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200 Best LGBTQ+ Movies of All Time

It’s been a big few years for LGBTQ films. In 2016, Carol earned six Oscar nominations, and just a year later, for the first time in history, Moonlight became the first LGBTQ+-themed movie to win Best Picture. At the 2019 Oscars, Olivia Colman was named Best Actress for playing the lesbian queen Anne in The Favourite, beating out Can You Ever Forgive Me?‘s Melissa McCarthy, who played lesbian writer Lee Israel. In 2020, Pedro Almadóvar’s Pain and Glory would make a dent on the awards circuit, as would Celine Sciamma’s romance Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, one of the best-reviewed movies of recent years. Meanwhile, Love, Simon made history in 2018 as the first mainstream, wide-release teenage rom-com to focus on a gay character (a spin-off TV series, Love, Victor, enters its second season on Hulu this year). And it wasn’t the last: A lesbian romance lies at the center of critically acclaimed high school flick, Booksmart, as well as last year’s Christmas rom-com, The Happiest Season. Meanwhile comedy Midas Judd Apatow is currently producing a gay rom-com starring Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner, which will hit theaters in Summer 2022.

All of these films stand on the shoulders of other LGBTQ+ films that have come before. Our list of the 200 Best LGBTQ+ Movies of All Time stretches back 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 our latest thorough update to the list, we added titles like the documentary Welcome to Chechnya, about LGBTQ+ activists risking their lives for the cause in Russia; Certified Fresh comedy Shiva, Baby; and Netflix’s The Old Guard, a rare movie about super beings that showed a same-sex relationship between two of its heroes.

When revising this list in further recent updates, we’ve also looked to include more stories from outside of the U.S., and we’re excited for people to discover films 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 LGBTQ+ themes; present its LGBTQ+ 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 our ranking formula 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. (Movies released on streaming services, such as new addition Mucho Mucho Amor, were included.) And we recognize that some of the films in the list will re-ignite healthy debates that have been fixtures of discussion around LGBTQ+ 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.)

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 LGBTQ+ Movies
200-151 | 150-101 | 100-51 | 50-1

#200

The Prom (2020)
54%62%

#200
Adjusted Score: 66888%
Critics Consensus: Through fiery songs and dance breaks, The Prom's bonanza of glitz, glitter, and jazz hands might be enough to whisk audiences away.
Synopsis: Down-on-their-luck Broadway stars shake up a small Indiana town as they rally behind a teen who wants to go to... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Murphy

#199

Set It Off (1996)
70%89%

#199
Adjusted Score: 70276%
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: After being fired from her job as a bank teller, Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) begins working at a janitorial service... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#198
#198
Adjusted Score: 71456%
Critics Consensus: Sharp writing and a strong ensemble make Love! Valour! Compassion! work, though its stage-like presentation leaves something to be desired.
Synopsis: A group of gay New Yorkers -- including Buzz Hauser (Jason Alexander), an HIV-positive Broadway musical enthusiast; John Jeckyll (John... [More]
Directed By: Joe Mantello

#197

Were the World Mine (2008)
71%72%

#197
Adjusted Score: 70156%
Critics Consensus: Charming, endearing, and a little clunky, Were the World Mine is an entertaining, if somewhat unnecessary, musical adaptation.
Synopsis: A gay teen (Tanner Cohen) uses a love potion to turn close-minded townspeople into homosexuals, including the handsome jock with... [More]
Directed By: Tom Gustafson

#196

Boy Culture (2006)
70%70%

#196
Adjusted Score: 70356%
Critics Consensus: Eloquent one-liners and quick pacing make Boy Culture sharper than the typical gay indie flick.
Synopsis: A new client (Patrick Bauchau) breaks down a male hustler's (Derek Magyar) emotional walls.... [More]
Directed By: Q. Allan Brocka

#195

Bent (1997)
75%77%

#195
Adjusted Score: 69536%
Critics Consensus: Bent juggles heavy topics with style, though its heavy-handedness at times feels more like exploitation than exploration.
Synopsis: In 1930s Berlin, homosexual Max (Clive Owen) sleeps with German officer Wolf (Nikolaj Waldau), only to see him killed by... [More]
Directed By: Sean Mathias

