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4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,790 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
(Applause Books). Martin Sherman's worldwide hit play Bent took London by storm in 1979 when it was first performed by the Royal Court Theatre, with Ian McKellen as Max (a character written with the actor in mind). The play itself caused an uproar. "It educated the world," Sherman explains. "People knew about how the Third Reich treated Jews and, to some extent, gypsies an ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Book Publishers (first published 1979)
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Maurice by E.M. ForsterBrokeback Mountain by Annie ProulxThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGiovanni's Room by James BaldwinTales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Best Gay Fiction
88th out of 1,340 books — 1,667 voters
The Normal Heart by Larry KramerAngels in America, Part One by Tony KushnerBent by Martin ShermanAngels in America, Part Two by Tony KushnerTorch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein
Best Gay Plays
3rd out of 54 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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The story that is not familiar to many. We all know (as we surely should) how Nazi regime treated Jews. We, however don't know how the same regime treated homosexuals. And I'm sure many would be very surprised to know that equally as Nazis labeled Jews they labeled homosexuals, though not with the same label. While Jews had yellow David star, gays had pink triangle. Now, pink triangle might ring the bell to someone. I didn't know till recently, my visit to Amsterdam where I stumbled upon the Hom ...more
E. Chainey (Bookowski)
Dec 27, 2014 E. Chainey (Bookowski) rated it it was amazing
Az önce filmini bitirdim ve... of diyorum...
Jul 15, 2012 Cordula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bent has to be one of my all-time favourite plays. It is gut-wrenching, incredibly powerful and beautifully crafted. Sherman tells a Holocaust story that no one I was aware of had ever told before - the story of the persecution of homosexuals, who were the lowest of the low in the concentration camp pecking order. Written in 1979 the struggle of Max to accept himself, to learn to love in the most unlikely of places, still carries meaning today.


But it is not all doom and gloo
Jun 09, 2010 Erastes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-historical
Review of the Film:

The powerful and moving film adaptation of Martin Sherman’s award-winning stage play. For almost 20 years, Bent has stunned theatre audiences around the world. Now adapted for the big screen by the author himself, this inspiring tale of love over oppression has even greater power and poignancy. Set amidst the decadence of pre-war fascist Germany, Bent is an emotional tale of love, as three homosexual men fight for survival in the face of persecution.

