30 Movies to See This Pride Month | Awards Insights
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30 Movies to See This Pride Month

30 Movies to See This Pride Month

Happy Pride!

All About My Mother (1999)

‘All About My Mother’ (Sony Pictures Classics)

The most acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Victor Erice, Pedro Almodovar’s distinctively queer and vibrant filmography makes him one of the most unique, prolific, and consistently exciting filmmakers of the last 40 years. From his darkly funny earlier fare like What Have I Done to Deserve This? and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to his more recent emotionally-devastating dramas like Talk to Her and Pain and Glory, Almodovar has never fit into any easy labels. All About My Mother is his magnum opus, merging his distinctive humor, melodrama, and his desire to tackle serious issues. This is a moving and affecting portrait of motherhood, love, and what it means to be family.

Where to Watch: Rent or Buy


And Then We Danced (2019)

‘And Then We Danced’ (Music Box)

A powerfully acted and dazzlingly emotional coming-of-age story set in the world of competitive dancing, Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced is an honest love story set in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. The dance sequences are a wonder to behold, they’re bursting with passion and energy. Levan Gelbakhiani delivers a phenomenal central performance in this criminally underseen film that you’ll feel in your heart long after the credits roll.

Where to Watch: Prime Video, Tubi, Kanopy, Mubi


The Birdcage (1996)

‘The Birdcage’ (United Artists)

Led by gut-bustingly funny and empathetic work from co-leads Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, Mike Nichols’ The Birdcage is an uplifting tale that sees a gay couple attempt to put on a straight facade when meeting the ultra-conservative parents of their son’s fiancee. This Elaine May-written movie is still one of the rare mainstream Hollywood films to feature a happy gay couple at the story’s forefront.

Where to Watch: Paramount+, PlutoTV, The Roku Channel, Tubi


The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)

‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’ (New Yorker Films)

In the 13 years he was making feature films before his untimely death from a drug overdose at 37, Rainer Werner Fassbinder constructed one of the greatest filmographies ever. While he ventured into more experimental fare with films such as World on a Wire and Berlin Alexanderplatz, Fassbinder’s bread and butter was the sumptuous Sirkian melodrama and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant is one of his best, incorporating a Bergmanesque story into a story of an arrogant and self-centered fashion designer who plunges into a love affair with a young woman.

Where to Watch: Max, The Criterion Channel


Bound (1996)

;Bound’ (Gramercy)

While they broke out into the mainstream with The Matrix, many film fans first heard about The Wachowskis from their neo-noir crime thriller Bound. Stylish and with a tight and captivating screenplay, this is the Wachowskis best film outside of the one that made them household names. Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, and Joe Pantoliano star in this film that follows a woman and her lover as they attempt to take millions of dollars from the mob.

Where to Watch: Prime Video, Paramount+


But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ (Lionsgate)

This movie was such a welcome surprise. I wasn’t expecting a heartwarming, hilarious, and compassionate satire bursting with color and vibrancy but that is exactly what Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader is. You might not think that a film largely set in a gay conversion camp can be raucously funny, but Babbit strikes the tone well, effectively skewering societal heteronormativity and homophobia while maintaining the film’s sense of campy fun.

Where to Watch: Prime Video, The Roku Channel, The Criterion Collection, Tubi, PlutoTV


Carol (2015)

‘Carol’ (The Weinstein Company)

Anchored by phenomenal performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, this adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel follows the aspiring photographer Therese as she falls in love with the older and wealthier Carol. Every aspect of this film is firing on all cylinders, Edward Lachman’s lavish cinematography, Carter Burwell’s jazzy and affecting score, Phyllis Nagy’s wonderfully romantic yet melancholy screenplay, and, of course, Todd Haynes’ exquisite direction.

Where to Watch: Netflix, Kanopy


C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’ (Samuel Goldwyn)

A movie about coming-out that you can (probably) watch with your parents, Quebecois Jean-Marc Vallee’s C.R.A.Z.Y. is a thoroughly entertaining coming-of-age film about a young man discovering his identity under the pressure of his conservative family. The film also works as a wonderful time capsule, capturing the 60s and 70s with detail and a fantastic soundtrack that includes David Bowie, The Cure, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley.