#194

Falling (2020)
67%61%

#194
Adjusted Score: 70389%
Critics Consensus: As messy and complex as the relationship at its center, Falling's repetitive nature can be taxing, but its heart is clearly in the right place.
Synopsis: FALLING follows John (Viggo Mortensen) who lives with his partner, Eric (Terry Chen), and their daughter, Mónica (Gabby Velis), in... [More]
Directed By: Viggo Mortensen

#193

Jeffrey (1995)
70%68%

#193
Adjusted Score: 70890%
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: Jeffrey (Steven Weber), a gay man living in New York City with an overwhelming fear of contracting AIDS, concludes that... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Ashley

#192

Mayor Pete (2021)
71%54%

#192
Adjusted Score: 72240%
Critics Consensus: Mayor Pete may not pull back the curtain on its subject's deepest inner self, but it remains a compelling portrait of a candidate on the campaign trail.
Synopsis: Mayor Pete brings viewers inside Pete's campaign to be the youngest U.S. President, providing an unprecedented intimacy with the candidate,... [More]
Directed By: Jesse Moss

#191
#191
Adjusted Score: 66581%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A teen (Aiste Dirziute) develops a lesbian romance with a 17-year-old (Julija Steponaityte) who's spending the summer at her family's... [More]
Directed By: Alante Kavaite

#190

Shortbus (2006)
68%77%

#190
Adjusted Score: 72576%
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: John Cameron Mitchell's SHORTBUS explores the lives of several emotionally challenged characters as they navigate the comic and tragic intersections... [More]
Directed By: John Cameron Mitchell

#189

Before Stonewall (1984)
94%78%

#189
Adjusted Score: 72145%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The riots that followed the arrests at New York City's Stonewall Inn in 1969 are widely considered to be a... [More]
Directed By: Greta Schiller

#188

In & Out (1997)
72%52%

#188
Adjusted Score: 74275%
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: Upon winning an Academy Award, actor Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon) honors his high school teacher, Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline), who... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#187

Personal Best (1982)
73%52%

#187
Adjusted Score: 74525%
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: Young sprinter Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is having difficulty reaching her potential as an athlete, until she meets established track... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#186

Labyrinth of Passion (1982)
92%68%

#186
Adjusted Score: 72723%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Outrageous people, including a desperate empress and a terrorist with an acute sense of smell, seek happiness in Madrid.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodovar

#185

Bit (2019)
91%42%

#185
Adjusted Score: 66216%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A transgender teenage girl fights to survive after she falls in with four queer feminist vampires.... [More]
Directed By: Brad Michael Elmore

#184
Adjusted Score: 76071%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Randy Dean (Laurel Holloman), a boyish lesbian who works at a gas station, has trouble performing in high school and... [More]
Directed By: Maria Maggenti

#183

Heartbeats (2010)
74%71%

#183
Adjusted Score: 75910%
Critics Consensus: An art film to the max, Heartbeats intriguing and appealing premise is sometimes buried by director Xavier Dolan's filmmaking flourishes.
Synopsis: Francis (Xavier Dolan) is a young gay man, Marie (Monia Chokri) is a young straight woman and the two of... [More]
Directed By: Xavier Dolan

#182

The Runaways (2010)
69%55%

#182
Adjusted Score: 75946%
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: Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), two rebellious teenagers from Southern California, become the frontwomen for the... [More]
Directed By: Floria Sigismondi

#181

The Danish Girl (2015)
66%72%

#181
Adjusted Score: 74416%
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: With support from his loving wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) prepares to undergo one of the... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#180

High Art (1998)
76%77%

#180
Adjusted Score: 77090%
Critics Consensus: A surprisingly sultry performance from Ally Sheedy elevates High Art from pretentious melodrama to compelling -- if still a little pretentious -- romance.
Synopsis: Syd (Radha Mitchell), a low-level editor at a photography magazine eager to establish herself, discovers her neighbor is the once-celebrated... [More]
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

#179

Burning Money (2000)
77%77%

#179
Adjusted Score: 77247%
Critics Consensus: Burnt Money tells a stylish and steamy story about criminals on the lam.
Synopsis: Set in Argentina in 1965, the story follows the tumultuous relationship between two men who became lovers and ultimately ruthless... [More]
Directed By: Marcelo Piñeyro

