CRUISING (1980)
In recent years, William Friedkin’s thriller based loosely on Gerald Walker’s 1970 novel has become a cult classic appreciated for capturing a balls-out moment in post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS era gay culture, but its production sparked protests and attempts to sabotage filming in the summer of 1979. Al Pacino stars as a cop who goes undercover in NYC’s S&M leather bars to catch a serial killer preying on gay men and begins to question his own sexuality (and dance awfully). The murky ending suggests that he may have transformed into a homicidal homosexual. Gay activists worried that it equated gay to violent and would inspire homophobia and hate crimes. Their fears proved well founded: In November 1980, a minister’s son shot and killed two gay men outside of The Ramrod, one of the film’s locations.