These days, queer movies come in all shapes and styles, from beautifully edited biopics (“Milk”) to rom-coms for kids (“Love, Simon”). It’s a good thing; you want queer art to enjoy variety and novelty and appeal to all audiences in the LGBTQ community. But sometimes you want something very specific from a queer film; you want it to be sexy as hell.
When queer movies first started making their way into the mainstream in the early 1990s through films like ‘Philadelphia’, they tended to be slightly sanitized, lacking much in the way of physical representations of intimacy. (In “Philadelphia,” Hanks’ lead character famously never kisses his partner.) That has changed as the years have gone by. Thanks to movies like ‘Brokeback Mountain’, there are now plenty of modern examples of queer movies that aren’t shy about their leads. But there’s a longer history of sexy queer cinema that stretches back well before the 1990s, even though many of those films were made by independent creators and were underseen.
Some of these films even faced censorship due to their content, such as the short film ‘Un Chant D’Amour’, which only featured gay scenes through symbolism. Other films, such as Chantal Akerman’s “Je, Tu, Il, Elle” or Pedro Almodóvar’s “Law of Desire” broke boundaries in that they explicitly featured gay love. There is always debate about the “necessity” of sex scenes in cinema, but films like that of Akerman or Almodóvar demonstrate why these intimate portraits can be vital tools, conveying something about characters and queer life that you couldn’t if everyone kept their clothes on .
In celebration of Pride Month, IndieWire has rounded up the 22 hottest, hottest, and/or sexiest movies in the queer canon. Titles range from cult hits and arthouse films like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and ‘Querelle’ to more traditional works like ‘Bound’ and ‘Call Me By Your Name’. Some of the movies are sexy to the balls, like John Cameron Mitchell’s unsimulated ‘Shortbus’. Others, like “Cruel Intentions,” have no explicit queer sex depicted in them, but gain their erotic power through queer kissing and rising sexual tension. Regardless of the content of the movies, they all share something in common; they are so hot that it is difficult to look at them without blushing.
Entries are listed chronologically, from early queer classics like “Un Chant D’Amour” to modern favorites like “God’s Own Country.”
With editorial contributions from Alison Foreman.