Salisbury Pride UK
We’ve picked the best documentaries and films available to download or stream — so break out the popcorn and settle in for an evening of rich LGBTQ+ movies!
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017), Netflix
LGBT+ rights activist Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson, who was a central figure in the Stonewall riots. Her body was found in the Hudson river shortly after Gay Pride in 1992.
Using archival interviews with Johnson, and new interviews with Johnson’s family, friends and fellow activists, Cruz unravels what happened to Marsha while celebrating her life and achievements.
Sylvia Rivera: A Tribute (2011), YouTube
Sylvia Rivera was a Latina gay liberation and trans rights activist who’s best known for being the woman who got the ‘T’ added to LGBT+. At 12, she was a homeless prostitute, but she battled alcoholism and drug addiction to become a trailblazer in the fight for transgender rights. Rivera co-founded STAR, a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay children, and trans women. She was a regular Stonewall patron and was present on the first night of the riots. This short 25-minute film was created by friends of Rivera after her death at 52.
We Were Here (2011), iTunes
This documentary takes a deep, reflective look at the gay community of San Francisco following the AIDS epidemic, following key individuals as they rose to the occasion during the first years of the crisis.
Through personal accounts of San Franciscans who lived through the epidemic, the film tells the story of how the gay community adapted and bonded during this heartbreaking time. It’s a powerful reminder of the real human impact of HIV/AIDS.
Milk (2008), Netflix
This is an Oscar-winning biographical film on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. Set in 1972, it stars Sean Penn and Josh Brolin and traces Harvey Milk’s career from his 40th birthday to his death.
The film was met with near-universal acclaim when it first came out, with Variety calling it “adroitly and tenderly observed,” “smartly handled,” and “most notable for the surprising and entirely winning performance by Sean Penn.”
Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community (1984), Amazon Prime
Using extensive archival film, movie clips and personal recollections, this Emmy-award winning documentary reconstructs the hidden history of the gay and lesbian community prior to the Stonewall riots.Spanning multiple decades throughout the 20th Century, including World War II, this landmark documentary is a must for anyone interested in gay culture and the founding of queer neighbourhoods.
Paris is Burning (1990), Netflix
This acclaimed documentary is essential viewing for all LGBT+ people, and last year, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry. The incredible arthouse film delves deep into the vibrant, flamboyant ball culture and drag house system of New York City in the late ’80s.
Featuring many black and Latinx gay and trans young people, the documentary explores how the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality create a unique culture. It’s become all the more poignant after so many of the characters passed away in the AIDS epidemic.