25 Gay Films Everyone Should See

Must-see movies from 'Aimee & Jaguar' to 'Wedding Banquet'

PHILADELPHIA (1993)

In 1991, director Jonathan Demme won an Oscar for Silence of the Lambs, which featured a malicious serial killer with warped transgender inclinations. In 1993, Demme atoned for that perceived sin with this groundbreaking drama about a closeted gay lawyer (Tom Hanks) who’s fired from his conservative law firm after being diagnosed with AIDS. He retaliates by taking the firm to court — all the while coping with his deteriorating health. By this point, AIDS dramas had become almost commonplace in the lexicon of GLBT cinema, but Philadelphia was the first to usher the disease in grand Hollywood fashion before a mainstream audience. It boasts an all-star cast that included Hanks (who nabbed an Oscar for his efforts), Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Joanne Woodward, Mary Steenburgen and a rising Spanish actor named Antonio Banderas. Though frequently heavy-handed, there’s no denying Philadelphia‘s dramatic intensity and cultural importance. It’s as unsettling as it is uplifting — in that grand Hollywood fashion, of course.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.

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