For change to happen it must start from somewhere, and sometimes that somewhere is the cinema. Long before Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in the US, queer representation in the cinemas helped emphasize the cruciality of understanding that 'love is love' and that it is boundless for people. For anyone who doesn't agree — just don't watch these movies and go somewhere else. It's that simple.
Updated September 16, 2022: If you love LGBTQ+ movies, you'll be happy to know that we've updated this article about the greatest gay love stories with additional content and entries.
Films have the capacity to impact and perhaps change the ideologies of a community. A 2012 survey done by an independent polling firm for the Hollywood Reporter indicated how queer representation on screen increased the support for same-sex marriage, so film has the power to change the mainstream, and there have been several remarkable pieces that have influenced society positively. Here are some of the most romantic gay films about men that deserve more acclamation.
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12/12 Love, Simon
A modern love story that revolves around the teenager who is struggling to accept his own identity. Love, Simon is a film that simply makes the viewer feel good. While the film follows the trope of a young closeted boy trying to find his secret lover, it does so in a way that is capable of giving people hope, and is subtle enough to even influence naysayers. Interestingly, this 2018 film is well-known for "being the first movie focusing on gay teenage romance released by a major studio." Thus, it is no surprise that a spin-off TV series called Love, Victor has been released by Hulu.
Related: Romantic Movies to Watch With Your Partner on Valentine's Day
Set in the early 1900s, Maurice is a film that's sure to evoke many emotions in the viewer. With James Wilby taking the on the titular role, we see the protagonist trying to navigate his love life in a conservative Edwardian society. What makes Maurice exceptional is the way in which the film has captured the pain of trying to maintain a facade of decorum as per rigid social conventions which are contrary to one's feelings and emotions. As pointed out by Guy Lodge for The Guardian, Maurice is a film that is "undervalued in 1987 and underseen today," and deserves a much deeper appraisal than what is given.
10/12 The Way He Looks
This film by Daniel Ribeiro is based on his 2010 short I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone which he had hoped would help fund a feature version. Fortunately, Ribeiro was able to succeed in his plan, as The Way He Looks is a truly touching film that explores the story of a blind teenage boy who is struggling to be independent. The uniqueness of this film lies on how Ribeiro navigates the relationship between the two protagonists, Leonardo (played by Ghilherme Lobo) and Gabriel (played by Fábio Audi). With a friendship that develops into a relationship, these two characters' bond is one that is both charming and beautiful.
9/12 Free Fall
From a rocky start to conflicted identities, and an ending that is sure to leave the audience in tears, 2003's Free Fall is a German film that follows a protagonist's shocking awakening and his attempts to untangle his now complicated life. This movie certainly brings the pain as well as the excitement of forbidden love. Marc Borgmann, played by Hanno Koffler, attempts to suppress his true identity for the sake of his family whilst exploring his actual identity is a certified tearjerker. Free Fall shows what it is like to live in a world where you are forced to make hard decisions because of the prejudice of others.
8/12 My Own Private Idaho
Loosely based on Shakespeare's plays, Gus Van Sant’s 1991 counterculture classic drama My Own Private Idaho is not just a poetic and bittersweet story of two gay street hustlers, Mike (River Phoenix) and Scott (Keanu Reeves), journeying from Portland, Oregon, to Idaho, and then to Rome in search of Mike's mother. It is also the essential meditation on the promise of home, their own private Idaho, described by The Criterion Collection as "an imaginary place where one is locked in the arms of love – that is, both protected and free."
A truly Oscar-worthy film, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s 2021 adult animated documentary Flee tells the painful, true story of a gay Afghan refugee named Amin. Interviewed by the director of the film, Amin reveals his traumatic past for the first time. He shares stories of his childhood in Kabul and then tells how he fled the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, escaped death, journeyed to Denmark via Russia, and found happiness with his husband-to-be. Amin’s odyssey to find a home is a complex heartbreaker that blends a pressing global issue with touching personal reflection.
