Free

LGBT Britain

This colourful and challenging collection explores screen representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives over the past century.

British cinema boasts a long history of carefully coded queerness, but for much of the 20th century explicit depictions of gay life in drama or documentary were more or less taboo. Gay men were subject to vicious state-sanctioned persecution, while lesbians were socially ostracised and the transgender community ignored and misunderstood. Cinematic and small-screen breakthroughs in the 1950s and 60s played their part in the public debate. Finally acting on the recommendations of the Wolfenden Committee a decade earlier, the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales, between two men over 21, in private. As those caveats suggest, the legislation remained problematic. But it was a step forward, paving the way for further battles - some yet to be won. From early glimpses of 'queer' characters, this collection charts the path towards '67 and beyond, through responses to the AIDS crisis to diverse reflections on queer life today.

Read more Close
Watch for free

What's a Girl Like You ...What's a Girl Like You ...

Documentary196952 mins Location: Vauxhall

Scintillating look at the 1960s drag renaissance, with a visit to London's Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Watch for free

Gay Black GroupGay Black Group

Magazine and Review show198325 mins Location: Bloomsbury

The Gay Black Group - reasserting culture and identity on two levels.

Watch for free

David Is HomosexualDavid Is Homosexual

Drama-documentary197638 mins Location: Lewisham

A lonely gay man discovers friends, love and activism in this rediscovered educational film made by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality

Watch for free

What Am I?What Am I?

Current affairs198026 mins Location: Hay-on-Wye/Y Gelli Gandryll

Transgender pioneer April Ashley appears in this moving look at the challenges faced by the trans community in 1980s Britain

Watch for free

Illegal TenderIllegal Tender

Animation & Artists Moving Image198714 mins

Queer psychedelic portrait of a young man’s desires in an industrial wasteland

Watch for free

Facing the SunFacing the Sun

Drama198054 mins

Sao Paulo-set love triangle drama, featuring a rare TV depiction of bisexuality.

Watch for free

A Couple of BeautiesA Couple of Beauties

Comedy197229 mins

Innuendo-laden crime caper, a star vehicle for Manchester-based drag queen Bunny Lewis

Watch for free

Being Gay in the Thirties (Gay Life)Being Gay in the Thirties (Gay Life)

198135 mins

This edition of LWT's pioneering 1980s TV series looks at gay experience 50 years earlier

Watch for free

The Important Thing Is LoveThe Important Thing Is Love

Documentary19710 mins

"I'm no man-hater": lesbian women discuss their lives, relationships and struggles against discrimination in this TV doc

Watch for free

Male SexualityMale Sexuality

Factual TV198137 mins

Gay men discuss sexuality, masculinity and relationships in a documentary filmed just before the outbreak of AIDS.

Watch for free

Miss Norah BlaneyMiss Norah Blaney

Musical19329 mins

A risqué music hall ditty uncovers the pioneering gender-bending ways of 1930s young things

Watch for free

Surviving SabuSurviving Sabu

Drama199716 mins

A budding gay filmmaker clashes with his conservative Muslim father as they work on a film about iconic Indian star Sabu

Watch for free

Portrait of David HockneyPortrait of David Hockney

Documentary197213 mins

Filmed at the time Hockney was painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, this compelling study concentrates on the textures and light which surround the artist in his home and studio.

Watch for free

How Percy Won the Beauty CompetitionHow Percy Won the Beauty Competition

Comedy19097 minsSilent

Percy drags up to scoop the top prize in this Edwardian short - but will he be found out?

Watch for free

Hints and Hobbies No.11Hints and Hobbies No.11

Cinemagazine192614 minsSilent

Jiu-jitsu for ladies, how to get ink off a white apron and other life essentials courtesy of the 'Hints and Hobbies' team.

Watch for free

The Homecoming: A Short Film about AjamuThe Homecoming: A Short Film about Ajamu

Drama-documentary199517 mins Location: Brixton

Queer activist and artist Ajamu prepares to leave Brixton for an exhibition of his work in his hometown, Huddersfield

Watch for free

Aids: The Last Chance (Part 1)Aids: The Last Chance (Part 1)

198628 mins

A young Sinéad O'Connor pops up in the first of a two-part This Week special about the spread of AIDS

Watch for free

Aids: The Last Chance (Part 2)Aids: The Last Chance (Part 2)

Current affairs198627 mins

Government complacency is challenged in the second of a two-part This Week special on the spread of AIDS

Watch for free

Heaven (Gay Life)Heaven (Gay Life)

Factual TV198025 mins

The LGBT current affairs series visits the new Heaven nightclub, contrasting it with other parts of London’s gay scene.

