Opening the Vault: A Chronological History of Queer Interest & LGBTQ+ Cinema

The last few years have not only brought LGBTQ+ films and stories further into the mainstream, but queer films have dominated awards seasons and also found viable commercial success. This has been a long time coming: The New Queer Cinema was a major influence on the indie film boom of the ’90s, and set the bar for the many queer films to follow.

The purpose of this list is to offer a chronological look at all the films that have had any significant lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer content over the years.

Now, there are legions of reasons why a movie could be considered essential to the LGBTQ+ community. As such, this broad and comprehensive list includes films that…

  • The Student of Prague
  • A Florida Enchantment
  • Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages
  • The Wings
  • A Modern Musketeer
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • I Don't Want to Be a Man
  • Broken Blossoms
  • Different from the Others
  • Yankee Doodle in Berlin
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Le ménage du Madame Butterfly
  • Blood and Sand
  • Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler
  • Grandma's Boy
  • Manslaughter
  • Nosferatu
  • Salomé
  • Ponjola
  • Michael
  • Monsieur Beaucaire
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
  • The Monster
  • Oberst Redl
  • Parisian Love
  • Beverly of Graustark
  • Brown of Harvard
  • Exit Smiling
  • Faust
  • Fig Leaves
  • Flesh and the Devil
  • For Heaven's Sake
  • Irene
  • Heaven on Earth
  • Laws of Love: Innocently Outlawed!
  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
  • A Wanderer Of The West
  • Wings
  • Beggars of Life
  • The Matinee Idol
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • Princesse Mandane
  • Sex in Chains
  • Show People
  • The Broadway Melody
  • A Cottage on Dartmoor
  • The Desert Song
  • Diary of a Lost Girl
  • Finis terrae
  • Lady of the Pavements
  • Pandora's Box
  • The Talk of Hollywood
  • Why Bring That Up?
  • The Wild Party
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • The Blue Angel
  • Borderline
  • The Golden Calf
  • Just Imagine
  • Let Us Be Gay
  • Ludwig II, King of Bavaria
  • The Matrimonial Bed
  • Morocco
  • Murder!
  • The Office Wife
  • Way Out West
  • Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • City Lights
  • Frankenstein
  • Mädchen in Uniform
  • Iron Man
  • Little Caesar
  • M
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Manhattan Parade
  • The Public Enemy
  • Tabu
  • Blonde Venus
  • The Blood of a Poet
  • Call Her Savage
  • Freaks
  • Hell's Highway
  • Island of Lost Souls
  • Movie Crazy
  • The Old Dark House
  • Roar of the Dragon
  • The Sign of the Cross
  • The Sport Parade
  • Three on a Match
  • White Zombie
  • Blood Money
  • Christopher Strong
  • Diplomaniacs
  • Double Harness
  • Flying Down to Rio
  • International House
  • The Invisible Man
  • Ladies They Talk About
  • Myrt And Marge