Related: Best Animated TV Shows with LGBTQ+ Characters
6/12 And Then We Danced
Directed by Levan Akin, a Swedish filmmaker of Georgian descent, the 2019 drama And Then We Danced tells the emotional story of gay sexual awakening put into the backdrop of Georgian ultra-conservative society. The film centers on two male dancers in the National Georgian Ensemble, Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani) and Irakli (Bachi Valishvili). One of the best international LGBTQ+ movies, And Then We Danced sparked protests in Georgia. Therefore, we need more such charged romance films set in the countries where homosexuality remains strictly taboo.
5/12 Happy Together
Unlike most gay movies that start off with a protagonist finding it difficult to accept his identity, this particular film attempts to depart from this trope and focuses on the complications and the challenges faced in any relationship. Happy Together follows the story of a gay couple who attempt to navigate life in a foreign place, encountering the difficulties of feeling alienated in a community that does not resemble home (something many gay men, especially in Asia, may relate to).
This Hong Kong romantic drama directed by the great Wong Kar-wai, who also received the Best Director award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, is a definite winner as it takes a novel approach in terms of gay films, utilizing the director's signature romantic, woozy style.
4/12 Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain is a film based on Annie Proulx's short story of the same name, and fundamentally changed the Hollywood landscape in regard to gay love stories. With Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal taking the roles of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist respectively, this 2005 Neo-Western romantic drama follows the tragic story of two men who realize their affection toward one another following an encounter during their sheep herding job.
While the film initially comes off as singularly focused on the curiosity and excitement of discovering a romantic relationship, it goes on to display the brutal reality that gay men have had to face in a society that is adamant in denying them their right to love. Brokeback Mountain is a definite eye-opener.
3/12 Call Me By Your Name
This film by Luca Guadagnino is a screen adaptation of André Aciman's award-winning 2007 novel by the same name. Set in rural Northern Italy in 1983, it follows the beautiful love story of Elio Perlman, played by Timothée Chalamet, and Oliver. Call Me By Your Name explores the idea and fascination of love in depth thanks to the cast's marvelous performance which does justice to Aciman's story. What makes this particular movie significant is its focus on the excitement, thrill, and absolute bliss of love. While the story ends with a heartbreaking scene, brilliantly performed by Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name is still an endlessly romantic film that's a definite must-see and was a surprising hit for all audiences.
2/12 The Boys In The Band
"If the situation of the homosexual is ever to be understood by the public, it will be because of the breakthrough made by this humane, moving picture," states a 1970 Time Magazine article. The Boys In The Band was adapted to the screen from the play by Mart Crowley, and has laid the foundation for queer representation in films by being the first American motion picture to explicitly focus on gay characters.
Related: 8 Classical Hollywood Movies with LGBTQ+ Characters
The Boys In The Band is a raw and real representation of what was is like to be gay in 1968 New York – alienated, alone, and struggling for happiness. The characters attempt to use their cheery personalities in order to distract themselves from this harsh reality, which only makes the film more emotional. This is definitely a noteworthy piece that has changed the world of Hollywood for the better.
This Academy Award-winning film is also considered to be one of the best films of the 21st century. Segregated into three sections based on the life of the protagonist, Chiron, played by Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert, Moonlight explores extremely important topics including black masculinity, sexuality, social misconceptions, domestic child abuse, and social segregation based on race. This film from A24 manages to question aspects of society while remaining an extremely beautiful, artistic, and entertaining masterpiece.
The first notable suggestion of homosexuality on film was in 1895, when two men were shown dancing together in the William Kennedy Dickson motion picture The Dickson Experimental Sound Film, commonly labeled online and in three published books as The Gay Brothers.What are the best gay dramas? ›
- Ammonite (2020) ...
- The Thing About Harry (2020) ...
- Bound (1996) ...
- Disobedience (2018) ...
- Happy Together (1997) ...
- Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) ...
- Happiest Season (2020) ...
- The Handmaiden (2016)
Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount Plus, and Peacock are the best mainstream platforms for LGBTQ titles. Viewers looking to stream more niche entertainment might enjoy Revry or WOW Presents Plus.Is Fire Island a gay movie? ›
The film co-stars Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, and Margaret Cho. Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the story follows a group of gay friends who go on vacation to Fire Island, only for things to become complicated by classism and romance.Who was Disney's first gay couple? ›
Barry and Randell kiss in the episode "Father Figures". It is the first Disney series to feature a same-sex kiss between a married couple.What is the oldest gay movie? ›
There is only one hopeful scene in "Different from the Others," a silent picture from 1919 that is widely considered the first feature film about gay love.What is the hottest BL drama? ›
- 2022 BL. More Than Words (2022) Old Fashion Cupcake (2022) Plus & Minus (2022) ...
