The Celluloid Closet
The acclaimed documentary based on Vito Russo’s groundbreaking book, The Cellulioid Closet explores the hidden subtext of more than 100 Hollywood movies—from The Maltese Falcon, Spartacus and Rebel Without A Cause to Thelma and Louise and Philadelphia.
Narrated by Lily Tomlin
Emmy Award, Nonfiction Directing (1995)
Featuring Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Shirley MacLaine, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Curtis, Gore Vidal, Arthur Laurents, Harvey Fierstein, John Schlesinger, Armistead Maupin, Susie Bright, and others.
The acclaimed documentary based on Vito Russo’s groundbreaking book, The Cellulioid Closet explores the hidden subtext of more than 100 Hollywood movies—from The Maltese Falcon to Spartacus and Rebel Without A Cause to Thelma and Louise and Philadelphia. A lively cinematic journey through evolving lesbian and gay stereotypes—and homosexual self-image—as seen through the first century of movie-making. With clips from over 100 movies, and revealing interviews with many of the artists who created them.
Festivals & Screenings
EMMY AWARD: DIRECTING
National Academy of Television Arts & Science
GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY AWARD
University of Georgia School of Journalism
Excellence in Journalism
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AWARD
Sundance Film Festival
"Fascinating... a beautifully and thoughtfully made film that touches on many areas of human sexuality and human expression beyond the obvious ... a vital and artful piece of work ... Celluloid Closet is a nonfiction film that presses more emotional buttons than many a manipulative melodrama and seems of equal interest to those of every conceivable sexual identity. It's not only about how people see each other and see themselves; it's also about being human and the joy and pain and confusion that strange condition entails."
- Tom Shales, The Washington Post
"Two thumbs up ... terrific!"
- Siskel & Ebert
"That's Entertainment with a difference... snappy, glamorous... a testimonial to the magic of the movies."
- J. Hoberman, Premiere
★★★★ (highest rating) "A spectacular movie-movie."
- Bruce Williamson, Playboy
Produced and Directed by
Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman
Executive Producer for HBO
Narration Written by
Director of Photography
Jay Presson Allen