I’ve already shared the list of MY Top 10 Best-Rated Queer Films to Watch/Buy on Amazon and Prime Video. In that post, I focused solely on queer & LGBTQ films that I have reviewed here on Queer Film Reviews. However, some of you felt that I had left out some equally amazing queer films from that list. (And some didn’t quite realize that I ONLY included films I had written a full review on…)
So to help curb the confusion, I’ve created this list of 5-star rated films according to Amazon’s audience rating scale – NOT my own rating. Naturally, it’s a completely DIFFERENT list of 10 queer films! All of these films are great, as the Amazon buyers & Prime Video viewers are the ones who determined which queer films earned the elite status of a 5/5 star rating. However, I came across a couple of surprises while compiling this list.
First off, there actually are not many 5-star rated queer films! Sure, there are some amazing films out there – but to earn the coveted 5-star rating, ALL of the folks who rate the film have to agree that it’s perfect. (Or if you want to get mathematical, the average has to be greater than 4.75 in order to round up to 5-stars… but I digress!) Even by playing around with various keywords (“gay” vs “LGBT”, for example), I was easily able to compile this list of 10 queer films – but I wouldn’t be able to find 20!
Yet the inclusion of one film surprised me the most. Sure, this one film is the only queer short film on this entire list, but what absolutely shocked me is that while the other films had audience reviews in the thousands, this queer short has only 49 reviews – and ALL of those reviews gave this queer short film a 5-star rating!
But you’re not here to learn about these subtle nuances – you want to know which queer films are the 10 Best 5-star Queer Films to Buy/Watch on Amazon & Prime Video! I certainly hope the selections are films you also consider among the best. Keep reading to check them out!
[Note: Not all of these films have full reviews yet – but they’re added to the quickly growing list of films I plan to tackle soon!]
10 Best 5-Star Queer Films to Buy/Watch on Amazon & Prime Video
It’s the summer of 1984 Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners. But there is a problem. The Union seems embarrassed to receive their support. But the activists are not deterred. They decide to ignore the Union and go direct to the miners. They identify a mining village in deepest Wales and set off in a mini bus to make their donation in person. And so begins the extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership.
I have to admit that I am rather late to this Pride party, but only now do I realise that I was missing out on this bit of queer history! This charming queer history film weaves together a handful of lives during a rather rough time in the UK. Juxtaposing the struggle of the LGBT community with the separate yet similar struggle of the striking miners is a unique story device, yet it works wonderfully into a cohesive film. And best of all, it actually happened! Films based on true events always tug at my heartstrings, but there’s something special about “Pride”. I thought I knew quite a lot about the UK miner strike, but I honestly had no idea that LGSM provided so much support during the miner’s strike. Nor was I aware that the miners advocated and helped advance the LGBT agenda in return. The final scene where the minors showed up in busses for the 1985 Pride Parade is simply moving. If you haven’t seen “Pride” yet, watch this queer history film today!
Armand Goldman owns a popular drag nightclub in South Miami Beach. His long-time lover, Albert, stars there as Starina. “Their” son Val (actually Armand’s by his one heterosexual fling, twenty years before) comes home to announce his engagement to Barbara Keeley, daughter of Kevin Keeley, US Senator, and co-founder of the Committee for Moral Order. The Senator and family descend upon South Beach to meet Val, his father and “mother.” What ensues is comic chaos.
Robin Williams, Nathan Lane in drag, and a fabulous adaption of the stage musical “La Cage Aux Folles” – what more could you want in a queer comedy film! While the story itself is a bit dated now, this film is one of the classic queer films that every gay man should watch at least once. The story is full of comedy and farce, yet there’s an honest realness to some of the discussions between the openly gay Armand & Albert and the very conservative Keeleys. Hopefully you’ve already seen “The Birdcage” – but if not, what are you waiting for?!
Fired for being a trans, a devoted grade school teacher decides the only solution is suicide, but her plan is thwarted by the arrival of some unexpected visitors.
While this is a short film, it’s one I have not seen before. Once I have time to watch it, I’ll add my quick thoughts.
Watch Backup Plan on Prime Video.
Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer of romantic fiction, is rude to everyone he meets, including his gay neighbor, Simon. After Simon is hospitalized, Melvin finds his life turned upside down when he has to look after Simon’s dog. In addition, Carol, the only waitress at the local diner who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast.
“As Good As It Gets” is a rather unique film on this list. It has a five-star rating from viewers on Amazon – but it’s not exactly the best queer film. Yes, Melvin’s neighbor is gay and there certainly is a queer storyline involved – but it’s secondary to the main heterosexual one between Melvin and Carol. Nor do things start off well as both Melvin and Simon detest each other. However, being forced to bond as neighbors after Simon’s attack, Melvin’s harsh character slowly melts away and they form a unique friendship. NOT a romantic one! But in “As Good As It Gets”, we get a mainstream film with A-list actors portraying a queer storyline in an overall positive light. It’s a queer film that’s worth watching. After all, if a character played by Jack Nicholson can warm our hearts it has to be good!
Three New York drag queens on their way to Hollywood for a beauty pageant get stranded in a small Midwestern town for the entire weekend when their car breaks down. While waiting for parts for their Cadillac convertible, the flamboyant trio of Vida Boheme, Noxeema Jackson, and Chi Chi Rodriguez shows the local homophobic rednecks that appearing different doesn’t mean they don’t have humanity in common.