Where to Watch: Max, Kanopy


Farewell My Concubine (1993)

‘Farewell, My Concubine’ (Miramax)

An epic romantic melodrama set in mid 20th century China, you may need some knowledge of Chinese history to truly appreciate this film. But even without that knowledge, Farewell, My Concubine is a lavish production, exquisitely crafted on all technical fronts. Gong Li is absolutely brilliant in this film as the titular concubine and Leslie Cheung and Zhang Fengyi are fantastic as well.

Where to Watch: Rent/Buy


The Handmaiden (2016)

‘The Handmaiden’ (Amazon)

Sumptuous period detail and seductive performances come together in this deliciously entertaining erotic thriller from ‘Oldboy’ director Park Chan-Wook. The Handmaiden is one of the best-looking period films of the past 10 years with cinematographer Chung-Hoon Chung, costume designer Jo Sang-Gyeong, and production designer Ryu Seong-Hie working in tandem to capture early 20th century Japanese luxury in awe-inspiring fashion. Park’s direction is at his best since Oldboy, thrilling his audience with the precision of a master.

Where to Watch: Prime Video, FilmBox


Happy Together (1997)

‘Happy Together’ (Kino International)

It’s reductive and I’m in no way trying to bring down what is an impeccable filmography but the cinema of Wong Kar-Wai can be grouped into two categories, passionate romantic dramas and neo-noir crime dramas. Some merge both styles such as Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. But like Wong’s magnum opus In the Mood For Love, Happy Together fits wholly into the former category and is a pure romantic drama about isolation, marginalization, and codependency. The late Leslie Cheung and Wong regular Tony Leung give fantastic performances as the central couple.

Where to Watch: Max, The Criterion Collection


Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ (Fine Line)

An exhilarating glam rock opera musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is director, writer, and star John Cameron Mitchell’s bold, imaginative, and genuinely touching portrait of Hedwig, a trans punk rock singer from Berlin who tells the story of her life, one of love and betrayal, through her songs. Visually audacious and with a fantastic soundtrack, Mitchell’s film is full of irresistible energy and remarkable charm. 

Where to Watch: Rent/Buy


Joyland (2022)

‘Joyland’ (Oscilloscope)

Executive produced by Malala Yousafzai, Riz Ahmed, and Ramin Bahrani among others, Saim Sadiq’s Joyland follows the sensitive Haider who finds a job at a burlesque theater and falls in love with its central star, a trans woman named Biba. This winner of the most recent Spirit award for Best International Film was banned in its home country of Pakistan for its positive depiction of a transgender woman. This is a stunningly-shot, deeply humanistic film that deserves to be more widely recognized (and brought to streaming!).

Where to Watch: N/A


The Long Day Closes (1992)

‘The Long Day Closes’ (Sony Pictures Classics)

An atmospheric and lyrical coming-of-age story about a boy’s burgeoning homosexuality, Catholic faith, and relationship with his mother, The Long Day Closes is one of (very) British auteur Terence Davies’ best features, functioning as an autobiographical examination of the truths that can reside in memory. Wonderfully shot and at times surreal with its imagery and rejection of conventional notions of plot, Davies’ film is a singular experience resplendent with a love for cinema and music.

Where to Watch: The Criterion Collection


Madchen in Uniform (1931)

‘Madchen in Uniform’ (Filmchoice)

This is by far the oldest film on this list, and you might be surprised to see that a film from 1931 has mostly held up in terms of its LGBTQ+ representation but clearly Leontine Sagan and her crew were decades ahead of their time. This is a fantastic coming-of-age film told through stunning German Expressionist cinematography and unexpectedly naturalistic performances. While the teacher-student relationship at the center of the story is a significant issue, this film is a celebration of female companionship, queer identity, and resistance against oppressive authority that also featured the second cinematic lesbian kiss.

