Fifty seemed like a nice solid number, but they weren’t quite sure. They opened the polls anyway, and you voted. For a grand total of 570 different movies.
In short, there are a lot of gay movies that are damn good!
Here are some interesting statistics. Except for two films, The Boys in the Band (1970) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), every movie on this list was produced in the 1980s or later. What’s this? Don’t gay people like classic films? A more likely explanation, of course, is that gay-related content rarely existed on film until the 1980s — and if it did, it was almost invariably offensive.
Films from outside the U.S. including England, Spain, Australia, Canada and others occupied nearly 1/3 of the top 50 slots. More dramas made the list (33) than comedies (17). So do gay people prefer drama, or is it that most gay movies to date have tended to be more serious?
What is a “gay movie” anyway? That was for you to decide, but in every case, it was a film with at least one leading gay or bisexual character.
And what makes a movie “great”? That’s ultimately a subjective call, but we think it’s worth noting that almost every movie on this list was new or different in some important way from all the gay films before it. This seems to us to prove a lesson that Hollywood never seems to learn: audiences like that which is fresh and original, not tired retreads of what was popular in the years before.
While the list is very diverse when it comes to subject matter, it’s a different story when discussing racial diversity. Of the top twenty films, only Big Eden (2000) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) include substantive roles for men of color – Eric Schweig plays the Native American character Pike in Big Eden while Gordon Warnecke is Omar in Laundrette.
Since this will be an annual poll, it should be fascinating to watch older movies fall off of the list and new ones climb on to it. No doubt some movies that received a great deal of press this year, and subsequently placed high on this list, will fade somewhat over time while new movies — the soon-to-be released Milk comes to mind — will no doubt make a big splash on next year's list. Hopefully there will be a great deal of movement as gay cinema continues to grow and thrive.
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