Skip to Content

The 13 Best Gay Musical Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

The 13 Best Gay Musical Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

Musical films, known for their enchanting harmonies and emotive storytelling, have become a vibrant stage for showcasing the diverse tapestry of human experience, including the lives and loves of the LGBTQ+ community.

This evolution has given rise to the best gay musical movies, a genre that combines the melodic journeys of self-discovery, struggle, and joyous love with the unique perspectives and narratives of gay individuals. In an era advocating for LGBTQ+ recognition and rights, these musical marvels stand out as poignant celebrations of diversity and a testament to the power of song and story.

In this exploration of the best gay musical films, we embark on a journey that transcends both the boundaries of the screen and the conventions of love. We’ll traverse the glitz and glamour of classic Hollywood, where the subtext of coded messages played out beneath the surface of extravagant dance routines.

We’ll dive into modern masterpieces that showcase a newfound openness in portraying LGBTQ+ relationships and struggles. With each film, we’ll uncover the ways in which directors, actors, and musicians collaborated to create a symphony that resonates with audiences of all walks of life.

As we venture deeper into the heart of this genre, we’ll discover how these films have not only brought LGBTQ+ stories to the forefront but have also bridged gaps of understanding, fostering empathy and awareness.

Through melodies that touch the soul and stories that touch the heart, these films have earned their place in the tapestry of human expression, illustrating that love, when set to music, knows no bounds—gender, orientation, or otherwise. So, let us raise the curtain on a symphony of voices, emotions, and experiences that have forever altered the landscape of both cinema and the LGBTQ+ narrative.

Best Gay Musical Movies

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apply TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Pride (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, released in 1975, is a cult classic directed by Jim Sharman. An Australian director, Sharman’s career is marked by his involvement in theater and film productions. He was known for his unconventional approach to storytelling, which is evident in the film’s unique style and themes.

The plot of The Rocky Horror Picture Show revolves around a newly engaged couple, Brad and Janet, who find themselves stranded on a stormy night and seek refuge in a mysterious castle. The eccentric inhabitants, led by the charismatic Dr. Frank-N-Furter, introduce them to a world of bizarre and sensual experiences. As the night unfolds, the couple becomes entangled in a series of surreal events that challenge their notions of conventional morality.

Viewers should consider watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show for its audacious spirit and memorable performances, notably Tim Curry’s iconic portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The film’s celebration of nonconformity and its embrace of diverse identities continue to resonate today. With its timeless appeal, infectious music, and subversive undertones, this cult classic invites audiences to embrace their individuality while reveling in a truly one-of-a-kind cinematic experience.

Hairspray (2007)

Hairspray is a musical comedy film directed by Adam Shankman. Shankman, known for his proficiency in choreography and direction, had previously worked on successful projects like The Wedding Planner (2001) and Bringing Down the House (2003). His diverse background in film and dance allowed him to infuse Hairspray with vibrant energy and flair.

The film is an adaptation of the 2002 Broadway musical, which itself was inspired by John Waters’ 1988 film of the same name. Set in 1962 Baltimore, the story follows Tracy Turnblad, an aspiring dancer with a heart of gold, as she challenges racial segregation norms and strives for inclusivity on a local TV dance show. The narrative juxtaposes the issues of racial inequality and body positivity, portraying them within a lively musical framework.

This film is a must-watch for its toe-tapping music, impressive choreography, and the charming performances by a star-studded cast including Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, and Queen Latifah. Its celebration of diversity and social progress remains relevant, making Hairspray a joyous and heartening cinematic experience that entertains while encouraging a more inclusive world.

Were the World Mine (2008)

Were the World Mine is a 2008 film directed by Tom Gustafson. Known for his distinct approach to storytelling and unique visual style, Gustafson has carved a niche for himself in the world of independent cinema. His filmography showcases a penchant for exploring unconventional narratives and themes.