- 2021 BL. A Tale of Thousand Stars (2021) Bad Buddy (2021) Light On Me (2021) ...
- 2020 BL. Cherry Magic (2020) I Told Sunset About You (2020) Journey to the Shore (2020) ...
- Pre-2020 BL. Given (2019) Grey Rainbow (2016)
- Boy Meets Girl (2014) Boy Meets Girl is a rom-com starring Michael Welch as Robby Riley and Michelle Hendley as Ricky Jones. ...
- Handsome Devil (2016) ...
- Moonlight (2016) ...
- Straight Up (2019) ...
- Shiva Baby (2020)
- Sex Education (2019–Present) ...
- Orange Is the New Black (2013–19) ...
- Eastsiders (2012–19) ...
- Dead to Me (2019–Present) ...
- Love Sick (2014–15) ...
- American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018) ...
- Elite (2018–Present) ...
- Atypical (2017–Present)
In Pixar's 2021 release, “Luca,” two young sea monsters who appear human when on land, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), build a profound friendship with each other that many interpreted as a coming out allegory — the New York Times' review of the film was headlined “Calamari by Your Name.” The ...
While Coco is not an explicitly queer film, music's flatly anti-family resonances in Miguel's world lead him to talk like one who is closeted: 'I get this feeling like we're connected somehow', he says of De la Cruz, adding, 'I can't really talk about any of this at home'.Is just friends a gay movie? ›
Just Friends - Trailer
This ultra-sexy romantic comedy goes beyond the usual young gay love story, marking JUST FRIENDS as a truly modern tale of queer love.
In a still rare but slowly rising trend, Ginny & Georgia's lesbian storyline adopts the Gen Z method of teenagers coming out – which is to barely do it at all. Despite being 15, Maxine “Max” Baker has been out to her family and friends for years.Is chemical hearts a gay movie? ›
While Henry falls for his mysterious new classmate Grace (Reinhart), La (Young) and Cora (Peña), figure out their own relationship as gay, yet it's far more simple in comparison to the complicated love affair between Henry and Grace.Does LGBT end in fire? ›
And then there's the queer and diverse aspect of It Ends in Fire. I feel like for too long people have tried to tell us that we couldn't have a rich world full of complex characters who were racially diverse, LGBTQ positive, and included aspects like non-binary representation.Is Luca a gay movie? ›
Casarosa has explicitly said that the film is not a queer story, that it is all “platonic” and determinedly “pre-pubescent.” That suggests a limited understanding of gay growing up, particularly of when our feelings of affection and special closeness and difference can first develop.Is Elsa asexual? ›
Canonically, Elsa of Arendelle, who sits upon the tiny northern kingdom's throne at the end of Frozen, is not queer. Canonically, she is not romantically interested in anybody. And lest you wonder if that description means Elsa is asexual or aromantic, neither of those qualities is canon either.Who is Marvel's first gay character? ›
As the first major, openly gay character created by Marvel Comics, Northstar generated significant publicity in the mainstream press, and Alpha Flight #106 sold out in a week, although the series was not a very popular title. It is the only comic book issue to have been inducted into the Gaylactic Hall of Fame.Who was the first openly gay singer? ›
Patrick Haggerty, the trailblazer widely regarded as the first openly gay country singer, died on Monday surrounded by his husband and children, according to a statement on his band's Instagram page. He was 78.Who is the longest running gay character on TV? ›
|Born||Sara Elena Ramírez August 31, 1975 Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico|
|Education||Juilliard School (BFA)|
|Occupation||Actor singer activist|
Andy Lippincott was the first openly gay character to appear in a mainstream comic strip. Midnighter is one of DC Comics' most prominent gay superheroes and his relationship with Apollo is one of the most prominent gay relationships in DC Comics. First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #120 (1979).Which BL has most kissing scene? ›
'Semantic Error' has one of BL K-drama's most hot-blooded kiss scenes.Which country is famous for BL dramas? ›
Hands down, it's Thailand. The Thai BL Dramas have an immaculate✨ taste and they often come up with new ideas, stories and scenes. There are a variety of Thai BL for every type.Is Mulan a gay movie? ›
It does, after all, feature a heterosexual romance between its crossdressing title character and the military leader whose battalion she joins after disguising herself as a boy. But for many queer audiences, Mulan is a seminal queer narrative — and it's hardly the only Disney film to claim that honor.Does Netflix have Lgbtq movies? ›
- Single All The Way.
