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The Boys in the Band
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There is no denying that Boys in the Band is controversial. Among gay men, it seems to provoke either fierce defense or intense outrage. Indeed, there seem to be just as many people who praise it for its honesty, humor and status as a ground-breaking film, as there are people who condemn it for its stereotypes and self-hating negative images. There seems to be no middle ground. Many people who know me well might be surprised to find that I am one of its defenders.
Although I was only 16 years old in 1970, I was already totally "out" as a gay person in most aspects of my life. As such, I had heard about this film (but couldn't get in to see it) almost as soon as it came out. But you can bet I acquired a copy of the play shortly thereafter, and what I found thrilled me. Yes, "thrilled" is the only way to describe my initial reaction to The Boys in the Band. I guess when you're used to being totally ignored, having your life acknowledged, even in a negative way, can be surprisingly positive.
First of all, BITB was the first mainstream Hollywood film whose main subject matter was homosexuality; that in itself was a giant step forward. In 1970, depictions of gay men in Hollywood movies were unheard of, unless we were presented as swishy stereotypes or evil predators. And yes, that's precisely what the controversy is about - back in 1970, as today, many gay men felt that Boys in the Band presented nothing more than a rehash of the same, tired stereotypes that Hollywood had been foisting on us for years. But I am not at all sure that I agree.Read more ›
A good number of the play's original cast (and its director, Robert Moore) did indeed perish of AIDS-related illnesses, as reported here by others, but not all.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you're into what gay life was like in NYC back in 1968, it's incredible how far we've come. This was the very first gay movie I ever saw in a theater, and that alone was great. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bob J. Elsaesser, Jr.
this is how we all started out, a sad part that a happy Harold cheers things up by turningPublished 3 months ago by bo bo,s barnyard
I love this movie. It inspired and contributed to my mission to move to NYC in 1971.. good nostalgia. Had a great 23 years in NYC.Published 6 months ago by James C.
In 1968 when BOYS IN THE BAND was first released, I was a closeted gay man in Utah attending my junior year in high school. I saw this at an art movie theatre with other gay men. Read morePublished 6 months ago by John E Whiting
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