The best LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) movies of all time! In this post, I’ll be sharing my top picks for the most iconic, ground-breaking, and memorable films. It celebrate the diverse experiences and perspectives of the LGBT+ community.
From heart-warming romances to thought-provoking dramas, these LGBTQ+movies showcase a range of themes and emotions. It resonates with audiences of all backgrounds. Whether you identify as LGBT+ or simply appreciate great cinema, these films are must-sees. These have left a lasting impact on the movie industry and the world at large.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into my list of the best LGBTQ+ movies of all time!
- 20 Must watch & Best LGBTQ+ movies of all time
- 1. Moonlight (2016)
- 2. Paris is Burning (1990)
- 3. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
- 4. The Handmaiden (2016)
- 5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
- 6. Carol (2015)
- 7. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
- 8. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
- 9. God’s Own Country (2017)
- 10. A Fantastic Woman (2017)
- 11. Love, Simon (2018)
- 12. Milk (2008)
- 13. The Kids Are All Right (2010)
- 14. Philadelphia (1993)
- 15. Beautiful Thing (1996)
- 16. The Birdcage (1996)
- 17. Bound (1996)
- 18. Tangerine (2015)
- 19. Happiest Season (2020)
- 20. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
20 Must watch & Best LGBTQ+ movies of all time
Here are my updated top 20 picks for the best LGBTQ+ movies of all time, as of today:
1. Moonlight (2016)
“Moonlight” is a coming-of-age drama film directed by Barry Jenkins, which was released in 2016. The LGBTQ+ movie tells the story of Chiron. A young black man growing up in Miami. He struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and find his place in the world.
The movie is structured into three chapters, each delving into distinct phases of Chiron’s life. It examines identity, masculinity, and the intertwining of race and sexuality. Additionally, it features outstanding performances by its cast, including Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Trevante Rhodes.
2. Paris is Burning (1990)
The movie provides an inside look into the ball culture of New York City’s African American and Latino LGBT+ community during the 1980s.
The film features interviews with ball participants and showcases the elaborate costumes, dance moves, and pageantry of the ball scene. Also the struggles and triumphs of its participants. It explores themes of race, class, gender, and sexuality and provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of marginalized LGBT+ individuals.
3. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Luca Guadagnino directed the romantic drama film “Call Me By Your Name,” released in 2017.The movie is based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman and stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer as two young men who fall in love during a summer in Italy.
4. The Handmaiden (2016)
Park Chan-wook directed “The Handmaiden,” a South Korean erotic psychological thriller film released in 2016. Also, Adapted from Sarah Waters’ novel “Fingersmith”. It portrays a young Korean woman’s role as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress.
Therefore, As the story unfolds, the two women develop a complex and intricate relationship. Which defies the social norms of their time and place.
5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Céline Sciamma directed the French historical romantic drama film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” released in 2019. The film is set in 18th-century France. It revolves around a young painter commissioned to create a portrait of a young woman who is soon to be married.
While spending time with her subject, the two women cultivate a profound and intense romantic relationship that faces threats from the societal norms and expectations of their era.
6. Carol (2015)
Todd Haynes directed the romantic drama film “Carol,” which was released in 2015.The movie is based on the novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. It tells the story of a young photographer who falls in love with an older woman in 1950s New York.
Thus, The film explores the complexities of their relationship. As they navigate the social norms and prejudices of their time and place.
7. My Own Private Idaho (1991)
“My Own Private Idaho” is a drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, which was released in 1991. Thus, The movie stars River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as two young male prostitutes who embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance in the Pacific Northwest.
Additionally, The film explores themes of identity, love, family, and the struggles faced by LGBT+ individuals in a heteronormative society. It features outstanding performances by its cast, particularly River Phoenix. It is praised for its unique and innovative style, blending elements of road movie and Shakespearean drama.
8. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
“Blue is the Warmest Color” is a 2013 French romantic drama film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. The movie is based on the graphic novel “Blue Angel” by Julie Maroh and tells the story of a young woman named Adele who falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma.
9. God’s Own Country (2017)
“God’s Own Country” is a British romantic drama film directed by Francis Lee, which was released in 2017. The movie tells the story of a young farmer named Johnny who lives with his father and grandmother in rural Yorkshire. When a Romanian migrant worker named Gheorghe comes to work on the farm, Johnny finds himself drawn to him and the two men begin a passionate and intense relationship.
10. A Fantastic Woman (2017)
“A Fantastic Woman” is a Chilean drama film directed by Sebastián Lelio, released in 2017. The movie follows the journey of a young transgender woman named Marina as she confronts social and legal challenges following her older lover’s sudden death.
11. Love, Simon (2018)
“Love, Simon” is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Greg Berlanti, which was released in 2018.The movie tells the story of a high school student named Simon who is struggling to come out as gay to his friends and family. When he begins an anonymous online correspondence with another closeted gay student, Simon begins to find the courage to embrace his true self.
12. Milk (2008)
“Milk” is a biographical drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, which was released in 2008. Thus,The movie tells the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the United States, who was assassinated in 1978.
Moreover, The film explores themes of activism, identity, and the struggles faced by the LGBT+ community in a time of intense prejudice and discrimination.
13. The Kids Are All Right (2010)
“The Kids Are All Right” is a comedy-drama film directed by Lisa Cholodenko, which was released in 2010. The movie narrates the complexities of a family dynamic involving a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules, their two teenagers, and their sperm donor, Paul.