Where to Watch: Plex


Maurice (1987)

‘Maurice’ (Cinecom)

One of the best films produced by the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory partnership, Maurice is a lushly photographed period piece from the late 20th century masters of the literate Hollywood period romance. Less successful on the awards circuit than its straight Merchant-Ivory cousins Remains of the Day, A Room With a View, and Howards End, this is a criminally overlooked tale of gay love and repression that still moves over a century after E.M. Forster first put the story of Maurice and Clive on page. 

Where to Watch: Kanopy, Mubi


Moonlight (2016)

‘Moonlight’ (A24)

Probably the most acclaimed American film of the last ten years, Barry Jenkins’ unquestionable masterpiece Moonlight is a masterclass in everything from empathetic filmmaking to subtle yet devastating acting. Moonlight is the coming-of-age story of Chiron, a young Black man wrestling with his identity, sexuality, and purpose. Barry Jenkins and cinematographer James Laxton’s images are pure visual poetry accentuated by Nicholas Britell’s somber, atmospheric strings. It’s a wonderful movie and an absolute must-see for anyone who considers themselves a fan of film.

Where to Watch: Max, Kanopy, DirecTV


My Own Private Idaho (1991)

‘My Own Private Idaho’ (Fine Line)

Led by two compelling lead performances from River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, My Own Private Idaho is one of Gus Van Sant’s most exceptional features that follows two hustlers on the road to survival and self discovery. The film is one of the most important in the New Queer Cinema canon, a movement led by queer American filmmakers during the HIV/AIDS crisis that was at its peak from the late 80s to the mid 90s. Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, Gregg Araki, Cheryl Dunye, and Marlon Riggs (all of whom have films included on this list) were some of the most significant contributors to this movement.

Where to Watch: Rent/Buy


Mysterious Skin (2004)

‘Mysterious Skin’ (TLA)

Gregg Araki made multiple films centered around the queer experience, including acclaimed works like Nowhere, The Doom Generation, and The Living End, but the devastating Mysterious Skin is widely considered to be his masterpiece. Infamously harrowing yet at times beautiful and incredibly affecting, Araki’s film is not for those unprepared to see a story that deals with trauma and abuse in a way that stays with you. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet give some of the best performances of their careers here. 

Where to Watch: The Criterion Collection


Paris is Burning (1990)

‘Paris is Burning’ (Off White)

No other documentary I’ve seen feels so vivid and full of life. Paris is Burning captures the lives and stories surrounding the New York ballroom scene of the 80s and does so with the utmost interest and care for every person who is a part of it. Real-life figures like Pepper Lebeija,  Dorian Corey, Octavia St. Laurent, and Venus Xtravaganza start to feel like friends by the end of the film’s speedy 78 minutes. While it has its issues, at its core Paris is Burning is an effortlessly lovable celebration of ballroom culture that has proved to be incredibly influential.

Where to Watch: Max, The Criterion Collection


Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ (Neon)

Every 10 years, the British Film Institute conducts the Sight and Sound poll, asking critics around the world for their takes on the greatest films ever made. In 2022, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” was ranked at number 30, the highest ranking for any film from the 2010s. This profoundly emotional period piece follows the romance of two women, Heloise and Marianne, as they spend a week together on an isolated island off the coast of France. With accolades from the Cannes Film Festival, Cesar Awards and European Film Awards, director Celine Sciamma has earned her title as one of, if not the most, acclaimed female filmmakers of her generation. One of the most gorgeous films I’ve seen, both in photography and thematics, this is one of my personal all-time favorites.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Kanopy


Pride (2014)

‘Pride’ (CBS)

A feel-good activism story brimming with humor and heart, Matthew Warchus’ Pride is a touching film set during the conservative Thatcher era in Britain as gay activists work to aid miners during the U.K. miner strike of 1984-85. The cast is stacked featuring phenomenal British actors like Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine, Dominic West, and George MacKay who are all great in their respective roles. There are not many fiction films about activism as good as this.

