The Boys in the Band (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Boys in the Band (1970)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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."

Cast

Peter White
as Alan McCarthy
Murray Melvin
as Alphonse
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Critic Reviews for The Boys in the Band

All Critics (15)

The original queer tragicomedy

Full Review… | September 5, 2009
CinePassion

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.

Full Review… | March 29, 2009
EmanuelLevy.Com

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

December 12, 2008
Film Threat

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

Full Review… | November 29, 2008
Windy City Times

The sizzle of the bon mot%u2013tossing ensemble, intact from the stage original, is bracing and fuels the film's momentum.

Full Review… | November 10, 2008
Slant Magazine

a breakthrough film in the gay film genre; but dated by today's standards

August 18, 2006
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

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

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