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The Boys in the Band | 2020 | R | – 6.4.5

content-ratingsWhy is “The Boys in the Band” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “sexual content, language, some graphic nudity and drug use.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes several implied sex scenes between male partners with partial nudity, a few kissing scenes between men, flirting and discussions of coming out, several arguments with one leading to a brief fistfight and ending with a man having a bloody nose and mouth, several arguments about being gay and discussions of bullying, and at least 9 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Based on the eponymous 1968 play by Mart Crowley: In NYC several gay friends (Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells) attend a birthday party and are surprised by an uninvited guest. Also with Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington and Bernard Tuc Watkins. Directed by Joe Mantello. [Running Time: 2:00]

The Boys in the Band SEX/NUDITY 6

 – Three flashbacks show two fully nude men underwater in a backyard pool (we do not see their heads or genital area); in a fuzzy long shot, we see a man leaving the pool (we see his bare back, buttocks and legs). Two flashbacks show two nude men embracing in a shower (their bare sides and buttocks are visible); a close-up shows a hand rubbing a bare buttock and another close-up shows a hand rubbing a bare chest and in one of the flashbacks one man kneels below the frame and oral sex implied. Two clothed men sit on the edge of a bed and later we see the men in shadows from the waist up, shirtless (their bare chests, abdomens and backs are in heavy shadow), kissing and embracing for several seconds (sex is implied). A flashback shows a man in a washroom standing at a urinal and we hear him zipping his trousers; he turns and hears a flush from a stall, and enters the stall while a narrator says he picked up a man in an airport and we hear and see the stall door lock (sex is implied as the scene ends).
 A man enters a party, kisses another man, and the second man slaps him away; the first man later kisses another man for several seconds and the other man smiles and we hear that the first man is a $20 prostitute and another man asks him if he is good in bed and he says he tries to be affectionate, and the two men leave together. On a sidewalk, a man smiles at another man and the second man walks past, looks back, and the first man smiles at him again; the second man walks back to the first man and the scene ends (suggesting a sexual encounter). Two men lock themselves into a bathroom in a home (sex is implied). A man sitting on a bus looks a tall man up and down, and then moves his books to cover his lap (arousal is implied but not shown) while a woman stares sternly at both men. Men at a party dance in pairs and hug with a few of the men dancing in a line and shaking their hips; one man curtsies and calls the other men by names like “Mary” and “Laura,” and refers to them using the pronoun “she.” A man in a tavern holds and rubs the arm of another man. A man lays his head on another man’s shoulder. A man sucks on a frozen rocket pop outside an X-Rated Action Nude theater. A dog thrusts against a delivery person’s leg.
 We hear that a man had sex once with a few different men, but never formed a relationship. We hear that a man who insists he is not gay had a homosexual affair in college and dumped the other man. A man, who is married with two children, says that he left his wife for a man. A man receives what he says are bejeweled kneepads (we don’t see them), to use for giving oral sex.
 Three men are shown shirtless for a few seconds in different scenes. A man wears a short robe, revealing bare legs to mid-thighs. Two men wear athletic short-shorts on a tennis court.


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The Boys in the Band VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – Two men accuse another man of being gay, two of the men shout, the first man screams and turns red, and the second and third man argue and fistfight: one man is struck in the nose and mouth (some blood runs down his face and onto his shirt and he yells).
 A group of eight gay and bisexual men play a cruel game in which each must call a man from their past with whom they were in love and say, “I love you”; we hear a lot of belittling, name-calling and accusations, and a few men become tearful; one man says after a touching story, “I for one need an insulin injection,” a man relates how the girls at his senior prom gossiped about him within earshot (belittling him for asking an older man to be his friend), and a man makes a call and says, “I love you,” and another man screams, grabs the phone, and curses into it, only to learn that the man’s wife is on the line (he gives the phone back and looks embarrassed). A gay man has a prolonged panic attack after another gay man says in front of several friends that the first man hates himself for being gay but will never find a way to not be gay, will likely always be alone, and religion will not help him; the second man leaves and the panicky man falls to the floor, crying and screaming and a friend offers him a tranquilizer (please see the Substance Use category for more details).
 Men argue in several scenes. Two men who are said to be lovers argue loudly in one scene. Two men argue loudly about suicide among gays and one man insists that not all gays commit suicide (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A man says that his father died in his arms. A man tells another man, “I will kick you.” A man at a party says that the party games to be played involve murder (figuratively). A man makes a raspberry sound with his mouth.
 A man says, “I think I’m gonna throw up” and rushes into a bathroom toward the camera, gagging, and bends below the frame while we hear retching (we do not see goo); a man later says the bathroom smells like “puke.”


