B.C. on Gender: Transgendered Movies

The following films all contain "transgender" content:

Before 1960

Before 1960 film commedies that present men dressed as women fall into two broad categories: the open treatment that expands our sense of possibilities, creating more questions than answers; and the closed vehicle that establishes identifiable boundaries and resolves ambiguity.1

  • A Woman (1915) dir: Charlie Chaplin.
    Charlie Chaplin

  • The Masquerader (1914) dir: Charlie Chaplin.
    Charlie Chaplin

  • Our Hospitality (1923) dir: Jack Blystone, Buster Keaton.
    Buster Keaton

  • The Unholy Three (1925, 1930) dir: Tod Browning
    Lon Chaney
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich

  • Morocco (1930) dir: Josef von Sternberg.
    Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich

    This is one of films in which Dietrich wears a man's suit during a musical number.

  • Christopher Strong (1933) dir: Dorothy Arzner.
    Kathrine Hepburn

  • Devil Doll (1936) dir: Tod Browning

  • Charlie's Aunt (1941) dir: Archie Mayo.
    Jack Benny

  • A Song to Remember (1945) dir: Charles Vidor.
    Merle Oberon
    Oberon plays a glamorous, wicked George Sand.

  • Joan of Arc (1948) dir: ??

  • I Was a Male War Bride (1949) dir: Howard Hawks.
    Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan

  • Calamity Jane (1953) dir: ??.
Ed Wood, Jr.
Ed Wood, Jr.

  • Glen or Glenda (1953) dir: Edward D. Wood Jr.
    Bela Lugosi, Dolores Fuller, Edward D. Wood Jr. (as Danial Davis)

  • Johnny Guitar (1954) dir: ??
    Joan Crawford

  • Some Like it Hot (1959) dir: Billy Wilder.
    Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe.
    Two witness to the St. Valentine's day massacre fear being killed by the gang, and crossdress to get out of town.


Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)

  • Psycho (1960) dir: Alfred Hitchcock.
    Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles

  • Goodbye Charlie (1964) dir: ??
    Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis


  • The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970) dir: Irving Rapper.
    John Hansen
    The biographical story of one of the first publicized transsexuals.

  • Myra Breckenridge (1970) dir: Michael Sarne.
    Raquel Welch, Mae West

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) dir: Jim Sharman.
    Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Richard O'Brien.
    A cult film about a "sweet transvestite" from another planet, attempting to create a Charles Atlas-type lover, and two sexually-repressed humans who get caught up in the weird goings-on.

  • The Tenant (1976) dir: Roman Polanski
    Roman Polanski

  • La Cage aux Folles (1979) dir: Edouard Molinaro.


  • Tootsie (1982) dir: Sydney Pollack.
    Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Bill Murray
    An out-of-work actor takes a female role on a soap opera, and becomes a celebrity.

  • Victor/Victoria (1982) dir: Blake Edwards.
    Julie Andrews, James Gardner, Robert Preston
    An out-of-work singer decides to impersonate a man who impersonates women.

  • The World According to Garp (1982) dir: George Roy Hill.
    Robin Williams, Glenn Close, Mary Beth Hurt, John Lithgow

  • Yentl (1983) dir: Barbra Streisand
    Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin

  • Just One of the Guys (1985) dir: Lisa Gottlieb
    A journalism student believes sexism is keeping her talent from being respected and dresses as a guy.

  • Mascara (1987) dir: Patrick Conrad
    Jappe Claes, Eva Robbins


  • Paris is Burning (1990) dir: Jennie Livingston
The Crying Game
Jaye Davidson and Stephen Rea in The Crying Game (1992)

  • The Crying Game (1992) dir: Neil Jordan.
    Stephen Rea, Forest Whitaker, Jaye Davidson, Miranda Richardson

  • Ed Wood (????) dir: Tim Burton.
    Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bill Murray, Jeffrey Jones
    The life of Ed Wood Jr., transvestite and director of the worst movie of all time, Plan 9 from Outer Space.

  • Just Like a Woman (1992) dir: Christopher Monger.
    Adrian Pasdar, Julie Walters
    A story of two lovers learning to understand the one partner's crossdressing.

    This is one of the few movies in which the main character is actually a cross-dresser as opposed to someone who crossdresses for some unbelievable set of circumstances.

  • Just One of the Girls aka Anything for Love (1993) dir: Michael Keusch.

  • Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) dir: Chris Columbus.
    Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein
Tilda Swinton and Billy Zane in Orlando

  • Orlando (1993) dir: Sally Potter.
    Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp.
    Orlando is an English noble who does not age from the year 1600 to the present day, but who, without explanation, becomes a woman around 1800.

  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) dir: Stephen Elliott.
    Hugo Weaving, Guy Pierce, Terence Stamp
    Three drag queens from Sydney travel across the Australian outback in a lavendar bus christened Priscilla.

  • To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) dir: Beeban Kidron.
    Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Stockard Channing
    Three drag queens stay in a small American-midwest town, after their car breaks down on their way to California.

  • Wigstock: The Movie (1995) dir: Barry Shils
    "A Celebration of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Big Hair!"
    A documentary of the annual New York drag queen festival.

  • The Birdcage (1996) dir: Mike Nichols
    Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria
    An American remake of La Cage aux Folles
Different for Girls

  • Different for Girls (1996) dir: Richard Spence
    Rupurt Graves, Steven Mackintosh

    When Paul last saw his old school friend he remembered a boy named Karl. Now, fifteen years later, he unexpectedly runs into him again, but now she is Kim, a post-operative transsexual. Worlds apart in their attitudes toward life, they no longer appear to have anything in common. However, the physical attraction they feel now is ironically as strong as their childhood friendship. Taking the best from their differing lifestyles, she helps him to grow up and he helps her to have fun and somewhere along the way they accidentally fall in love.

    Well, that's what it says on the box. I found it a somewhat annoying film to watch, because Paul is an idiot with no redeaming qualities, and Kim is a complete milksop.

  • A Little Bit of Lippy (????) dir: ????

  • Ma Vie en Rose (????) dir: ????
    A family deals with neighbourhood persecution around the fact that their son dresses in girl's clothes, and has fallen in love with another boy.


I had originally planned to link these movies to the Internet Movie Database, a really useful movie directory, but IMDB has way too much advertising on it.

1 Rebecca Bell-Metereau. Hollywood Androgyny. p.21.

Copyright © 1997, 1999 by B.C. Holmes. Last updated August 7th, 1999
Transgender logo Copyright © by Nancy Reynolds Nangeroni, Ninja Design.
Back to my transgender page.