200 Best LGBT Movies of All Time

It’s been a big few years for LGBT films. In 2016, Carol earned six Oscar nominations, and just a year later, for the first time in history, Moonlight became the first LGBT-themed movie to win Best Picture. At the recent Oscars, held this February, two movies centered on gay characters (though some would argue not gay enough) were up for the top gong: The Favourite and Bohemian Rhapsody. Though neither would win, Olivia Colman was named Best Actress for playing the lesbian queen Anne, beating out Can You Ever Forgive Me?‘s Melissa McCarthy, who played lesbian writer Lee Israel. Away from the Oscar stage, 2018’s Love, Simon made history as the first mainstream, wide-release teenage rom-com to focus on a gay character. And it wasn’t the last: A lesbian romance lies at the center of recent critically acclaimed high school flick, Booksmart, while comedy Midas Judd Apatow is currently producing a gay rom-com starring Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner. And that’s not to mention what’s happening on TV, with the likes of Pose and Vida smashing down barriers in dizzyingly entertaining fashion.

All of these films stand on the shoulders of other LGBT films that have come before. Our list of the 200 Best LGBT Movies of All Time – expanded from our original list of 150 movies, released last year – stretches back almost 90 years to the pioneering German film, Mädchen in Uniform, which was subsequently banned by the Nazis, and crosses multiple continents, cultures, and genres. There are broad American comedies (The Birdcage), artful Korean crime dramas (The Handmaiden), groundbreaking indies (Tangerine), and landmark documentaries (Paris Is Burning). In this thorough update and expansion of the list, we added films from the last year in cinema that qualified (from 2018’s We the Animals and The Miseducation of Cameron Post to this year’s The Heiresses and Giant Little Ones and more) and worked to include more stories from outside of the U.S. We’re excited for people to discover new additions from the archive like Taboo (Gohatto), a gay love story set during the waning years of the samurai era; The Wound (Inxeba), centered around three men during a tribal initiation ceremony in Africa; and Australian film 52 Tuesdays, about the relationship between a daughter and her mother who is undergoing a gender transition.

To be considered for the list, a movie had to prominently feature gay, lesbian, trans, or queer characters; concern itself centrally with LGBT themes; present its LGBT characters in a fair and realistic light; and/or be seen as a touchpoint in the evolution of queer cinema. And it had to be Fresh. The final list was culled from a longlist of hundreds, after which the films were ranked according to the Adjusted Tomatometer, which acts as a kind of inflation adjustment, taking into consideration the Tomatometer score, as well as the number of reviews a film received relative to the average number of reviews for films released that same year. We did not include miniseries, leaving out seminal works like Angels in America, nor movies made for TV. And we recognize that some of the films in the list will re-ignite healthy debates that have been fixtures of discussion around LGBT films — straight actors playing gay characters, cis actors playing trans characters, and the historical dominance of white male perspectives. We’d encourage those debates to continue, respectfully, in the comments section below. (And speaking of comments: yes, we know that But I’m a Cheerleader is missing — we love it too! — but it’s Rotten at 38%.) For now, join us as we celebrate the work of hundreds of filmmakers whose talents and risks have opened up the possibilities of cinema.

Best LGBT Movies
200-151 | 150-101 | 100-51 | 50-1

#200
#200
Adjusted Score: 61.794%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The year is 1984. The music is Boy George and the Bronski Beat. Eric and his best friend, Maggie, are... [More]
Directed By: David Moreton

#199
#199
Adjusted Score: 61.794%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hanna is an unhappy adolescent in 1960s Quebec. Her mother, who is constantly ill, and her father, a Jewish- Polish... [More]
Directed By: Léa Pool

#198

Taboo (2000)
71%

#198
Adjusted Score: 62.392%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After a 13-year absence, partially due to a life-threatening stroke, master filmmaker Nagisa Oshima returns to the silver screen with... [More]
Directed By: Nagisa Oshima

#197

Love Songs (2008)
61%

#197
Adjusted Score: 62.38%
Critics Consensus: Love Songs is hampered by a lack of focus, but held together by Honore's deft direction and an engaging cast.
Synopsis: Though Love Songs (aka Les Chansons d'Amour) is not a film operetta per se, director Christophe Honoré and composer/lyricist/vocalist Alex... [More]
Directed By: Christophe Honoré

#196

Gun Hill Road (2011)
65%

#196
Adjusted Score: 65.07%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts absorbing and educational, Gun Hill Road wears its heart on its sleeve through tender performances that make up for its narrative familiarity.
Synopsis: After three years in prison, Enrique (Esai Morales) returns home to the Bronx to find the world he knew has... [More]
Directed By: Rashaad Ernesto Green

