LGBTQ+ love stories are becoming more mainstream this century, with The Imitation Game, Pride, and other movies and shows becoming more and more popular. Despite the hype in mainstream media, there is still a lack of acceptance in LGBTQ+ individuals and their rights. It isn’t always easy coming out, and some people still can’t accept that being part of the LGBTQ+ community is now an embraced way of life.
Pride Month takes place every June and is a celebration of LGBTQ+ pride. The month began after the Stonewall Riots 1969, a series of gay liberation protests. In homage to Pride Month and the many award-nominated films this year and in year’s past, this article will examine the LBGTQ+ movies that delivered some of the most iconic lines in queer film history.
10 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy horror film based on the 1973 musical stage production of the same name. The film stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Neil Campbell, and Patricia Quinn. The story follows a young, engaged couple whose car breaks down in the rain in an isolated area. They must seek shelter at a nearby castle that is occupied by strangers in elaborate costumes. The head of the house is the mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter (Curry) who is actually an alien transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania.
An iconic movie in its own right, Curry also delivered an absolute iconic line, stating: “Give yourself over to absolute pleasure. Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh – erotic nightmares beyond any measure, and sensual daydreams to treasure forever. Can’t you just see it? Don’t dream it, be it.”
Released in 2014, Pride is a British historical comedy-drama film based on a true story. It follows a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to assist families affected by the British miners’ strike in 1984, which would then become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. The film stars Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Ben Schnetzer.
In one scene Mark (Schnetzer) is told by a group of gay guys that they have been called perverts. In response, he says, “Now, there is a long and honorable tradition in the gay community, and it has stood us in good stead for a very long time. When somebody calls you a name…you take it and own it.”
8 The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 coming-of-age drama film based on Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 novel of the same name. The film follows Charlie (Lerman), a teenager who writes to an unnamed friend about his trials, tribulations, and triumphs as he makes his way through his freshman year of high school.
The film also highlights his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. In one scene, Charlie states, “My doctor said we can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there.”
Starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, Philadelphia is a 1993 legal drama film that tells the story of a gay man named Andrew Beckett (Hanks) who asks Joe Miller (Washington), a lawyer, to help him sue his employers after they fired him for having AIDS. In a statement to reporters, Miller made a statement that declared that the Constitution was not made only for straight men, but rather that all men are created equal, whether they are gay, straight, black, or white.
He said, “We’re standing here in Philadelphia, the, uh, City of Brotherly Love, the birthplace of freedom where the, uh, founding fathers authored the Declaration of Independence, and I don’t recall that glorious document saying anything about all straight men are created equal. I believe it says all men are created equal.”
6 The Birdcage
While Robin Williams was considered for the role as Joe Miller in Philadelphia, he would still ultimately end up starring in a film about gay love. The 1996 comedy film The Birdcage is about a drag queen club owner and his drag queen companion who agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée’s right-wing moralistic parents.
In an argument with his son Val, Armand tells him, “Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middle-aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me 20 years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that. Fuck the senator, I don’t give a damn what he thinks.” A true testament that you should never change yourself to make someone else like or approve of you.
D.E.B.S. is a 2004 action-comedy film that is a feature-length version of the 2003 short film of the same name. Starring Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster, Meagan Good, Devon Aoki, and Jill Ritchie, the film follows the relationship between spy-in-training Amy Bradshaw (Foster) and supervillain Lucy Diamond (Brewster). While the film was a box office bomb upon release, it would eventually go on to become a cult film.
Despite being enemies, Amy and Lucy grow close over the film and eventually begin dating. When discovered, Amy says that she thinks “love should be irresistible. It’s a drug, you know? I think when it happens you should just not be able to help yourself.”
4 Dallas Buyers Club
Dallas Buyers Club is a 2012 biographical drama film that tells the story of Ron Woodroof, played by Matthew McConaughey, who is an AIDS patient diagnosed in the mid-1980s. During this time, the HIV/AIDS pathogenesis and treatments were not understood and the disease (and anyone with it) was stigmatized. Woodroof became a part of an ongoing experimental AIDS treatment movement and smuggled in unapproved pharmaceutical drugs to Texas to treat his symptoms. He established the “Dallas Buyers Club” to distribute them to fellow AIDS patients.
In one scene, Woodroof states that he wants than just a regular life, saying, “Ice-cold beer, a little riding in. well, take my woman dancing. You know? I want kids. I mean, I got one…one life, right? But sh…fuck, I want somebody else’s sometimes. Sometimes I just feel like I’m fighting for a life I just ain’t got time to live. I want it to mean something.”
Milk is a 2008 biographical film that tells the true story of a gay rights activist and politician named Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Sean Penn stars as Milk, and in the last lines of the film in a voiceover, he states, “I ask this…if there should be an assassination, I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out – if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door…and that’s all.
I ask for the movement to continue. Because it’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power…it’s about the “us’s” out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s. Without hope, the us’s give up – I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So, you, and you, and you…You gotta give em’ hope…you gotta give em’ hope.”
Released in 2010, Kaboom is a comedy-drama film starring Thomas Dekker, Juno Temple, Haley Bennett, and James Duval. The film follows the sexual adventures of a group of college students and their investigation of a cult. It was awarded the first-ever Queer Palm Award for its contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issues.
In a scene, Stella (Bennett) states the truth about college, saying, “College is just an intermission between high school and the rest of your life. It’s four years of having sex, making stupid mistakes, and experiencing stuff. It’s a pit stop, not the second coming of the Messiah.”
1 A Single Man
One film delivers a line that reminds us what people really mean when they talk about minorities, that it’s not about the number of people in that group, but what that group means for everyone else. A Single Man is a 2009 period romantic drama film based on Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel of the same name. Colin Firth stars as George Falconer, a depressed gay British university professor in 1962 Southern California.
He states, “Let’s leave the Jews out of this just for a moment. Let’s think of another minority. One that…one that can go unnoticed if it needs to. There are all sorts of minorities – blondes, for example…or people with freckles. But a minority is only thought of as one when it constitutes some kind of threat to the majority. A real threat or an imagined one. And therein lies the fear. If the minority is someone invisible, then the fear is much greater. That fear is why the minority is persecuted. So, you see, there always is a cause. The cause is fear. Minorities are just people. People like us.”