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Shampoo (1975)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  13 March 1975 (USA)
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Reviews: 82 user | 29 critic

Lovers undo a hairdresser from Beverly Hills around Election Eve in 1968.


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Title: Shampoo (1975)

Shampoo (1975) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Pope
Mr. Pettis
Jay Robinson ...
Ann Weldon ...
Randy Scheer ...
Susanna Moore ...
Mike Olton ...
Richard E. Kalk ...
Detective Younger


Thirty-something George Roundy is a Beverly Hills hairdresser, who spends as much time sleeping with his female clients as he does doing their hair. Whether they want to admit it, all the women in his life are on the most part aware that they are are not the only one with whom he is sleeping. And some, such as the wealthy and married Felicia Karpf, have a stronger emotional dependence on George than they would like to admit. George's current girlfriend is Jill, an up and coming actress. Jill's best friend is Jackie Shawn, one of George's old girlfriends who left him because he couldn't make a true commitment to her. In turn, Jackie is currently having an affair with Lester Karpf, Felicia's wealthy businessman husband. George is unhappy working at a salon owned by Norman, with whom he is constantly butting heads. In his first act of wanting finally to be a grown up, George wants to open his own salon, but doesn't have the financial resources to do it, and no bank will lend him money ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In a town where anything goes, everything does in this funny bedroom farce. See more »


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 March 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Holivudski frizer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Julie Christie, a feminist, reportedly disliked the role of Jackie but did it for Warren Beatty, who at the time was her lover. See more »


After George cuts Jackie's hair, her formerly streaked tresses are all a uniform blonde tint although he has not colored her hair. See more »


[to George]
Jill: You never stop moving! You never go anywhere!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In opening credits, horror film producer/actor William Castle is billed as "Bill Castle," but in end credits is back to "William Castle." See more »


Featured in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »


Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)
(1963) (uncredited)
Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin
Performed by The Cookies
See more »

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User Reviews

"Incapable of love"
27 January 2011 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Back in the early 1930s, in the time of cinema known as "pre-code" due to the general disregard for the prohibitive Motion Picture Production Code, there were lots of so-called sex comedies which made gags out of the bed-hopping escapades of their philandering heroes. The best of them were renowned for their cleverness in hinting at sexual acts that could not be shown on screen. Forty years later the production code had been scrapped and sex now could be (and frequently was) shown explicitly, but the sex comedy did not make a significant comeback. Shampoo is a rare but prime example.

Shampoo is a sex comedy in that most, if not all, of its jokes revolve around sex, or at least the implication that sex has taken place or might be about to take place. As a result it is arguable that the comedy is a bit thin and repetitive, and it is true that the story is hardly bursting with riotous wit. And yet ace screenwriter Robert Towne constructs situations that are funny in their believable social awkwardness. They might only raise a chuckle or two over the course of a scene, but they have an almost soap opera quality which keeps us watching. Besides, there's a bit more going on here than bedroom humour. The decision to set it seven years in the past seems strangely arbitrary at first, but it has a surprisingly moving impact when political events start to creep into the narrative, and Warren Beatty's womanising antics are put into some perspective.

Like all comedies, a lot of its success or otherwise depends on the acting performances. This was largely an age of realism in acting, but here the performances are just on the comedic side of real. Nobody does anything which is exactly funny in its own right, but it often is funny in its timing and context. For example, there is Beatty's mumbled excuse to Carrie Fisher (whom he has just had sex with) when he is dragged off by Lee Grant (who intends to have sex with him). Similarly, a lot of Jack Warden's self-important manliness is funny in the context of the fact that Beatty is busy screwing his wife, mistress and teenage daughter. Lee Grant gives another of her typically attention-grabbing minor roles, the authoritative society lady one minute, girlishly sipping a soft drink through a straw the next. Returning to Beatty, I'm also vaguely amused by the way he emphasises the last syllable in "pancreas" during the first scene, as if it's some kind of ass.

The director here is Hal Ashby, a really fine craftsman of 70s cinema with a deceptively simple approach. He doesn't move the camera much, and often keeps back a bit from the action, not in a cold, distant way but more to show everything that is going on in a scene and allow the actors' body language to come across as well as facial expression. This is even effective for the comedy, such as in the scene where Beatty trashes the bin outside the bank, in which the wide shot makes him look somewhat pathetic in his anger. When Ashby does move the camera it is usually to give an impression a setting or situation, often with beautiful economy, and nearly always disguised by following the movement of a character. Take the shot which introduces Jack Warden's home life. He enters from one end of the room, kisses his daughter in mid-shot and surrounded by lots of colour. Then as he crosses what turns out to be a rather large room, the camera wheels round, to reveal his wife sitting alone amid stark white furnishings. An editor before he took up directing, Ashby clearly knows the potentially comedic value of a well-timed crosscut. For example, after the scene in which Warden discusses whether or not Beatty is "a fairy", we cut to a shot of Beatty blow-drying a woman's hair, her face virtually in his crotch.

But there is one thing that makes Shampoo really stand out, and this is something which comes both from Ashby's direction and the Towne/Beatty screenplay: Despite coming from a more liberated era, it still has the artful good taste of the sex comedies of the 30s. It resists the temptation to become soft porn or a string of gross-out jokes. There is only a little partial nudity, and for the most part we do not see much of the sex acts, only their beginnings and aftermaths. And this is an era in which a fairly graphic sex scene was fast becoming a staple of any romantic movie. Despite its being a comedy almost wholly concerned with one man's sexual adventures, Shampoo is a surprisingly mature and refreshingly intelligent motion picture.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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