How do I jot down “quick thoughts” about “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar” – it’s literally an iconic queer film! Starring an incredibly talented cast, this queer comedy is simple a delight to watch. It’s a film that at quick glance seems light & frivolous, campy even, as three typically macho stars don drag and bring their diva stories to life. Yet underneath the fabulous wigs & makeup are heartfelt & honest messages about tolerance & acceptance, both of others and of oneself. Is it perfect? Not quite, especially when viewed through modern eyes and in comparison to recent films. However, we also mustn’t forget that we wouldn’t have the depth of queer cinema today if it weren’t for the amazing queer classics such as this. If you haven’t seen “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar” yet – what are you waiting for??? And for the rest of us who have seen it – go watch it again!
Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague spots the illness’s telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller, the only lawyer willing to help.
Words cannot describe how powerful “Philadelphia” is as queer drama film – I’ll let it’s two Oscar wins tell you that! (Best Actor in Lead Role for Tom Hanks & Best Original Song). Often listed as one of the first major motion pictures to truly tackle the AIDS epidemic and bring its horrors to a mainstream, non-homosexual audience, it wasn’t without some faults. Most lament that it’s stereotypical and “too perfectly pieced together” – and about a decade “too late”, as the AIDS epidemic began in 1981 yet the film wasn’t released until 1993. However there is no doubt the powerful impact “Philadelphia” had on audiences. With major stars handling the lead roles (Tom Hanks credits his casting as crucial in bringing the subject matter to a wider audience, seeing a named star in the leading role) and an incredibly dramatic and captivating story, it’s clear why. If there’s a chance that you have not yet seen this queer drama film, you MUST find yourself a copy and watch “Philadelphia” – it’s that important!
Sweethearts Brad and Janet, stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named ‘Rocky’.
“I can see you shiver with antici… pation!” For my full review of this cult-classic queer musical film, of course! There is something about “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” that is so wrong… and yet is perfectly right. Despite the initial stage musical being quite the indie hit, the film version actually flopped! Thankfully, late-night screenings kept it from being forgotten and those very quickly turned into participatory events that catapulted this queer film into cult classic territory. And if you haven’t seen this queer film yet – find a local screening today. Just make sure you watch it with fellow Transylvanians, because it wouldn’t be the full experience without them!
Victoria Grant, a down-and-out British soprano, struggles to find work in the nightclubs of 1930s Paris. While trying to scam a free meal, Grant meets cabaret performer Toddy, who comes up with an idea that will change everything. Acting as her manager, Toddy bills Grant as a male female impersonator. When the nightclubs eat it up, the duo makes it big — even a Chicago mobster is enamored with Grant. But keeping the truth a secret is no easy task.
I’ve actually not seen Victor/Victoria yet – eeks! Give me a moment to finally give it a watch.
Zorro, the legendary swordsman, has passed on his weapon and his sense of duty to his noble son, Diego, a dashing swashbuckler like his father. But after an injury sidelines Diego, he is forced to hand the mask over to his twin, Ramon.
Sword-fighting, cross-dressing, mistaken identities, and a twist on the legend of Zorro? Oh yeah! These and so much more are what makes “Zorro: The Gay Blade” such a great queer western film. Even despite a few issues, I really do enjoy this campy spoofs! And with a great blend of quirky zany quips, an incredible score, and plenty of homage to classic Western films of ‘old, there is no doubt that this twist on the legend of Zorro is very queer and gay. But don’t take my word for it! Go find yourself a copy of this slightly dated, yet hysterical queer western film today. You can thank me later!
Read my full review of “Zorro: The Gay Blade” HERE.
Watch Zorro: The Gay Blade on Amazon.
Hedwig, born male as Hansel in East Berlin, fell in love with an American G.I. and underwent a Gender Reassignment Surgery in order to marry him and flee to the West. Unfortunately, nothing worked out quite as it was supposed to – years later, Hedwig is leading her rock band on a tour of the U.S., telling her life story through a series of concerts at Bilgewater Inn seafood restaurants. Her tour dates coincide with those of arena-rock star Tommy Gnosis, a wide-eyed boy who once loved Hedwig – but then left with all her songs.
East-German punk, trans drag, and rock? What more could you ask for? “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” delivers on all of this – and more! This film adaptation of the incredible stage musical by John Cameron Mitchell, and starring Mitchell himself, is just as phenomenal. Although the different format both allows more realistic ways to show scenes yet takes away some of the intimate settings of the stage musical. It’s edgy, campy, and surprisingly full of deep topics. This film adaptation is worth the watch – especially if you can’t see the stage musical in person!
So what did you think of my “10 Best 5-Star Queer Films to Buy/Watch on Amazon & Prime Video”? Which LGBTQ film was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
(Or you could Pin your favorite queer film to your Pinterest account to save for later!)
And remember, there are PLENTY of other amazing queer films that can be found on both Amazon and Prime Video – I just haven’t reviewed them yet! But if I missed your favorite queer film from this list, let me know HERE. I will definitely add your favorite film to my database, and if I agree that it needs a full review, I can add it to my list!