#178
Adjusted Score: 69995%
Critics Consensus: Vital documentation of an unsung 70's art patron and his famous photographer lover. A vivid and tragic story.
Synopsis: Filmmaker James Crump looks at the complex relationship between art curator Sam Wagstaff and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and their influence... [More]
Starring: Joan Juliet Buck
Directed By: James Crump

#177

Concussion (2013)
75%58%

#177
Adjusted Score: 76454%
Critics Consensus: Smart, nuanced, and sexy, Concussion transcends its more awkward moments thanks to Robin Weigert's remarkable starring performance.
Synopsis: A fateful blow to the head makes a middle-aged lesbian housewife (Robin Weigert) seek satisfaction as a high-end escort.... [More]
Directed By: Stacie Passon

#176
#176
Adjusted Score: 76629%
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: Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) becomes a cop, gets married and starts a family, but after a terrible car accident, he... [More]
Directed By: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

#175

Before Night Falls (2000)
74%84%

#175
Adjusted Score: 76868%
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: A richly imagined journey into the life and writings of brilliant Cuban author and exile Reinaldo Arenas. It spans the... [More]
Directed By: Julian Schnabel

#174

Outrage (2009)
77%76%

#174
Adjusted Score: 78470%
Critics Consensus: Outrage walks a difficult moral and ethical line -- and not always successfully -- but despite its flaws, it's a fascinating, provocative look at homosexuality in American politics.
Synopsis: Oscar-nominated documentarian Kirby Dick directs this shocking and passionate indictment of the clandestine hypocrisy of many closeted homosexuals in Washington,... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kirby Dick

#173
#173
Adjusted Score: 78262%
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: Billy Collier (Sean P. Hayes) is a photographer working on a series of pictures featuring recreations of movie kisses, with... [More]
Directed By: Tommy O'Haver

#172

Go Fish (1994)
75%57%

#172
Adjusted Score: 78355%
Critics Consensus: With sensitive direction from Rose Troche and terrific work from co-writer/star Guinevere Turner, Go Fish plays a winning hand.
Synopsis: After leaving behind her girlfriend to attend college in Chicago, young lesbian Max West (Guinevere Turner) is introduced to Ely... [More]
Directed By: Rose Troche

#171

Trick (1999)
79%83%

#171
Adjusted Score: 79069%
Critics Consensus: By portraying its love story as nothing less than conventional, Trick avoids genre tropes to create a simple, effective romance.
Synopsis: It's lust at first sight when Gabriel (Christian Campbell), a songwriter with Broadway ambitions, runs into Mark (John Paul Pitoc),... [More]
Directed By: Jim Fall

#170

Philadelphia (1993)
80%89%

#170
Adjusted Score: 81119%
Critics Consensus: Philadelphia indulges in some unfortunate clichés in its quest to impart a meaningful message, but its stellar cast and sensitive direction are more than enough to compensate.
Synopsis: Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#169

The Boys in the Band (1970)
89%87%

#169
Adjusted Score: 71726%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Michael (Kenneth Nelson) is hosting a birthday celebration for a pal when he gets an unexpected visit from old friend... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#168

Southern Comfort (2001)
95%86%

#168
Adjusted Score: 73399%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kate Davis's award-winning documentary chronicles the final four seasons in the life of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual dying of... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Kate Davis

#167

Get Real (1998)
79%84%

#167
Adjusted Score: 80578%
Critics Consensus: An authentic portrayal of homosexuality in high school, Get Real is an engaging dramedy that doesn't sermonize its audience nor trivialize its characters.
Synopsis: Steven (Ben Silverstone) spends his school days longing for all-star athlete John (Brad Gorton). But John has a gorgeous girlfriend,... [More]
Directed By: Simon Shore

#166
#166
Adjusted Score: 79968%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Henry Gamble, a 17-year-old preacher's son, wrestles with sexuality, alcoholism and faith during his birthday party.... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Cone

#165

The Intervention (2016)
78%49%

#165
Adjusted Score: 80101%
Critics Consensus: The Intervention's familiar plot is enlivened by complex character dynamics and a likable cast.
Synopsis: A weekend getaway for four couples takes a sharp turn when one of the couples discovers the entire trip was... [More]
Directed By: Clea DuVall