The film’s plot revolves around a high school student named Timothy, who stumbles upon a magical love potion while preparing for his school’s production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The potion, when applied to a person, makes them fall in love with the first individual they see. As Timothy navigates his own burgeoning feelings for his straight crush, Jonathon, he uses the potion to alter the perspectives of those around him. The movie unfolds into a whimsical and heartwarming tale that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.

Were the World Mine not only features captivating narrative and artistic charm but also for a bold exploration of themes often considered taboo. The film’s seamless blend of music, fantasy, and romance creates an immersive experience that lingers long after the credits roll. Whether one seeks an escape into a world of magic or a poignant reflection on the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, this film offers a compelling and visually stunning cinematic journey.

Holding the Man (2015)

Holding the Man is a 2015 Australian romantic drama film directed by Neil Armfield. Armfield, known for his work in both theatre and film, has a distinguished career marked by a deep exploration of human relationships and emotions. In Holding the Man, Armfield successfully translates these themes onto the screen, creating a poignant and heartrending narrative.

The film is based on Timothy Conigrave’s memoir of the same name, chronicling his enduring love story with John Caleo from their teenage years in the 1970s through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The plot traces their passionate relationship, their struggles with societal prejudices, and the challenges posed by Conigrave’s diagnosis with HIV.

Holding the Man is great for viewers seeking a profound and moving cinematic experience. The film’s masterful storytelling, coupled with its impressive musical sequences and powerful performances, makes it a must-watch.

It serves as a reminder of the enduring power of love and the resilience of the human spirit even in the face of adversity. Holding the Man invites its audience to reflect on the universal themes of love and acceptance, making it a film that resonates long after the credits roll.

Kinky Boots (2005)

Kinky Boots, a 2005 film directed by Julian Jarrold, is a delightful blend of humor, heart, and self-discovery. Julian Jarrold, known for his ability to capture human emotions on screen, had previously directed successful films like Brideshead Revisited and Becoming Jane. His adeptness at crafting emotionally resonant narratives is evident in Kinky Boots.

The film follows the journey of Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton), who inherits his father’s struggling traditional shoe factory. Facing financial turmoil, Charlie stumbles upon an unconventional solution – partnering with drag queen Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to create a line of high-heeled boots for men. The film intricately portrays their evolving friendship as they confront societal norms and their own personal doubts.

As a cinematic experience, Kinky Boots excels in its ability to entertain, educate, and evoke genuine emotions. The charismatic performances, led by Ejiofor’s magnetic portrayal of Lola, contribute to the film’s charm and resonance. Its celebration of diversity and the triumph of self-expression make it an empowering watch for audiences of all backgrounds.

For those seeking a heartwarming story that combines humor, music, and a celebration of individuality, Kinky Boots is an excellent choice. With its poignant message and captivating performances, the film serves as a reminder that embracing one’s true self can lead to unexpected and inspiring transformations.

Svengali (2013)

Svengali is a 2013 film directed by John Hardwick that blends elements of musical and comedy-drama genres. Hardwick, primarily known for his work in television, stepped into the realm of feature films with this project. His experience in directing television series such as EastEnders and Hollyoaks provided him with a strong foundation for portraying character dynamics on screen.

The film centers around the character Dixie, played by Jonny Owen, an aspiring music manager who leaves his mundane life in Wales to pursue his dreams in the vibrant music scene of London. The plot unfolds as Dixie encounters a range of eccentric personalities while managing a band named The Premature Congratulations. Amidst the trials and tribulations of launching a music career, Dixie navigates through comedic mishaps and heartfelt moments.

With its energetic musical sequences and the charming portrayal of characters, Svengali offers an engaging cinematic experience. The film’s unique blend of humor, music, and LGBTQ+ elements contribute to its distinctive appeal.

For those seeking a lighthearted yet meaningful film that captures the spirit of pursuing one’s passions amidst the backdrop of the music industry, Svengali comes highly recommended. Its exploration of personal growth, camaraderie, and self-discovery, combined with the infectious energy of the music, makes it a delightful watch for a diverse audience.

