Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Boys Don't Cry (1999)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Boys Don't Cry (1999)

In director Kimberly Peirce's shocking debut film and Academy Award-winning psychological docudrama - it was based on a true story about a 20 year-old small-town Nebraska boy trapped in a girl's body. Its tagline was: "A true story about finding the courage to be yourself." The film was based upon the real-life story of trans-female to male Brandon Teena who at the age of 21 was the victim of a hate crime - she was gang raped and murdered by male acquaintances. See Sex in Films for uncensored version

It was originally slapped with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, in part for three elements: the lesbian oral sex scene, the disrobing scene, and the intensely brutal rape scene. Distributor Fox Searchlight demanded and forced cuts (in the sex and rape scenes) to bring the film down to an R-rating:

  • real-life 20-year old small-town Nebraska dweller, female-born Teena Brandon (Oscar-winning Hilary Swank) masqueraded as a boy (named Brandon Teena) when trapped in a girl's body while suffering ostracizing by 'her' family, a "sexual identity crisis" and awaiting a sex-change operation
  • Teena's cross-dressing routine involved taping down her breasts with gauzy tension bandages, stuffing her crotch with a wadded-up white sock, and wearing a cowboy hat
  • Brandon/Teena became acquainted in town with two ex-convict friends, the volatile and John Lotter (Peter Sarsgaard) and Marvin "Tom" Nissen (Brendan Sexton III), and their teenaged friends Candace (Alicia Goranson) and her sister Lana Tisdel (Chloe Sevigny in a Best Supporting Actress-nominated role); Lotter was Lana's former boyfriend
  • Teena experienced a heartbreaking covert lesbian relationship with teenaged, white-trash, packing plant worker, aspiring singer and blonde love interest Lana Tisdel, who was at first unaware of Brandon's sexual-identity issues; after confessing his/her true sex, their sexual activities included lesbian kissing, sex in a car, and their prolonged, controversial, outdoor lesbian oral sex scene on a blanket during Lana's smoking break at her place of work
  • with previous legal problems and troubles with the law, Brandon was arrested and jailed, and assigned to the women's section of the Falls City prison; after Brandon was bailed out by Lana, to cover up, he/she attempted to explain to Lana that she was born a hermaphrodite and would soon receive corrective surgery. Soon, Candace was also shocked and disgusted to discover suspicious evidence of trans-gendered Brandon's plans to have genital reconstruction surgery. She found a bloody used tampon, court papers with the name "Teena Brandon," and Brandon's crotch-blood-stained pants
  • when the jealous John Lotter and Tom Nissen realized that Brandon/Teena was really a girl - and probably a lesbian, the two homophobes approached her at Lana's mother's house, where they disrobed Brandon in the bathroom by forcibly pulling down her pants, to reveal that 'he' was biologically female; Nissen reacted: "It don't look like no sexual-identity crisis to me"; when forced to look ("Look at your little boyfriend"), Lana refused to acknowledge what they had discovered: "Leave him alone!," and Lotter snapped back: "HIM? HIM?"

Attack on Brandon Just Before Disrobing Scene in Bathroom

Brandon/Teena - Driven To Isolated Location To Be Abused and Raped
  • upset by the discovery that Brandon was really a girl, the two drove Brandon to an isolated area where Lotter raped her from behind over a car - the film's most disturbing scene. With Lana's encouragement, Brandon/Teena filed a police report on Lotter and Nissen for their attack
  • during a sickening scene in the film's conclusion set at Candace's farm house about a week later, Brandon was shot at point-blank range in the chin by a drunken John Lotter, who was accompanied by his ex-confict friend "Tom" Nissen. Nissen also put a bullet in the head of Candace. After Brandon slumped to the floor, John stabbed Brandon's lifeless body before fleeing. Brandon's helpless girlfriend Lana Tisdel screamed and watched in horror, and then laid next to the corpse
Teena Shot by Lotter and Stabbed to Death
  • in the final scene, Brandon's/Teena's letter to Lana was heard in voice-over as she drove away from the town of Falls City, NB - the letter mentioned their future together: ("Dear Lana, By the time you read this, I'll be back home in Lincoln. I'm scared of what's ahead, but when I think of you, I know I'll be able to go on. You were right. Memphis isn't far at all. I'll be making a trip out on the highway before too long. I'll be waiting for ya. Love always and forever, Brandon")

Teena's Cross Dressing Routine To Disguise Her Sexual Identity

Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank) - Dressed as a Male

Brandon - With Lana (Chloe Sevigny)

Kisses Between Teena and Lana

On a Blanket Outdoors

Film's Ending: Teena's Letter to Lana (Heard in Voice-Over)


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