Some of the best and most controversial documentaries and dramas of the last 30 years have emerged from the evolving issue of gay rights. This fall, Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall casts back to the explosive origins of gay pride, spilling onto the streets of a recreated 1969 Greenwich Village. But for viewers who want the facts (and a little more depth), we can think of 10 worthier films.
10 essential movies about gay rights
With a new drama, Stonewall, restaging the 1969 riots in Greenwich Village, we choose the films you should start with
Essential movies about gay rights, A–Z
Giving its viewers the power to see with new eyes, this well-researched exfoliation of Hollywood’s LGBT stereotypes raised awareness of longtime onscreen representations. At its heart is a issue that became a clarion call for organizations like GLAAD—the right of a community to see itself accurately rendered, not slandered or mocked for our entertainment.
A self-filmed chronicle of AIDS activism pitched at a dramatic wail, director David France’s devastating montage is built wholly out of ’80s videography. Here is Jesse Helms, railing in Congress against “revolting” gay people. Here is playwright Larry Kramer, erupting in an ACT UP meeting with biblical fury (“Plague! We are in the middle of a plague!”). And throughout are the pink-triangled young people, hounding Bill Clinton on the campaign trail, chaining themselves to buildings, learning the viral science and making their cause an emblem.