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The 25 best gay movies of all time

20. The Boys In The Band (1970)

The movie: Widely considered to be a milestone in cinematic evolution, William Friedkin's Off Broadway adaptation was one of the first films to revolve solely around gay characters. This bunch are all residents of New York City, led by Michael (Kenneth Nelson) who throws a birthday party one evening for Harold (Leonard Frey). The whole glitzy affair transforms into an intriguing night when Michael's straight friend Alan (Peter White) arrives. 

Why it's worth a watch: Now that closets are frequented less and less, the film now exists as somewhat of a period piece. A historical document if you will. Nevertheless it's a lot of fun to hang out with these characters and dive into their world. 

19. My Own Private Idaho (1991) 

The movie: What's most haunting about Gus Van Sant's drama is the fact that we'll never see what was promised by River Phoenix's performance as a Portland hustler. It's arguably one of the late actor's finest turns, that finds him and Keanu Reeves working the city streets to make some dough, all the while growing closer. It's loosely based on Shakespeare's Henry IV and V, was made on a low budget, and is now a celebrated cult classic.  

Why it's worth a watch: Critic Roger Ebert notes that it successfully evokes that state of drifting need. I'd have to agree with him.  

18. Pride (2014) 

 The movie: A terrific British comedy drama set during the miners' strike of the 1980s. This heart-warming, funny flick follows a group of Welsh lesbians and gays who form a group in support of the miners. As well as several 'lump in the throat' moments as the conservative community comes to accept the LGBTQ gang, this features a who's who of Brit cinema talent.  

Why it's worth a watch: It may take a few liberties here and there with historical details, yet the lessons of tolerance and keeping a sense of humour even in your darkest hour remain important.  

17. The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994)

The movie: Sparkly, shiny and hilarious, Priscilla makes for addictive viewing - and not just because it features Terence Stamp in drag. Well, Stamp's brilliant, but then again so is all of the star-studded cast. Hugo Weaving leads the pic as Anthony, a drag queen who convinces his two best pals to road trip with him across Oz doing shows. They rope in Guy Pearce's Adam and hit the road.  

Why it's worth a watch: While the stage show upped the camp considerably, the cinematic Priscilla is a hybrid beast of its own. It's an intimate drama and all-out comedy, spliced together with flashy dance routines.  

16. Boys Don't Cry (1999)

The movie: Talk about dedication. Hilary Swank lived as a man for a month in preparation for her role as a teenage girl who wants to be a boy. Boys Don't Cry goes deeper than previous transgender movies, shining a light on the ugliness and fear that trans people are faced with when in conservative communities. Based on the real story of Brandon Teena - born with those names reversed - it's a real eye-opener.  

Why it's worth a watch: Not only did Swank bag an Oscar for her efforts, the film itself is an eloquent, moving account of real bravery in the face of adversity. Boys might not, but you will most definitely cry. 

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Gem Seddon

I'm GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter. I'm a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator. You can find my byline on our best Netflix movies and best Netflix shows lists.