Watch The Boys in the Band
- 1 hr 59 min
The Boys in the Band is a 1970 drama film directed by William Friedkin and based on the 1968 play of the same name by Mart Crowley. The film takes place over the course of one evening in a Manhattan apartment where a group of gay men have gathered for a birthday party. The central character is Michael (played by Kenneth Nelson), a sarcastic, caustic, and self-loathing gay man who is throwing the party for his friend Harold (played by Leonard Frey). Michaelâs guests include Donald (played by Frederick Combs), a young and attractive schoolteacher; Larry (played by Keith Prentice), a successful commercial artist who is in the process of leaving his partner Hank (played by Laurence Luckinbill); and Emory (played by Cliff Gorman), a campy and flamboyant decorator who enjoys shocking other people. The cast of characters is rounded out by Bernard (played by Reuben Greene), a black man who is struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his race; and Cowboy (played by Robert La Tourneaux), a young prostitute who is hired to give Harold a birthday present. As the night goes on and the alcohol flows, the guests become increasingly confrontational with each other. Old wounds are reopened, secrets are revealed, and Michael unleashes a vicious tirade against Harold that exposes his own self-hatred. The Boys in the Band was groundbreaking at the time of its release for its portrayal of openly gay characters, and it has since become an important touchstone in LGBT cinema. The play and film were controversial for their unflinching and at times brutal depiction of gay life, as well as for their portrayal of self-loathing and internalized homophobia. The film's success was due in large part to the performances of its cast, particularly Nelson as the sardonic and acerbic Michael. Frey also stands out as Harold, who initially appears to be a self-confident and successful man, but who is ultimately revealed to be deeply insecure and unable to accept his sexuality. While the film may feel dated to some viewers, it remains a powerful and affecting portrait of a group of men grappling with their own identity and their place in the world. Its message continues to resonate today, as the LGBTQ community continues to fight for acceptance and equality.