10 Great Moments in Action Movie Homoeroticism

"Dillon! You son of a bitch!" [arm clasp, grunt]

Romancing The Stallone

By Jon Blistein

In the mid-'80s, a new breed of action movies provided escapism on an unparalleled level, offering a world where heavily-armed good always conquered evil — generally in the form of Communists, rogue cyborgs, domestic terrorists, criminal masterminds, or diabolical ninja warriors. And, as is often the case, this hypermasculinity covered a layer of repressed homoeroticism. So, in honor of Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables, a film that features almost all of the iconic '80s/early '90s action heroes, we present a retrospective of the most homoerotic action-movie moments — where sweat-kissed muscle-men fight to the death, where intense stare-downs are thick with stifled sexual tension, and where a gun is almost always more than just a gun.

1) Commando (1985)

If action-movie fight sequences are often sexual metaphors, none is more explicit than the fight between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vernon Wells in Commando. After getting shot, Schwarzenegger pulls out a knife and starts to goad Wells: "Let the girl go. This is between you and me. Don't deprive yourself of some pleasure." Bonus points for when Arnold finally impales Wells with a metal pipe that then spits out a geyser of hot, white steam.

2) Top Gun (1986)

The obvious choice from Tom Cruise's Air Force epic would be the classic volleyball scene, but there's just as much pent-up sexual tension in this scene's playful touching and locker-room boasting as in a bunch of oiled-up dudes smacking a rubber ball around on a beach. Plus, Val "Ice Man" Kilmer manages to seal the deal with that libidinous jaw snap right in Maverick's face.

3) Lethal Weapon (1987)

Climactic fight scenes always have to be awesome, and this one certainly hits the mark as Mel Gibson and Gary Busey go toe-to-toe. At first it all seems pretty standard, but then for whatever reason a hydrant explodes. The next thing you know, the two are mud wrestling and Gibson's running around shirtless and swinging a big baton. The fight finally ends when Gibson gets Busey in a triangle hold, leaving Busey gasping for breath and providing some great crotch-to-face imagery.

4) Predator (1987)

This handshake more or less epitomizes homoerotic imagery in action movies. As Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers clasp hands, you get that classic closeup of their chiseled arms complete with bulging muscles and throbbing veins. Then the two old army buddies lock eyes, their rippling triceps crashing against each other; there's a smirk, a quick remark, and Weathers' heavy breathing before he finally capitulates to the Governator.

5) Over the Top (1987)

Over the Top is basically a ninety-three-minute version of the handshake from Predator. Stallone plays a trucker trying to win back his estranged son, and he decides to do so in the most manly way possible: arm wrestling. In other words, a bunch of big, sweaty guys glaring at each other and holding hands. But this ain't no romantic walk on the beach: in the final fight, Stallone and his opponent are so fiercely engaged in battle that the ref literally needs to put a "strap on" to keep the two together. What follows are two solid minutes of moaning, groaning, and two big thick arms duking it out for the championship.

6) Rambo III (1988)

Rambo vs. Russian Soldier Kourov
Uploaded by nervemedia. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

First Blood (a.k.a. Rambo), was, by action-movie standards, a fairly smart film; at a basic level it dealt with very real issues that many Vietnam vets faced after returning home. The rest of the Rambo films? Not so much. Instead, Stallone offered ridiculous plots and plenty of violence. In this clip from Rambo III, our hero finds himself fighting a gigantic Ruskie in the Middle East. At first, it's nothing to call home about, but give it about a minute and a half — there's a little bit of nipple twisting, some serious dry-humping, and one hell of a climax.

7) Cyborg (1989)

Honestly, we could include any number of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies on this list, but Cyborg sets itself apart with its Mad Max/S&M-dungeon-inspired aesthetic. The final battle has everything you'd ever want: a shirtless Van Damme taking on a barrage of similarly shirtless foes in the rain, plenty of awkward grunting, and some subtle, yet effective phallic symbols (big knives, big staffs, etc.)