The film explores themes of family, love, identity, and the struggles faced by LGBT+(Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) families in a heteronormative society.
Also read – 35 Best Leadership Books of All Time
14. Philadelphia (1993)
“Philadelphia” is a drama film directed by Jonathan Demme, which was released in 1993. Also, The movie narrates the story of Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer who faces job termination after contracting HIV. Additionally, he chooses to file a lawsuit against his former law firm for wrongful termination, with representation provided by Joe Miller, a homophobic lawyer.
The film explores themes of discrimination, stigma, and the struggles faced by the LGBT+ community during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.Furthermore, the film features outstanding performances from its cast, including Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Antonio Banderas. It is acclaimed for its poignant portrayal of LGBT+ themes.
15. Beautiful Thing (1996)
Hettie MacDonald directed the romantic drama film “Beautiful Thing,” released in 1996. The movie tells the story of two teenage boys, Jamie and Ste, who develop a close relationship in a working-class housing estate in London.
Moreover, The film explores themes of love, acceptance, and the struggles faced by LGBT+ youth in a society that often ostracizes them. Also, The movie showcases exceptional performances by its cast, including Glen Berry and Scott Neal, and is lauded for its sincere and genuine depiction of LGBT+ themes.
16. The Birdcage (1996)
Mike Nichols directed the comedy film “The Birdcage,” released in 1996.Thus,The movie tells the story of a gay couple, Armand and Albert, who run a drag club in South Beach, Miami. When Armand’s son announces his intention to marry the daughter of a conservative politician, Armand and Albert must pretend to be heterosexual during a dinner party with the girl’s parents.
17. Bound (1996)
“Bound” is a neo-noir crime thriller film directed by The Wachowskis, which was released in 1996. Thus, The movie tells the story of Violet, a femme fatale, and Corky, an ex-con, who plan a heist against Violet’s mobster boyfriend, Caesar.
The film delves into themes of power, betrayal, and desire while pioneering the portrayal of lesbian relationships in a genre typically dominated by heterosexual male characters. Additionally, the film boasts remarkable performances from its cast, including Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon. It receives acclaim for its suspenseful plot and passionate love scenes
“Bound” received critical acclaim and has become a cult classic in LGBT+ cinema. Also,The film earned praise as a groundbreaking work for its capacity to depict lesbian relationships within a mainstream thriller and challenge gender and sexuality norms.
Addiotnally, It has inspired and empowered LGBT+ individuals and has become an important work in the genre of queer cinema.
18. Tangerine (2015)
“Tangerine” is a comedy-drama film directed by Sean Baker, which was released in 2015. Thus,The movie tells the story of two transgender sex workers, Sin-Dee and Alexandra, who navigate the streets of Los Angeles on Christmas Eve in search of Sin-Dee’s cheating boyfriend.
The film delves into themes of friendship, identity, and survival, all while breaking new ground in its portrayal of transgender individuals in a genre dominated by cisgender characters. The movie showcases exceptional performances from its cast, including Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. The film is lauded for its unfiltered and authentic portrayal of LGBT+ themes.
19. Happiest Season (2020)
“Happiest Season” is a romantic comedy film directed by Clea DuVall, which was released in 2020. The movie tells the story of Abby, who plans to propose to her girlfriend Harper during a family holiday gathering, only to find out that Harper has not come out to her conservative parents yet.
The film explores themes of love, family, and acceptance, while also providing a relatable and heartwarming portrayal of LGBT+ relationships. Thus, It features outstanding performances by its cast, including Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis, and is praised for its witty and poignant depiction of the challenges and joys of coming out.
“Happiest Season” received critical acclaim and has become a popular work in LGBT+ cinema. Furthermore, The movie was hailed as a groundbreaking work for its ability to show a same-sex relationship in a mainstream romantic comedy, and to challenge the stereotypes and prejudices surrounding LGBT+ individuals.
It has inspired and empowered LGBT+ individuals and has become an important work in the genre of queer cinema.
Also read – 27 Best books for women in Leadership
Each of these films has made a significant impact on the LGBT+ community and film industry. They tell stories of love, loss, triumph, and struggle, and highlight the diversity and complexity of LGBT+ experiences. Also, These films have resonated with audiences around the world and helped to broaden the representation and visibility of LGBT+ individuals in cinema.
20. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
“Brokeback Mountain” is a critically acclaimed film directed by Ang Lee, which was released in 2005. Thus,The movie is based on a short story of the same name by Annie Proulx and stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as two young cowboys who fall in love while working as sheep herders in Wyoming in the 1960s.
Thus,The film explores the complicated nature of their relationship, as they struggle to navigate their feelings for each other in a time and place where homosexuality is stigmatized and taboo.
Check this video out:
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):
The most LGBT content is available on which streaming service?
Netflix, It is not surprising that Netflix is waving the biggest rainbow flag of all given that it has more LGBT+ characters than any other streaming services put together.
What makes a film a queer film?
In the New Queer Cinema movement, same-sex relationships were regularly depicted in explicit and unapologetically violent ways, and they were shown in ways that challenged standard heterosexual ideas of marriage and family.
- LGBTQ+ movies present a variety of viewpoints that promote understanding, compassion, and a more inclusive worldview.
- LGBTQ+ movies provide a vast spectrum of experiences, expanding cultural horizons and enhancing narratives.
- Accept Allies: Allies are essential in assisting the LGBTQ+ community and advancing acceptance and equality.