#164

Edge of Seventeen (1998)
80%73%

#164
Adjusted Score: 80371%
Critics Consensus: A time capsule assembled with honesty and sensitivity, Edge of Seventeen overcomes youthful fumbles to capture a time of life -- and an era.
Synopsis: Set in 1984 in Sandusky, Ohio, it follows the coming-out of a naive 17-year-old at exactly the moment when gender-bending... [More]
Directed By: David Moreton

#163

Alex Strangelove (2018)
81%69%

#163
Adjusted Score: 81319%
Critics Consensus: Alex Strangelove offers a refreshingly insightful -- and fittingly adult -- take on teen sexuality enlivened by smart humor and a fearlessly progressive approach.
Synopsis: A high school senior plans on losing his virginity to his girlfriend. Things get complicated when he meets a handsome... [More]
Directed By: Craig Johnson

#162

GBF (2013)
80%55%

#162
Adjusted Score: 80840%
Critics Consensus: G.B.F. explores high school relationship dynamics and teen stereotypes with a refreshingly humorous touch - and surprisingly subtle smarts.
Synopsis: A closeted gay teen (Paul Iacono) wants to join the popular gals' clique, but his scheme backfires when his best... [More]
Directed By: Darren Stein

#161

Making the Boys (2009)
95%78%

#161
Adjusted Score: 72940%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An exploration of the drama, struggle and legacy of the first gay play and subsequent Hollywood movie to successfully reach... [More]
Directed By: Crayton Robey

#160

The World to Come (2020)
75%59%

#160
Adjusted Score: 80676%
Critics Consensus: The World to Come is made from ingredients that will be familiar to fans of period forbidden romance movies, but they're given fresh life thanks to an excellent cast.
Synopsis: In this powerful 19th century romance set in the American Northeast, Abigail (Katherine Waterston), a farmer's wife, and her new... [More]
Directed By: Mona Fastvold

#159

The World to Come (2020)
75%59%

#159
Adjusted Score: 80676%
Critics Consensus: The World to Come is made from ingredients that will be familiar to fans of period forbidden romance movies, but they're given fresh life thanks to an excellent cast.
Synopsis: In this powerful 19th century romance set in the American Northeast, Abigail (Katherine Waterston), a farmer's wife, and her new... [More]
Directed By: Mona Fastvold

#158
#158
Adjusted Score: 82157%
Critics Consensus: Rocky Horror Picture Show brings its quirky characters in tight, but it's the narrative thrust that really drives audiences insane and keeps 'em doing the time warp again.
Synopsis: In this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm,... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sharman

#157

The Color Purple (1985)
76%94%

#157
Adjusted Score: 77730%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
Synopsis: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#156

Holding the Man (2015)
81%81%

#156
Adjusted Score: 81642%
Critics Consensus: Heart-wrenching performances center Holding the Man, an achingly beautiful portrayal of love and death that may be too real for some.
Synopsis: In the 1970s, two teen boys in Australia fight all obstacles thrown their way and refuse to renounce the love... [More]
Directed By: Neil Armfield

#155

Water Lilies (2007)
82%68%

#155
Adjusted Score: 83078%
Critics Consensus: Water Lilies is a sharply-observed, provocative coming-of-age story that captures the anxieties of the early teen years.
Synopsis: Set during a sultry summer in a French suburb, Marie is desperate to join the local pool's synchronized swimming team,... [More]
Directed By: Céline Sciamma

#154

North Sea Texas (2011)
83%72%

#154
Adjusted Score: 83165%
Critics Consensus: Strong direction and delicate performances save Noordzee, Texas from its narrative cliches.
Synopsis: A teenager searching for love finds it in the boy next door.... [More]
Directed By: Bavo Defurne

#153

Funny Boy (2020)
82%22%

#153
Adjusted Score: 83183%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young Tamil boy growing up gay in Sri Lanka during the deadly Tamil-Sinhalese conflict.... [More]
Directed By: Deepa Mehta

#152

Beautiful Boxer (2004)
83%88%

#152
Adjusted Score: 83529%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful Boxer blends boxing and identity politics to create a striking, if overdrawn, portrait of self discovery.
Synopsis: A Thai man (Asanee Suwan) who wants to have a sex-change operation becomes a champion kickboxer.... [More]
Directed By: Ekachai Uekrongtham

#151

Lianna (1983)
85%63%

#151
Adjusted Score: 85727%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Linda Griffiths plays Lianna, the naive young wife of a professor bored with her life and angered at her husband's... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

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