Paris Is Burning (1990)

R  |   |  Documentary  |  August 1991 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 3,463 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 19 critic

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.


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

14 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Documentary/Concert film covering the annual Drag festival in New York City. Highlights include a performance by drag diva, Ru Paul, and the infamous Lypsinca.

Director: Barry Shils
Stars: RuPaul, John Epperson, Debbie Harry
Pageant (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A portrait of five men competing in the Miss Gay America pageant.

Directors: Ron Davis, Stewart Halpern-Fingerhut
Stars: Carl Glorioso, Victor Bowling, Robert Martin
Grey Gardens (1975)
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor.

Director: Rob Epstein
Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 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
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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
RuPaul's Drag Race (TV Series 2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

RuPaul searches for America's next drag superstar.

Stars: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice
I Am Divine (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

How Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, became John Waters' cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Stars: Divine, Michael Musto, Mark Payne
RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race (TV Series 2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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, Santino Rice
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two drag queens and a transsexual travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.

Director: Stephan Elliott
Stars: Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, Terence Stamp
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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

A first-person memoir, a family saga, and an essay about how American culture views loss and impermanence.

Director: Jennie Livingston


Credited cast:
André Christian
Dorian Corey
Paris Duprée
David The Father Xtravaganza
Eileen Ford ...
Junior Labeija
Pepper LaBeija ...
(as Pepper Labeija)
Sandy Ninja
Willi Ninja
Avis Pendavis
Freddie Pendavis
Kim Pendavis
Sol Pendavis
Stevie Saint Laurent
Octavia St. Laurent ...
(as Octavia Saint Laurent)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Having a ball...wish you were here



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

August 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Children Are  »

Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)


$3,779,620 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A young Pepper LaBeija can be seen very briefly as a contestant in the 1968 documentary The Queen, about a drag beauty pageant held in New York City. The legendary Crystal LaBeija, original mother and founder of the House of LaBeija, is also featured giving a fierce and shady reading. See more »


Dorian Corey: I always had hopes of being a big star. But as you get older, you aim a little lower. Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you've made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you've left a mark. You don't have to bend the whole world. I think it's better to just enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you.
See more »


Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Paris Is Burning (2001) See more »


Move Your Body
Written and Performed by Marshall Jefferson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Would love to see this on DVD!!!
16 August 2004 | by (Seattle, WA-USA) – See all my reviews

Growing up in NYC in the late 80's/early 90's club-scene, I can personally say this is one of the most important documentaries made in covering that place in this time period. No Madonna did not come up with the idea of Voguing but this is where she got it from! Instead of taking out violence on each other or in bitchy cat fights, voguing allowed people to "fight" within the confines of everything short of touching each other (which would warrant an automatic disqualification). Seeing these kind of extraordinarily talented/well orchestrated "throw-downs" in the clubs was nothing short of spectacular and all the big names from back in the day are here...Pepper La Beija, Paris Duprée,Xtragavaganza, etc...all commemorated in the likes of such period-pieces as Malcom McLaren's song "Deep in Vogue" didn't matter who you were, or where you were from because when you walked through those doors into this "magic kingdom" of sorts, you became part of something bigger than yourself/you were important/and most importantly the creation of your own moves and imagination...and anybody from anywhere could become King (or Queen) as the case may have been. The words and wit were just as sharp as the moves on the floor. All of the tension, excitement, and magic of that very urban NYC energy is captured in this film. BRILLIANT!!! PLEASE RELEASE ON DVD for the world to see!!! Thank You!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The two boys, homeworldpilot
OMG i can't believe it! drownedw0rld
A sad film Babo2
Song question davisaurus
Willi Ninja R.I.P. HeroineCheek
DVD DScully1245
Discuss Paris Is Burning (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page