- Let It Snow.
- Ride or Die.
- Anne+: The Film.
- More the Merrier.
- Dancing Queens.
- Dance of the Forty One.
- A New York Christmas Wedding.
- Let It Snow.
- Fear Street Part 1: 1994.
- Ride or Die.
- Anne+: The Film.
- Cobalt Blue.
- The Danish Girl.
- More the Merrier.
In celebration of Pride month, we've compiled a list of the best Fresh LGBTQ+ movies you can find on HBO Max right now. You'll find hit classic dramas (Desert Hearts), feel-good comedies (In & Out), and international affairs (Bad Education).What does M18 mean on Netflix? ›
5. G, PG and PG13 are advisory ratings, while NC16, M18 and R21 are age-restricted ratings enforceable by law.Which Captain Underpants character is gay? ›
In the twelfth book of the series officially titled Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot, George and Harold meet their future selves. And as author and illustrator Dav Pilkey quietly reveals, Harold is a gay character.Who kisses who in Lightyear? ›
In Lightyear, we witness the anodyne kiss on the lips between space explorer Alisha Hawthorne and her wife, and we realize that partners are not at the center of any story, but rather one of those fragments that give meaning to life.
There have actually been eight characters that were announced as a “first openly gay character” to varying degrees, and each got a lot of press attention. These “first gay characters” reflect something contradictory about Disney's LGBTQ legacy.Is there a gay kissing scene in Lightyear? ›
Countries are censoring the new Buzz Lightyear movie over a same-sex kissing scene. It's not the first time that Disney has faced LGBTQ backlash. Following a year marked by turmoil with its LGBTQ+ fan base and employees, Disney is releasing its first-ever movie that shows a gay kiss.Is Dante from Coco a boy? ›
Pepita is an Alebrije who appears in the 2017 Pixar film, Coco. She was Mamma Imelda's pet Maine Coon cat when she was alive, and served as her Alebrije spirit guide in the afterlife. She is shown in her living form at the end of the movie, accompanying Dante.Why is music not allowed in Coco? ›
For generations, the Riveras have banned music because they believe they've been cursed by it; as their family history goes, Miguel's great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife decades earlier to follow his own dreams of performing, leaving Imelda (Miguel's great-great-grandmother) to take control as the matriarch of ...Is Mad Max a gay movie? ›
Max Rockatansky is both straight and the best driver on the roads, and the villains in Mad Max and Mad Max 2 are gay motorcyclists. The demonisation of bikies and homosexuals in the two films is an interesting trope—all the more so because it has passed almost without comment or debate.Is Blue Crush a gay movie? ›
Blue Crush (2002)
Starring Kate Bosworth, the out and queer Michelle Rodriguez, and Sanoe Lake, Blue Crush is literally every millennial queer woman's root movie. Even though this surfer film was super popular in the early aughts, queer girls were way more into it than our straight friends.
What's Your Number? is a 2011 American romantic comedy film directed by Mark Mylod and starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Written by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden, it is based on Karyn Bosnak's book 20 Times a Lady.Is Ginny and Georgia ok for a 12 year old? ›
I wouldn't recommend Ginny & Georgia for kids under 18 unless parents are going to talk about the topics with their kids. The self-harm theme is especially sensitive and should be addressed.What mental illness does Ginny from Ginny and Georgia have? ›
Anxiety/depression – One of the teenage characters refers to a dark time he went through recently. His mother (played by Jennifer Robertson ofSchitt's Creek) also mentions it. Ginny clearly struggles with anxiety.
