Life and Death on the A-List

Released: 1996
Length: 45 minutes
Director: Jay Corcoran
Cast: Tom McBride

This striking documentary by filmmaker Jay Corcoran, details the life and death of Tom McBride, a New York actor and model dying of Progressive Multi-focal Leucoencephalopathy (PML), an AIDS-related brain disease.

Trailer: Life and Death on the A-List

Life and Death on the A-List

Watch Life and Death on the A-List on YouTube

McBride’s “All-American” good looks made him a familiar face in television commercials, print ads and films through the ’70s and ’80s. He even became that most emblematic of masculine images: the Winston man. For many gay men, McBride became an icon exemplifying life on the “A-List” — the whirl of sex, drugs, theme parties, and summers on Fire Island that made New York’s gay scene famous. But McBride’s glamorous life was stalked by his sexual obsession and compulsive drive.

Corcoran’s film takes an unsparing look at one man’s relationship to his beautiful body and how he copes with its disintegration. More profoundly, LIFE AND DEATH ON THE A-LIST is about us: our bodies, our fantasies, our dreams of sexual fulfillment. Tom McBride is a fallible, tragic hero pointing the way to a more humane vision of how we all — gay and straight — might view our lives, bodies, and the endless possibilities of life.



“This intimate view of an unrepentant sexual adventurer raises tough questions about personal values, vanity and the emphasis on beauty in the fast lane of New York gay life.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times, Critics Choice

“Wrenching, …wryly humorous and unflinching.”
Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times, Critics Choice

“Absolutely enthralling.., leaves you breathless at the range and depth with which it tackles the power of the libido, issues of gay self-hatred, and the use of sex to conquer, degrade and compensate for rejection in other areas of life.”
Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly, Critics Choice

“Painfully honest… riveting.”
Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe, Critics Choice

“Brilliant…an indelibly relevant portrait of – and commentary on – our culture’s exaggerated, often destructive emphasis on youth and beauty.”
James Baker, POZ

“A welcome addition to the growing genre of AIDS on celluloid. Corcoran’s knowing direction captures the plight of what it is to have been young, beautiful and worshipped, then to suddenly find yourself older, not so wiser, battling a not so pleasant disease. A truly absorbing documentary.”
Brandon Judell, America OnLine, Critics Choice

One Reply to “Life and Death on the A-List”

  1. I just wanted to say I got the movie I watched it and was blown away about how AIDS puts things into perspective.



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