My Top Ten Gay Films List

Jul 20, 2006

The Bottom Line These ten films have made impressions on me and have been chosen for my top ten list.

What follows is a compilation of what I feel are the ten best gay films ever made. I know that there are probably many addendums for this list, and I admit that I have not seen every gay film ever made. However, this is my offering of what I feel are the best that have come to my attention. Another word of note, this list is particularly of Gay cinema as opposed to Queer cinema. As such, lesbian films are not included on this list. All of these films pertain to gay men and gay culture. I have stipulated my choice as the best gay film ever made. The rest of the list is in no particular order. I hope you enjoy my picks.

Strawberry and Chocolate
Criminal Lovers
Chuck and Buck
To Wong Foo,Julie Newmar
The Crying Game
Six Degrees of Separation
Steam:Turkish Bath

1. Stonewall--The best gay film ever made.

I selected this film as the best gay film ever made because of it's riveting portrayal of the gay community of New York in the 1960s, its quirky fun and hilarious musical numbers, and its dramatic interpretation of the events that led up to the Stonewall riots of 1969.Guillermo Diaz gives a classic performance in the role of the main character as the spicy Puerto Rican drag queen La Miranda. The romance that unfolds between La Miranda and country boy-come to the city, Matty Dean(played by Fred Weller), is hot, erotic, and one of the most beautiful and steamy love stories to make it to screen. This outstanding cast is rounded out with Duane Buotte who gives a command performance as the leader/mother figure of the drag community, Bostonia and Brendan Corbalis who plays the stiffed-shirt closeted gay professional involved in a gay civil rights group. As a compelling dramatization of the Stonewall riots, the combination of the suspense of the unfolding story, the tremendously funny musical interludes, and the interwoven political messages put forth, make this film one that certainly should not be missed by anyone seeking a compelling portrayal of gay life.

2. Trick

I have already written a review of this film on epinions. I chose Trick as one of the top ten gay because of the magnificent way in which this scintillating love story is put together. A light,tongue-in-cheek comedy revolving around the efforts of two gay boy-toys (Christian Campbell and Jean Paul Pitoc)to find a place to hookup, Trick captures the essence of the gay culture of the 1990s. The actors in this film blend together well, playing off of each other and creating a delicious flavor of wit and humour that really make this film well worth watching and one of the best Ive ever seen.

3.Strawberry and Chocolate(Fresa et Chocolate)

A beautiful portrayal of Cuba, this film is truly great in terms of the artistry,compassion, and wit with which the director,Tomas Guiterrez, weaves together this beautiful story. Jorge Perugorria playing the gay artist and free spirit, Diego, and Vladimir Cruz as the dedicated young communist, David, this film weaves together a beautiful story of a blossoming friendship and the reaching across the false borders of political persuasion and sexuality to create bonds within humanity. This cast is rounded off by the spirited and funny Mirta Ibarra who plays the suicidal yet whimsical neighbor, Nancy.

4.Criminal Lovers(Les Amants Criminels)

Criminal Lovers is a chilling ,thriller delivered to the screen by the visionary French director Francois Ozon. A retelling of the Hansel and Gretel tale, Ozon works into this suspenseful story elements of racism, xenophobia,homosexuality, and skin privilege. The story of a neurotic teenaged couple, Natalie Regnier plays the manipulative girlfriend,Alice who convnices her boyfriend, the sexually immature and neurotic Luc (played by Jeremie Renier) to kill an arab classmate,Said (Salim Keciouche) who has made advances at her. The result of their actions lead them down a dark and murky path that has terrifying and bone-chilling consequences beginning with their being captured by a woodsman, played by Miki Manojlovic. Homosexuality plays a subtle and interesting role within the film, working its way into the characterization of Luc and flavoring the relationships between Luc, the woodsman, and Alice. This film is riveting and sends a shock up one's system. It is to be appreciated for its compelling story and the magnificent way that it plays with the major themes that run throughout the story.

