Skip to main content

The 25 best gay movies of all time

5. Bound (1996)

The movie: The Wachowskis' pre-Matrix debut is still held in high regard by cinephiles AND lesbians for one simple reason: it's a tightly-wound, cinematic masterpiece that just happens to be about two gay women. There's no time spent on the womens' quibbling about their orientation - because that's a topic handled in so many other movies - this is about getting down to business. That business being the mafia.

Why it's worth a watch: Corky and Violet know how to screw over the mob, but for the gay audience, it's way more fun when they screw each other. Finally. A movie that gets it right.

4. Weekend (2011)

The movie: There's more than a passing resemblance - and passing of the torch - to the Angry Young Men kitchen sink dramas of the '60s. The men here aren't angry. In fact, there's a whole new world of acceptance available to them. Its portrayal of the brief encounter between Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New) is a perceptive slice of life.

Why it's worth a watch: Shot like a documentary and brimming with striking raw images, this is the gay movie of our generation. It gets pretty racy in places, too. 

3. Brokeback Mountain (2005) 

The movie: You'll never smell a shirt the same way again. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal play Ennis and Jack, two ranchers who spend the season on the mountain refining the art of herding cattle and the joys of unexpected romance. Ang Lee's exquisite heartbreaker was snubbed at the Oscars, but that probably saved it from an unwarranted backlash.  

Why it's worth a watch: Rough, ready and stuffed with stellar performances (not least Heath Ledger and a surprisingly catty Anne Hathaway), they don't get any better than this. 

2. Carol (2015) 

The movie: Carol narrowly missed out on a major Oscars haul - not that that matters one bit. Todd Haynes' adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel is sublime - and I don't use that word often. This isn't the first time Haynes has explored the repressed sexuality of 1950s women (see: Far From Heaven), however it's the first that involves a lesbian love affair. Cate Blanchett stars as the titular woman, an alluring and mysterious figure who attracts the attention of Rooney Mara's shopgirl Therese. The pair become friends, and it's through the superb nuances of both actresses that their true feelings are made apparent. 

Why it's worth watching: A glorious, beautifully-shot piece of cinema, Carol earns bonus points for its happy ending. 

1. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)

The movie: Stephen Frears captures a perfect snapshot of 80s London, where racial tensions are rife and gangs stalk the streets. In the midst of that, the film observes the gradual breaking down of cultural stereotypes, as two long-lost friends reconnect after years apart. Bruiser Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis) falls head over heels for pretty Asian Omar (Gordon Warnecke), after the pair go in on a new business venture together. At a time when the gay lifestyle wasn't up for discussion that was a Big Deal. 

Why it's worth a watch: Much was made at the time of their bi-racial and homosexual affair, and it still stands as a timely - and, yes, beautiful - portrait of young love.  

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.