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The Celluloid Closet

HD   R Closed Captioning

Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman

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About the Movie

What "That's Entertainment" did for movie musicals, "The Celluloid Closet" does for Hollywood homosexuality, as this exuberant, eye-opening movie serves up a dazzling hundred-year history of the role of gay men and lesbians have had on the silver screen. Lily Tomlin narrates as Oscar-winning moviemaker Rob Epstein (The Times of Harvey Milk and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt) and Jeffrey Friedman assemble fabulous footage from 120 films showing the changing face of cinema sexuality, from cruel stereotypes to covert love to the activist triumphs of the 1990s. Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Curtis, Harvey Fierstein and Gore Vidal are just a few of the many actors, writers and commentators who provide funny and insightful anecdotes.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 24
  • Fresh: 23
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.8/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Makes it clear Hollywood wanted it both ways: It benefitted from the richness that gays added to films, but didn't want to acknowledge their sexuality. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Top-notch entertainment, not only because it's enjoyable, but because it argues its case with an effectiveness that would impress even a top-notch, homophobic attorney. – James Berardinelli, ReelViews, Sep 16, 2006

Fresh: It's interesting to see how gay and lesbian themes began to be treated openly in films, but it's fascinating to see how -- earlier -- those themes were used subtextually in films that make no overt reference to the real subject. – Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Great film

This film just goes to show you just how important film is as a medium. What a lot of people don't know is that we tend to believe what we see in the movies more than we would like to admit. People reach conclusions about others partially based on how they have seen them portrayed in film. That's why it is so important to watch films like this to remind ourselves that what we see up on the screen may not always portray the truth in real life. This movie does a great job showing how Hollywood has dealt with and still deals with homosexuality.

A Must See For Any Movie Buff

I saw this film when it was first released in 1995 and it was this documentary that made me fall in love with older films. This movie shows the depiction of gay, lesbian and transgender people in the movies from the early Edison films up to the time the documentary was made. This film is not dry but full of funny great scenes from many films throughout film history. You will find yourself looking for the films mentioned to see more about them. Most are very good a few are not. But this documentary can be the beginning of a great journey for the seasoned film buff or for the new classic film fan.

Where is The Money Pit???!!!

Where is The Money Pit???!!!

The Celluloid Closet
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 1996

Customer Ratings