Queer Screen, the organisers of the annual Mardi Gras Film Festival, celebrated the festival’s 25th anniversary last year and as part of the celebrations called on the LGBTIQ community to vote on what movies we consider to be the best queer films of all time.
After tallying the votes and putting together the ultimate ranking of the top 25 queer films, Queer Screen announced the final list last year, and it’s a great mix of contemporary Hollywood award winners, documentaries, indie films, and 90s cult favourites for your binging pleasure.
See the full list of all 25 movies, as voted by the public, below:
1. Brokeback Mountain
In Ang Lee’s iconic adaptation of Annie Proulx’s novel, rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and ranch hand Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) are hired by a rancher as sheep herders in Wyoming. One night on Brokeback Mountain, Jack makes a drunken pass at Ennis that is eventually reciprocated. Ennis and Jack both go on to marry women but keep up their tortured and sporadic affair for over 20 years.
2. Beautiful Thing
Shy Jamie (Glen Berry) and athletic Ste (Scott Neal) are two teens who live near each other in working-class London. Both boys think they could be gay, and grow close with each other when Ste is allowed to stay over at Jamie’s place after an incident with his abusive father.
3. The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert
When drag queen Anthony (Hugo Weaving) agrees to take his act on the road, he invites fellow cross-dresser Adam (Guy Pearce) and transgender women Bernadette (Terence Stamp) to come along. In their colorful bus Priscilla, the three performers travel across the Australian desert performing for enthusiastic crowds and homophobic locals in this enduring Aussie 1994 classic.
Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots the beautiful, elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store in this 2015 drama. The two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love with complicated consequences.
Following Russell and Glen as their one-night stand unexpectedly turns into something far more reaching. Following a Friday night party with his friends, Russell pulls Glen at a club, and, instead of never seeing each other again, the two men spend most of the next day and the following night together.
The Best Picture Oscar winner looks at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young gay black man growing up in Miami. His journey to adulthood is guided by the kindness, support and love of the community that helps raise him.
This romance follows a confused young artist torn between his family and his future. Fresh out of high school, Zach (Trevor Wright) gives up a full scholarship to spare his five-year-old nephew from their dysfunctional family. Restless and isolated, the gifted youth finds himself drawn to his best friend’s older brother Shaun (Brad Rowe), who may give Zach the courage he needs to follow his passions.
8. But I’m A Cheerleader
Megan (Natasha Lyonne) excels in school and cheerleading, and is indifferent to her football-playing boyfriend. When her parents decide she’s gay and send her to a gay conversion camp, Megan meets a rebellious teen lesbian, Graham (Clea DuVall) whom she starts to have feelings for.
9. Holding the Man
Tim and John fell in love while teenagers at their high school. John was captain of the football team, Tim an aspiring actor playing a minor part in Romeo and Juliet. Their romance endured for 15 years to laugh in the face of everything life threw at it – the separations, the discrimination, the temptations, the jealousies and the ultimate tragic loss.
10. God’s Own Country
Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with drinking and casual sex until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.
11. Call Me By Your Name
It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
12. Imagine Me & You
During her wedding ceremony, Rachel (Piper Perabo) notices Luce (Lena Headey) in the audience and feels instantly drawn to her. The two women become close friends, and when Rachel learns that Luce is a lesbian, she realizes that despite her happy marriage to her husband, she is falling for Luce.
13. Blue is the Warmest Colour
A French teen (Adèle Exarchopoulos) forms a deep emotional and sexual connection with an older art student (Léa Seydoux) she met in a lesbian bar. Stream on Netflix or Stan
14. Torch Song Trilogy
Arnold Beckoff (Harvey Fierstein) is looking for love and acceptance, but as a gay man working as a female impersonator in 1970s New York City, neither come easily. After a series of heartaches, Arnold believes he has found the love of his life in Alan (Matthew Broderick), the couple make plans to adopt but tragedy strikes and Arnold’s life is shaken.
15. Out in the Line-Up
In this 2014 documentary, two gay surfers embark on a global journey to uncover the taboo of homosexuality in surfing. They become part of an emerging community prepared to step out of the shadows of secrecy and create a more open and accepting surfing culture.
16. Latter Days
Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss), a young Mormon, arrives in Los Angeles with three fellow missionaries to evangelize. The group’s promiscuous gay neighbor, Christian (Wes Ramsey), makes a bet he can seduce and sleep with one of them, and his flirtatious ways help Aaron realize he is actually gay. Returning home to small-town Idaho in shame, Aaron is sent to a faith-based center to be cured of his homosexuality — while Christian, who’s fallen in love with him, desperately tries to find him.
In 1909, Maurice Hall (James Wilby) enters Cambridge, where he befriends wealthy Clive Durham (Hugh Grant). Clive confesses he is sexually attracted to Maurice, who realizes he is a homosexual when he begins to return Clive’s feelings, and the two embark on an intense affair in this 1987 film.
18. Paris is Burning
This acclaimed documentary is an intimate portrait of a group of drag queens living in New York City and the sense of community and support that their drag balls and “house” culture provide to the flamboyant and often socially shunned performers. Stream on Netflix
In this heartwarming true story, a group of London-based gay and lesbian activists lend their support to striking miners in 1984 Wales after realising they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press.
20. A Single Man
Mourning his partner Jim, English professor George Falconer is finding life in 1960s Los Angeles increasingly difficult to face. Ignored by his partner’s family upon the death, George contemplates suicide but first spends time with some of the people he has met in the city who spark change in his mindset, in this film directed by fashion designer Tom Ford.
Sparks fly when Violet (Jennifer Tilly) sets eyes on Corky (Gina Gershon) in an elevator. Violet is the girlfriend of a violent gangster, while Corky is fresh out of prison and renovating the apartment next door. As the pair launch into a passionate love affair, they assemble an intricate plan for Violet to escape from Caesar, with two million dollars in mob money.
22. My Beautiful Laundrette
In London, Omar (Gordon Warnecke) is given a run-down laundromat by his uncle, who hopes to turn it into a successful business. Omar is attacked by a group of racist punks, but realises their leader is his former lover, Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). The men resume their relationship and rehabilitate the laundromat together, but outside forces threaten their success.
23. Desert Hearts
In this 1985 drama set in the late 50’s, a New York English professor (Helen Shaver) divorces her husband and discovers her true self with the help of another woman (Patricia Charbonneau).
24. The Way He Looks
This 2014 Brazilian film follows Leonardo, a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, the relationship with his best friend, Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of new school student Gabriel.
25. Tom of Finland
This 2017 biopic examines the life of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen, one of the most influential and celebrated figures of 20th century gay culture. After returning home from WWII, Touko inspired a generation of gay men with his “Tom of Finland” art.