7 gay AF cowboy movies to hold you over until Josh O'Connor's 'The History of Sound'

Gay cowboy movies Brokeback Mountain and A Strange Way of Life
Gay cowboy movies Brokeback Mountain and A Strange Way of Life

Gay cowboys are having a moment, and we aren’t complaining!

Between all the buzz about the Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke starring short film A Strange Way of Life, Benedict Cumberbatch playing a closeted gay cowboy in The Power of the Dog, and the upcoming Oliver Hermanus movie The History of Sound, Hollywood can’t get enough of gay cowboys and neither can we.

Actor Josh O’Connor, who is currently starring in the queer sports movie Challengers, is set to play a gay cowboy in The History of Sound, about two men who fall in love while traveling together during WWI.

While there are some genuinely amazing westerns out there — think The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly — they can sometimes feel formulaic and boring, but add in a gay character or queer love story, and we are in! From the quintessential gay cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain to older films like Midnight Cowboy, there is something for everyone.

So, while we wait for The History of Sound to be released, here are seven gay-AF cowboy movies to occupy your time!

A Strange Way of Life

Sony Picture Classics

How gay is it? It's a movie about two gay lovers, full of intimate moments and multiple sex scenes.

Synopsis: A man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen.

Where to watch: Netflix

Brokeback Mountain

Focus Features

How gay is it? Super gay, but we probably don't need to explain that with this film.

Synopsis: Rodeo cowboy Jack and ranch hand Ennis are hired as sheepherders in 1963 Wyoming. One night on Brokeback Mountain, they spark a physical relationship. Though Ennis marries his longtime sweetheart and Jack marries a fellow rodeo rider, they keep up their tortured, sporadic love affair for 20 years.

Where to watch: rent on Amazon Prime

The Power of the Dog


How gay is it? Benedict Cumberbatch plays a closeted gay cowboy.

Synopsis: A domineering but charismatic rancher wages a war of intimidation on his brother's new wife and her teen son — until long-hidden secrets come to light. Oscar winner Jane Campion's acclaimed Western stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Where to watch: Netflix

Midnight Cowboy

Everett Collection

How gay is it? It's a proto-queer buddy movie that may be a little on the homophobic side by today's standards. However, in it, Jon Voight plays a hustler who is having trouble finding female clients, so he starts servicing men. It was also directed by gay director John Schlesinger, who was closeted at the time.

Synopsis: When Joe Buck (Jon Voight), a good-looking, naively charming Texas 'cowboy' makes his way to the Big Apple to seek his fortune, the only wealth he finds is in the friendship of Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a sleazy, small-time con man with big dreams.

Where to watch: Tubi, Pluto TV

Red River

How gay is it? While the homosexuality isn't explicit — it was made in 1948 — there are plenty of homoerotic moments, including a scene where two men are comparing gun sizes and fondling their weapons. Plus, one of the cowboy's names is Cherry Valance; I mean, c'mon.

Synopsis: Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny led by his adopted son. Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri.

Where to watch: Tubi

My Own Private Idaho

How gay is it? River Phoenix plays a gay hustler who confesses his love to his friend Scott.

Synopsis: In this loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henry IV," Mike Waters (River Phoenix) is a gay hustler afflicted with narcolepsy. Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves) is the rebellious son of a mayor. Together, the two travel from Portland, Oregon, to Idaho and finally to the coast of Italy to find Mike's estranged mother. Along the way, they turn tricks for money and drugs, eventually attracting the attention of a wealthy benefactor and sexual deviant.

Where to watch: rent on Amazon Prime


Samuel Goldwyn Films

How gay is it? It's a transgender boy's coming-of-age story.

Synopsis: Separated from his wife, a well-intentioned father runs off with his transgender son into the Montana wilderness.

Where to watch: Hulu