The Boys in the Band

1970

The Boys in the Band

Critics Consensus

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89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 19

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,365
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Movie Info

(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."

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Critic Reviews for The Boys in the Band

All Critics (19) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Boys in the Band

  • May 24, 2018
    A fascinating time capsule. Some of the material hasn't aged well, but overall Crowley's vicious, hilarious screenplay remains an important milestone for the gay community.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2011
    Marvellous drama dealing with the lives of the homosexuals in the big city. It's well adapted tragicomedy.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jun 14, 2010
    William Friedkin's uproarious, painful, groundbreaking classic film. Matt Crowley adapted his own acclaimed award-winning off-Broadway hit play, retaining much of the qualities of pathos, bitchiness, loneliness and jealousy that so enriched his play. The story concerns eight gay men and one possibly gay, who all come together for the birthday party of a mutual friend and end up at each others throats, lashing out at each other with lots of self-loathing. Exceptional performances by Kenneth Nelson, Frederick Combs, Cliff Gorman, Laurence Luckinbill, Keith Prentice, Peter White, Reuben Greene, Robert La Tourneaux, and Leonard Frey, who all recreate their original stage roles under Friedkin's skillful sensitive direction."Boys" is often hilarious and builds to a powerful climax. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2010
    I'm afraid I have NEVER liked this film. The characters are so neurotic & mean-spirited & the dialogue is neither witty, amusing nor even vaguely interesting. It becomes rather tedious extremely quickly. Don't bother. Half a star out of 5.
    mirabella 1 Super Reviewer

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