Top 10 Gay Moments in Film

September 1 2010

The classic 1997 adaptation of Martin Sherman’s play, Bent, is released on dual-format (DVD and Blu-Ray) on September 6th.  In celebration of one of the most moving depictions of love in cinema we take a look back over some of cinema’s greatest gay moments.

Bent Film Page

Vicky Christina Barcelona

Woody Allen’s 2008 romantic drama drew immediate media attention with the promise of a steamy lip-lock between Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz.

Christina (Johansson) and María Elena (Cruz) meet through mutual love interest, Bardem’s Juan Antonio.  The two beauties share Juan Antonio’s affections until one evening, while developing Christina’s photographs in the dark room, Christina and María Elena share a passionate kiss which we are told leads to an evening of lovemaking.

Little Ashes

Robert Pattinson stars in this Spanish-British drama chronicling Salvador Dalí’s early days at university in Madrid.

In the film, Pattinson’s Dalí and Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltran) become closer as the two spend more and more time together, forming the epicentre of bohemian Madrid culture.  The scene pictured above marks the culmination of their intense friendship and the beginning of a new, doomed era in their relationship in a suitably impassioned fashion.

Go Fish

A lesbian themed drama written by Rose Troche and her then girlfriend, Guinevere Turner, telling the interwoven stories of a group of lesbian friends in Chicago.

Our chosen moment comes when Max and Ely, who had previously kissed only to be interrupted by a phone call from Ely’s partner Kate, finally re-connect for a second date: except they never make it out of the apartment!   The scene marks the end of Max’s 10 month long dry-spell, and as the credits contain shots and scenes of the couple’s new relationship, the start of something beautiful.

Beautiful Thing

An unlikely success story for Channel 4 Films in 1996 tells the tale of two teenagers coming to terms with their homosexuality in a council estate in Thamesmead, South East London.

Jamie is secretly infatuated with his classmate, and is bullied at school for his quiet nature and dislike of football, despite keeping his homosexuality concealed.  The subject of his infatuation, Ste, happens to live next door, and one night suffers a beating at the hands of his brother leading Jamie’s mother, Sandra to take pity on him and let him stay.  The two boys are forced to sleep top-to-tail until the second night, after Jamie nurses Ste’s wounds with lotion, the two quickly change sleeping arrangements and share their first kiss.

Desert Hearts

Desert Hearts is the 1985 loose adaptation of Jane Rule’s novel Desert of the Heart, and is notable for being the first film to portray a lesbian relationship in which both protagonists enjoy a satisfactory ending.

Vivian (Helen Shaver) who’s caught in the middle of a divorce meets Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), a free-spirited sculptor at a women’s guest house which Cay’s surrogate mother owns.  The scene pictured above is the ladies’ kiss which follows a build up in emotions and tension between the two.  Vivian is so surprised at her passionate response to Cay’s kiss that she immediately begs her to drive her home.

Y Tu Mamá También

The 2001 Mexican coming of age tale everyone remembers for the fantastic performances and kiss shared by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna.

The two Mexican actors play best friends Julio (Bernal) and Tenoch (Luna), on the threshold of adulthood and bored without their girlfriends.  After meeting Luisa, the pair become equally enamoured with her and invite her to join them to an invented beach with them.  The three travel through rural Mexico, each boy eventually enjoying a passionate moment or two with the object of their affection.  The boys inevitably begin to fight until Luisa threatens to leave the both of them and the quarrel is put aside.  Later, after an evening of much drinking, the three retire to the bedroom, where while being ‘entertained’ by Luisa, the boys enjoy a passionate kiss marking the end of their friendship, as the two return home in the morning and drift apart.

Boys Don’t Cry

The 1999 classic won Hilary Swank an Oscar and Chloe Sevigny an Oscar nomination for their performances, depicting transgender Brandon’s struggle in society and love for Sevigny’s Lana.

Brandon is a female-to-male pre-op transsexual who meets Lana in Falls City, Nebraska after befriending John Lotter (Peter Saarsgard).  The sex scene between Brandon and Lana was hugely controversial as Lana’s orgasm was considered too “visceral”, but is also crucial in building the bond between the two to increase the pathos at the climax of the film when the truth of Brandon’s gender is revealed and he is brutally raped and later murdered.

My Beautiful Laundrette

Daniel Day Lewis shocked everyone in this 1985 classic from Stephen Frears which was a stark contrast to his other breakout film, Room with a View.

The two protagonists, Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis) and Omar (Gordon Warneck) represent ‘the outsider’ in 1980s London: Omar from the Pakistani community, Johnny from the punk, both representing the gay.  The audience is surprised when Omar approaches the leader of the abusive punk group, Johnny, and even more surprised later when the two share a sudden kiss.

Brokeback Mountain

Winning a record-breaking number of awards, this tragic tale of forbidden love between Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack and the late Heath Ledger’s Ennis has quickly become a classic within the world of gay interest cinema.

The two ranch hands meet when they are hired to herd Joe Aguirre’s sheep on the fictional Brokeback Mountain, where after a night of drinking Jack makes a pass at Ennis which is initially rejected but eventually returned.  After learning their time on Brokeback will be unexpectedly cut short, the two physically fight.  After four years separated, Jack comes to visit Ennis, despite the fact the two of them are both married and fathers.  The moment the two are reunited, they enjoy a seemingly private and very passionate kiss, unknowingly watched by Ennis’ wife, Alma.  The scene is hugely powerful, with four years’ worth of unspoken feelings pouring out into that kiss.


The 1997 adaptation of Martin Sherman’s play of the same name tells the relatively untold story of homosexual prosecution in Nazi Germany and Dachau camp.

Max meets Horst on the train to Dachau having failed to escape the Gestapo with his former partner, Rudy whom he is forced to kill by the Gestapo officers on board the train.  Horst becomes Max’s close ally, though Max initially pretends not to be gay to avoid wearing the feared pink triangle – seen in the Nazis’ eyes as the worst of the badges given to the camps’ prisoners.  Under the watchful eye of the Gestapo officers, Max and Horst are never allowed to physically express their developing love for each other, and therefore must become more imaginative.  The two enjoy an erotic and yet touching verbal exchange leaving both sated and emotionally closer still. 


BENT is available to buy from September 6th 2010 through Park Circus.

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