018)
TV-MA | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
When troubled musical prodigy Charlotte seeks out Elizabeth, the new star pupil of her former school, the encounter sends both musicians down a sinister path with shocking consequences.
Ho-ly shit this film. So, the lesbian romance of it is great, at least, it starts off great? And then one of the main characters gets some horrific viral attack on a bus in rural China. I have emetophobia, and while it’s not as bad as it used to be, that puking scene? Nah... it was too horrific. She puked up maggots bro, she couldn’t go anywhere, couldn’t get water, couldn’t get to hospital, and was shitting herself. After that, I had to stop watching. It’s even made me a bit scared to travel.
I think I’ve finally found the horror film I can’t finish. Now I can tell the drama was absolutely great, but, yeah. Fucking hell.
EDIT: so halloween came around, couple months after i first wrote this, and I finally finished the film with some friends. it's fucking ridiculous, but I recommend it all the same. the lesbian plot is great, it's just... it's such a mind-boggling body horror that you should definitely brace yourselves.
16. The Doom Generation (1995)
R | 83 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Jordan White and Amy Blue, two troubled teens, pick up an adolescent drifter, Xavier Red. Together, the threesome embark on a sex and violence-filled journey through an America of psychos and quickiemarts.
Votes: 13,492 | Gross: $0.26M
content warning for rape - again, really edgy 90s film with a bi main character, v daria, satires commercialist america, super counterculture, weirdly ultraviolent and self-indulgent though. both cool and quite an unnecessarily disturbing film. araki's nuts but i do think he took it too far with this one. still quite high up here just cos i really really like the style and the superficial side of the film's attitude, but it definitely is a bit of a questionable film.
i will add, xavier is an iconic bi character in this film. almost steals the show. badass
17. Love, Simon (2018)
PG-13 | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends and all of his classmates: he's gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.
Votes: 91,839 | Gross: $40.83M
a charming, straight-up, well-written, teen gay film. no stereotypes, decent racial representation (just decent though), enjoyable story without any cheese.
18. Alex Strangelove (2018)
TV-MA | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Alex, high school class president, nerd and a straight A student, has been dating Claire a long time. They decide to sleep together but then he meets a gay guy and he's confused.
I thought this film was really well done. Great characters, great acting, a smart, enjoyable watch.
Just, white as hell. :/
19. Tangerine (2015)
R | 88 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A hooker tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.
Votes: 25,425 | Gross: $0.70M
I remember enjoying this film, was definitely quality drama, nice indie flick, always got time for trans indie flicks. but as soon as I watched it, I forgot about it. maybe the drama wasn't gripping enough?
20. Saving Face (2004)
R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations.
Votes: 9,716 | Gross: $1.19M
really good lesbian film about Chinese women fighting the more narrow-minded norms of their traditional, close-knit local community. Like, really nicely, neatly done, with great personality too. Very little cheese, believable romance, a healthy helping of realistic cynicism, good dialogue, quality cinema, it was all there. I dug it.
21. Iron Ladies 2 (2003)
Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Sport
Sequel to the surprise hit about a gay volleyball team having troubles with their success and fame, and how they reunite after they split because of creative differences.
I'm not sure if it was as good as the previous film, but I mean the franchise was soo fun I think I watched one straight after the other.
22. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.
Votes: 13,685 | Gross: $2.45M
the author of the book this film was based on is one I really like - hanif kureishi. all his books have such spunk to them, and they always have queer south asian Londoners front and center. this one translated to film really well. an artistic, interracial gay drama set in 1980s london.
23. D.E.B.S. (2004)
PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Romance
Plaid-skirted schoolgirls are groomed by a secret government agency to become the newest members of the elite national-defense group, D.E.B.S.
Votes: 14,439 | Gross: $0.10M
Another discount DVD rack knockabout, with a corny secret agent theme, cheap special effects and Disney TV movie level drama, but it's lesbian. It's almost conscious of its own cheesiness, which I have a soft spot for, in film. And Jordana Brewster makes such a great lesbian in this I just couldn't put it any lower on the list. I enjoyed it, okay. It was like an early 00's gay softcore exploitation movie.
