Before Stonewall - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Before Stonewall Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 28, 2014
I saw After Stonewall before seeing Before Stonewall. I don't think it particularly matters. Having this film created in the 80s allows us to get the words of many early activists who are unfortunately no longer with us. It paints what is thankfully becoming more of a sad period in history that has now passed.
½ August 28, 2012
So glad I finally got around to watching this!
½ August 8, 2011
An interesting relic of the 80s - shakily assembled, it sort of meanders along without much drive or focus. However, the opportunity to hear from some of these important people, most of whom have passed on since the documentary was made, makes the viewing more than worth it.
March 21, 2011
Rita Mae Brown serves as the narrator for this compelling documentary about the concept of homosexuality and its effect on society
it traces back to the early beginnings of gays and lesbians coming out about their sexual nature and having to face judgment along with persecution
all the interviews and reasearch studies are well-put together deciphering the events leading up to the Stonewall riots in the summer of 1969
the viewer's knowledge and understanding will be wonderfully expanded about the gay perspective
it's a terrific film in case you want to learn about human studies or more about homosexuals, it should not be missed
½ November 26, 2010
Great historical prospective of US Gay History. Great footage starting in the 20's! Highly recommend it to any history buff or anyone intersted in G/L issues.
November 20, 2010
What a great window on Gay and Lesbian life prior to the liberation movement of the 60's.
November 18, 2010
An important and enjoyable record of life and the struggle for gay rights prior to the Stonewall riots. Lots of moving and heart warming stories, every LGBT person should watch this.
June 21, 2010
Fascinating documentary from the mid-80's takes a look at what life was like in America for gays & lesbians before the Stonewall riots in 1969 opened the floodgates of an actual gay rights movement.

It mostly focuses on life from World War II to 1969. Before WWII, there was almost no visibility whatsoever for queer people. Soldiers drafted into the war from small towns all across the country began to find that they were not alone when they were gathered for battle.

Interviews and archival footage present the stories of several gay activists and of some of the most influential people of the time like poet Allen Ginsberg, lesbian author Ann Bannon, and Dr. Evelyn Hooker, who was heavily influenced by Kinsey's 1948 research and did the first full-scale study of 'normal, well-adjusted' gay men in the 1950's.
June 13, 2010
It's funny that I watched 'Before Stonewall' oblivious that it is L.A. Pride weekend. My blood must have sensed it and made me subconsciously choose to see it. Consider this, then, to be my literary participation.

Pre Stonewall times was not as sensational as I perceived, at least not in this film. We in the community must have some consciousness of Stonewall in New York's Greenwich Village, and how it consequently released the pressure from the cooker in 1969. But as the individuals recounted their experiences in the film, all seemed to be peachy keen.

There were some incidents, of course, but nothing that the lesbian contingent in particular was not able to stand up to with dignity, or address with a beer bottle smashed on the head of the heckler. You go, sister in leather!

However, for its production value, 'Before Stonewall' is a tad boring. The content is informative, but the delivery is blase. I thought it would build up LBG circumstances and lead it to the Stonewall riot which birthed the movement.

There is a sequel documentary, though - 'Before And After Stonewall.' Let's see how that goes.
½ April 15, 2010
Amazing archive footage, I would think it must have taken a lot of research to find some of it. Great interviews, but I think too much of it focuses on the interviews. Interesting and very informative. It's well done, it held my interest but sometimes was a little repetitive and slow moving.
April 15, 2010
68/100. Amazing archive footage, I would think it must have taken a lot of research to find some of it. Great interviews, but I think too much of it focuses on the interviews. Interesting and very informative. It's well done, it held my interest but sometimes was a little repetitive and slow moving.
½ February 9, 2010
A decent documentary. A little slow at points, but very informative.
July 22, 2009
This documentary made me grateful that people no longer get picked up literally off the street and thrown into a mental ward based solely on the hearsay that they *might* not be the same as everyone else. Oh and I wish Audrey Lourde was my friend. She looked really fun. Alan Ginsberg- crazy creepy. The level of privacy invasion and the energy the police spent to "weed out undesirables" astounded me. Funded by PBS- yay!
½ May 20, 2009
A look back at Gay America from the roaring 20s, the depression, World War 2, the repressive 1950s, to the emerging liberation and militancy of the civil rights movement of the 60s, and the flower child/hippy movement.

Told through the eyes of gays and lesbians both black and white on their experiences culminating at the explosive moment of the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

A good history Lesson
½ January 5, 2009
Must see. Should be a requirement for all gay youth.
December 30, 2008
Not the best executed documentary; the narration could have been improved upon. However I enjoyed the content of the film. I would recommend this to all of my friends as a, "must see", especially if they are not familiar with the history of the gay culture pre-Stonewall.
September 15, 2008
This is a must watch film.
July 30, 2008
fascinating look at queers in the 1900s-stonewall. lots of amazing footage and pics of gay bos gaying it up. very interesting. makes you really appreciate what queers got now.
July 22, 2008
Well only three stars because while the subject matter is decently covered- the history of gay culture before the Stonewall riot, the narration is awful.

I recommend this film to anyone curious about gay culture (in the US- it is biased) before 1969. There are some amazing interviews with gays and lesbians in their 70's talking about the repression back in the 30's and 40's and being gay in WW2.

But the BEST parts are seeing some of the HORRIBLE outfits the old gays were wearing in 1985. My god...

They should have covered the gays in the arts, specifically painting- but completely left that out for some reason.

All in all- informative- but not entertaining.
½ May 24, 2008
The most chilling part for me, given my professional proclivities, was seeing the word "pervert" in an actual New York Times headline describing how the cops were rounding people up. Sigh. So depressing. We aren't there yet, but I'm so glad that we have come as far as we have.
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