Where to Watch: Showtime, DirecTV


Straight Up (2019)

‘Straight Up’ (Strand)

A light, fun screwball rom-com, James Sweeney’s debut is a fresh take on traditional romantic comedy tropes. The film lives and dies on the chemistry of its two leads Sweeney and Katie Findlay, two characters who long for love but find something standing in the way of them being a perfect couple. Reminiscent of classic rom coms like His Girl Friday and When Harry Met Sally in its witty banter, Sweeney translates the feel of those movies to a new generation with different preoccupations.

Where to Watch: Netflix, Kanopy


Stranger by the Lake (2013)

‘Stranger by the Lake’ (Strand)

Fantastic cinematography from Claire Mathon, an atmosphere filled with dread, and deft direction from Alain Guiraudie come together in Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake. This is a film about risk and passion, addiction and attraction led by captivating turns from Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou, and Patrick d’Assumcao as summer occupants of a lakeside gay cruising beach.

Where to Watch: Kanopy


Tangerine (2015)

‘Tangerine’ (Magnolia)

Bursting with raw energy, Tangerine is so much damn fun. Powered by two alternatingly hilarious, tender, and passionate performances from Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor, Tangerine is a whirlwind of a film that takes you on the journey of hookers Sin-Dee and Alexandra who scour Los Angeles looking for Chester, the pimp that cheated on Sin-Dee. The film was shot on iPhones and consists of mostly non-actors and first-time actors, accentuating the film’s realism. But don’t be fooled by director Sean Baker’s realist aesthetic, this is one of the most unabashedly entertaining indie dramas in recent years.

Where to Watch: Max, Hoopla, Kanopy, DirecTV


Tongues Untied (1989)

‘Tongues Untied’ (Frameline)

A film based on the thesis that Black men loving other Black men is a revolutionary act, Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied is an essential film both in its social and political content. This is a film built from the art of not only Marlon Riggs but numerous Black gay voices from poets to activists. It’s an incredible film made with an infectious amount of passion that depicts intersectionality in a way that makes its audience think and feel deeply.

Where to Watch: The Criterion Collection, Kanopy, Ovid


Tropical Malady (2004)

;Tropical Malady’ (Strand)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul has a lyrical cinematic style that is completely his own. His cinema is deeply mystical, atmospheric, and aware of nature. Split into two halves, Weerasethakul’s best film Tropical Malady is both a wonderfully shot gay romance and a story steeped in Thai legends, populated by shamans, surreal magical realism, and mystical forces. It’s a film that lives completely on its own wavelength and if you share that wavelength, you will fall in love with it.

Where to Watch: Kanopy


The Watermelon Woman (1996)

‘The Watermelon Woman’ (First Run)

This comedy follows a Black lesbian filmmaker named Cheryl (director Cheryl Dunye playing herself) who dives into the life of an actress billed as the Watermelon Woman who was known for playing “mammy” archetypes in the 1930s. Cheryl simultaneously looks for love in this hilarious rom-com mockumentary, which sits at the intersection of race, sex, history, love, and queerness.

Where to Watch: Showtime, Kanopy, DirecTV, Fandor


The Way He Looks (2014)

‘The Way He Looks’ (Strand)

Endearingly cute and wonderfully romantic, Daniel Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks is an adorable Brazilian coming of age story about a blind child finding first love. This touching film unabashedly wears its heart on its sleeve and features a great soundtrack, charming performances, and a genuine sense of empathy for its characters.

Where to Watch: Kanopy


Weekend (2011)

‘Weekend’ (IFC)

As intimate and sensitive as romantic dramas can be, Andrew Haigh’s phenomenal feature Weekend is a genuine examination of sex and love in modern gay relationships. It’s an effortlessly endearing film that’s at times sexy, hilarious, thoughtful, and critical. Both Tom Cullen and Chris New give vulnerable naturalistic performances, their character’s flaws and preoccupations bared in full view to the audience.

Where to Watch: AMC+, The Criterion Collection, Tubi, Kanopy, DirecTV, PlutoTV