These are the LGBTQ films you need to see.
LGBTQ movies were once a rarity in the entertainment industry. Over time, they’ve become more accessible than ever – you can even find a whole section dedicated to them on Netflix.
We’ve rounded up 22 of the best LGBTQ films that you can watch right now on UK Netflix, from the coming-of-age drama of Alex Strangelove, to the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, and the biographical drama I Am Michael.
We’ll be updating this list over time, so if you have any suggestions that you think are worthy of a spot, let us know!
Alex Strangelove (2018)
Cast: Daniel Doheny, Antonio Marziale, Madeline Weinstein, Daniel Zolghadri, Nik Dodani
This coming-of-age comedy-drama follows Alex Truelove (Doheny), a high school senior who plans to lose his virginity to his girlfriend Claire (Weinstein). His life is thrown upside down when he falls for a handsome gay teenager (Marziale) from the other side of town and discovers his ‘true authentic self’, as they say. It’s no Love, Simon, but it’s still a decent watch.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Cast: Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Bill Hunter, Sarah Chadwick
Two drag queens, Anthony (Weaving) and Adam (Pearce) and transgender woman Bernadette (Stamp) travel across the Australian desert in Priscilla (a lavender tour bus) to perform a drag show in Alice Springs. Along the way, they encounter a number of obstacles, including homophobic abuse, violence and some other nice stuff. It’s an absolute classic.
Beach Rats (2017)
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeleine Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff, Nicole Flyus
British actor Harris Dickinson plays aimless youth Frankie, who struggles to escape his bleak home life as he navigates sexuality and balances friendships, a potential new girlfriend, and the older men he meets online. Eliza Hittman, who helmed the movie, won the award for Best Director in the US Dramatic Features category at Sundance.
The Birdcage (1996)
Cast: Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski, Tom McGowan
The late Robin Williams stars as Armand Goldman, the openly gay owner of a drag club called The Birdcage. When his son Val (Futterman) announces his engagement to a young woman Barbara (Flockhart), Armand is forced back into the closet and pretends to be heterosexual to satisfy Barbara’s ultraconservative Republican parents. Upon release, the film was commended by GLAAD for “going beyond the stereotypes to see the characters’ depth and humanity”.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013)
Cast: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing, Catherine Salée, Benjamin Siksou
After meeting in a gay bar, French teenager Adèle (Exarchopoulos) falls in love with a blue-haired art student called Emma (Seydoux). The critically-acclaimed drama follows their relationship from Adèle’s high school years until her adult life as a school teacher. It received nominations at the Golden Globe Awards and the BAFTAs, and was declared one of the best films of 2013.
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, Kyle Chandler, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith
Set in the 1950s, Carol stars Cate Blanchett as an older woman navigating a difficult divorce who embarks on a forbidden affair with an aspiring female photographer (Mara). Blanchett won universal acclaim for her performance, ultimately earning nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Critics Choice Movie Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Cherry Pop (2017)
Cast: Bob the Drag Queen, Detox, Mayhem Miller, Tempest DuJour, Misty Violet, Miguel Sagaz, Allusia Alusia
Set in a local drag bar, Cherry Pop follows a newcomer to the sisterhood who has to deal with bitchy, backstabbing queens before her debut performance. It stars Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen in the lead role, with supporting performances from Detox, Mayhem Miller and Tempest DuJour.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
Cast: Marsha P. Johnson, Victoria Cruz, Kurt Wolfe, Sue Yacka
This critically-acclaimed documentary follows American LGBT rights activist and retired domestic violence counselor, Victoria Cruz, as she investigates the death of Marsha P. Johnson, one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.
God’s Own Country (2017)
Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secăreanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones
This same-sex British love drama, which takes place in the Yorkshire highlands, tells the story of sheep farmer Johnny (O’Connor) whose life changes with the arrival of Romanian migrant Gheorghe (Secăreanu). Having received almost universal acclaim (and currently holding a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the film is a must-see for lovers of queer cinema.
Handsome Devil (2016)
Cast: Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott, Moe Dunford, Michael McElhatton, Ruairi O’Connor
Handsome Devil tells the story of Ned, an ostracised teenager at an Irish, rugby-obsessed boarding school. He forms a close bond with new student and star rugby player, Conor. Upon release, the film received universal acclaim, winning the award for Best Irish Feature of 2017 from the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle and four nominations at the 2018 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards.
The Happy Prince (2018)
Cast: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Chancellor, Edwin Thomas
Rupert Everett stars in the stunningly bleak look at the oft-ignored final years of famed gay playwright Oscar Wilde. The film sees Oscar on a downward spiral following his conviction for “gross indecency” and his impoverished exile in Italy and France. The Happy Prince also explores Oscar’s doomed relationships with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (Morgan) and Robbie Ross (Thomas), as well as his ex-wife Constance Lloyd (Watson).
