A 'pleasantly plump' teenager teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
3,347 ( 48)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Polyester (1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A suburban housewife's world falls apart when her pornographer husband admits he's serially unfaithful to her, her daughter gets pregnant, and her son is suspected of being the foot-fetishist who's been breaking local women's feet.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A spoiled school-girl runs away from home, gets pregnant while hitch-hiking, and ends up as a fashion model for a pair of beauticians who like to photograph women committing crimes.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against Connie & Raymond Marble, a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive".

Director: John Waters
Stars: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce
Comedy | Crime | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A rich housewife enlists her maid's help to murder her husband; they go on the lam and end up in Mortville, a homeless community built into a garbage dump.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Liz Renay, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe
Hairspray (2007)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

Director: Adam Shankman
Stars: John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky
Pecker (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A Baltimore sandwich shop employee becomes an overnight sensation when a photographer's photos he's taken of his weird family become the latest rage in the art world. The young man is ... See full summary »

Director: John Waters
Stars: Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, Bess Armstrong
Serial Mom (1994)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A sweet mother takes a little too much at heart for the defence of her family.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake
A Dirty Shame (2004)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An uptight, middle-aged, repressed woman turns into a sex addict after getting hit on the head, and she then falls into an underground subculture of sex addicts in suburban Baltimore.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Tracey Ullman, Chris Isaak, Selma Blair
Cry-Baby (1990)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1950s Baltimore, a bad-boy with a heart of gold wins the love of a good-girl, whose boyfriend sets out for revenge.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Johnny Depp, Ricki Lake, Amy Locane
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An insane independent film director and his renegade group of teenage filmmakers kidnap an A-list Hollywood actress and force her to star in their underground film.

Director: John Waters
Stars: Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Alicia Witt
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The travelling sideshow 'Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions' is actually a front for a group of psychotic kidnappers, with Lady Divine herself the most vicious and depraved of all - but... See full summary »

Director: John Waters
Stars: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce
Mondo Trasho (1969)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A day in the lives of a hit-and-run driver and her victim, and the bizarre things that happen to them before and after they collide (sexual assault by a crazed foot-fetishist, visions of ... See full summary »

Director: John Waters
Stars: Mary Vivian Pearce, Divine, David Lochary
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ruth Brown ...
...
...
...
...
...
Amber von Tussle (as Colleen Fitzpatrick)
Michael St. Gerard ...
Leslie Ann Powers ...
Clayton Prince ...
...
...
...
...
...
Edit

Storyline

'Pleasantly Plump' teenager Tracy Turnblad achieves her dream of becoming a regular on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen hero, she starts using her fame to speak out for the causes she believes in, most of all integration. In doing so, she earns the wrath of the show's former star, Amber Von Tussle, as well as Amber's manipulative, pro-segregation parents. The rivalry comes to a head as Amber and Tracy vie for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Baltimore, 1962. The heyday of hair-dos and hair-don'ts, Heartthrobs and hefty girls, hot dates and hip talkers, beatniks and hair hoppers, and one magical potion that keeps it all together. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

White Lipstick  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$6,671,108 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

John Waters cast Pia Zadora because he was impressed with her performance in Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984). See more »

Goofs

The announcer for the 6:00 news gives the date as "Friday, June 5, 1962". In 1962, June 5 was a Tuesday. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tracy Turnblad: Come on! Come on!
Penny Pingleton: Okay, all right.
Tracy Turnblad: Will you hurry up?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the ending credits, there are footsteps moving to the beat of the song playing in the background. See more »

Connections

Spoofs Grease (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Town Without Pity
Written by Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin
Performed by Gene Pitney
Courtesy of Gusto Records, under license from CBS Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Baltimore teens dance and battle segregation in the '60s
4 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ricki Lake plays Tracy Turnblad, a short, chubby teen with big hair who loves to dance in "Hairspray," a 1988 John Waters film starring Divine, Deborah Harry, Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Jerry Stiller, and Mink Stole. "Hairspray" has now been immortalized on Broadway as an enormous, energetic, fabulously entertaining musical which kept the conceit of a man playing Tracy's mother, again with great success.

"Hairspray" is highly exaggerated in parts, which makes it extra funny, and Waters captures '60s Baltimore beautifully. Corny Collins, who is the Baltimore Dick Clark, would like nothing better than to integrate his television show, but blacks are only permitted to dance one night a week. The van Tussles are for segregation - that would be Sonny Bono, running for office, his wife Harry (on stage the former Miss Baltimore Crabs, in the film Miss Soft Crab). Harry's hairstyles are fantastic - HUGE - her last hairdo is in the form of an enormous loving cup.

When Tracy's friend Penny takes up with the son of an outspoken black woman, Motormouth Mabel (Ruth Brown), her hysterical mother has her kidnapped and put in the hands of a psychiatrist (Divine as a man) who tries to torture her to stop liking black men. It's so outrageous it's funny, and that's where Waters shows his talent. When Tracy gets a contract modeling for a plus-sized woman's shop, the owner's live ad on Corny's show begins, "Tubby, tubby, 2 x 4, can't get through the kitchen door." It's this madcap treatment that keeps any of this from being remotely offensive.

All the performances are delightful, and there's a nice turn by Pia Zadora as a black-haired beatnik chick.

"Hairspray" has a lot of warmth that emanates from Tracy and the Turnblad family, and the mood stays upbeat throughout the entire film as the characters dance through life, Tracy with an overlay of blonde hair over her dark flip. Great music, great fun. "Hairspray" in any version is wonderful.


13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
definitely not for kids! ironicshowchoir
The first one is the best, enough said pazuzusjc
Films Based in the 50s + 60s Tupac36642
favorite line(s)... planetmars2009
This is my favorite version Britlove
Better than new one? prpleconverse17
Discuss Hairspray (1988) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page