The schoolgirl costumes though... yeah, they were totally unnecessary. Can we give this whole "sexy schoolgirl" thing a rest. it's a little nauseating, and kind of wrong.
24. Carol (2015)
R | 118 min | Drama, Romance
An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.
Votes: 109,736 | Gross: $12.71M
Initially I wasn't really that interested in this film, cos 1 - it seemed a bit middle of the road, didn't seem to have much spark to it personality-wise. And 2 - it looked really white, and I've cumulatively seen way, WAY too many monocultured white films. Then a little later, out of desperation for gay content in my life, got this subsequent urge to watch any and all lgbtq+ movies I could find. THAT'S what brought the film back to my attention, and birthed this imdb list.
And in terms of cinema, it is a beautifully-shot, emotionally tense feature. Carol is majestic as all hell, and definitely has "Big Dick Energy". really she makes the film. However, a lot of the drama relies too heavily on subtext to really get you going in my opinion. And it's so white, which at this point in 21st century cinema, forms part of a trend that, given all we know, is statistically just inexcusable.
I don't like the idea of LGBTQ+ films having a gay relationship as the only point of the story. It's such a simplistic and frankly quite straight perspective, and I just find it patronising. Of course straight people are going to think queer sexualities are the most interesting thing about us.
As a queer person, I definitely know our lives are more complex than that. There's queer friendship, there's finding your personality, there's chosen family, there's navigating academia, there's music, there're unique perspectives on sexism, on the working world... I could go on and on. More comedy, more action, more sci-fi, more varied subject matter, more twists and turns in gay cinema please. Frankly, this love shit is getting boring.
25. Appropriate Behavior (2014)
Not Rated | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Shirin is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, politically correct bisexual and hip young Brooklynite but fails miserably in her attempt at all identities. Being without a cliché to hold onto can be a lonely experience.
can't remember much of this film, except for the steamy threesome scene that gets ruined by the dude. apparently i thought it was an alright film? I dunno.
26. The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Unrated | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A young black lesbian filmmaker probes into the life of The Watermelon Woman, a 1930s black actress who played 'mammy' archetypes.
lesbian drama/romcom with two black best friends as main characters. a well-made film. sidebar: living for the 90s black soft stud fashion in this.
27. The Half of It (2020)
PG-13 | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu agrees to write a love letter for a jock, she doesn't expect to become his friend - or fall for his crush.
Overall a good lesbian film that doesn't have your stereotypically happy romantic ending, and it's from the same woman who directed Saving Face. Happy to see the East Asian representation, and the film definitely starts off strong. Complex characters, interesting locations and the shooting is really pretty. But, around halfway through, the film kind of loses its momentum to me, as the plot just... stops thickening, quite early on.
I think another layer of complexity, another layer of real life issues could've been added to this film to make it better. It felt like a bit of a predictable, linear journey. I could see what was gonna happen from a mile off, and although it wasn't a cliché, it's not really fun when you predict the film's ending half an hour in.
Still cool vibes overall, still fun. It has this artistic, poetic energy to it
28. Halston (2019)
Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Biography
Prodigiously talented, Halston reigned over fashion in the 1970s and became a household name. But everything changed in the Wall Street era. With his empire under threat, Halston took the biggest gamble of his life.
Votes: 409 | Gross: $0.15M
A documentary about an iconic gay high-end fashion designer to the stars, who famously brought high-end to the high street, and then had a massive falling out with the corporate world which basically robbed him of the rights to his own name. It's not just for fashion-heads, it's a pretty charming and rock-and-roll story - dude was best friends with Andy Warhol and Liza Minelli, and had this big Hollywood presence. Some cool snippets about attitudes towards homosexuality in the 60s too.