8) Navy Seals (1990)

Top Gun had volleyball, Navy Seals had golf. Of course you could just say that this scene is nothing more than boys being boys, or, "You can't confuse simple male bonding with homoerotic desires." And to that we say, "True, but seriously, did you watch this scene?" Who plays golf shirtless?

9) Hard To Kill (1990)

This one might be a stretch, but pay close attention not just to what Steven Seagal is saying, but how he's saying it. "How's the action, boys? ...Mind if I join?" Such a flirt!

10) Showdown In Little Tokyo (1991)

With the '80s gone and just a little over a year and a half left in Bush Sr.'s presidency, closeted homoeroticism in action movies was falling by the wayside. It was the '90s now — what was the point of hiding it? This short scene from Showdown In Little Tokyo pretty much sums it all up. Dolph Lundgren walks around in his underwear, sticking any weapon he can find in the band of his skivvies. And then Brandon Lee just says it: "Kenner, just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you, you have the biggest dick I've ever seen on a man." A nonchalant thank you, a quick closeup of Lundgren's chest and crotch, some fighting, and the Reagan years are pretty much over.

Commentarium (51 Comments)

Aug 09 10 - 12:41am

and those who protest the loudest are usually the most closeted. It's dark in there, Travis, come on out and join the party...we have pudding pops!

Aug 09 10 - 12:52am

ooooo! Pudding pops!!!!!

Aug 09 10 - 1:36am


Aug 09 10 - 4:42am

The oil fight scene from The Transporter replaced porn for me for a few days after I first saw it.

Aug 09 10 - 8:48am

Thanks for turning my child hood into one giant gay broadway musical! (except top gun, that's gay as fuck!)

Aug 09 10 - 9:21am

Navy Seals should be renamed "Short Shorts"

Aug 09 10 - 9:30am

How could you leave off the beach scene from Rocky? Maybe you wanted to keep Carl Weathers' involvement to a minimum, but come on!

Aug 09 10 - 9:49am

While Travis may not have been tactful, or even culturally sensitive about how he said it, he raises a very common viewpoint in common America (For you NYC'ers that all those places outside of NYC, Miami, San Fran, and L.A. The so-called "fly over states").

Often the LGBT community will try to connect things to "homoeroticism" in an attempt to prove a point. Much like this article. I get the point. What things like this conveniently leave out is cultural context. Over the decades the definition of masculinity (much like femininity) has changed. It always does. So to look at movies in 1980's (which were operating under a specific masculine ideal) through the lens of our contemporary view of masculinity is moronic at best - it really is amateurish. And when people disagree or criticize such viewpoints, they are seen as homophobic, uncultured, and somewhat sub-intelligent. The whole situation is transparent and futile.

So let's flip the situation: What would happen if people were to start going through all of gay culture, and pointing out how heteroerotic or straight things are. What would the reactions be then?

Just a question.

Aug 09 10 - 10:12am

i'd like to point out that top gun was about navy pilots. (this only underscores your point)

Aug 09 10 - 10:45am

It's inconceivable that "Tango & Cash" didn't make this list. It's the most overtly homoerotic mainstream film ever. Otherwise a great list.

Aug 09 10 - 11:35am

it just goes to show you that even the straightest straight guys have to have someone writing their films, who would have thought gays worked in hollywood????????

Aug 09 10 - 11:52am

That scene from Over the Top was magic.

Aug 09 10 - 12:56pm

What a boner shrinker!
Tom Cruise as Maverick was a NAVY AVIATOR, not an Air Force idiot! Get your bromo-eroticism straight!

Aug 09 10 - 3:20pm

Boondock Saints 1 & 2...enough said.

Aug 10 10 - 12:32am
Mike Wad

Weak. Was this cribbed an old CHUD forum? I mean, it's all right there, down to the Showdown in Little Tokyo quote, a movie that not even The Boz saw (http://www.chud.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65114)

And no Point Break, really? Directed by a woman, total feminine gaze. And where's Tango & Cash? That shower scene? The CROSS DRESSING? And that 20 minute fight scene in They Live?

Aug 10 10 - 6:17am

The "I fucked guys like you in Prison" fight in Road House ought to automatically make any list such as this one.

