8.1/10
6,206
35 user 18 critic

Paris Is Burning (1990)

A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Director:

Reviews
16 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

RuPaul's Drag Race (TV Series 2009)
Game-Show | Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

RuPaul searches for America's next drag superstar.

Stars: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A New York teacher, who moves to small town Texas where he's fired for being gay, returns disguised as a mean lady to get revenge on the nasty town.

Director: Matt Kugelman
Stars: Roy Haylock, Lola Botha, Rachel Dratch
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars (TV Series 2012)
Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

New show will serve up a new twist on the mega-hit RuPaul's Drag Race as it pits queens from previous seasons in a wig-to-wig drag battle royale.

Stars: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Roxxy Andrews
The Queen (1968)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jack is 24, sometimes he's a drag queen named Sabrina. In 1967, as Sabrina, he's the mistress of ceremonies at a national drag queen contest in New York City. The camera goes behind the ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Simon
Stars: Jim Dine, Jack Doroshow, Richard Finnochio
Strike a Pose (2016)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

What does it take to express yourself? The surprising and moving story of Madonna's most famous troupe of dancers.

Directors: Ester Gould, Reijer Zwaan
Stars: Madonna, Luis Camacho, Jose Guitierez
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary surveying the various Hollywood screen depictions of homosexuals and the attitudes behind them throughout the history of North American film.

Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Stars: Lily Tomlin, Tony Curtis, Susie Bright
Reality-TV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked! is the access-all-areas pass to the drama that you didn't see on the runway--the backstage bitchiness, the catfights, the struggles, the tears and the secrets.... See full summary »

Stars: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Is Alixe and Gwen's sexual disagreement the cause of their problems, or are their problems the cause of their sexual disagreement? And how should an artist nurture her vision: by seeking ... See full summary »

Director: Jennie Livingston
Stars: Marin Hinkle, Brigitte Bako, Steve Buscemi
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A transgender punk-rock girl from East Berlin tours the U.S. with her band as she tells her life story and follows the former lover/band-mate who stole her songs.

Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Stars: John Cameron Mitchell, Miriam Shor, Stephen Trask
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brooke Xtravaganza ...
(as Carmen and Brooke)
André Christian
Dorian Corey
Paris Duprée
Junior Labeija
Willi Ninja
Sandy Ninja
Kim Pendavis
Freddie Pendavis
Sol Pendavis
Avis Pendavis
Octavia St. Laurent ...
(as Octavia Saint Laurent)
Stevie Saint Laurent
Anji Xtravaganza ...
(as Angie Xtravaganza)
Edit

Storyline

This is a documentary of 'drag nights' among New York's underclass. Queens are interviewed and observed preparing for and competing in many 'balls'. The people, the clothes, and the whole environment are outlandish. Written by Robbie Smith <robsmith@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Having a ball...wish you were here

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

August 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Children Are  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$310,127, 11 August 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,779,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in October 1997. See more »

Quotes

Pepper LaBeija: This is white America. Any other nationality that is not of the white set, knows this and accepts this till the day they die. That is everybody's dream and ambition as a minority - to live and look as well as a white person. It is pictured as being in America. Every media you have; from TV to magazines, to movies, to films... I mean, the biggest thing that minority watches is what? "Dynasty" and "The Colbys". Umm, "All My Children" - the soap operas. Everybody has a million-dollar bracket. When...
See more »


Soundtracks

Deep in Vogue
Written and Performed by Malcolm McLaren
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Absolutely riveting
22 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

Documentary starts in 1986 in NYC where black and hispanic drag queens hold "balls". That's where they dress up however they like, strut their stuff in front of an audience and are voted on. We get to know many of the members and see how they all hold together and support each other. As one man says to another--"You have three strikes against you--you're black, gay and a drag queen". These are people who (sadly) are not accepted in society--only at the balls. There they can be whoever and whatever they want and be accepted. Then the film cuts to three years later (1989) and you see how things have changed (tragically for some).

Sounds depressing but it's not. Most of the people interviewed are actually very funny and get a lot of humor out of their situations. They're well aware of their position in society and accept it with humor--just as they should. We find out they all live in "houses" run by various "mothers" and all help each other out. The sense of community in this film is fascinating.

When this film came out in 1990 it was controversial--and a big hit. It won Best Documentary Awards at numerous festivals--but was never even nominated for an Academy Award. Their reason was "Black and hispanic drag queens are not Academy material". Fascinating isn't it? Homophobia and racism all together.

Seen today it's still a great film--and a period piece. It just isn't like that anymore--the NY they show no longer exists. The balls are still held but not in the spirit we see here. Also drag has become more "accepted" in society (for better or worse). And I've heard the houses are gone too. That's kind of sad. I WOULD like to know where these characters are now--I know two died of AIDS but I have no idea about the others. And what DID happen to that 13 year old and 15 year old shown?

Still, it a one of a kind documentary--fascinating, funny and riveting. A must see all the way! A definite 10. Where's the DVD???


24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Paul Scheer on Why There Are No Bad Movies

Paul Scheer discusses The Disaster Artist and his love of awesomely bad movies. Plus, we dive into the origins of midnight movies and explore how The Room became a cult classic.

Watch now