Pucker up for Pride!
Counting Down the 100 Most Iconic Movie & TV Gay Kisses of All Time
This Pride, celebrity blog Mr. Man looks back on the top 100 Iconic Gay Kisses that have lit up big and small screens and helped make a positive statement, infusing "love is love" into the mainstream ethos. They include Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in 2005’s monumental Brokeback Mountain, Sean Sasser and Pedro Zamora in 1992’s The Real World, Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome in 2016’s Moonlight, and more.
LGBTQ+ representation in TV and film has come a long way since 1927, when the Oscar-winning silent film, Wings, was the first to premiere a kiss between two men on screen. Ninety years later, romantic relationships between two characters of the same sex in major motion pictures and on TV are much more prevalent. This past year alone showed Charlie Carver in a steamy lock with Zachary Quinto in The Boys in the Band, the adorable George Sear and Lukas Gage sharing a sweet peck in the coming-of-age film Love, Victor and Paul Bettany and Peter Macdissi exchanging a mature romantic kiss in Uncle Frank.
“Seeing two men showing true intimacy and sexual chemistry (remains) a very powerful image,” says Phil Henricks, an executive at Mr. Man. “Many of these moments, especially the older ones, were key in giving us broader recognition and acceptance. There is no downside with this type of visibility. These images not only serve to increase acceptance in society but often help those in doubt accept themselves.”
Mr. Man combed through thousands of video clips in its database and narrowed the list down to the top 100. “It was not an easy task,” admits Henricks. “We think they are all beautiful and powerful clips.”
One notable absence from the 100 Iconic Gay Kisses list is Jaden Smith, son of actor Will Smith. In The Get Down, the younger Smith famously had the gay on-screen kiss his father never could.
Will Smith refused to kiss Anthony Michael Hall for their kissing scene in 1993’s Six Degrees of Separation. In an interview, Smith stated that Denzel Washington advised him not to kiss a man on-screen because it would harm his career. It was a decision Will Smith says he now regrets.
Smith wasn’t the only male actor to refuse to kiss another man. In 2013, Luke Grimes left his role on HBO’s True Blood when it was announced that his character was heading into a same-sex relationship with the character played by Nelsan Ellis, and would require kissing scenes between the two men. Grimes claimed that his exit was due to a scheduling conflict but Ellis called out his co-star in media for quitting his job. “If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do? If you have a daughter who comes out gay...? You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects.”
Luckily, Smith and Grimes are the exceptions, and, if anything, this past year has seen a dramatic increase in same-sex romance on film, something Phil Henricks applauds. “I think networks and studios are realizing that the stigma and box office issues they feared are not as relevant today and that there is a big market for this type of content.”
The two actors that Mr. Man members are most interested in seeing join the list of male actors in an on-screen gay romance are Zac Efron and Henry Cavill. “Mr. Cavill is incredibly handsome and Jacob Elordi from Euphoria would look great face-to-face with another dude,” says Henricks.
In addition to 100 Iconic Gay Kisses, Mr. Man compiled a brief but compelling history of Iconic Gay Scenes in Film and Television. It includes clips from Paris is Burning, The Crying Game and Queer as Folk.
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