Back to IndieWire

Reader’s Poll: The 50 Most Important LGBT Films

Reader's Poll: The 50 Most Important LGBT Films

June is Pride Month, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots and asking all of us to remember how we got where we are today. So in our second  annual Pride Month poll here at /bent, we asked our readers to tell us the films, television shows, songs and people (both fictional and real) that have been important to them in the past 46 years. 

Check out all the results for every poll here.

127 people responded, and we’ll be sharing the results over the next few weeks, with the first up today, and it’s a doozy: The most important LGBT films of the last 46 years. Now, before we get to the results: We do realize doing this kind of thing is highly subjective, which is why we’re going with “most important” and not “best.” We hoped that what resulted was eclectic mix of films that have helped shape the queer cultural landscape. And we think it really is. But here are some interesting things to note before you go through the list: 

-The top two choices were extremely obvious to be sure (and scored miles ahead of their competitors), but they both truly are very important films.  They were notably also #1 and #2 last year, but beyond them came a considerably different ranking of films we were pretty sure would rank high, and films we were kind of scared wouldn’t. 

-Some of the results are infuriating, we know. How “The Imitation Game” and “Dallas Buyers Club” could rank ahead of “Female Trouble” and “Parting Glances” made us vomit a little (or any of Derek Jarman’s films, for that matter).

-As expected, films featuring gay or bisexual men made up for the vast majority with 35 of the 50 films focusing on them.  Though in those polled’s defence: It’s not your fault that the vast majority of films you have to pick from are about gay or bisexual men. 

-American films were also heavy on the list, with 37 of the 50 from the US…

-Women directed 8 of the films, which though still an appalling percentage (16%), it’s sadly much higher than most “best of” cinema lists.

-The “gay 90s” reigned supreme, with 15 of the top 50 coming from that decade. The 1980s and 2000s were next with 10; the 1970s had 8, and the 2010s had 6.

-Before you question it: “Angels in America” will be on our “TV series” list. It got votes here too, but more for that poll — so we figured it would be fair to include it only in one. For what it’s worth: It would have placed #9th here (which gives you an idea of how high it will place when we release that poll next week).

So without further adieu, we present the 50 most important LGBT films, according to you. Definitely use the comments section to discuss your thoughts and/or your own choices, but remember – these were your picks – do don’t blame us if your offended about their quality or lack of diversity through the LGBT spectrum.

1. Brokeback Mountain  (Ang Lee, 2005) 

2. Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2009) 

3. Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Pierce, 1999) 

4. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991) 

5. Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livington, 1990) 

6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975)

7. All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999)

8 (tie). Philadelphia (Jonathan Demme, 1993) 

8 (tie). Pink Flamingos (John Waters, 1972)

10. The Hours (Stephen Daldry, 2002)

11. The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko, 2010)

12 (tie). Happy Together (Wong Kar Wai, 1997) 

12 (tie). The Times of Harvey Milk (Rob Epstein, 1984)

14. Law of Desire (Pedro Almodovar, 1987) 

15. Weekend (Andrew Haigh, 2011) 

16 (tie). Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)

16 (tie). Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdelatif Kechiche, 2013) 

18. The Boys in the Band (William Friedkin, 1970)

19. Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972) 

20. Longtime Companion (Norman Rene, 1990) 

21. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

22. The Birdcage (Mike Nichols, 1996)

23 (tie). Maurice (James Ivory, 1987)

23 (tie). The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert  (Stephan Elliot, 1994)

25.  The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1996) 

26. Querelle (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982)

27. Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes, 1998)

28. My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985) 

29. Stranger By The Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013)

30. Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975)

31.  A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009)

32. Bound (The Wachowskis, 1996)

33. Poison (Todd Haynes, 1991)

34 (tie). But I’m a Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit, 2000)

34 (tie). Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989) 

34 (tie). Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell, 2006)

37. Sunday Bloody Sunday (John Schlesinger, 1971)

38. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2013)

39. Cruising (1980, William Friedkin)

40. I Killed My Mother (Xavier Dolan, 2009)

41. The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella, 1999)

42 (tie). Desert Hearts (Donna Deitch, 1985)

42 (tie). The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum, 2014)

44. Parting Glances (Bill Sherwood, 1986)

45. Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki, 2005)

46 (tie). Making Love (Arthur Hiller, 1982)

46 (tie). Female Trouble (John Waters, 1974)

48. Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971)

49. Love is Strange (Ira Sachs, 2014)

50 (tie). Beautiful Thing (Hettie MacDonald, 1996)

50 (tie). Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003)

Check out all the results for every poll here.

This Article is related to: Lists