29. Out in the Night (2014)
Unrated | 75 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime
Under the neon lights in a gay-friendly neighborhood of New York City, four young African-American lesbians are violently and sexually threatened by a man on the street. They defend ... See full summary »
a documentary about a group of 4 black african-american lesbians who were prosecuted and villified in the media for defending themselves against a homophobic attack. made me angry to watch. reminded me how people don't speak up for the way black lesbians, especially masculine ones, can be dehumanised and criminalised. a very important story.
30. Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)
NC-17 | 180 min | Drama, Romance
Adèle's life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire and to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adèle grows, seeks herself, loses herself, and ultimately finds herself through love and loss.
Votes: 133,183 | Gross: $2.20M
tricky one. it's a believable, genuinely well-made, and sexy lesbian film. but it falls into that common sexist pitfall of just objectifying lesbians, with its sex scenes bordering on indulgent. More importantly, Kechiche the film's director was reported to be incredibly invasive, exploitative and disrespectful towards his cast and crew. the two female leads were actually made to feel uncomfortable doing the lengthy and vigourous sex scenes in this film, those very sex scenes that have made it so famous.
Lesbian sexuality should empower and liberate women, not exploit them. Our stories don't deserve to be told through the lens of insensitive straight male film directors.
i do feel the overall quality of the film gives it cultural significance and power, but i can't ignore that as a professional piece of work, it is downright wrong, and comes from a place of straight male entitlement. That sours the enjoyment for me, and i find sex-heavy white lesbian romances pretty overdone anyways.
Article on Kechiche's behaviour, for more info: (https://metro.co.uk/2013/11/19/lea-seydoux-the-sex-scenes-in-blue-is-the-warmest-colour-were-humiliating-to-shoot-4191389/).
31. Jewel's Catch One (2016)
85 min | Documentary
JEWEL'S CATCH ONE directed by filmmaker C. Fitz celebrates the legacy of a legendary Los Angeles nightclub, Catch One, and the life-changing impact its owner, Jewel Thais-Williams, had on ... See full summary »
great documentary about a queer African-American woman who sets up a nightclub that's open to everybody in the midst of the racist and homophobic 70s. I personally found Jewel a really powerful person to learn about, as a fellow masc lesbian!
32. I Can't Think Straight (2008)
PG-13 | 82 min | Drama, Romance
A young woman engaged to be married finds her life changed forever when she meets her best friend's girlfriend.
Votes: 7,539 | Gross: $0.04M
was glad to see two women of colour take centre stage on this one, but unfortunately the whole film feels like a perfume advert. I watched it with an English dub (at least I think it was an English dub, because the voice-overs sounded so oddly distant that it couldn't possibly be the original audio)
it was very cheesy, but again, just like D.E.B.S., I lapped that cheese up. I guess because the film genuinely had some personality and charm to it?
Lots of talk of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and settling, culture clash chat, but then on the other hand, also lots of odd soundtrack choices...
I think, points were made in the film. I enjoyed it. Definitely could have been better done though.
PG-13 | 109 min | Comedy, Drama
Three drag queens travel cross-country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town.
Votes: 27,349 | Gross: $36.47M
randomly, i watched this film at least 3 times when i was 7 years old. it had a... je ne sais quoi. it's about drag queens and, yeah it probably is actually as good as i remember it being tbh. was cool to see wesley snipes in drag. white men can't tuck?
34. Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson (2012)
54 min | Documentary
Marsha P. Johnson was a revolutionary trans activist, Stonewall instigator, Andy Warhol model, drag queen, prostitute, starving actress, and Saint, as well as a downtown NYC fixture from ... See full summary »
important story. everybody these days talks about how marsha kickstarted the fight for lgbt rights but most people don't ACTUALLY know all that much about her. n marsha was a really interesting person. didn't realise how interesting til i watched this.
35. Fire (1996)
Unrated | 104 min | Drama, Romance
Two women who are abandoned by their husbands, find love and solace in each other.