Aug 10 10 - 9:50am

Agree on Tango and Cash, that movie should be called "Tango and Cash, Princesses of the Desert."

Aug 10 10 - 1:46pm


Aug 10 10 - 2:50pm

Rocky 3
Rocky & Apollo splashing around & hugging each other in the water after Rocky beats him in a race, can arguably be considered one of the most gayest scenes in a movie ever!!!

Aug 10 10 - 5:40pm

People need to watch Predator again. The whole movie is homoerotic. I'd say it almost outdoes Top Gun. The best scene is when the big Native American dude chops a vine and then proceeds to perform fellatio.

Aug 10 10 - 6:18pm

It is a scandal that the Dalton Little Johnny fight scene wasn't added to this from Roadhouse.

Aug 10 10 - 10:56pm

according to the author of this article, everytime there are 2 good looking guys without a shirt is gay or "homoerotic" when I watched this movie I never link them to anything gay but I do understand that when you are looking for dick you will find it even at a victoria secrets show

Aug 11 10 - 2:13pm

Roadhouse really should've made this list.

Aug 11 10 - 2:52pm

Oh come on ! No Chuck Norris or Al Pacino?

Aug 11 10 - 3:12pm

Norris and Pacino aren't homoerotic. Vin Diseal though...

Aug 11 10 - 4:05pm

trains planes and automobiles....really, c'mon

Aug 11 10 - 5:15pm

Top Gun is a Navy flick, not Air Force!

Aug 12 10 - 12:58am
Max Vero

If you think this is erotic - homo or whatever - you must never have had sex - homo or whatever.

Aug 12 10 - 8:48am

The words "Top Gun" + "Air Force" = FACEPALM! Navy, mofo, NAVY!!!!!

But yeah, this article was still frickin hilarious!

Aug 12 10 - 1:26pm

of course Rocky3 for that very same scene Devilforhire described.

Aug 12 10 - 2:47pm

this list needs the Roddy Piper/Keith David fistfight/dryhump from They Live. IT culminates in the forcible wearing of sunglasses. Hawt

Aug 12 10 - 8:12pm

Good list, but, c'on, you guys missed a big one. Every scene in Roadhouse.

Aug 12 10 - 9:07pm

You were right to leave 300 off this list, it definitely doesn't belong on here.

Aug 13 10 - 12:48am
KC Murda

WHOOOOAAAA major snub: the beach frolic hug and cheer with rocky and apollo in Rocky III....so gay

Aug 13 10 - 1:43pm
Mike Chicago

Navy Seals? Bollocks. A Wal-Mart ad has more sexual tension.

Aug 13 10 - 3:39pm

How could you not mention rocky 3?? the beach scene with them jumping around in the water with rocky's "fabulous" clapping.

Aug 13 10 - 11:58pm

White Squall

Aug 14 10 - 5:45pm
Benjacomin Bozart

The Army has said it will let homosexuals serve if the Navy starts letting heterosexuals serve.

Aug 14 10 - 11:28pm

I think gays are too smart for the Army.

Aug 15 10 - 1:03pm

How does this article not have the work out scenes from Rocky III. Apollo and Rocky were practically giving each other anemas at the end of that film.

Aug 16 10 - 3:27am

No Fast and the furious??? Only the gayest "bromance" ever?

Aug 16 10 - 6:27pm
Pain Don't Hurt

Seriously? Where is Road House? "I used to fuck guys like you in prison." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfQnf_q4AvU

Aug 23 10 - 10:57pm
Cliff Barnstable

It's good to see Commando in the number one slot

Aug 27 10 - 9:04am

errr..... this article has been plagerised. Seen a much better version here way before this was written. Have people no shame? http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/560049/the_greatest_homoerotic_action_mo...

Aug 27 10 - 1:27pm
You suck

This article is a ripoff from denofgeek.com - seriously nerve... if you aren't going to write your own article, at least give the by-line to the real author.

Sep 29 10 - 11:01pm

Inception had a great idea of having a fight scene in a rotating hallway but could have been longer and with some serious choreography and music and also some ninjas!!!! but anyway i loved it

Nov 05 10 - 10:13am
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