Beyond “Brokeback”: Obscure Gay Movies

Wearing your copy of Brokeback Mountain down to the bare nubbins from so many viewings? Finding yourself mouthing the words to the non-musical Glee scenes? Then chances are you could use some new gay movies and shows to check out. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of obscure, forgotten, or underappreciated gay and gay-interest entertainments that you might want to track down. We’ve also given handy comparisons to more popular works so you know what to expect. Happy viewing!

If you liked Oz, then you should check out…


Fortune and Men’s Eyes (1971)

Based on the groundbreaking play of the same name, this film about power and passion in prison unfortunately translated to screen as more than a bit homophobic (unlike a notorious Hollywood stage run featuring graphic sex scenes between Sal Mineo and a young Don Johnson – do yourself a favor and Google that one). Yes, it’s a prison movie and there are horrible things that happen, including rape – but it’s still worth seeing for the fabulously over-the-top Queenie (Michael Greer) and for some seriously WTF moments.

If you liked Rent, then you should check out…


Falsettos  (1992)

When William Finn and James Lapine‘s groundbreaking musical opened on Broadway in 1992, it was one-of-a-kind: the story of a gay man who comes out to his wife and son and deals with love and loss in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Pithy, funny (with songs like “Four Jews in a Room Bitching”), and extremely moving, the music and lyrics still hold up today. Do yourself a favor and pick up the original cast recording, or try to find a local production near you.

If you liked Brokeback Mountain, then you should check out…


Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

One of the few movies based on a song, Ode to Billy Joe was a surprise to many for its portrayal of a young man tormented by his sexual identity. Robby Benson brought the doomed character from Bobbie Gentry‘s haunting hit song to life on the screen, and it was pretty bold for the filmmakers to make Billy’s being gay the key to the song’s mystery. Of course, it wasn’t the happiest story, but we all know Hollywood loves a doomed gay romance…

If you liked The Rocky Horror Picture Show, then you should check out…


The Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Two years before his megahit Carrie (and a year before the movie version of cult stage phenomenon Rocky Horror hit theaters), Brian De Palma delivered Phantom, a glam rock opera unlike no other. While its Faustian love story is decidedly more hetero than Rocky Horror‘s, the film does feature an iconic performance by frequent De Palma collaborator Garrit Graham as Beef, a testosterone-fueled rock god who’s actually a flaming sissy off-stage. Watch for De Palma’s campy sendup of the classic Psycho shower scene, years before he would reinvent the moment in his sleaze classic Dressed to Kill.

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