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Brokeback Mountain
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All the latest interviews, reviews and awards for Brokeback Mountain.

BOX OFFICE (as of 4/24/06)
Domestic Gross-to-Date: $83,043,761
Worldwide Gross-to-Date:  $174,274,456
Final number of weeks in U.S. theaters: 19
Record: Highest opening per-screen average for any film in 2005
Record: Highest opening per-screen average ever for any live-action film
Source: Nielsen EDI and Variety
Jump to:
> Gay Cowboys and the Rural Experience
> Awards and Nominations
> Heath Ledger
> Jake Gyllenhaal
> Multi-Media Clips
> Reviews
> Related Articles

On the Web:
> Official Site
> Watch the Trailer

Brokeback Mountain opened December 9, 2005 in five theaters. It had the highest opening per-screen average for any film in 2005, grossing nearly $110,000 per screen that weekend. Brokeback then went wide, ultimately hitting 2,089 theaters across the country. After winning Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival in 2005, Brokeback Mountain's accolades began to pour in, winning honors at at the Critics Choice Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, LA Film Critics Association, Satellite Awards, and many more. It was awarded Best Motion Picture -- Drama at the Golden Globes, and though many predicted it to win Best Picture of the Year at the 78th Annual Academy Awards, director Ang Lee took away the film's third and final Oscar of the night, his 17th Best Director award for the film.

Brokeback Mountain was more than a film; it was a cultural phenomenon. According to the nonprofit group Global Language Monitor, the term "Brokeback" offered up 38 million Google hits in 2006, placing it at the top of its list of Hollywood words and phrases that captured attention. Daytime talk shows like Oprah and The Tyra Banks Show produced Brokeback-inspired stories about men who were married to women and realized they were gay. Series like Only in America (Discovery Channel) and Access Hollywood (syndicated) aired segments showcasing gay rodeos across the country. Late-night talk show hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O'Brien regularly featured Brokeback Mountain-related humor in their opening monologues. Some of these segments were very supportive of the gay community; some were offensive. Either way, Brokeback Mountain and the love between Jack and Ennis had entered the public's collective consciousness.

And though the film's theatrical run has come to an end, DVD sales continue to soar (it sold 1.4 million copies on its first day of release) and film critics are still hailing it as a touchstone for what an epic drama should be. Before Brokeback Mountain opened, we held our breath and hoped there would be an audience for this film. We were elated that moviegoers flocked to see the film, critics praised it and the world was made aware of our stories.  As Ang Lee said in his acceptance speech at the 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York, "When the world is made better for one gay or lesbian person, it's made better for everyone."

Brokeback Mountain, the 2005 film directed by Academy Award-winner Ang Lee, is based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News. Brokeback Mountain was originally published in The New Yorker in 1997 and appeared in Proulx's collection of short stories Close Range: Wyoming Stories. The screenplay was written by Diana Ossana and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry.

This is the story of two young cowboys, Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), who come together while working as sheep herder and camp tender in the mountains of Wyoming in the early 1960s. The two share a secret emotional and physical relationship that continues over two decades while they each marry women and have children.

Brokeback Mountain is an American love story about two people who simply cannot have what they want because of societal prejudice. In the end, this is a grand romantic tragedy, joining the ranks of great literature as much as great cinema.

Below, you will find resources about real-life gay cowboys as well as regularly updated information on Brokeback Mountain's award nominations, film reviews and interviews with the stars.


Ennis and Jack's experience is as much a product of the times as it is of its rural setting. The love was forbidden then and the sad reality is that in many ways, in many places it is forbidden now. LGBT cowboys and farmers do exist, of course, but often remain invisible because of family or community intolerance.

"Tight-knit communities, like tight-knit families, manage to stay tight by deflecting any strong sense of connection with larger social configurations," writes Gary Indiana of The Village Voice regarding Brokeback Mountain. "The insular quality of American life reinforces a stubborn naivete about sexual matters that's been part of our national character from the outset."

The film's primary setting is Wyoming, the home of Matthew Shepard, the openly gay student who was viciously beaten and murdered in 1998 for being gay. Since his death, "Wyoming has become something of a national laboratory in which gays and straights are learning--ever haltingly, now a step forward, now a lurch back--to live together," wrote John Cloud in the October 13, 2003 issue of Time Magazine. "To be sure, gay life here can be lonesome. Wyoming is thought to be the only state without a gay bar. . . Wyoming has constructed an entire culture around the fraught military concept known as 'Don't ask, don't tell.'"