Victor/Victoria (1982)

Victor/Victoria, directed by Blake Edwards in 1982, stands as a remarkable addition to both the director’s filmography and the realm of musical cinema. Edwards, celebrated for his comedic expertise, embarked on an unconventional narrative that revolves around gender identity and sexuality.

The film’s plot follows Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews), a struggling soprano who finds herself impersonating a man named Victor while performing as a female impersonator. The complexity of identity is skillfully woven into the story, presenting a playful exploration of gender roles and sexual orientation in a lighthearted manner.

Within the context of its time, Victor/Victoria also offers a subtle commentary on LGBTQ+ themes, challenging societal norms and preconceptions about sexuality. By blurring the lines between masculinity and femininity, the film raises questions about the fluidity of identity and attraction.

With a talented cast including Julie Andrews, James Garner, and Robert Preston, the film captivates audiences with its humor, wit, and poignant messages. Victor/Victoria remains a cinematic gem that combines comedy, music, and social commentary into an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience. Anyone seeking a delightful exploration of identity, love, and self-discovery should undoubtedly indulge in this cinematic masterpiece.

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Velvet Goldmine, released in 1998 and directed by Todd Haynes, is a captivating exploration of the glam rock era in the 1970s, intertwined with themes of identity, music, and sexuality. Haynes, known for his distinctive narrative style, crafts a visually dazzling and emotionally resonant experience.

The film’s plot revolves around a journalist, played by Christian Bale, who embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind the enigmatic disappearance of a glam rock star, portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. As the journalist delves deeper into the artist’s past, he unravels a tale of fame, excess, and personal transformation, set against a backdrop of glittering performances and extravagant costumes.

Haynes’ direction coupled with mesmerizing performances, including Ewan McGregor’s charismatic turn as a rock star, elevates the film into an evocative experience that transcends its musical and queer narratives. It’s a celebration of self-expression and the search for authenticity, set against a backdrop of music that defined an era.

Intriguing and visually stunning, Velvet Goldmine is a must-watch for those fascinated by music history, LGBTQ+ representation, and the exploration of identity. Its unique blend of music, drama, and social commentary makes it a film that not only entertains but also provokes thought, inviting viewers to reflect on the power of art and its role in shaping our sense of self.

God Help the Girl (2014)

God Help the Girl is a musical drama film directed by Stuart Murdoch, marking his directorial debut. Murdoch is best known as the lead singer and songwriter of the indie pop band Belle and Sebastian. His transition to filmmaking exhibits a seamless synergy between his musical sensibilities and storytelling skills.

The film follows the journey of Eve, portrayed by Emily Browning, a young woman grappling with mental health struggles. She finds solace and self-discovery through songwriting and forms a band with two equally complex characters, James (Olly Alexander) and Cassie (Hannah Murray). Set in Glasgow, the narrative unfolds through heartfelt music and evocative visuals that capture the city’s charm.

God Help the Girl stands out as a unique musical experience, seamlessly interweaving musical numbers into the narrative. The film’s songs are an extension of the characters’ emotions, enhancing their depth and vulnerability. The film also explores themes of friendship, artistic expression, and personal growth, resonating with audiences on multiple levels.

For those seeking a fresh take on musical storytelling, God Help the Girl promises an enchanting experience. The film’s fusion of captivating performances, relatable characters, and soul-stirring music creates a truly immersive cinematic journey. Whether you’re a fan of musicals, indie cinema, or LGBTQ+ narratives, this film is a gem that deserves your attention. It showcases Stuart Murdoch’s talent as both a musician and director and invites viewers to embrace the healing power of music and human connection.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, stands as a remarkable amalgamation of poignant storytelling, music, and exploration of identity. Mitchell, known for his unique approach to storytelling and unflinching narratives, ventured into uncharted territory with this film.