5. Chuck and Buck

This indie film written by Mike White and directed by Manuel Arteta,represents the best of the gay imagination and gay independent cinema. Eerie, comic, and touching, this film documents the story of childhood best friends, "Chuck" and "Buck", who as children were lovers as well as friends,and who have since growin into their two distinct and separate worlds. Chuck or "Charlie"--his adult name, has become a successful professional living a comfortable urban life. Buck, on the other hand, has not progressed far since their childhood days and after the death of his mother, decides that he wishes to resume the relationship that he and Chuck shared when they were children. Providing a sad and discomforting look at one man's helpless and empty pursuit of childhood beau, Chuck and Buck is an exemplary addition to gay cinema.

6. Bent

An eclectic look at Queer German culture before and under Hitler's regime, Bent provides a queer and mesmerizing story of two men who find themselves in a concentration camp after the raid of a nightclub.One is given a pink triangle,the other, preferring to be classified as a jew rather than as a homosexual, wears the star of david. This film is intriguing as it captures the story of how these two men(Clive Owen and Lothair Bluteau) develop a relationship under the strains of being in a concentration camp and being under the surveillance of Nazi prison guards. A compelling drama, with a wonderful supporting class that includes Mick Jagger playing a drag queen who can instantaneously become a respectable father, Bent is definitely one of the best gay films that I have encountered.

7 To Wong Foo, Julie Newmar

Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo are great in this touching comedy. As straight men, they excellently pull off their roles as three drag queens set on traveling across country to compete in a grand pageant and who instead get lost in small town America and discover their true purpose in life. This film ranks as one of the top feel-good gay films of all time. With a supporting cast that includes Blythe Danner, Stockard Channing, and Melinda Dillon, this is one of the best gay films ever made.

8. The Crying Game

This classic film from the 1980s explores the revolutionary culture of the IRA, the tensions that existed between the Irish and the British, and the British gay subculture of the 1980s. The scene in which Dil, the girlfriend of the fallen British soldier(played by Forrest Whittaker), reveals her true self to Fergus, the IRA soldier now hiding out in London, is truly a classic scene and one that sent ripples of shock through millions of people around the world. That scene alone makes this film a classic in gay cinema and one that will be taklked about for some time to come.

9. Six Degrees of Separation

Will Smith's foray into gay cinema brings to the screen a supsenseful, intriguing, and edge-of-the seat story of a young,witty and charming con artist who graces his way into the home of a very wealthy white couple posing as the son of Sidney Poitier and a boarding school friend of one of their children. Spinning off into a story that plays with themes of class privilege, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and the secret interconnections between the Afro-American and the white community in the United States, Will Smith, Stockard Channing, and Donald Sutherland truly lend their forceful talents to this film to create a captivating story and film.

10. Steam: A Turkish Bath

I first saw this film on the Independent Film Channel and was immediately drawn into this surprising love story concerning an Italian businessmen,Francesco, on business in Istanbul looking after his late aunt's estate(a turkish bath) and a Turkish youth,Mehmet, who's family lives in the house that belonged to his aunt and who take him in as one of their own. The shocker scene of the film is Francesco's wife's (Marta) discovery of her husband's sexuality and the confirmation of the relationship between these two men. With Alessandro Gassman and Mehmet Gunsar in the lead roles as Francesco and Mehmet respectively, this film plays on the tensions that exist between Italians and Turks, and is groundbreaking in broaching the topic of homosexuality in Turkish culture. This was an important film in that region of the world and is a compelling look at homosexuality in Islamic and Meditteranean cultures.

Other films that were considered as top picks were Myra Breckenridge, Peter's Friends, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Maurice, and Gods and Monsters. Kiss of the Spider Woman is a classic, yet William Hurt as a drag queen doesnt do much for me at all. I hope that all will enjoy my selections.

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Member: Brandon Wallace
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