Still, the rural gay community has found creative ways to come together and overcome walls of prejudice. Many gay cowboys, for example, take part in organized gay rodeos. Gay rodeo had its beginnings in 1976 in Reno, Nevada, and there are now dozens of International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) chapters across the United States and Canada. In fact, IGRA chapter Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association consulted on the production of Brokeback Mountain.

If you're a journalist looking to interview gay cowboys, or historical experts on gay men or lesbians in the rural West, write us at


> International Gay Rodeo Association

> -- April 6, 2006
"Brokeback Mountain sparks interest in gay books with Western themes"

> - March 30, 2006
"'Brokeback' banned in Bahamas"

> Los Angeles Times -- March 24, 2006
"Actor Randy Quaid Sues Over Payment for Brokeback Role"

> The Guardian -- March 11, 2006
"Blood on the Red Carpet"

> -- March 16, 2006
"Thumbs Down: Roger Ebert takes on the Brokeback Mountain controversy"

> - March 13, 2006
"A Harrowing Affair: Commentary From a Brokeback Mountain Fan"

> - March 6, 2006
"The fury of the Crash-lash"

> Los Angeles Times - March 6, 2006
"Brokeback dreams crash and burn as the academy's voters play it safe"

> -- March 3, 2006
"Hollywood puts gays in harm's way"

> La Opinion -- March 4, 2006
"SOCIEDAD: Un vida sin rodeos" (English translation: "A life without complications/rodeos")

> The Daily Mirror - January 9, 2006
"The Real Rhinestone Cowboys: True life story of growing up gay on Brokeback Mountain"

> - December 31, 2005
"Partner's death ends happy life on ranch"

> Salt Lake Tribune - December 30, 2005
"Gay Utahns See Selves in Brokeback Mountain"

> The New York Times - December 18, 2005
"For gay cowboys in Wyoming, Brokeback Mountain seems more like a documentary than a fictional film"

> Los Angeles Times - December 11, 2005
"Men on the Range"

> Good Morning America - December 11, 2005
"What Real Cowboys Think of Brokeback Mountain"

> The Guardian - November 25, 2005
"Out on the range: A new film by Ang Lee tells the tale of a homosexual love affair between a ranch hand and a rodeo rider. But what is life really like for America's gay cowboys? Jamie Wilson travels to Dallas to find out"

> True West -- November/December 2005
"Stark Visions of Frontier History: Explorations of moral issues in this year's Westerns raise eyebrows"

> New West -- November 29, 2005
"The Cowboy Myth"

> -- December 9, 2002
"Blazing Saddles: Marvel Comics resurrects the Rawhide Kid, with one little twist"


> "Frontiers" by Michael Jensen
A novel set in the Wild West with a gay protagonist.

> "Loving Mountains, Loving Men" by Jeff Mann
A Virginia Tech creative writing professor's memoir about growing up gay in Appalachia.

> "Queer Cowboys" by Chris Packard
A study of popular print and visual materials produced between 1865 and 1910 representing same-sex relationships among men of all ethnicities in the American West.

> "Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest" by Will Fellows
A series of autobiographical narratives by gay men raised on farms in the 20th century--the oldest was born in 1909, the youngest in 1967. They describe perceptions of and responses to conditions inherent in farming communities and the influence this experience has had on their lives.

> "Love Stories : Sex between Men before Homosexuality" by Jonathan Ned Katz (photo essay)

> "Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together, 1840-1918" by David Deitcher (photo essay)

> "Picturing Men: A Century of Male Relationships in Everyday American Photography" by John Ibson (photo essay)

> "Affectionate Men: A Photographic History of a Century of Male Couples, 1850-1950" by Russell Bush & Ron Lieberman (photo essay)


Leading critics have called Brokeback Mountain one of the best films of the year. Winning the Golden Lion for best picture at the Venice Film Festival in September only foreshadowed this films chances during the 2005 award season.

> ACADEMY AWARDS -- The winners of the 78th Annual Academy Awards were announced live from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles March 5, 2006. Brokeback Mountain took home 3 Oscars:

Achievement in Directing - Ang Lee
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) - Gustavo Santaolalla
Adapted Screenplay - Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana

Best Motion Picture
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Heath Ledger
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Jake Gyllenhaal
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role - Michelle Williams
Achievement in Cinematography

The Oscars were broadcast live on ABC March 5, 2006.

