Foundations of LGBTQ+ Cinema
Trace the history of LGBTQ+ representation in film with this list of movies directed and/or about LGBTQ+ people and characters. From documentaries to romance to drama and beyond, these key films depict a broad range of LGBTQ+ experiences and perspectives. (Created June 2022)
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
A surprise international hit from Australian director Stephan Elliott, this 1994 road comedy stars Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce as two drag queens who take their act from Sydney to remote Alice Springs via a tour bus dubbed Priscilla.View The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Born in Flames
Originally released in 1983, this feminist and queer cult classic still feels timely today. Set in an alternative United States, Born in Flames follows the rise of a diverse women-led rebellion after one of their leaders is mysteriously killed.
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The directorial debut of the Wachowski sisters, Bound is a neo-noir thriller noted for being one of the few mainstream films of its era to portray a lesbian relationship realistically and sympathetically, and remains a queer fan favorite.
Availability: AvailableView Bound
But I'm A Cheerleader
Natasha Lyonne stars in this campy modern classic as Megan Bloomfield, a football-player-dating cheerleader who is sent to a conversion therapy camp when her parents suspect she might be a lesbian.View But I'm A Cheerleader
By Hook or by Crook
Released in 2001, this unprecedented queer buddy film co-directed, written and acted by Silas Howard and Harry Dodge is one of the first films by genderqueer and trans directors depicting genderqueer and trans characters.
Availability: AvailableView By Hook or by Crook
In this groundbreaking comedy-drama, director/actor Nisha Ganatra stars as Reena, an Indian American lesbian whose relationship with her girlfriend Lisa is threatened when she agrees to become a surrogate for her infertile sister Sarita.
Format: Streaming VideoView Chutney Popcorn
First released in 1985, Desert Hearts is one of the earliest positive portrayals of a lesbian relationship in mainstream film, and one of the first films by a lesbian director based on a novel written by a lesbian author.
Availability: AvailableView Desert Hearts
Based on the play by Christopher Marlowe, Derek Jarman's postmodern historical drama depicts the ill-fated relationship between King Edward II, who ruled England from 1307 to 1327, and his favorite Piers Gaveston.
Format: Streaming VideoView Edward II
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Based on the awarding-winning 1998 rock musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch stars John Cameron Mitchell in the lead role as Hedwig, a struggling trans rock musician from Eastern Europe.
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Hide and Seek
In this bittersweet experimental film, avant-garde filmmaker Friedrich intercuts the story of Lou, a young girl coming of age in the 1960s, with clips from scientific and educational films as well as interviews with adult lesbians.
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