As TheGayUK (TGUK) celebrates its first birthday, we cast a light hearted look over some of the best films which are about birthdays or feature a birthday party, with varying results.

All of the films would make a great birthday gift for someone or a little treat for you. So sit down, get out your paper hats, light the candles on your cake and enjoy six of the best. Happy Birthday TGUK!

Sixteen candles – In this John Hughes 1980’s classic, Samantha goes from one disaster to another as everyone forgets her 16th birthday because her sister is getting married the next day. With all the focus on her sister, the birthday girl finds herself ignored by her family, and more importantly, the guy that she has a massive crush on doesn’t seem to want to know. Will any of her family remember her birthday? Will she get the guy of her dreams? Will she get to blow out the candles on her cake? And with the hunky Jake Ryan, do birthday wishes really come true?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Who would have thought that their first birthday would have involved a murderous, bisexual transvestite, cannibalism and a rather half-hearted attempt at singing happy birthday accompanying a celebratory toast out of jam jars and coffee mugs? Rocky, the creation of Frank N Furter, celebrates his special day by having some “alone time” with Janet and dining in the company of a geek, a showgirl and an incestuous brother and sister before rounding off proceedings by eating his organ donor. Happy Birthday Rocky!

The Birds – Lots can go wrong at a birthday party. Your balloons can pop, your cake get dropped, your presents could be rubbish and that kid from your class turns up anyway, even though you didn’t invite him. But in this Alfred Hitchcock classic, a small town is inexplicably set upon by the birds around them, and for poor Kathy Brenner, her birthday party turns very nasty when her friends and neighbours are subject to a horrific attack by a group of seagulls. Bad luck, Cathy, you should have talked your parents into booking that pink stretch limo for three hours, just like you wanted.

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Parenthood – Who hasn’t been embarrassed by their parents at their birthday party? In this delightful comedy ensemble piece, Parenthood, young Kevin’s birthday is potentially a disaster, when the balloon modelling cowboy turns up drunk (although let’s face it, who hasn’t wished for a tipsy cowboy for their birthday?) So, in steps his father, played by Steve Martin, who, complete with carpet chaps, gives his son a birthday to remember by making balloon models that resemble your lower intestines, and winning over his son and his friends by making an exit to remember. Way to go, Pilgrim!

The Game – In David Fincher’s dark thriller, Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy investment banker, played by Michael Douglas, is a man who has everything. He is given a birthday gift by his brother which he would probably rather not have had. The gift is participation in “the game”, a series of staged incidents which intertwine seamlessly with his real life. As the lines between reality and the game become increasingly blurred, a huge conspiracy begins to emerge impacting not only on Van Orton, but on his family, friends and colleagues around him. But are his friends and family in on the game, or is there something more sinister at work out to ruin him? Perhaps a tie and cuff links set would be better received next year.

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The Omen – It’s your 5th birthday. You are a privileged little boy whose father is a powerful politician. You have a lovely house with big grounds and a couple of huge Rottweiler’s as your pets. Your birthday party is going well – balloons, a clown (not too so sure about that to be honest, I would still prefer the tipsy cowboy), and a handful of fairground rides. Your friends are all there and having a lovely time. So what could possibly spoil the day? How about if your nanny were to make a dramatic scene by declaring her love for you and then killing herself in front of all your guests – that would make even the antichrist shuffle in his seat. I bet that the “thank you for coming to my party” cards were a little awkward to write.

About the author: Paul Szabo
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.