For all the nominations for films with LGBT content, please visit GLAAD's "And the Award Goes to..." page.

> AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE -- Brokeback Mountain was named one of the top ten films of 2005. An awards luncheon will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles January 13, 2006.

> BRITISH ACADEMY OF FILM AND TELEVISION ARTS AWARDS -- The BAFTAs were handed out February 19. Brokeback Mountain lead with four awards: 

Best Film
The David Lean Award, for Achievement in Direction: Ang Lee
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jake Gyllenhaal
Best Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry / Diana Ossana

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Heath Ledger
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Michelle Williams
The Anthony Asquith Award, for Achievement in Film Music: Gustavo Santaolalla
Best Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto
Best Editing: Geraldine Peroni / Dylan Tichenor

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards will take place on February 19, 2006.

> CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS -- The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) handed out its awards on January 9, 2006. Brokeback Mountain was the big winner of the night, taking home three awards:

Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain
Best Director: Ang Lee
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams

Best Actor: Heath Ledger
Best Supporting Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal
Best Writer: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana
Best Song: A Love That Will Never Grow Old, Emmylou Harris
Best Composer: Gustavo Santaolalla

> PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA -- The PGA Awards honor excellence in film and television production. The awards were presented on January 22 in Los Angeles and Brokeback Mountain won the top honor of Best Feature Film.

> GOLDEN GLOBES -- The Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented its awards on January 16, 2006. Brokeback Mountain lead the race, receiving four wins:

Best Motion Picture - Drama: Brokeback Mountain
Best Director - Motion Picture: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Best Original Song - Motion Picture: A Love That Will Never Grow Old, Brokeback Mountain, music by Gustavo Santaolalla, lyrics by Bernie Taupin

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Heath Ledger
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Michelle Williams
Best Original Score - Motion Picture: Gustavo Santaolalla, Brokeback Mountain

For all the nominations and wins for film and television projects with LGBT content, please visit GLAAD's Golden Globes page.

> INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS -- Members of Film Independent announced its winners on March 4, 2006. Brokeback Mountain received two honors:

Best Feature: Brokeback Mountain
Best Director: Ang Lee

Best Male Lead: Heath Ledger
Best Supporting Female: Michelle Williams

The Spirit Awards will take place March 4, 2006 in Los Angeles.

> THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW -- Winners were announced December 6, 2005. Brokeback Mountain was named one of the years Top Ten Films, and also received the following awards:

Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Best Supporting Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal

> LONDON FILM CRITICS CIRCLE - Winners were announced February 8, 2006. Brokeback Mountain received two honors:

Film of the Year
Director of the Year - Ang Lee

> LOS ANGELES FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION -- The winners of the 31st Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards were announced December 10, 2005. Brokeback Mountain received three honors:

Best Picture: Brokeback Mountain
Best Director: Ang Lee
Best Actor Runner-up: Heath Ledger

> NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE -- Brokeback Mountain was named Best Picture of the Year on December 12, 2005. Its director, Ang Lee, was named Best Director. An awards gala honoring all the winners will be held January 8, 2006 in New York City.

> SATELLITE AWARDS -- The International Press Academy nominated Brokeback Mountain for eight awards. Winners were announced December 17, and Brokeback Mountain took home four honors:

Motion Picture (Drama): Brokeback Mountain
Director: Ang Lee
Original Song: "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" by Gustavo Santaolalla and Bernie Taupin
Film Editing: Geraldine Peroni, David Tichenor

Actor (Drama): Heath Ledger
Supporting Actor (Drama): Jake Gyllenhaal
Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana
Original Score: Gustavo Santaolalla

> DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS -- On January 28, Ang Lee was awarded the top prize: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, for his work behind Brokeback Mountain.

> SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS -- The SAG Awards took place January 29 in Los Angeles. Though Brokeback Mountain took home no statues, it lead the nominations with four possible awards:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Heath Ledger
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Jake Gyllenhaal
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Michelle Williams
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The SAG Awards will take place January 29 in Los Angeles.

> WRITERS GUILD AWARDS -- Brokeback Mountain took home the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay on Februrary 4, 2006.