#195

Head On (1999)
63%

#195
Adjusted Score: 63.236%
Critics Consensus: Head On's narrative rambles at times, but its raw, sensual approach creates a powerful, resonant rumination on identity.
Synopsis: This bold feature homes in on the confused world of its 19-year-old hero, Ari. Over a 24-hour period he confronts... [More]
Directed By: Ana Kokkinos

#194
Adjusted Score: 63.781%
Critics Consensus: Vital documentation of an unsung 70's art patron and his famous photographer lover. A vivid and tragic story.
Synopsis: After serving in the Navy during World War II, Sam Wagstaff came home to New York City and pursued a... [More]
Directed By: James Crump

#193

Naz & Maalik (2016)
79%

#193
Adjusted Score: 63.642%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this riveting dramatic tale, gay teens Naz and Maalik are friends, classmates, business partners and lovers. As the two... [More]
Directed By: Jay Dockendorf

#192

AWOL (2017)
93%

#192
Adjusted Score: 64.081%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young woman Joey is in search of direction in her small town. A visit to an army recruiting office... [More]
Directed By: Deb Shoval

#191
#191
Adjusted Score: 64.172%
Critics Consensus: The Broken Hearts Club often feels like an amalgam of 70s sitcoms -- though a hunky lead and a sweet central romance provide soapy delights.
Synopsis: In the palm-shaded oasis of West Hollywood, we meet Dennis, a promising photographer. As he prepares to celebrate his twenty-eighth... [More]
Directed By: Greg Berlanti

#190

Howl (2010)
62%

#190
Adjusted Score: 64.561%
Critics Consensus: James Franco gives it his all as beat poet Allen Ginsberg, but Howl never develops enough of a focus to do his performance justice.
Synopsis: Starring James Franco in a career-defining performance as Allen Ginsberg, HOWL is the story of how the young poet's seminal... [More]

#189
#189
Adjusted Score: 65.121%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: French filmmaker Diane Kurys directs the period drama Coup de Foudre (distributed in the U.S. as Entre Nous), adapted from... [More]
Directed By: Diane Kurys

#188
#188
Adjusted Score: 65.551%
Critics Consensus: Reaching for the Moon's uptight sensibilities sometimes play more pretentious than poetic, but solid performances and sumptuous photography leave a lingering longing for love in the tropics.
Synopsis: DAYS IN SEPTEMBER, DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS) returns with a sophisticated tale of an unlikely romance between two... [More]
Directed By: Bruno Barreto

#187

Set It Off (1996)
65%

#187
Adjusted Score: 65.757%
Critics Consensus: It may not boast an original plot, but Set It Off is a satisfying, socially conscious heist film thanks largely to fine performances from its leads.
Synopsis: The sophomore film effort from music video director F. Gary Gray, Set It Off is a crime thriller about four... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#186

Big Eden (2001)
65%

#186
Adjusted Score: 65.996%
Critics Consensus: Though unrealistic, Big Eden has all the charm and sweetness of a fairy tale.
Synopsis: Big Eden is a tiny town tucked away in the timberland of northwestern Montana, where cowboys lounge on the porch... [More]

#185

Parting Glances (1986)
86%

#185
Adjusted Score: 65.934%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gay Manhattanite Michael (Richard Ganoung) is the glue that holds together the various vignettes that make up Parting Glances. This... [More]

#184

Life Partners (2014)
67%

#184
Adjusted Score: 67.543%
Critics Consensus: With two appealing leads adrift in a sitcom-worthy plot, Life Partners doesn't do quite enough to earn viewers' commitment.
Synopsis: At 29, the most long-term relationship Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs) have ever been in is with each... [More]
Directed By: Susanna Fogel

#183

Camp (2003)
64%

#183
Adjusted Score: 66.565%
Critics Consensus: Campy comedy that squeaks by on its charms.
Synopsis: Tony-nominated actor Todd Graff makes his directorial debut with the musical comedy Camp, featuring an ensemble cast of newcomers. Guitarist... [More]
Directed By: Todd Graff

#182

The Sum of Us (1995)
67%

#182
Adjusted Score: 67.17%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The relationship between a gay son and his straight father is chronicled in this honest Australian drama. Harry Mitchell is... [More]

#181
Adjusted Score: 69.593%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This bizarre Fassbinder drama centers around Elvira Weishaupt's lonely quest for love. Elvira is a man who became a woman... [More]

#180
#180
Adjusted Score: 67.525%
Critics Consensus: Sharp writing and a strong ensemble make Love! Valour! Compassion! work, though its stage-like presentation leaves something to be desired.
Synopsis: This very human comedy is set in Duchess County, New York where over the course of three weekends, eight gay... [More]
Directed By: Joe Mantello

#179
#179
Adjusted Score: 69.213%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based upon a play by screenwriter Brad Fraser, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Denys Arcand's dark-humored... [More]
Directed By: Denys Arcand

