The greatest LGBTQ+ drama movies are like hidden gems waiting to be discovered. They have captivating stories that will transport you to another world, characters that will leave a lasting impression, and moments that will tug at your heartstrings. These movies explore a wide range of subjects, sometimes subtly and other times boldly, making them all the more intriguing. What’s truly remarkable is that they come from both big studios and independent distributors, proving that great storytelling knows no bounds. Some of the crème de la crème LGBTQ+ drama films, like Brokeback Mountain and Moonlight, have even earned prestigious Academy Award recognition. It’s undeniable that these movies hold immense significance in shaping our cultural landscape.
This list showcases dramas that revolve around the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals. So, get ready to embark on a captivating journey and discover your new favorite LGBTQ+ drama film. You have the power to elevate these movies to the top of the list by giving them your seal of approval. If none of the movies resonate with you, don’t worry; you can give them a little thumbs down. And if you have a personal favorite that hasn’t made the cut, fear not! Add it to the list and watch as other users rate your choice. Let’s come together and celebrate the profound impact of these extraordinary LGBTQ+ drama movies.
1. Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain is a captivating drama that has received critical acclaim, winning three Academy Awards. The film takes place in the vast landscapes of Wyoming and Texas, providing a stunning backdrop for the story. It revolves around the lives of two young men, Ennis Del Mar portrayed by Heath Ledger and Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Their paths cross for the first time in the summer of 1963 when they work as sheepherders. As time goes by, they develop a deep and enduring bond that spans years, navigating through complex emotions and societal constraints. Director Ang Lee brings a subtle and nuanced approach to the film, perfectly complementing Larry McMurtry’s skillful screenplay adaptation of Annie Proulx’s novella. This collaboration between director, writer, and source material results in an unforgettable cinematic experience. Brokeback Mountain is a film that showcases both the raw beauty of its setting and the quiet intensity of its characters. Above all, it serves as a poignant exploration of love and longing.
Directed by: Ang Lee
Actors: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini
2. My Own Private Idaho
My Own Private Idaho is a one-of-a-kind American independent adventure drama film that cleverly blends elements of a road movie with a classic Shakespearean tragedy. The story revolves around Mike Waters, a street hustler who suffers from narcolepsy, and Scott Favor, a rebellious heir to a wealthy family. Together, they embark on a journey through the stunning landscapes of the Pacific Northwest in search of Mike’s long-lost mother. This emotionally charged film, directed by Gus Van Sant, has received widespread critical acclaim for its raw portrayal of friendship and self-discovery within the harsh realities of society. Despite being an indie production, My Own Private Idaho has achieved significant recognition, including River Phoenix’s Best Actor award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival.
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Actors: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo
The film Philadelphia is a groundbreaker, telling the story of Andrew Beckett, a talented lawyer portrayed by Tom Hanks. He faces the injustice of being fired by his law firm after they discover he is HIV-positive. Enter Joe Miller, played by Denzel Washington, a small-time attorney who starts off with his own prejudices against people with AIDS. Directed by Jonathan Demme, this drama fearlessly confronts societal discrimination and earned Hanks an Oscar for Best Actor in 1994. As the story unfolds, it unapologetically sheds light on the hardships faced by individuals living with AIDS during a time when awareness was lacking.
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Actors: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jason Robards
In 1909, a guy named Maurice Hall joins Cambridge University. He quickly strikes up a friendship with Clive Durham, who comes from a wealthy background. Clive opens up to Maurice, admitting that he is sexually attracted to him. This revelation causes Maurice to realize that he is also homosexual. Despite their strong feelings for each other, they decide to keep their relationship chaste to avoid any damage to Clive’s reputation. Eventually, their affair comes to an end, and Clive ends up marrying Anne.
During a visit to Clive’s place, Maurice finds himself drawn to Alec Scudder, a servant of his friend.
Directed by: James Ivory
Actors: James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves
5. Angels in America
The AIDS crisis in 1980s America.
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Actors: Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk
6. Boy Erased
Jared Eamons, just your regular small-town Baptist pastor’s kid, finds himself facing the aftermath of being outed as gay to his parents. It’s a tough situation for his mom and dad, as they grapple with their love for him and their deeply rooted beliefs. Afraid of losing the support of their family, friends, and community, Jared is pushed into attending a conversion therapy program. However, this decision sets the stage for a clash between Jared and the program’s leader, ultimately leading Jared on a path of self-discovery and acceptance of his authentic self.
Directed by: Joel Edgerton
Actors: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton
7. The Imitation Game
During World War II, the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, takes charge of a secret team of code-breakers. Their audacious mission? To decipher the seemingly unbreakable Enigma Code used by Germany. Many considered this task impossible. Keira Knightley joins the cast as Joan Clarke, Turing’s confidante and fellow code-breaker.
“The Imitation Game” is a captivating biographical drama that delves into the complexities of war, secrecy, and self-discovery. This critically acclaimed film received an impressive eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. It uncovers a hidden chapter in history, showcasing the power of intellect in the face of insurmountable odds.
Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
8. Beautiful Thing
Shy Jamie (Glen Berry) and athletic Ste (Scott Neal) are two teenage boys living near each other in the London projects. They both have a hunch that they might be gay, and their journey to explore their feelings begins when Ste is given permission to stay over at Jamie’s place following a troubling incident with his abusive father. During their time together, the boys develop a strong bond and start to embrace the idea of homosexuality. Throughout this process, Jamie’s caring mother, Sandra (Linda Henry), and their quirky teenage neighbor, Leah (Tameka Empson), provide much-needed emotional support.
Directed by: Hettie MacDonald
Actors: Linda Henry, Glen Berry, Scott Neal
9. Free Fall
Free Fall is a 1996 war documentary film written and directed by Péter Forgács.
Directed by: Péter Forgács
Actors: Péter Forgács, Tibor Szemző, András Soós
10. Handsome Devil
Handsome Devil is a 2016 Irish drama film that was directed by John Butler. The story revolves around two individuals who couldn’t be more different from each other. One is a loner, while the other is the star athlete at a boarding school that is absolutely obsessed with rugby. Surprisingly, these two opposite personalities manage to form a bond and become friends. However, their friendship is put to the test when the authorities at the school decide to throw some challenges their way.
Directed by: John Butler
Actors: Nicholas Galitzine, Fionn O’Shea
11. Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody is this incredible biographical drama that tells the story of Queen, the British rock band that took the world by storm. The film focuses on Freddie Mercury, the legendary frontman who had this extraordinary talent and charm that propelled the group to unbelievable fame. You’ve got John Deacon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor, the other members of the band, who were also dealing with the challenges that come with being in the spotlight, creative differences, and personal struggles. The movie takes us on this wild ride, showcasing Queen’s mind-blowing live performances, and it all culminates in their historic Live Aid concert in 1985. Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury was so incredible that he even won an Academy Award for it, solidifying Bohemian Rhapsody as a true gem in the world of musical cinema.
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Actors: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee