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Media Beat

5 Films to Watch This Pride Month

This June, we’re highlighting LGBTQIA+ films in the Media Services collection, from underseen gems to groundbreaking classics and seminal documentaries. The chosen films span multiple genres, and they uplift unique voices in the film industry and LGBTQIA+ community.  All of these films are available to be checked out from Media Services.

two men in a bed with one overlooking the other

(Signal Bleed)

These films are all significant in their own way. For instance, the only overt horror film on this list, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) is a perplexing horror sequel because it’s so thematically different from its counterparts. In the film, Freddy Kreuger attempts to possess a teenage boy, Jesse (Mark Patton), to wreak havoc in the real world. Although not technically made explicit, Jesse’s struggle to subdue Freddy is a metaphor for the internal conflict he feels regarding his repressed sexuality. Patton himself identifies as gay and has joked that he was the “first male scream queen.” Although writer David Chaskin first claimed the homoerotic subtext came from Patton’s performance, he later admitted that it was included intentionally. Many genre fans have claimed that Freddy’s Revenge is “the gayest horror film ever made.” 

still image from the movie,"To wong foo..."  Three male characters in women's dress.

(The Belcourt Theatre)

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) follows three drag queens (Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo) as they embark on a cross-country road trip only to be stranded in a small rural town. In order to get into their roles, the three lead actors spent time in New York City’s drag scene. After filming, Swayze gifted Tiffany & Co. makeup compacts to each of the drag queens he had gotten to know during filming. The film is praised for its performances and themes of tolerance, acceptance, and community. 

Still image of a woman, police officer and male smoking a cigarette.

(Roger Ebert)

William Friedkin’s Cruising (1980) was met with immense backlash during and after production. In the film, Al Pacino plays a police officer who goes undercover to infiltrate New York’s queer S&M subculture and find a serial killer who’s targeting gay men. It was critically panned and nominated for several Razzies after it was released, but the film has been embraced by the community in recent years. 

Two males holding martini drinks

(Musings Oscilloscope)

Rope (1948) is known for being Alfred Hitchcock’s first color film, and it employs a unique filming technique to appear as several long continuous shots. After strangling their classmate to death, two roommates stuff the body into a chest, invite his friends and family over, and stage a celebratory party to prove that they can get away with the perfect crime. Made during the Hays Code era, the film was banned in several American cities because of the implied homosexual relationship between Phillip (Farley Granger) and Brandon (John Dall). Granger, Dall, and the film’s screenwriter, Arthur Laurents, all identified as gay and used their personal identities to imbue the film with layers of not-so-subtle subtext.

Still image from the movie "the Celluloid Closet" a woman smoking a cigarette and a man looking at her.


The Celluloid Closet (1995) is an illuminating documentary about the history of onscreen LGBTQIA+ representation in Hollywood. Featuring numerous interviews and plenty of rare footage, this documentary highlights a portion of Hollywood’s history that isn’t widely discussed. The film chronicles how representation was different before the Hays Code era, how filmmakers used subtext and innuendo to get around the Hays Code, and how representation shifted in the late 20th century. 

For more information on the LGBTQIA+ films in the Media Services collection, check out our library guide

Chloe Fulk is a recent graduate who majored in cinema and media studies. In addition to working at Media Services, she also works as a script reader for the Austin Film Festival.

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