#178
#178
Adjusted Score: 69.624%
Critics Consensus: Arresting and absorbing on a visual as well as narrative level, Suddenly weaves an affecting drama around the life-altering experiences of a group of women.
Synopsis: A young, naive clerk at a lingerie store learns about love and her own identity in Diego Lerman's 2002 film... [More]
Directed By: Diego Lerman

#177

Jeffrey (1995)
67%

#177
Adjusted Score: 68.106%
Critics Consensus: Jeffrey offends as readily as it amuses, but an outstanding performance from Patrick Stewart keeps it from going completely off the rails.
Synopsis: Based on a popular Broadway play, this comedy chronicles the experiences that made formerly-promiscuous homosexual Jeffrey take a vow of... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Ashley

#176

Boy Culture (2007)
70%

#176
Adjusted Score: 70.126%
Critics Consensus: Eloquent one-liners and quick pacing make Boy Culture sharper than the typical gay indie flick.
Synopsis: A male prostitute who has dismissed the need for love in his life learns a lesson about affection from one... [More]
Directed By: Q. Allan Brocka

#175
#175
Adjusted Score: 70.666%
Critics Consensus: Magical and morbid, Antonia picturesque landscapes and proficient performances elevate a somewhat pedestrian parable.
Synopsis: A strong-willed Dutch woman recalls her life in this uplifting picture that won the 1996 Academy Award for Best Foreign... [More]
Directed By: Marleen Gorris

#174

Shortbus (2006)
68%

#174
Adjusted Score: 71.846%
Critics Consensus: The sex may be explicit, but Mitchell integrates it into the characters' lives and serves the whole story up with a generous dose of sweetness and wit.
Synopsis: The film follows a varied group of seven people, among them a dominatrix and a sex therapist, as they navigate... [More]
Directed By: John Cameron Mitchell

#173

Priest (1995)
70%

#173
Adjusted Score: 70.794%
Critics Consensus: A deft directorial debut from Antonia Bird, Priest handles its sensitive subject with care -- despite certain sanctimonious sentiments.
Synopsis: A priest is torn between church dogma and his personal beliefs in this British drama. Father Greg (Linus Roache) is... [More]
Directed By: Antonia Bird

#172
#172
Adjusted Score: 71.064%
Critics Consensus: Charming, endearing, and a little clunky, Were the World Mine is an entertaining, if somewhat unnecessary, musical adaptation.
Synopsis: A color drenched, winning musical film-fantasy of a struggling gay teen, Timothy, whose spirit soars when his eccentric teacher casts... [More]
Directed By: Tom Gustafson

#171
#171
Adjusted Score: 80.021%
Critics Consensus: I Killed My Mother's raw, blunt coming-of-age narrative marks an impressive debut for filmmaker Xavier Dolan.
Synopsis: Hubert Minel, a brash 17 year old, dislikes his mother intensely. He gauges her with contempt, only seeing her out-of-date... [More]
Directed By: Xavier Dolan

#170
Adjusted Score: 71.7%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Highly controversial at the time of its release, Robert Aldrich's bitter comedy-drama stars Beryl Reid as a soap opera star... [More]
Directed By: Robert Aldrich

#169
#169
Adjusted Score: 74.7%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Urban comedy-drama spanning nine years in the life of a gay man in New York, centering around the loves in... [More]
Directed By: Paul Bogart

#168
#168
Adjusted Score: 79.879%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Cheryl is a twenty-something black lesbian working as a clerk in a video store while struggling to make a documentary... [More]
Directed By: Cheryl Dunye

#167

Wilde (1998)
71%

#167
Adjusted Score: 73.174%
Critics Consensus: Wilde can't hope to communicate the entirety of its subject's fascinating life or outsize talent, but Stephen Fry's stellar performance offers abundant compensation.
Synopsis: The life of Oscar Wilde, at least that part pertaining to his sex life, Lord Alfred Douglas and his ruinous... [More]
Directed By: Brian Gilbert

#166

Heartbeats (2011)
72%

#166
Adjusted Score: 73.486%
Critics Consensus: An art film to the max, Heartbeats intriguing and appealing premise is sometimes buried by director Xavier Dolan's filmmaking flourishes.
Synopsis: Xavier Dolan's sexy and stylish HEARTBEATS is a comic exploration of a romantically obsessed menage-a-trois. HEARTBEATS was a hit at... [More]
Directed By: Xavier Dolan

#165

The Misandrists (2018)
72%

#165
Adjusted Score: 72.503%
Critics Consensus: The Misandrists mounts a memorably gonzo assault on the patriarchy -- one whose wild ambition and outré aesthetic are often enough to cover for its uneven execution.
Synopsis: When an injured male leftist on the run discovers the remote stronghold of the Female Liberation Army -- a radical... [More]
Directed By: Bruce La Bruce

