8 Unintentionally Homoerotic Movies That Heat Up the Screen

Chris O'Donnell and George Clooney in Batman & Robin Once you start looking for homoerotic subtexts between male characters in movies, you’ll find them everywhere. From Top Gun to Reservoir Dogs, unintentionally romantic relationships have been percolating in plain sight for decades. Don’t just take our word for it; check out these 10 totally-not-gay movies and see for yourself.

1. 300
Let’s see… hunky guys in teeny-weeny mankinis eating, fighting and sleeping together day in and day out. Even if you don’t know that ancient Sparta’s secret to creating the perfect band of warrior brothers was to send men to the front lines beside their male lovers, that’s still pretty suggestive. 300‘s macho paradise puts Michael Fassbender’s legs on full display as he plays Stelios, and Rodrigo Santoro, as Xerxes, in gold bikini bottoms. Not that anyone’s complaining.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Driving off together at the end of 2012′s The Avengers was just the beginning. In this summer’s sequel, super-science nerd-bros Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are so joined at the hip that it’s a wonder Captain America doesn’t just tell them to get a room.

3. Batman & Robin
Snide talk about suave millionaire Bruce Wayne and his twinky ward Dick Grayson dates back to their comic-book days in the ’50s, while the campy ’60s TV show added fuel to the fire. But this 1997 movie’s PVC nipple suits, complete with generous codpieces, sealed the deal… along with star George Clooney’s admission that he played Batman gaily. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

4. Heat
Super-cop Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) pursues master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) across a decaying Los Angeles with the intensity of star-crossed lovers. Not for nothing does one of Neil’s underworld pals observe about Pacino’s character, “He likes you.” In fact, Vincent’s relentless pursuit ends with the hunter and the hunted—one mortally wounded by the other—holding hands.

5. Of Mice and Men
Migrant workers George (Gary Sinise) and Lenny (John Malkovich) dream of one day settling down on their own ranch, and author John Steinbeck intended their story as a Depression-era parable about the human cost of economic oppression. But today it’s hard not to see them as the original Brokeback besties.

6. Reservoir Dogs
The macho guy-talk flies so fast during this meta-heist picture that you need an umbrella not to get splashed. But amid all the banter, undercover cop Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) and career criminal Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) have a bond that delivers them into each other’s arms… albeit in a manly-to-the-end kind of way.

7. The Hitcher
Callow ’80s kid Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) picks up seemingly genial hitchhiker John Ryder (Rutger Hauer), who quickly shows the very scary face beneath his rugged smile. But there’s no ditching John: Once spurned, his demonic attentions run to ever-larger bouquets of bloody corpses.

8. Top Gun
Locker room tension you could cut with a knife, flirtatious banter and a (shirtless, sweaty) volleyball scene all add up to make Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards) as one of the greatest on-screen couples of the ’80s. When Goose dies, Maverick falls to pieces … which are then picked up by Ice Man (Val Kilmer).

See the fireworks for yourself—find out when Top Gun is playing on SundanceTV.

Speaking of “undercover,” check out our list of the 10 best undercover agents in the movies.