Flashbacks throughout the episode reveal how Georgia was abused as a teenager, how she became pregnant with Ginny, and that her husband's crash was caused by her poisoning his smoothie with wolfsbane.Is the lighthouse a gay story? ›
The Lighthouse contains explicit depictions of male sexuality and primarily depicts two men alone in close quarters on an island. But when asked whether the film was "a love story", Robert Eggers replied: Am I saying these characters are gay? No.Why is Chemical Hearts R rated? ›
The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language, sexuality and teen drug use.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a sex scene and partial nudity, several kissing scenes between two teen girls, and between a teen boy and a teen girl, discussions of love and heartbreak and how the brain changes in adolescence, ...What is the secret in Chemical Hearts? ›
Meanwhile, Henry's distracted at school, failing his classes, and behind on the newspaper. One day, he goes to Grace's house and discovers the truth: Grace lives in her deceased boyfriend's (Dominic "Dom" Sawyer) house with his parents. She wears his unwashed clothes to preserve his memory.How long do LGBT relationships last? ›
Like heterosexuals, many lesbian, gay and bisexual people want to form stable, long-lasting relationships and many of them do. In fact, researchers have found that the majority of lesbian, and gay, adults are in committed relationships and many couples have been together 10 or more years.What is an LGBTQ Survivor? ›
LGBTQ is an acronym that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people. Many LGBTQ survivors face unique contexts that affect the abuse they experience.Does Adobe support LGBT? ›
We believe that everyone deserves equal treatment and respect, both here at Adobe and in their communities around the world.Who was the first openly gay performer? ›
Jobriath Boone became the first openly gay rock musician to be signed to a major record label, Elektra Records. Australian soap opera Number 96 features the first openly gay and regular character (played by Joe Hasham) on television anywhere in the world.Who was the first openly gay Rockstar? ›
By the early 1970s, many rock stars had flirted with androgyny and sexual fluidity. But in 1973, a singer and actor named Bruce Wayne Campbell became what is believed to be the first openly gay rock musician signed to a major label when he debuted as the outrageously flashy Jobriath.Who was the first gay character in Pixar? ›
Female police officer Spectre, a purple female cyclops, refers to her girlfriend in a scene, saying 'It's not easy being a new parent, my girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out'. Voiced by gay actress Lena Waithe, and though a brief moment, it was hailed by the studio as being its first gay character.
Iron Man is one of the most iconic characters in the MCU. He is also known as Tony Stark, the billionaire industrialist, a founding member of Avengers, and the former CEO of Stark Industries. He is a character that started it all in 2008, with the first movie in the MCU as we know it today. Iron Man is straight.Is Loki LGBT? ›
It's finally canon: the third episode of Loki confirmed that its titular character is bisexual, making him Marvel's first canonically queer lead character. It took long enough.Who is gay in Eternals? ›
In Eternals, Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry) is a married gay man with a young son, and his family life is entwined into the heart of the story.What was the first Lgbtq song? ›
LGBT+ oriented music. One of the earliest US top 40 singles to feature a positive depiction of the LGBT community was bisexual rocker Lou Reed's 1972 song "Walk on the Wild Side", which detailed the lives of gay, bi, and trans members of Andy Warhol's social circle.Who is the first gay rapper? ›
|Birth name||Jason Herndon|
|Born||1977 Brooklyn, New York|
The pride flag was created in 1978 by gay designer and political activist Gilbert Baker. On our streets, at our parades, even on our clothing, the rainbow flag has become a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ pride.When was the first gay man recorded? ›
2400 BCE – Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum are believed to be the first recorded same-sex couple in history.What country singers are gay? ›
- Despite what the privileged wives of some singers think, country music has more than its share of talented queer stars! ...
- Lil Nas X. ...
- Brandi Carlile. ...
- T.J. ...
- Brandy Clark. ...
- Lily Rose. ...
- Shane McAnally. ...
- Orville Peck.
- SOPHIE. ...
- Jamie Barton. ...
- Sir Elton John. ...
- Halsey. ...
- Kim Petras. ...
- Freddie Mercury. ...
- Janelle Monáe. ...
- Leonard Bernstein.
“It doesn't have anything to do with what we're trying to do,” People magazine reported Hillenburg as saying. “We never intended them to be gay.