Some of the greatest gay love stories in movies

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For change to happen, it has to start from somewhere, and sometimes that somewhere is cinema. Long before Oberfell v. Hodgesthe landmark Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, queer representation in cinemas helped emphasize the importance of understanding that “love is love” and that it has no limits for people. For anyone who disagrees, skip these movies and go somewhere else. It’s so simple.


Updated September 16, 2022: If you love LGBTQ+ movies, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve updated this Greatest Gay Love Stories article with additional content and entries.

Films have the ability to have an impact and perhaps change the ideologies of a community. A 2012 survey conducted by an independent polling firm for the Hollywood journalist pointed out how queer portrayal on screen has increased support for same-sex marriage, so the film has the power to change the mainstream, and there were several notable pieces that positively influenced society. Here are some of the most romantic gay movies about men that deserve more acclaim.

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12/12 Love, Simon

A modern love story that revolves around the teenager who struggles to accept his own identity. Love, Simon is a film that simply does the viewer good. While the movie follows the trope of a closeted young boy trying to find his secret lover, it does so in a way that is able to give people hope and is subtle enough to even sway naysayers. Interestingly, this 2018 movie is well known for “to be the first movie focused on gay teen romance released by a major studio.” So, it’s no surprise that a spin-off TV series called Love, Victor was released by Hulu.

Related: Romantic movies to watch with your partner on Valentine’s Day

11/12 Mauritius

Set in the early 1900s, Mauritius is a film that is sure to evoke a lot of emotions in the viewer. With James Wilby taking on the lead role, we see the protagonist trying to navigate his love life in a conservative Edwardian society. Which makes Mauritius outstanding is the way the film has captured the pain of trying to maintain a facade of decorum under rigid social conventions that are contrary to one’s feelings and emotions. As Guy Lodge pointed out for The Guardian, Mauritius is a film “underrated in 1987 and underseen today”, and deserves a much deeper assessment than is given.

10/12 The way he looks

This film by Daniel Ribeiro is based on his 2010 short film I don’t want to go home alone which he had hoped would help fund a feature release. Fortunately, Ribeiro was able to pull off his plan, because The way he looks is a truly touching film that explores the story of a blind teenager struggling to be independent. The uniqueness of this film lies in the way Ribeiro navigates the relationship between the two protagonists, Leonardo (played by Ghilherme Lobo) and Gabriel (played by Fábio Audi). With a friendship that blossoms into a relationship, the bond between these two characters is both charming and beautiful.

9/12 Free fall

From a rocky start to clashing identities, and an ending that is sure to leave audiences in tears, 2003 Free fall is a German film that follows a protagonist’s shocking awakening and his attempts to untangle his now complicated life. This film certainly brings the pain as well as the excitement of forbidden love. Marc Borgmann, played by Hanno Koffler, attempts to suppress his true identity for the sake of his family while exploring his true identity is certified tear gas. Free fall shows what it’s like to live in a world where you’re forced to make tough decisions because of the prejudices of others.

8/12 My own private Idaho

Loosely based on the plays of Shakespeare, Gus Van Sant’s classic 1991 counterculture drama My own private Idaho is not just a poetic and bittersweet story of two gay street hustlers, Mike (River Phoenix) and Scott (Keanu Reeves), traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Idaho, then to Rome in search of the mother of Mike. It is also the essential meditation on the promise of home, their own private Idaho, described by The Criterion Collection as “an imaginary place where one is locked in the arms of love – that is to say both protected and free”.

7/12 To run away

A truly Oscar worthy movie2021 Adult Animation Documentary by Jonas Poher Rasmussen To run away tells the painful and true story of a gay Afghan refugee named Amin. Interviewed by the director of the film, Amin reveals for the first time his traumatic past. He shares stories from his childhood in Kabul, then recounts how he fled the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, escaped death, traveled to Denmark via Russia and found happiness with his future husband. Amin’s odyssey to find a home is a complex heartbreaker that combines a pressing global issue with a touching personal reflection.

Related: Best Anime TV Shows With LGBTQ+ Characters

6/12 And then we danced

Directed by Georgian-Swedish filmmaker Levan Akin, the 2019 drama And then we danced tells the moving story of gay sexual awakening set against the backdrop of ultra-conservative Georgian society. The film centers on two male dancers from the Georgian National Ensemble, Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani) and Irakli (Bachi Valishvili). A die best international LGBTQ+ movies, And then we danced sparked protests in Georgia. Therefore, we need more such charged romance films set in countries where homosexuality remains strictly taboo.

5/12 Happy together

Unlike most gay films that begin with a protagonist struggling to come to terms with their identity, this particular film tries to deviate from that trope and focuses on the complications and challenges found in any relationship. Happy together follows the story of a gay couple trying to navigate life in a foreign place, encountering the difficulties of feeling alienated in a community that doesn’t feel like home (something that many gay people, especially in Asia , can identify).

This Hong Kong romantic drama directed by the great Wong Kar-waiwhich also received the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, is an undisputed winner as it takes a novel approach to gay films, using the director’s signature romantic and goofy style.

4/12 Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is a film based on Annie Proulx’s short story of the same name, and fundamentally changed the Hollywood landscape when it comes to gay love stories. Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal playing the roles of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist respectively, this 2005 neo-Western romantic drama follows the tragic story of two men who realize their affection for each other as a result of an encounter during their work as shepherds.

While the film initially presents itself as singularly focused on curiosity and the excitement of discovering a romantic relationship, it then shows the brutal reality that gay men have had to face in a society that adamantly denies their right to love. . Brokeback Mountain is definitely a revelation.

3/12 call me by your name

This Luca Guadagnino film is a screen adaptation of André Aciman’s award-winning 2007 novel of the same name. Set in the countryside of northern Italy in 1983, it follows the beautiful love story of Elio Perlman, played by Timothée Chalametand Oliver. call me by your name delves deeply into the idea and fascination of love through the cast’s marvelous performance that does Aciman’s story justice. What makes this particular film important is that it focuses on the excitement, thrill, and absolute bliss of love. As the story ends with a heartbreaking scene, brilliantly performed by Chalamet, call me by your name is still a never-ending romantic film that is a must-watch and was a surprising hit for all audiences.

2/12 The boys in the group

“If the situation of the homosexual is ever to be understood by the public, it will be thanks to the breakthrough made by this human and moving image”, declares a 1970 Time magazine article. The boys in the group was adapted for the screen from the play by Mart Crowley and laid the groundwork for queer representation in films by being the first American film to explicitly focus on gay characters.

Related: 8 Classic Hollywood Movies With LGBTQ+ Characters

The boys in the group is a raw, real-life portrayal of what it was like to be gay in 1968 New York – alienated, alone, and struggling for happiness. The characters try to use their happy personalities to distract themselves from this harsh reality, which only makes the film more emotional. It’s definitely a remarkable piece that changed the world of Hollywood for the better.

1/12 Moonlight

This Oscar-winning film is also considered one of the best movies of the 21st century. Separated into three sections based on the life of the protagonist, Chiron, played by Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert, Moonlight explores hugely important topics including black masculinity, sexuality, social misconceptions, child domestic abuse, and race-based social segregation. This A24 movie manages to question aspects of society while remaining an extremely beautiful, artistic and entertaining masterpiece.

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