The film revolves around Hedwig Robinson, an East German transgender woman who undergoes a botched sex change operation, leaving her with an angry inch. Set against the backdrop of a rock band, Hedwig embarks on a journey of self-discovery, both physically and emotionally. Through music and flashbacks, the film traces her tumultuous life, marked by love, betrayal, and the quest for acceptance.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is not only a musical and a queer film; it is an ode to resilience and the pursuit of authenticity. Its ability to merge heartrending storytelling with energetic performances makes it a cinematic gem.

For those seeking a cinematic experience that challenges norms, celebrates individuality, and showcases the power of music to tell a deeply personal tale, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a must-watch. It encourages viewers to embrace their true selves, imperfections and all, while celebrating the universal human desire to find connection and understanding.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a 1994 film directed by Stephan Elliott, stands as a vibrant testament to the director’s unique artistic vision. Elliott, known for his affinity for unconventional storytelling, skillfully crafted a narrative that intertwines themes of identity, friendship, and self-discovery. The film showcases his prowess in blending comedy with heartfelt drama.

Set in the Australian outback, the plot revolves around two drag queens, Tick (Hugo Weaving) and Adam (Guy Pearce), and a trans woman, Bernadette (Terence Stamp), who embark on a road trip in a lavishly decorated bus named Priscilla. Their journey, both physical and emotional, challenges societal norms and pushes the characters to confront their own truths.

Recommended for its heartwarming portrayal of personal journeys, the film encourages viewers to embrace their authentic selves and celebrate diversity. As a vibrant amalgamation of laughter, music, and powerful storytelling The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert stands as an essential watch for anyone seeking an uplifting cinematic experience that challenges norms and touches the heart.

Rent (2005)

Rent, directed by Chris Columbus, is a film adaptation of the acclaimed rock musical of the same name by Jonathan Larson. Columbus, known for directing family-friendly hits such as Home Alone and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, took a departure from his usual style to helm this emotionally charged production.

Set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the film follows a group of friends in New York City‘s East Village as they navigate the challenges of love, friendship, art, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Their stories interweave, focusing on characters like Mark and Roger, struggling artists; Mimi, a dancer with a complicated past; and Angel and Collins, a couple who defy societal norms.

The film’s memorable songs, infused with poignant lyrics and infectious melodies, drive the narrative forward while conveying the characters’ hopes and fears. The exploration of sexuality and identity, particularly through the openly gay and transgender characters, lends depth and authenticity to the movie’s emotional landscape.

Viewers should watch Rent for its raw portrayal of human connection, resilience, and the pursuit of one’s passions amidst adversity. The film’s heartfelt performances, captivating music, and the honest portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters make it a significant piece of cinematic history. Whether drawn to its musical aspects, the exploration of LGBTQ+ themes, or its poignant storytelling, Rent offers an emotionally resonant experience that is both moving and memorable.

Funny Boy (2020)

Funny Boy is a 2020 film directed by Deepa Mehta, a renowned filmmaker known for her thought-provoking works that often touch upon social and cultural issues. Mehta’s career has been marked by a string of critically acclaimed films like Fire, Earth, and Water, which have garnered international recognition for their artistic and narrative brilliance.

Funny Boy is an adaptation of Shyam Selvadurai’s novel of the same name. Set in Sri Lanka during the 1970s and 1980s, the film follows the life of Arjie, a young boy navigating his identity and sexuality amidst the backdrop of the country’s political turmoil. The narrative not only explores the complexities of Arjie’s self-discovery as a gay individual but also delves into the societal and cultural constraints that surround him.

Funny Boy is a captivating cinematic experience that seamlessly blends music, emotion, and social commentary. Deepa Mehta’s masterful direction brings Shyam Selvadurai’s novel to life, presenting a poignant exploration of identity, love, and self-acceptance against a backdrop of historical upheaval. Whether one is drawn to its musical elements or its portrayal of LGBTQ+ experiences, Funny Boy is a film that resonates on multiple levels. It stands as a compelling recommendation for anyone seeking a powerful and thought-provoking cinematic journey.