30 Films about... Drag & Cross-dressing
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Paris is Burning (1991)
A fascinating film that documents the underground ball culture, the drag lifestyle of Latino & African-American youth during the 1980's, and the hurdles the culture faces, such as poverty, homelessness, homophobia, HIV/AIDS, racism, and class issues.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Two struggling Chicago musicians, who witness a gang-related murder, impersonate women and join an all-girl band to escape the Mob. Antics ensue when one is courted by a man, and the other tries to court the band's lead singer.
After she robs her boss, a woman on the run stumbles upon a seedy motel, where the murderous, cross-dressing owner believes he is his own mother. This well-recieved horror movie spawned three sequels, Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986), & Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990), as well as a Gus Van Sant remake in 1998, starring Vince Vaughn & Julianne Moore.
Two drag queens and a recently bereaved transexual, take a roadtrip through the Australian outback encountering camp musical numbers and homophobia.
A Disney adaptation of a traditional Chinese legend about a young girl who with the aid of her guardian dragon, impersonates a man and joins the Chinese army to take her ill father's place.
Victor and Victoria (1933)
A musical comedy about a woman impersonating a female impersonator (that is, a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman). The film notably spawned several remakes including: Victor Saville's 1935 "First A Girl" with Jessie Matthew & Sonnie Hale, Karl Anton's 1957 "Viktor und Viktoria", and Black Edward's lavish 1982 "Victor Victoria" with Julie Andrews in the lead role. The last remake also spawned a broadway musical of the same name.
A cult musical classic, a newlywed couple,Brad & Janet, encounter car trouble on a stormy night, where they stumble upon the castle of the eccentric, transexual, transvestite from Transylvania, Dr. Frank-N-Furter.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
An underachieving divorcee, creates a drag alter-ego, Mrs. Doubtfire, in order to stay closer to his children, being hired as their nanny.
Charley's Aunt (1925)
The longest running British play was finally adapted to the screen in 1925, about a pair of young gentlemen, who, while trying to woo two young women, one must impersonate his rich aunt in order to have a chaperone present. Antics ensue when long lost loves are involved. Other notable film adaptations of the play include: Walter Forde's 1940 "Charlie's (Big-Hearted) Aunt" starring Arthur Askey & Richard Murdoch, Archie Mayo's 1941 version starring Jack Benny, David Butler's 1952 musical version based on the broadway musical "Where's Charley?" starring Ray Bolger & Allyn Ann McLerie, and Viktor Titov's 1975 Russian musical "Hello, I'm Your Aunt!."
Albert Nobbs (2011)
In order to find work during a depression, an Irish woman wears men's apparel, and keeps up the facade for decades.
La Cage aux Folles (1978)
A gay club owner and his drag queen partner masquerade as a typical husband and wife when their son's fiance's conservative family comes to visit. This French farce spawned two sequels, La Cage aux Folles II (1980) & La Cage aux Folles III - 'Elles' se Marient (1985). Also inspiring a Tony-award winning Broadway musical of the same name, and an American remake, The Birdcage (1996) which starred Robin Williams & Nathan Lane.
Pink Flamingos (1988)
A shit eating transvestite, is named the "Filthiest Person Alive" by a tabloid magazine in their hometown, which incites a jealous couple who run an illegal adoption agency, to an all out Filth War.
Three bumbling drag queens get stuck in a small Middle-American town, during a cross-country road trip, where they are mistaken as authentic women.
A volatile, but talented actor, whose reputation for being difficult causes him to cross-dress in order to land a job.
Based on another of Shakespeare's cross-dressing comedies, As You Like It deals with the a young woman named Rosalind, who runs aways with her best friend Celia and the court jester when she is banished from her kingdom. On the road, she impersonates a young man named Ganymede and Celia impersonates an old woman Aliena. The first film adaptation of this story, other notable adaptations include Basil Coleman's 1978 "As You Like It" with Helen Mirren, Christine Edzard's 1992 version with James Fox & Cyril Cusack, and Kenneth Branagh's 2006 version with Bryce Dallas Howard & David Oyelowo.
Dressed to Kill (1980)
In a film that drew backlash from feminist, gay, and transgender groups, de Palma paints a dark thriller about the death of a bored housewife at the hands of a trans person and the gritty game of cat and mouse played between the killer's psychiatrist and a high-paid call girl who witnessed the murder.
An Iranian boy becomes protective of a fellow Afghan coworker when he realizes the secret that he is actually a girl.
The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)
A society woman tries to escape the stigma of bearing a child out of wedlock by going out to the west, and living disguised as a man.
Glen or Glenda (1953) (1961)
An exploitation film, frequently referred to as "one of the worst films ever made", Glen or Glenda is a cry for cross-dressing & transgender acceptance, albeit a confusing one. Split in two parts, it tells the story of two cross-dressing/transgendered people, Glen/Glenda and Alan/Anne.
Ed Wood (1994)
A biopic film that focuses on Ed Wood, the transvestite exploitation director who created and funded campy classics like Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 from Outer Space.
The first, black-and-white, silent filmed performance of Shakespeare's play is more accurate than the contemporary "She's The Man". Like most of Shakespeare's place, it deals with a case of mistaken identity when a young shipwrecked woman takes her dead brother's identity. Other notable adaptations include Yan Frid's 1955 "Dvenadtsataya Noch", John Sichel & John Dexter's 1969 version with Joan Plowright & Alec Guiness, Kenneth Branagh's 1988 version with Richard Briers & Caroline Lingrishe, Trevor Nunn's 1996 version with Helena Bonham Carter & Imogen Stubbs, and Tim Supple's 2003 "Twelfth Night, or What You Will" starring Parminder Nagra & Ronny Jhutti.
A musical about an androgynous Jewish woman who dons male clothing in order to educate herself in faith & God.
Just One of the Guys (1985)
A high school girl, fed up with not being taken seriously because of her gender and good looks, impersonates a boy at a rival high school in a social project.
M. Butterfly (1993)
Inspired by Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly, and David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly play, this marks the story of an American diplomat who falls for a Chinese opera singer, either unaware or willfully ignorant to the fact that all traditional Chinese roles, whether female or not, are played by men.
A buddy cop comedy revolving around two male African-American cops, who in order to save their job, impersonate the white women they were supposed to protect.
Connie and Carla (2004)
In a strange mash up of Some Like It Hot and Victor Victoria, two women who are escaping the mob masquerade as drag queens and must keep up their lie.
Big Momma's House (2000)
An FBI agent disguises himself as Big Momma, a southern matriarch, to lure a confession from the ex-girlfriend of a criminal on the run.
She's the Man (2006)
Very loosely based on Shakespeare's cross-dressing farce Twelfth Night, the story centers around Viola Hastings who enters her brother's school in his place in order to play on the boy's soccer team.
The first film created in Afghanistan since the Taliban régime banned the creation of film, Osama tells a bold story about a small girl who impersonates a boy to support her family under the Taliban.
Butch Jamie (2007)
A struggling butch lesbian actress is cast as a man in a film and develops a "heterosexual" relationship with a woman on set.
Costume and custom are complex. The cultures we live in put so much emphasis on gender and clothing, and how they tend to compliment one another. The following list is of films that bend the gender binary, that influence the androgyny of donning another sex's clothing. The films either feature gender and cross-dressing at the heart of the plot, for comedic or dramatic effect. Some of the characters are drag kings & queens (people who cross-dress for theatricality and as a farce to the gender binary), transvestites (people who cross-dress for sexual reasons), trangender (people who identify with the opposite sex), transexual (people who wish to become the opposite sex), or simply put in a predicament that forces them to cross-dress.
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