The Celluloid Closet
The Celluloid Closet (1996)

Documentary directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, already well-established for bringing gay issues to a mainstream film audience, examined the representation of homosexuality in the film industry itself in this absorbing study. Based… More

Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: March 15, 1996
DVD Release Date: May 29, 2001
Add Your Rating
Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
User Score

Also Available On

Critic Score: 96% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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.

Full review…
Rob Nelson
City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

How ironic that a movie about the dangers of the closet would so confine one's freedom of interpretation.

Full review…
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An engaging documentary touching on Hollywood's on screen treatment of homosexuality.

Full review…
James Berardinelli

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.

Full review…
Emanuel Levy

Instead of an angry diatribe against Hollywood, the film shrewdly opts for a wity, often campy commentary by gay figures (Gore Vidal), directors (Wyler) and actors (Tom Hanks) who shed light on the context in which these films were made and viewed.

Full review…
Michael A. Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Rock Hudson was gay? Who knew?

Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic

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.

Mark Bourne

It's engrossing, brings a healthy sense of humor to the discussion, and enlightening without being bludgeoning.

Full review…
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Entertaining but ultimately shallow.

More reviews for The Celluloid Closet

Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Christian C
A decent historical reflection, if not somewhat self-indulgent.
Lafe Fredbjornson
A huge collection of clips from Hollywood's past, some subtle and some blatant in their homosexual themes. It is a touching and revealing look at gay… More
Randy Tippy
"It's amazing how, if you're a gay audience and you're accustomed to crumbs, how you will watch an entire movie just to see someone wear an… More
Michael Gildea
This documentary makes you realize how gay old movies can be.
Ken Stachnik
Great documentary on the history of Gay Film
John Ballantine
A fabulous documentary that makes you truly re-think the way that homosexuality was depicted in the classic cinema and how it may have been alluded to...and… More