The Boys in the Band


The Boys in the Band (1970)



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(1970) "You show me a happy homosexual and I'll show you a gay corpse." In what Pauline Kael likened to "the gathering of bitchy ladies in The Women, but with a 40s-movie bomber crew cast," eight queens including nelly Cliff Gorman ("I'm your topless cocktail waitress"), an is-he? or isn't-he? closet case, and one midnight cowboy party favor gather in a Greenwich Village apartment for the birthday of self-described "ugly, pockmarked Jew fairy" Leonard Frey (later Motel the Tailor in Fiddler on the Roof) but nasty host Kenneth Nelson insists on playing those truth games. Alternately hilarious, contrived, gut-wrenching and sentimental, Crowley's pathbreaking play moved from headline-making Off-Broadway smash to the first American movie exclusively about male homosexuals (using miracle of miracles the original New York cast in its entirety), a subject that had previously been a Hollywood no-no ("And it still is," the author points out) although the movie was still slapped with an R rating for its "homosexual dialogue." And although its hoary stereotypes caused grumblings from a burgeoning gay rights movement, as Vito Russo noted in The Celluloid Closet, it offered "the best and most potent argument for gay liberation ever offered in a popular art form" within two years of its release, two dozen movies with gay themes emerged. And its endless barrage of catty zingers introduced the mainstream moviegoer to the joys of "gay humor."


Critic Reviews for The Boys in the Band

All Critics (17)

A powerful, funny, bitter and hopeful drama about love and friendship.

Feb 9, 2019 | Full Review…

The combination of schoolgirl confessional... with a discernible element of holier-than-thou voyeurism does give off a certain sliminess.

Jul 17, 2018 | Full Review…

The original queer tragicomedy

Sep 5, 2009 | Full Review…

The characters' pathos and self-loathing were deplorable even in 1970, but the it is significant historically as one of Hollywood's first explicitly gay movies and an early work of Billy Friedkin just before making the Oscar-winner French Connection.

Mar 29, 2009 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

These are not the type of gay boys that you would like to take home.

Dec 12, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/5

A movie that needs to finally be acknowledged -- unsullied -- for the groundbreaking status that it deserves.

Nov 29, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Boys in the Band

Facts: Cliff Gorman has 0 fans on flixster. Keith Prentice has 0 fans on flixster. Robert Pattinson has 24,312 fans on flixster.

Coxxie Mild Sauce
Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

Compelling but at times brutally grim drama is a view into the dark night of the soul. Committed performances and good direction keep this watchable but at times some of the actions are so cruel you have to wonder how these people could of been friends before and how could they still be friends after.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Groundbreaking drama based on the off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley, featuring every member of the show's original cast. Michael is throwing a birthday party for his friend Harold. All the guests are gay. One is "straight". Before the night is over, the conversation will turn ugly. The catty banter is infused with wit, vitriol, camp and self-loathing ; hilarious one minute, excruciatingly painful the next. Claustrophobic direction actually benefits the material.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer


Spellbinding drama directed by William Friedkin. Excellent filmization of Matt Crowley's landmark play about nine men at a birthday party located somewhere in the upper side of New York City. It is a nice party,with one exception;eight of the men at the party are gay,the ninth insists that he is not. Often hilarious,frequently sad,but always thought provoking,and sensationally acted by the original stage cast. This was one of the greatest movies ever associated within the status of Queer Cimema and one of the top ten Queer movies of all time. Brilliant piece of work on this movie which stars Peter White, Leonard Frey, Cliff Gorman, Laurence Luckinbill,and Keith Prentice. Worth the wait to be finally seen,and not to be missed.

Mister Caple
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

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