Watch for free

At Home with Larry GraysonAt Home with Larry Grayson

Biopic198326 mins Location: Nuneaton

Affectionate tribute to the camp comedian Larry Grayson, with showbiz friends and highlights from his TV career

Watch for free

The Trial of Sir Roger CasementThe Trial of Sir Roger Casement

Drama-documentary196052 mins

Peter Wyngarde plays the gay British diplomat turned Irish nationalist, executed for treason in 1916

Watch for free

Eros ErosionEros Erosion

Animation & Artists Moving Image198941 mins

A meditation on transcience, trauma and taboo in the cruel wake of the AIDS epidemic

Watch for free

We Who Have FriendsWe Who Have Friends

Documentary196949 mins Location: London

A fascinating and important film on attitudes towards homosexuality, and what it was like to be gay, shortly after it was partially legalised.

Watch for free

Scarborough Ahoy!Scarborough Ahoy!

Drama199433 mins Location: Scarborough

A straight woman and a gay man cruise their way across North East England in this Tennessee Williams-inspired short.

Watch for free

Michael and LiamMichael and Liam

Drama197851 mins

A suicidal teen and an openly gay youth strike up an unlikely rapport in a foster home

Watch for free

Battling Bruisers Some Boxing BuffooneryBattling Bruisers Some Boxing Buffoonery

192516 minsSilent

Effeminate fisticuffs from the French in this boxing-themed send-up of foreign stereotypes.

Currently unavailable

AlfalfaAlfalfa

Documentary19879 mins

The queer alphabet - from AC/DC to Zipper.

Watch for free

21st Century Nuns21st Century Nuns

Documentary199410 mins

Street protest tranvestite nuns perpetually indulge in this 1993 doc featuring Derek Jarman.

Watch for free

Tea LeafTea Leaf

Documentary19888 mins

An intimate account of frustration and disarray in 1980s Britain from the point of view of a young woman.

Watch for free

Oxford HousingOxford Housing

Current affairs19825 mins Location: Oxford

Against the odds, same sex couples in Oxford get the right to register for council housing, but for how long?

Watch for free

Lesbians (Gay Life)Lesbians (Gay Life)

198134 mins

Gay women from different generations discuss their experiences in this revealing TV documentary

Currently unavailable

Derek Jarman in Conversation with Simon FieldDerek Jarman in Conversation with Simon Field

198932 mins

A far reaching interview with multifaceted artist Derek Jarman, conducted in 1987 by producer and critic Simon Field as part of the ICA Guardian Conversations series.

Watch for free

Roll on Four O'ClockRoll on Four O'Clock

Drama197058 mins

Compelling play by the writer of Chariots of Fire, exposing homophobic bullying in a northern secondary modern.

Watch for free

ParalysisParalysis

Drama20169 mins

Struggling with the pressures of homophobia when her partner is taken away by a hateful mother, a young gay woman struggles to cope with the traumas and anxieties of her life.

Watch for free

London 1971London 1971

Amateur film197115 mins Location: Islington

A gently meandering home movie tour of London, with rare shots of an early Gay Pride march.

Watch for free

Aids: The VictimsAids: The Victims

Factual TV198527 mins

Two AIDS sufferers recount their experiences battling the disease and society's misconceptions.

Watch for free

SouthSouth

Drama195980 mins

Peter Wyngarde stars in the earliest surviving gay-themed British television drama, set on a Deep South plantation.

Watch for free

Quentin CrispQuentin Crisp

197027 mins Location: Chelsea

Join the original Naked Civil Servant in his London bedsit for a lesson on life, love and gender politics

Watch for free

The Trial of Oscar WildeThe Trial of Oscar Wilde

Drama-documentary196051 mins

Gripping TV recreation of Wilde's 1895 trial for gross indecency, starring Micheál MacLiammóir.

Watch for free

EerieEerie

Animation & Artists Moving Image19921 mins

A vertiginous lesbian kiss in a mountain cablecar inspired by German expressionism.

Watch for free

Ballad of Reading GaolBallad of Reading Gaol

Documentary198811 mins

Poetic reflection on Oscar Wilde’s testimony at his 1895 trial for gross indecency

Watch for free

Homosexual EqualityHomosexual Equality

Factual TV197450 mins Location: Westminster

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality is given airtime in the first ever community access series on British TV

Watch for free

A NosegayA Nosegay

Animation & Artists Moving Image198617 mins

A homoerotic homage to Genet and Lautréamont with an angel and a hermaphrodite.

More LGBT Britain films in our Rentals collection.

More LGBT Britain films in our Subscription collection.

The home of BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival on BFI Player.