> Variety's Award Central
> The Los Angeles Times' The Envelope


Brokeback Mountain screenwriter Larry McMurtry says he found his Ennis after watching Heath Ledger in Monster's Ball. "I thought he was Ennis right away," the Pulitzer Prize-winning author says. "He was raw, anguished." For the actor, playing the controversial part was a career dream realized. "I never thought twice about it," he told Newsweek. "For one thing, I never felt like I had anything at stake, and I think if you make decisions based on society's opinions, you're going to make boring choices. What terrified me was self-doubt. I knew that if I was going to do justice to this character, to this story and to this form of love, I was really going to have to mature as an actor, and as a person."

To play the role, Ledger says he needed to get inside of his character's mind. "My preparation was really figuring out what Ennis was battling," Ledger told the New York Daily News. "Like why did he have this inability to express and love? The conclusion I drew was that he was battling the traditions and fears that had been instilled in him by his father and the generations before him."

For the actor, Brokeback Mountain, Ledger said, gave him the opportunity to star in a love story that is rarely committed to film: "I find there's not a lot of mystery left in stories between guys and girls. It's all been done or seen before."


> Los Angeles Times -- November 20, 2005
"Pretty. Gritty. Good looks gave Heath Ledger his shot. Brokeback Mountain shows what he's done with it"

> NY Daily News -- December 4, 2005
"Finding His Range: Heath Ledger gets serious as a gay cowboy in 'Brokeback Mountain' - and as a new dad"

> Entertainment Weekly -- December 9, 2005
"Western Union: Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger talk candidly about making the daring romance Brokeback Mountain: the sex scenes, the risk to their careers, and more"


With a portfolio of notable film roles under his belt -- October Sky, The Good Girl, Donnie Darko, Jarhead -- Jake Gyllenhaal says he knew that some in the industry would raise an eyebrow about his choice to play Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain. "It's not like it didn't go through my mind that people were going to have problems with it," the actor has said. "But sometimes something comes along and I just lock on to it and say, 'Take me for a ride!'" The actor is equally enthusiastic about the audience's response to the film. "People's minds have been changed. That's amazing."

For Gyllenhaal, playing this character came naturally. "I grew up in a generation, and I grew up in a city, and I grew up with a family where the idea of two men falling in love is not a foreign idea. My two godfathers are gay men--they're a couple," he told Out magazine.

His film role also led to inevitable Internet gossip about his sexuality. "You know it's flattering when there's a rumor that says I'm bisexual. It means I can play more kinds of roles," he said. "I'm open to whatever people want to call me. I've never really been attracted to men sexually, but I don't think I would be afraid of it if it happened."


> UK Sunday Herald -- December 11, 2005
"Jake's Progress"

> Out -- October 2005
"Kissin' Cowboy"

> Entertainment Weekly -- December 9, 2005
"Western Union: Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger talk candidly about making the daring romance Brokeback Mountain: the sex scenes, the risk to their careers, and more"


> Salt Lake Theater Rejects Brokeback Mountain
Utah Jazz owner cancels film hours before it opens.


> Fox News Your World with Neil Cavuto - January 13, 2006
GLAAD's Glennda Testone debates anti-gay author and pundit David Kupelian on the growing success of Brokeback Mountain at the box-office.

> NBC Access Hollywood -- December 16, 2005
GLAAD's Neil Giuliano on those who challenge Brokeback Mountain.

> ABC Good Morning America - December 13, 2005
Heath Ledger on his Brokeback Mountain role.

> ABC World News Tonight - Dec. 9, 2005
GLAAD's Neil Giuliano discusses impact of Brokeback Mountain.

> CNN Headline News Showbiz Tonight - November 29, 2005
GLAAD's Damon Romine on whether actors play gay to win an Oscar.


> Los Angeles Times -- December 9, 2005
"Brokeback Mountain: In director Ang Lee's groundbreaking film, two cowboys realistically struggle with their love"

> New York Times -- December 9, 2005
"Riding the high country, finding and losing love"

> San Francisco Chronicle -- December 8, 2005
"Just your average Marlboro men -- who fall in love"

> Rolling Stone -- December 1, 2005
"Review: Brokeback Mountain"
"Ang Lee's unmissable and unforgettable Brokeback Mountain hits you like a shot in the heart. It's a landmark film and a triumph for Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal."