Holding the Man (2015)
Cast: Ryan Corr, Craig Stott, Sarah Snook, Guy Pearce, Anthony LaPaglia, Kerry Fox, Camilla Ah Kin
This tear-jerking drama brings Timothy Conigrave’s acclaimed 1995 memoir to the screen. It follows Timothy (Corr) and John (Stott) who fall in love in 1970s Australia, and chronicles their beautiful – but heartbreaking – 15 year relationship. Like we said, it’s a tear-jerker, so make sure you’re stacked up on tissues.
Hurricane Bianca (2016)
Cast: Bianca Del Rio, Rachel Dratch, Bianca Leigh, Denton Blane Everett, Willam, Shangela, Alan Cumming, Alyssa Edwards, RuPaul, Joslyn Fox
Drag Race champion Bianca Del Rio stars as school teacher Richard Martinez, who moves from NYC to a small town in Texas and is subsequently fired from his new job for being gay. He returns to the school as his drag alter-ego, Bianca, and seeks vengeance on those who wronged him. Rachel Dratch, Alan Cumming, RuPaul, Margaret Cho, Willam Belli, Shangela and Alyssa Edwards also star in this hilarious – and political – drag comedy.
I Am Michael (2015)
Cast: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, Charlie Carver, Avan Jogia, Devon Graye, Daryl Hannah
I Am Michael is a biographical drama of gay activist Michael Glatze (Franco), who created a national controversy when he renounced his homosexuality and became an anti-gay Christian pastor, leaving his boyfriend (Quinto) and family behind in the process. Franco and Quinto deliver career-best performances in this 2015 biopic.
Cast: Dhruv Ganesh, Shiv Pandit, Siddharth Menon, Rishabh J. Chaddha
Wall Street deal maker Jai (Pandit) and Mumbai-based music producer Sahil (Ganesh) are two friends with a complicated past who set off to the Western Ghats for the weekend. The film chronicles their sexual – but complex – relationship. It received unanimous praise from critics for its depiction of same-sex relationships in India.
Cast: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco, Alison Pill, Victor Garber, Denis O’Hare
Gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, is portrayed by Penn in this critically-lauded biopic. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning two for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Penn and Best Original Screenplay for Dustin Lance Black.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, John Gallagher Jr., Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, Marin Ireland
Based on Emily Danforth’s acclaimed novel of the same name, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows a teenage girl (played by Moretz) who is sent to a gay conversion camp by her aunt after she is caught kissing another girl. Last year, it won the Sundance Film Festival’s grand jury prize, beating out critically-lauded dramas such as Blindspotting and Monster.
Paris Is Burning (1990)
Starring: Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Venus Xtravaganza, Octavia St. Laurent, Willi Ninja, Angie Xtravaganza, Sol Pendavis, Freddie Pendavis, Junior Labeija, Paris Dupree
This legendary 1990 documentary chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved. If you thought the queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race knew how to sashay down a runway, then you’re in for a treat…
The Pass (2016)
Cast: Russell Tovey, Arinze Kene, Lisa McGrillis, Nico Mirallegro, Rory J. Saper
Starring Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene, this film follows the story of a closeted Premier League Footballer, and presents three very different nights over a 10 year period. On the night before his first big international game, Jason (Tovey) shares an unexpected kiss with team-mate Ade (Kene) amid pre-match tensions, and the emotional repercussions have an impact on the lives of both men across the next decade.
Cast: Ben Schnetzer, Joe Gilgun, Faye Marsay, Dominic West, Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, Chris Overton, Imelda Staunton, Jessica Gunning, Liz White, Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Rhodri Meilir
A group of lesbian and gay activists come together to raise money for families affected by the 1984 British miners’ strike, which ultimately formed the highly successful Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. It was instrumental in the progression of LGBTQ issues in the United Kingdom.
Tab Hunter Confidential (2015)
Cast: Tab Hunter, Clint Eastwood, Debbie Reynolds, John Waters, Portia De Rossi, Noah Wyle, George Takei
This American documentary focuses on the life of American actor, singer and author, Tab Hunter, who was a well-known Hollywood heartthrob in the 50s and 60s. It’s inspired by his acclaimed autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star (2005), in which he finally acknowledged rumours of his sexuality.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer, John Malkovich
Velvet Buzzsaw stars Academy Award nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal as a queer snobby art critic who starts to experience supernatural events in relation to a dead artist’s paintings. The film is directed by Dan Gilroy, who previously collaborated with Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo on the critically-acclaimed thriller film, Nightcrawler.
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