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The Boys in the Band LANGUAGE 5

 – 9 F-words and its derivatives, 16 sexual references, 9 scatological terms, 17 anatomical terms, 15 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans, name-calling (crazy, dumb, stupid, freak, freak show, beer drinker, whore, promiscuous, liar, troll, pig, sow, sick lady, faggot, faggots, faggy, fag, model fairy, tired fairies, screaming queens, anxious queen, closet-queen, nellie-queen, African Queen, Queen of Spades, frozen fruit, butch insurance, nellie, nellie-coward, flaming little sissy, pansy, effeminate, “icks” (yucky), heavy mother, sad, pathetic, kooze, beast, bull, trash, quack, Joe College, Phyllis Phallic, Harriet Hypocrite, Polly Paranoia, Freda Fickle, Yvonne the Terrible, Connie Casserole, Flo Nightingale, Uncle Tom, Douche Kit, Mr. Right, Midnight Cowboy, Lily Law, Geraldine Rockets, Socialite Nun, King of the pig people, see-you-next-Tuesday, black-eyed pea, ugly pock-marked Jew, fugitive from the Braille Institute), exclamation s(shut-up, shut your mouth, zip it, shoot, gosh, whoo-whoo, wow), 23 religious profanities (GD), 45 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, Oh Lord, God, My God, Thank God, God Only Knows, For Christ’s Sake, Christ Knows, I Wish To Christ, Jesus, Christ, Jesus Christ, I Found God, I Believe In God, Forgive Him Father, Hallelujah). | profanity glossary |


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The Boys in the Band SUBSTANCE USE

 – A close-up shows a cigarette lighter clicking to light a marijuana cigarette and lips puffing the cigarette and expelling smoke, a man lights and smokes a marijuana cigarette and another man takes a puff from it and then backs away coughing, a man in a bathroom swallows an unknown pill from a prescription bottle, a man gives another man a Valium tablet and the second man swallows it by drinking from a wine bottle, a giggling man enters a party and the host tells him that he’s “stoned,” and he replies that he “smoked a little grass,” a man says he made opium-baked lasagna, a man announces that another man at a party stores up barbiturates by the hundreds for a future suicide attempt, and a man says, “Give me Librium or give me meth” (we see neither). Several men at a party pour and drink small glasses of scotch, bourbon and small glasses of wine, a man at a party says that he gave up smoking and drinking five weeks ago, a man drinks from a bottle of wine and a man drinks from a bottle of amber colored liquor, a man chugs three short glasses of scotch, a man says that he is “not drunk,” a man says that he is “a fallen-down drunk,” a man says that he is a “major drunk,” a few men slur their words, and a man in an empty tavern sips a short glass of whiskey. Men light and smoke a cigarette in several scenes including on a sidewalk and in a cab as well as at a party, and two men at a party stand close together and light and smoke cigarettes.


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The Boys in the Band DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Homophobia, LGBTQA+, college sexual experimentation, alcohol and smoking addictions, organized religion, guilt, subservience, self-pity, fear, relationships, mental health concerns, love, cruelty, conflict, reconciliation, understanding, sympathy, friendship, conspicuous consumption, the corporate rat race, financial hardship.

The Boys in the Band MESSAGE

 – In 1968 NYC, gay men suffered more than the general population from targeted bigotry, vice arrests, employment hardships, addictions, and debt.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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We are a totally independent website with no connections to political, religious or other groups & we neither solicit nor choose advertisers. You can help us keep our independence with a donation.

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