> The New Yorker -- December 12, 2005
"New Frontiers"

> -- December 1, 2005
"Review: Brokeback Mountain"

> Entertainment Weekly -- November 30, 2005
"Review: Brokeback Mountain"
"Brokeback Mountain is that rare thing, a big Hollywood weeper with a beautiful ache at its center. It's a modern-age Western that turns into a quietly revolutionary love story."

> The Village Voice -- November 29, 2005
"Blazing Saddles: Stable relationship: Gay frontier weepie is Hollywood's straightest love story in years"

> -- September 11, 2005
"Two Rode Together"
"Ang Lee's film is not only a fine and gorgeous Western, but an intimate epic love story in the classic Hollywood tradition."


> Omaha World-Herald -- February 22, 2006
"Cowboy duds get a boost from film" 

> New West Network -- February 14, 2006
"The Brokeback Mountain vacation"

> Los Angeles Times - February 5, 2006
"Seeking Brokeback's backdrop"

> Los Angeles Times - February 5, 2006
"Opinion: Can movies change our minds?"

> Washington Post - Feburary 2, 2006
"A picture of two Americas in Brokeback Mountain"

> GLAAD Media Release - January 16, 2006
GLAAD Congratulates Brokeback Mountain for Four Golden Globe Wins

> - January 13, 2006
"Why Isn't Jazz owner under fire?"

> GLAAD Media Release - December 13, 2005
GLAAD Applauds Brokeback Mountain's Record-Breaking Opening

> Scripps Howard News Service - January 11, 2006
"Brokeback taking a flight to Hollywood crossover heaven"

> Los Angeles Times - January 9, 2006
"Go for more 'Broke'? Maybe. The critical success of 'Mountain' may help other gay-themed projects. As usual, it's all about the box office."

> Denver Post - January 8, 2006
"Brokeback dares us to take heart"

> The Salt Lake Tribune - January 7, 2006
"Gay characters who break stereotypes lead the Oscar pack"

> Los Angeles Times - January 7, 2006
"A breakthrough called 'Brokeback'"

> - January 5, 2006
"Who's Afraid of Riding Brokeback?"

> Los Angeles Times -- December 28, 2005
"Not the usual suspects in this year's romances: Boy meets boy. Girl meets ape. The old love story formula gets a few new ingredients."

> Arizona Republic - December 28, 2005
COMMENTARY: "Backbreaking Bid to Create a Controversy" by  Neil G. Giuliano

> Chicago Sun-Times - December 27, 2005
"'Brokeback' author hopes film will provoke discussions"

> Scripps Howard News Service - December 26, 2005
COMMENTARY: "Men in Love"

> Knight-Ridder News Service - December 25, 2005
COMMENTARY: "An honest look at being gay in America"

> The New York Times -- December 18, 2005
"Two Gay Cowboys Hit a Home Run"

> Miami Herald -- December 11, 2005
"Love on the Range"

> Denver Post -- December 11, 2005
"Cowboy poetry: Brokeback Mountain honors the tricky art of adapting fiction to film"

> Houston Voice -- December 9, 2005
"Gay film history 101"

> Planet Jackson Hole -- December 7, 2005
"At close range with Annie Proulx: Pulitzer prize-winning writer shares insights in short story, film adaptation of Brokeback Mountain"

> -- December 7, 2005
"All quiet on the gay western front: Not wanting to give their foes free publicity, right-wing Christian groups say they won't boycott or picket Brokeback Mountain"

> San Francisco Chronicle -- December 9, 2005
"Brokeback tells a story some gays know all too well"

> Los Angeles Daily News -- December 7, 2005
"Gay film a test for industry"

> San Francisco Chronicle -- November 30, 2005

"Ang Lee reworks the classic Western and gives 'pardner' a new meaning -- two straight actors learn to be lovers"

> The Village Voice -- November 29, 2005

"West of Eden: Daring to be different, Ang Lee's epic gay romance goes looking for love in the heartland"

> The Guardian -- November 25, 2005

"Out on the range :A new film by Ang Lee tells the tale of a homosexual love affair between a ranch hand and a rodeo rider. But what is life really like for America's gay cowboys? Jamie Wilson travels to Dallas to find out"

> The Guardian -- September 23, 2005
"Hello cowboy: Ang Lee's award-winning gay western is the most important film to come out of America in years"

> -- September 12, 2005

"'Gay Cowboy movie' shatters stereotypes"

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