Pride On Film: Check out our favorite movies that feature transgender characters.
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Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar is a 1995 American comedy film, starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as three New York drag queens that embark on a road trip.
After entering a local “drag queen of the year” contest in New York City, Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) and Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) win a trip to Hollywood to take part in an even bigger, national drag queen contest. Before they depart, Vida persuades Noxeema to take along the inexperienced ‘drag princess’ Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo) as their protégé (the duo initially refer to Chi-Chi simply as a “boy in a dress” rather than as a fully-fledged drag queen). To do this, they trade in their airplane tickets for cash and buy a stylish but old Cadillac convertible with money given to them by John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt (Robin Williams). The three of them set off for Los Angeles by car, carrying with them an iconic photo of Julie Newmar (signed, “To Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar”) that Vida purloined from a restaurant wall. Summary by Wikipedia
Kiss of The Spider Woman (1985)
Kiss of the Spider is a Brazilian-American drama film. The film tells of two very different men who share a Brazilian prison cell: Valentin Arregui, Raul Julia, who is imprisoned (and has been tortured) due to his activities on behalf of a leftist revolutionary group, and Luis Molina (William Hurt) a homosexual in prison for having sex with an underage boy. Summary by Wikipedia
Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
Torch Song Trilogy is a comedy-drama film adapted by Harvey Fierstein from his play of the same title.
The film was directed by Paul Bogart, starring Fierstein as Arnold, Anne Bancroft as Ma Beckoff, Matthew Broderick as Alan, Brian Kerwin as Ed, and Eddie Castrodad as David. Executive Producer Ronald K. Fierstein is Harvey Fierstein’s brother.
Wanting to highlight the work of female impersonator Charles Pierce, Fierstein created the role of Bertha Venation specifically for him. Broderick originally refused the role of Alan because he was recuperating from an automobile accident in Ireland. Tate Donovan was cast, but two days into the rehearsal period Broderick had a change of heart and contacted Fierstein, who fired Donovan.
Although the play was over four hours, the film was restricted to a running time of two hours at the insistence of New Line Cinema, necessitating much editing and excisions. The time frame was regressed to begin several years earlier than when the play was set. Summary by Wikipedia
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the film adaptation of the British rock musical stageplay, The Rocky Horror Show, written by Richard O’Brien. The film is a parody of B-movie, science fiction and horror films of the late 1940s through early 1970s. Director Jim Sharman collaborated on the screenplay with O’Brien, who wrote both the book and lyrics for the stage. The film introduces Tim Curry and features Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Kings Road production presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.
Still in limited release nearly 37 years after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It gained notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theatres. Rocky Horror is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to be in the midnight movie market. The motion picture has a large international cult following and is one of the most well known and financially successful midnight movies of all time. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Summary by Wikipedia
“STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen is brought to life by the stories of six thoughtful, eloquent and diverse transmen. Preachers, teachers, students and activists educate us simply by making their presence known. Each man brings a colorful and complex richness as he describes his relationship to himself, as well as others in his life — the cadence of his voice keeping in rhythm with how the speaker displays himself to the camera.
Director Kortney Ryan Ziegler, lets the subjects’ words and personalities dictate the images and film effects, and the black images on the white background play on the fact that issues concerning gender, race and sexuality are not and cannot be discussed in black and white terms. Clear voices speak on love, family, passing and sex.
The viewer is welcomed with vivid discussions of the connections they have to their bodies, social status and the consequences of being black, transgender and men. With fresh images of rarely seen black transmen, one is left with the recognition of their determination to live an honest and full life and the resilience to live visible lives. STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen more than entertains, it gives the LGBT community an opportunity to learn about itself.”
Trans America (2005)
Transamerica is an independent comedy-drama film produced by IFC Films and The Weinstein Company. The film tells the story of Bree, a transsexual woman (Felicity Huffman), who goes on a road trip with her long-lost son Toby (Kevin Zegers).
The film is marked by an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance by Huffman, who is also known for her performance in Desperate Housewives.
One of the major themes of the film is the personal journey toward self-discovery, according to interviews with the director and actors. Summary by Wikipedia
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is an Australiancomedy-drama filmwritten and directed byStephan Elliott. The plot follows the journey of threedrag queens, played byHugo Weaving,Guy Pearce, andTerence Stamp, across the Australian OutbackfromSydneytoAlice Springsin a tour bus that they have named “Priscilla”, along the way encountering various groups and individuals. Containing elements of comedy, the film’s title is a pun on the fact that in English speaking cultures, “queen” is a slang term for a male homosexual.
The film was noted for helping to bring Australian cinema to world attention and for its positive portrayal of LGBT individuals, helping to introduce LGBT themes to a mainstream audience. The film has also been criticised for perceived racist and sexist stereotyping.
The film received predominantly positive reviews and won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design at the 67th Academy Awards. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and became a cult classic in both Australia and abroad. Priscilla subsequently provided the basis for a musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which opened in 2006 in Sydney before travelling to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and New York’s Broadway. Summary by Wikipedia
The Cockettes (2002)
The Cockettes were a psychedelic drag queen troupe founded by Hibiscus in the late 1960s in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. The troupe performed outrageous parodies of show tunes (or original tunes in the same vein) and gained an underground cult following that led to mainstream exposure.
In 1971, over differences in philosophy, the group split into two separate groups, the Cockettes and The Angels of Light. The Cockettes continued to work as paid performers while the Angels of Light chose to do free theatre without admission charge.
The film debuted at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. It went on to a limited theatrical release and to play the film festival circuit. The Cockettes received the LA Film Critics Award for Best Documentary of 2002. Summary by Wikipedia
Victor Victoria (1982)
Victor Victoria is a musical comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that involves homosexuality, tranvestism and sexual identity as central themes. It stars Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras, and John Rhys-Davies. The film was produced by Tony Adams, directed by Blake Edwards, and scored by Henry Mancini, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. It was adapted in 1995 as a Broadway musical. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Original Music Score. Summary by Wikipedia
Holiday Heart (2000)
Holiday Heart is a TV movie starring Ving Rhames, Alfie Woodard, and Mykelti Williamson.
Holiday Heart (Ving Rhames) is gay drag queen who performs at a night club. He is talented, tough, compassionate and a dedicated Christian. After his boyfriend dies he befriends a down on her luck, drug addicted, single woman, Wanda (Alfie Woodard) and her young daughter Niki. (Jessika Quynn Reynolds). Heart offers them a stable home and becomes a much needed father figure for Niki.
However, things go astray when the mother becomes addicted to drugs again and after a series of bad relationships, starts one up with a successful drug dealer Silas (Mykelti Williamson) who is as homophobic as he is chauvinist. Summary by Wikipedia
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Better Than Chocolate (1999)
The Birdcage (1996)
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Die Like a Man (2009)
Different For Girls (1996)
Elvis & Madonna (2010)
Gun Hill Road (2011)
LaCage Aux Folles (1978)
Leave It On The Floor (2011)
Kinky Boots (2005)
M Butterfly (1993)
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Remember Me In Red (2010)
Soldier’s Girl (2003)
The World According to Garp (1982)