Votes: 5,552 | Gross: $0.40M
one of the first bollywood films to have a homosexual relationship in it and it's between women! and it's not toootally about their relationship either. there's feminism in there, family drama in there... bit slow, but the drama delivers.
36. Monsoon (2019)
85 min | Drama, Romance
Kit, a British Vietnamese man, returns to Saigon for the first time in over 30 years, after fleeing during the Vietnam-American War.
beautifully shot film about a Vietnamese-British man going back to his mother country to spread his parents ashes. Lots of diaspora drama, coming to terms with the generational differences, the immigrant struggle etc... plus dude happens to be gay. It's not the centrepiece of the story, which I respect.
Unfortunately, the film is incredibly boring. The characters all lack personality, and the dialogue is definitely lacking. It felt like a skeleton of a film, where the characters and subtext needed to be fleshed out. A shame, but yeah, such a boring film.
37. Tomboy (2011)
Not Rated | 82 min | Drama
A family moves into a new neighborhood, and a 10-year-old named Laure deliberately presents as a boy named Mikhael to the neighborhood children.
Votes: 17,270 | Gross: $0.13M
defo a well-made film, interesting trans story. i personally like drama though. wasn't enough drama. that's why it's not higher up on this list
38. God's Own Country (2017)
Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance
Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.
Votes: 22,147 | Gross: $0.34M
'10s brokeback mountain. but a bit more intimate, a bit meatier in terms of bringing the audience close to gay characters. i liked it.
39. Destiny (1997)
Not Rated | 87 min | Drama
Two young high school boys, Manga and Sory, are gay and in love in Guinea. This is their story.
black gay drama set in guinea. slower-paced, beautiful visuals, but not much action. pleasant. a pleasant film. the kind of film you watch with a plate of olives and a glass of wine.
40. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
R | 134 min | Drama, Romance
The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.
Votes: 313,777 | Gross: $83.04M
two butch cowboys, out on the ranch. fallin' in love. for some reason I really don't feel like this film did much for the gay community. well, i mean it definitely raised awareness among straight folks, but it's not actually a particularly empowering story. more for the straight gaze. could it have done more, considering the era it was made in?
41. Almost Adults (2016)
TV-14 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama
A film about growing apart when growing up. Two best friends relationship strains when one deals with her newfound sexuality and the other with breaking up with her long term boyfriend.
it was nice to see a lesbian being best friends with a straight woman without there being a romance plot between them. like, it wasn't about being gay, it was about friendship. i'm here for that, and generally it was a pretty fun film. however, it wasn't amazing, kinda amateurish in bits, the girls were a little boring. overall the story and the general energy of the film was still kinda fun.
42. Gia (1998 TV Movie)
R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
The story of the life of Gia Carangi, a top fashion model from the late 1970s, from her meteoric rise to the forefront of the modeling industry, to her untimely death.
don't remember much of this film, but it wasn't bad. famous badass queer female model's biopic
43. Leave It on the Floor (2011)
Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical
Set in the ballroom world originally memorialized by the documentary Paris Is Burning, Leave It on the Floor is an original musical set in the scene in Los Angeles 2011.
the songs in this one are quite catchy. i had to include it on the list because i've never seen a musical about ballroom culture before. and it had personality as a film. pretty cheesy though. too cheesy for me really, heheh.
44. Duck Butter (2018)
Not Rated | 93 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Two women, who are dissatisfied with the dishonesty they see in dating and relationships, decide to make a pact to spend 24 hours together hoping to find a new way to create intimacy.
Votes: 2,715 | Gross: $0.01M
This film was too corny for me to get through the first 10 minutes. I could tell the writing and acting was in a very true-to-life style which I'm always here for, but:
1. the majority of lesbian stories out there are white, running out of patience for it.
2. this isn't exactly offering an amazing new perspective - I don't wanna see corny white girls getting self-indulgent with each other on a sleepover for a whole hour and a half thanks. don't care how steamy the steamy scenes are dude.
45. Loving Annabelle (2006)
Not Rated | 77 min | Drama, Romance