#164

Bent (1997)
73%

#164
Adjusted Score: 73.598%
Critics Consensus: Bent juggles heavy topics with style, though its heavy-handedness at times feels more like exploitation than exploration.
Synopsis: Sean Mathias directed this screen adaptation of Martin Sherman's award-winning play about the persecution of homosexuals by Nazis during World... [More]
Directed By: Sean Mathias

#163

The Runaways (2010)
69%

#163
Adjusted Score: 74.214%
Critics Consensus: Viewers expecting an in-depth biopic will be disappointed, but The Runaways is as electric as the band's music, largely thanks to strong performances from Michael Shannon, Dakota Fanning, and Kristen Stewart.
Synopsis: The film follows two friends, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, as they rise from rebellious Southern California kids to rock... [More]
Directed By: Floria Sigismondi

#162

Personal Best (1982)
72%

#162
Adjusted Score: 74.185%
Critics Consensus: Mariel Hemingway has a career-making star turn in this highly physical drama about two Olympic athletes who find each other during competitive training.
Synopsis: In 1982, there was a brief cycle of homosexual-relationship films, none of which were successful enough to form the basis... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#161

Sebastiane (1976)
86%

#161
Adjusted Score: 76.747%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmed entirely in vulgar Latin, this experimental film recounts the life of Sebastiane, a puritanical but beautiful Christian soldier in... [More]

#160

In & Out (1997)
72%

#160
Adjusted Score: 74.631%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't always find comfortable ground between broad comedy and social commentary, but lively performances -- especially from Kevin Kline and Joan Cusack -- enrich In & Out's mixture of laughs and sexual tolerance.
Synopsis: Life is sweet for high-school English teacher and sports coach Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline); he's still living where he grew... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#159

High Art (1998)
73%

#159
Adjusted Score: 74.914%
Critics Consensus: A surprisingly sultry performance from Ally Sheedy elevates High Art from pretentious melodrama to compelling -- if still a little pretentious -- romance.
Synopsis: Lisa Cholodenko's Sundance award-winning romantic drama about a photo magazine editor and the heroin-addicted former photo prodigy with whom she... [More]
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

#158
Adjusted Score: 74.762%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Je Tu Il Elle was the first feature-length effort from avant-garde filmmaker Chantal Akerman. The story, simple in extreme, concerns... [More]
Directed By: Chantal Akerman

#157
#157
Adjusted Score: 75.24%
Critics Consensus: This fact-based romantic comedy has its flaws, but they're mostly overcome by its consistently sweet, funny tone and one of the best performances of Jim Carrey's career.
Synopsis: Bad Santa co-screenwriters Glenn Ficara and John Requa re-team for this fact-based black comedy starring Jim Carrey as a Texas... [More]
Directed By: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

#156
Adjusted Score: 78.49%
Critics Consensus: Insubstantial yet charming, Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss tells a love story that's as rooted in classic Hollywood as it is in timely themes.
Synopsis: This gay-lifestyle comedy features aspiring photographer Billy who becomes entranced by Gabriel. Billy takes Gabriel on as a model, but... [More]
Directed By: Tommy O'Haver

#155

Concussion (2013)
74%

#155
Adjusted Score: 75.431%
Critics Consensus: Smart, nuanced, and sexy, Concussion transcends its more awkward moments thanks to Robin Weigert's remarkable starring performance.
Synopsis: Written and directed by Stacie Passon in an auspicious directing debut effort, and produced by Rose Troche, CONCUSSION is a... [More]
Directed By: Stacie Passon

#154

The Danish Girl (2015)
68%

#154
Adjusted Score: 76.884%
Critics Consensus: The Danish Girl serves as another showcase for Eddie Redmayne's talent -- and poignantly explores thought-provoking themes with a beautifully filmed biopic drama.
Synopsis: The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#153
#153
Adjusted Score: 75.762%
Critics Consensus: An impressionistic, fragmented look at Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls' imagery manages to evoke a sense of the writer's artistry, and Bardem's strong performance holds the film together. Finally, a biopic done well.
Synopsis: This is the story of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas. Raised in the Oriente Province of Cuba in the... [More]
Directed By: Julian Schnabel

#152

The Happy Prince (2018)
71%

#152
Adjusted Score: 76.059%
Critics Consensus: A passion project for writer, director, and star Rupert Everett, The Happy Prince pays effective tribute to Oscar Wilde with a poignant look at his tragic final days.
Synopsis: In a cheap Parisian hotel, Oscar Wilde lies on his deathbed and recalls his past with wit and irony. Was... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Everett

#151
#151
Adjusted Score: 76.574%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a unique perspective and a magnetic lead performance, Margarita with a Straw puts some welcome spins on the coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Laila is a young romantic, a secret rebel in a wheelchair. Undeterred by cerebral palsy, she embarks on a journey... [More]

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