Directed by Sean Mathias
Andrew Wale
Sep 21, 2012 Andrew Wale rated it really liked it
Affecting, urgent and disturbing x
Andrew Rowe
Feb 08, 2011 Andrew Rowe rated it it was amazing
“If you want to stay alive, he cannot exist”. Bent is written by gay play write Martin Sherman. Set during the Second World War the play uncovers the horrific treatment of homosexuals during the Nazi regime. Max is a gay German who would rather wear the Jewish star than be known as gay in the concentration camp. Horst is a gay German who wears the pink triangle with pride; a heart-warming relationship flourishes between these two men. The play is shocking, heart-breaking, happy, sad a true emoti ...more
Aug 05, 2010 Angi rated it it was amazing
This book is very powerful! I cried, I cringed, I got the tingly butterflies in my stomach when their romance began to surface. I was extremely moved.
I have the movie as well, most everyone I know finds it incredibly boring because they (physically) do nothing but move rocks, and though this is a big part in the visual sense of the play, movie, and screen write, this really isn't the point at all.
It's about what happened to the homosexuals during the time of Hitler's reign. It sheds a whole new
Leah Angstman
Jul 14, 2015 Leah Angstman rated it really liked it
This play is emotional, heartbreaking, and an absolutely amazing showcasing of the endurance and courage of Holocaust detainees. The love between the two men is so real and necessary that you never question its sincerity for a second. See it on stage, and it's even more gripping. I cried through huge chunks of it. It's been a while now since I read it, but I have no doubt that it holds up.
Tristan Goding
This is a very dark, bleak play, but it will move the heart of even the most jaded reader. It's important that these kinds of stories are told because this could very easily happen again. Not easy reading, nor is it really something that you're going to want to come back to, but it's quite powerfully written. I can't imagine this play being performed very easily.
Chris Carcione
Jun 02, 2014 Chris Carcione rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, play-club
A compelling, yet conventional first act followed by a stark second act that echoes the starkness of the setting - in a Nazi concentration camp. An engaging story that gives voice to a lesser-discussed minority group targeted during the Holocaust.
Nov 02, 2011 Cheri rated it it was amazing
I spoke to a student the other day who was talking about how much he was hating having to read plays in his English class. This really got to me. Although I rarely read plays anymore, I loved reading plays in school. We often read them out loud in class, and it was exciting to have a role in the story. So, I tried to think of what my favorite play ever was...something that would engage a 20-something. And then it hit me. It wasn't a play that I read in class, but I was in college the first time ...more
Jun 05, 2015 Charlie rated it liked it
It was good, and I did enjoy it, the message it gave was clearly there throughout the play, how gay people struggled with their identity, but I felt that I was disappointed with the ending...
Aug 05, 2014 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
i think this is my favourite play. it reads vividly and stands up to re-reading again and again. breaks my heart every time.
Jul 14, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing
short and painfully powerful. glad I read it because watching the play would be way too emotionally intense
Jan 07, 2015 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful. Very powerful. I just finished and I feel like all of my breath has been kicked out of my chest.
Feb 15, 2016 Joshua rated it it was amazing
I love this play, but it's a tough read — the sheer violence and love in spite of it all.
Jason Loeffler
Jan 14, 2011 Jason Loeffler rated it it was amazing
Bent was a game-changer for me. The parallels between the traditional Jewish experience during the holocaust, which, I feel, we perhaps know a bit too well, and the homosexual experience at that same time are deep, painful, and, ultimately, transformative. The things a man will do to survive coupled with the love that dare not speak its name provides a gripping clash of values that tests each character's mettle in ways that move and hurt--bending them, if you will--and will, in my opinion, leave ...more
Oct 21, 2015 Rachael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachael by: my drama class
Shelves: 5-stars, review
By far the most messed-up thing I've ever read. A+ would reccommend.
Apr 18, 2015 MeHeartBooks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow this was just beautiful.... just beautiful a MUST READ
Oct 13, 2014 Yevrej marked it as to-read
nothing?? im just curios about the story ..
Aug 28, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it
Dark. Not for just any audience. Powerful.
May 15, 2016 Franny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama, queer
I read this in one sitting, in about an hour, and was left heartbroken. An obviously tragic story, powerfully told. It may be a play, but I don't think I could ever see it performed live, it is so painfully frank in its portrayal of human atrocities. The pink triangles are rarely talked about when discussing the holocaust, largely due to the allies' own homophobia (they did, after all, keep the nazi laws in place regarding homosexuality.) This play is as crucial as it is phenomenal; as well-writ ...more
Matthew Travagline
May 08, 2015 Matthew Travagline rated it really liked it
Sherman's play brought to light a quiet area that is often disregarded when the atrocities of the Holocaust are discussed. And he did so with use of humor and grit (two things that don't seem to go together naturally). I must admit I was taken aback at first by the graphic nature of some scenes, (not the sexuality, but the gore); this is definitely not a play that kids should be reading. Regardless of the gore, Sherman's play is a must read. And it's quick too, so give yourself a rainy day to ch ...more
May 10, 2010 ♥Xeni♥ rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: own, ebook, m-m, war, favorites
I really loved this story! I am German, and even so, I never heard of any first-hand or second-hand or really ANY accounts of how homosexuals were treated during the Nazi regime. Most accounts are of Jews or political prisoners.

Thus, to hear of this really, hopeful, story about Max and his interactions and then his demise... well, it was heartbreaking but also healing. There is a learning process involved, and I thought I had learned everything about WWII, but this book definitely updated thing
Jan 28, 2011 Cheri rated it it was amazing
Ohmygod. I read this in college, at Matt's behest, and just reread it today. Fuck. I think I purposely wiped it from my memory because it's so gut wrenching. I didn't remember having read it before until I was into the second act... and then every word was familiar. No matter how painful it is, I think every human needs to know how bad Nazis were. If we remember how easily civilization can slip into madness and brutality, it's less likely to happen again on our watch.
Jul 13, 2013 Adam rated it really liked it
The first play to show the persecution of homosexuals in Germany under Nazi reign. The promiscuity of homosexual Berlin life is shown before shattering it with the arrest of the two characters, Max & Rudy, and suffering at the hands of the Nazis. However it is not a totally depressing play, while in prison a beautiful relationship blooms using the power of words instead of actions and a brilliant ending which uses actions without words.
A very powerful play written in the late 70s about the persecution of gays under the Third Reich. Max is just struggling to survive, but he finds love in the camps, and is able to find the courage to complement his bravery and stand up for what's right.

Just saw a local production of this play: review here.
Sep 02, 2013 Armando rated it it was amazing
Out of the many elements that are present in this play, the two that always stand out to me and reach deep inside me is the story of love between two men in a place and time where such love was condemned. The second is how that love fueled, filled, and healed the two men, showcasing the awesome power love has on the human spirit, irrelevant to the fact that the love is between to men.
I cried from basically start to finish while reading this, but it was fantastic.
Jenny Yates
Jun 11, 2008 Jenny Yates rated it liked it

This classic play was first produced in 1979, and was an important milestone in the public’s awareness of gay issues. It follows the story of a gay man in Nazi Germany – dealing first with social oppression and then with the cruelty of a concentration camp. It’s very powerful.
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