kaos top 30 gay films

Shank (2009)
W
elcome to the kaos Top 30 Gay Films of all time. These lists are always subjective, and everyone has their own favourites (usually the okay-ish Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, the soulless A Single Man, or the overrated Brokeback Mountain). I haven't included documentaries - hence the reason Paris Is Burning isn't on the list - or shorts.

What has been left out? Is your favourite rated too high, or too low? Be sure to let me know what you think!

30
Ethan Mao
(USA, 2004)
How many films have there been about gay Asian Americans? Name five. Okay, name two... Quentin Lee's thriller is rough and raw, but it has a big heart and it's edge-of-the-seat gripping.

29
Rope
(USA, 1948)
It's Alfred Hitchcock. It's James Stewart. It's 1948. Enough said, I think.

28
Boy Culture
(USA, 2006)
Q. Allan Brocka's Boy Culture is good, solid sexy fun. Darryl Stephens plays it butch.

27
浮気なぼくら (Naughty Boys)
(Japan, 2003)
"Two Japanese boys go on a real life Manga adventure," Amazon's description reads. That gives you a sense of what Imaizumi Koichi's Naughty Boys is like. It is, simply, bonkers.

26
I Love You Phillip Morris
(USA, 2009)
Largely unloved by the gays, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's bitter-sweet true story is much better than other big budget Hollywood stabs at portraying the gays (such as the lumbering, overrated Brokeback Mountain).

25
Trick
(USA, 1999)
This picture is insanely cute. If you could bottle the warmth and love this film exudes, you'd get Steve Hayes - who, by the way, isn't in Trick enough. Always leave them wanting more.

24
Sibak (Midnight Dancers)
(Philippines, 1994)
Gritty and truthful, Mel Chionglo's downbeat tale of "macho dancing" at Club Exotica manages to be sexy and even occasionally funny. There have been many films on the subject, but Sibak remains the definite article.

23
עיניים פקוחות (Eyes Wide Open)
(Israel, 2009)
Achingly romantic and beautifully shot, director Haim Tabakman's picture takes us into a closed society most of us would never even think about. Simply fascinating.

22
Drôle de Félix (The Adventures Of Felix)
(France, 2000)
The best thing you can do this weekend is to go with Félix on his road trip. Trust me on that. Joyful, funny, and just wonderful, this is one journey you won't want to miss.

21
Sud Pralad (Tropical Malady)
(Thailand, 2004)
Hypnotic, mesmerising, and visually stunning, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's weird and wonderful film is a masterpiece. 

20
In Extremis (To The Extreme)
(France, 2000)
Etienne Faure directed this haunting, surreal beauty of a film. Jérémy Sanguinetti as 13-year-old Gregoire is superb, and the last, heartbreaking scene - segueing to Mercury Rev's Holes - will stay with you forever.

19
Do Começo ao Fim (From Beginning To End)
(Brazil, 2009)
Aluizio Abranches' controversial film about brotherly love is beautifully underplayed, and beautifully shot. Despite the fuss, it's just a love story. 

18
He liu (The River)
(Taiwan, 1997)
Tsai Ming-Liang's films are in a league of their own. Silence, isolation and despair fill ever second of this disturbing - yet weirdly beautiful - picture. Watch out for the most disturbing gay sauna scene you're likely to see on screen.

17
Another Gay Movie
(USA, 2006)
Young, dumb, and full of... You get the picture. Loud and proud, Another Gay Movie delivers the kind of carefree teen comedy straight kids take for granted. A true guilty pleasure.

16
Brother To Brother
(USA, 2004)
Rodney Evans directed this thoughtful and intelligent study of the Harlem Renaissance. Anthony Mackie stars.

15
My Own Private Idaho
(USA, 1991)
River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves star in Gus Van Sant’s haunting tale of two street hustlers. It's endlessly fascinating, and effortlessly beautiful.

14
Mysterious Skin
(USA, 2004)
Gruelling isn't the word for Gregg Araki's deeply disturbing picture about child abuse. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is brilliant.

13
Chuecatown (Boystown)
(Spain, 2007)
One of the funniest films on our list, Boystown is a riotous laughfest. Juan Flahn directed.

12
Milk
(USA, 2008)
Gus Van Sant directed this accomplished picture about a gay icon, and Sean Penn is brilliant in the title role.

11
Shank
(UK, 2009)
Raw, uncompromising and yet occasionally romantic, Simon Pearce's Shank is a cold, hard look at urban Britain. A sequel is in the works.

10
El cielo dividido (Broken Sky)
(Mexico, 2006)
Director Julián Hernández's depiction of a near wordless love triangle between three young men is breathtaking in its beauty, and truly jaw-dropping in its intensity. A key scene in a club, shown twice but from two different points of view, will leave your head spinning. Amazing.

9
Leave It On The Floor
(USA, 2011)
Formulaic films like The Skinny and Finding Me are proof that black gay cinema can be as devoid of ideas as the rest of the gay film canon. Sheldon Larry's big, colourful, sexy film about the ballroom scene redresses the balance.

8
Longtime Companion
(USA, 1990)
Frightening and heartbreaking, this isn't an easy film to watch, but nevertheless it's one of the most important on our list, and one you won't ever forget. Essential.

7
My Beautiful Laundrette
(UK, 1985)
Stephen Frears' iconic gay cinema classic also features on of the sexiest scenes in any movie. Champgane for everybody!

6
The Killing Of Sister George
(UK, 1968)
Beryl Reid steals the show in this funny, moving dyke masterpiece. You'll hate Coral Browne's Mercy Croft as much as we do.

5
Keiner liebt mich (Nobody Loves Me)
(Germany, 1994)
Nobody Loves Me is a very black comedy by director Doris Dörrie, in which 29-year-old Fanny (Maria Schrader) - who's obsessed with death - and her black, gay psychic neighbour, Orfeo (Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss) - who's dying of AIDS - take centre stage. Édith Piaf's Non, je ne regrette rien is the film's theme, and the whole cast and crew gather to sing it in the closing credits. A joyful, funny and deeply moving picture, we love it to bits.

4
Philadelphia
(USA, 1993)
It's 1993. It's ground zero. This is testimony from the frontline, and it's like a knife in guts. Worth it for the opening sequence alone.

3
The Boys In The Band
(US, 1970)
What can we say about Mart Crowley's timeless, infinitely quotable classic that hasn't been said before? It's legendary, and rightfully so. Crayton Robey's excellent documentary Making The Boys is an essential companion piece.

2
The Birdcage
(USA, 1996)
Robin Williams is perfect. Nathan Lane is perfect. Mike Nichols' comedy is perfect. You won't stop laughing, and you'll come back again, again and again.

1
Beautiful Thing
(UK, 1996)
The poster says it all: this urban fairytale really is a beautiful thing - and it's the winner! Based on a play by Jonathan Harvey, blessed with a brilliant cast (Tameka Empson and Linda Henry steal the show from the boys) and featuring a killer soundtrack (Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass score's Jamie's first flush of teen love). It's the best coming out/coming of age story you'll ever see, and it's our number gay film of all time.

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For editorial reasons, this article was updated to remove two entries on 25 March 2015.

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