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The 25 best gay movies of all time

10. Monster (2003)

The movie: There's no denying Patty Jenkins film is a beast all its own. A lot of that is thanks to Charlize Theron in the role of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos; a performance that marked her out as an actress willing to do anything for a part. Yes, even uglification-by-prosthetics and excessive pizza consumption. It's partly that. But it's Theron's decision to perfectly capture every one of Wuornos' tics and mannerisms which earned her the Oscar.  

Why it's worth a watch: Theron's turn is horrifying, heart-breaking and at times, really very funny. We see her suffer great tragedy, fall in love, make some heinous decisions and then get stabbed in the back by those she trusts the most.  

9. Milk (2008)

The movie: Sean Penn scored his second Oscar in Gus Van Sant's biographical drama about the San Franciscan gay rights activist and politician. In the role of Harvey Milk, Penn becomes the most likeable he's been in years as a man who ups sticks from New York to the city by the bay. His life story is a fascinating one, for sure, yet Van Sant chooses to kick things off on Milk's 40th birthday when his foray into politics begins.  

Why it's worth a watch: It's an affecting piece of work, highlighting the then-ongoing fight for LGBT equality in California. The film had its premiere the night of the state's referendum on gay marriage. 

8. Bad Education (2004)

The movie: One of Pedro Almodovar's most celebrated works and a fascinating melting pot of melodrama that doesn't pull any punches when it comes to exploring transsexuality and drug and sexual abuse. When Enrique (Fele Martinez) receives a script chronicling his upbringing at a Catholic boys' school, he takes a stroll down memory lane. From his early school days in the '60s through to the '70s and '80s, the movie flits between past and present, reality and fiction.  

Why it's worth a watch: It's got a strong, compelling plot that makes it hard to pull your eyes from the screen. And yes, part of that is down to Gael Garcia Bernal who steals the show as Enrique's childhood pal Ignacio. 

7. Victim (1961) 

The movie:  Initially considered so shocking that it was banned in the US. This story of a lawyer (Dirk Bogarde) who attempts to take down a blackmailer (linking him to a young gay lad (Peter McEnery)) is still considered a milestone in liberalising and relaxing attitudes toward the LGBT community in Britain. 

Why it's worth a watch: Basil Dearden's British suspense flick has the honour of being the first English-language film to contain the word homosexual in a time when homosexuality was still illegal in England and Wales. Pioneering stuff.  

6. Heavenly Creatures (1994)

The movie: Delightfully barmy and with a viper-like sting in its tale, Peter Jackson proved he could spin a damn good yarn after the gore-drenched likes of Bad Taste and Braindead. Creatures is anything but. Instead, Jackson took inspiration from the real-life story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, two schoolgirls whose friendship turns to something more (ahem, murder) while they fantasise about a dream world.  

Why it's worth a watch: Even though they're both absolute bastards in this, the jolly performances from Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey that turn pitch black as we gallop toward the heart-in-throat final are superb. 

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.