Art allows people to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas that could be seen as taboo, helping to push the cultural conversation forward. This has been the case with the LGBTQ community, as filmmakers were able to celebrate LGBTQ relationships, even in times when such relationships were illegal.
Alongside the fight for LGBTQ rights over the years, many movies celebrated love in many different circumstances — and in spite of many obstacles. Some of these films are relatively recent but have become instant classics, while others have been beloved for decades.
To identify the best LGBTQ movies ever made, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a database of over 17,000 movies and created an index consisting of each movie’s rating on Internet Movie Database and its audience and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
Though each film on this list is categorized as an LGBTQ movie because at least some of the plot deals with a character identifying as LGBTQ+, that is where the similarities end. The films cover a wide array of topics and genres like heists, comedies, musicals, coming-of-age stories, biopics, and more. In some cases, the films have characters who are hiding their sexuality or coming to grips with it, while others are set in places and times where the characters are openly able to live as themselves.
The films on this list have been lauded by critics around the world and nominated for a litany of awards, including multiple Academy Awards in many cases. Yet in some cases, fans of these films may have felt that the films were being overlooked by the Academy because of their content. These are 25 of the Oscars’ most egregious snubs.
Click here to see the 30 best LGBTQ+ movies of all time
To identify the best LGBTQ movies ever made, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a database of over 17,000 movies and created an index consisting of each movie’s rating on Internet Movie Database and its audience score and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDb is an online movie database owned by Amazon. Rotten Tomatoes is an online movie and TV review aggregator.
Domestic box office figures came from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services, last updated in April 2021. Box office figures are not inflation adjusted. Casting and other supplemental data comes from IMDb.
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