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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.



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15 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
André Christian
Dorian Corey
Paris Duprée
David The Father Xtravaganza
Eileen Ford ...
Junior 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 <robsmith@u.washington.edu>

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?


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 »


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.
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Referenced in RuPaul's Drag Race: Extra Special Edition (2009) See more »


Written and Performed by Kitarô
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User Reviews

Some answers as to where they are now.....
25 November 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

While many unfortunately passed on, the ballroom scene is still very much alive and carrying on their legacy. Some are still very much alive and quite well, Octavia is more radiant and beautiful than ever, Willi Ninja is very accomplished and gives a great deal of support to the gay community as a whole, Pepper Labeija just passed on last year of natural cause, may she rest in peace. After Anji's passing Carmen became the mother of the house of Xtravaganza (she was in the beach scene) and she is looking more and more lovely as well. Some balls have categories dedicated to those who have passed, may they all rest in peace. There is currently another project underway known as "How Do I Look?", you can check out the website at www.howdoilooknyc.org.

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