The first same-sex kiss is cinema is often attributed to the 1927 film Wings, the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and one of two silent films to win Best Picture; the other being The Artist in 2011. If it is not the first, it is certainly one of the earliest known films to show a same-sex kiss.
Warning: Spoilers are contained below!
Charles Rogers (Jack) and Richard Arlen (David) are growing up in the same American town, both fighting for the affections of Mary Preston (Clara Bow). With the onset of the First World War, both become fighter pilots, and their rivalry eventually transforms into a close friendship.
The climax of the film arrives with a dying David being comforted by Jack, with Mary overlooking. Despite all that’s happened between them, their deep friendship and affection for each other is clearly shown in this scene. Not just in a kiss, but in the way the two male characters talk and act towards each other in their last few moments together.
The intimacy of these four minutes on screen in a silent, black-and-white film means that, almost 90 years later, it is still widely discussed and explored by film critics. Writer Kevin Sessums has commented that; “Neither of [these character] shows as much love for her…as they do for each other.” I am inclined to agree.
Please note: The music accompanying this clip is not the original music from the film.