User Reviews (6)

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  • I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this wonderful documentary. The archival material alone -- film clips and still photographs of gay life in America between 1900 and the '60s -- is enough to make this film a treasure; but it is the interviews with survivors of the pre-Stonewall era that make Before Stonewall a priceless heirloom of gay studies and a must in the personal education of any socially conscious person interested in gay culture.
  • This informative and enlightening documentary examines how gay people lived and supported and recognized each other in the days before the landmark disturbance at the Stonewall bar in New York in 1969, an event that gave new impetus to the gay rights movement in the U.S. It features many brave individuals who risked life and limb back in the "dark ages" by even broaching the subject of homosexuality in the open. Many viewers will find revelations here that are fascinating, for example how World War II, of all things, served to end the isolation felt by many gays who fought and served back then. It deserves a wide audience.
  • An absolutely fascinating account of gay life in the United States before 1969, especially how WWII changed everything.

    This collection of interviews, archival material, and history gives a clear picture of how gays and lesbians lived and interacted in this country before people "came out" publicly.

    I was impressed with those who came out openly in the 50s and started the first gay and lesbian organizations and magazines. These were people of extreme courage.

    The incorporation of gays and lesbians in the civil rights movement and the women's movement was thoroughly examined.

    This film should be seen by all to have a better understanding of oppression in America, and how far we have come.
  • Before Stonewall is a unique piece because it was made in 1984, 15 years after Stonewall: It was still fresh in people's memory, it wasn't so long before.

    Above all, it means that the people interviewed in the program were old enough to remember what the 20-30s were like, remember an experience in the army during the Second World War, remember life as a young gay person in the fifties. Most of those people wouldn't be able to be interviewed today: Most probably died of old age and many probably died of the greatest tragedy to ever affect the gay community a bit after the documentary was made: the aids epidemic.

    Thus this documentary is invaluable to anyone interested in gay history, and one can really feel grateful that it was made back then, that someone decided to collect all those memories and amazing life experiences, or they would have been lost for ever.
  • A humanising and edifying account of the emerging gay rights movement across the early to mid twentieth century. Before Stonewall documents the struggles gay people faced leading to the protests of the 1960s. Containing archive footage of early depictions of gays on film, original interviews with gay rights activists, frequenters of early gay scenes of New York and San Francisco and authors including Allen Ginsberg. This film made me realise what a force for the creative voice the gay scene was in how it championed the subversive and the ironic. It is testament to the boundless positivity and optimism of the prominent individuals of the gay rights movement featured in this film that despite the often painful experiences they had to endure, their stories are retold in a witty and engaging way. Highly recommended for both educational and entertainment purposes!
  • Have many pictures of our father (Louis Dumar) in silents - my sister has one of him in Salome in her guest bedroom. Just found out last year, from a German website, about the film's "all gay" reputation.

    He died 50+ yrs ago, so no way to find out real scoop now.

    I purchased a Video of the short version - apparently all that remains - of the film and have have had some good laughs showing it to friends. The costumes are great and the whole thing very much before it's time. Hope to find out more about it's history.

    Our dad's brother (Gino Corrado) was also in the movies, and is credited with something 272 appearances from 1916 to the 1970's. Remember seeing him in "B" movies on TV as a kid.