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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

 -  Comedy | Music  -  10 August 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 31,028 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 126 user | 49 critic | 19 from

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



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Waite / Bernadette Bassenger
Logowoman (as Rebel Russell)
John Casey ...
June Marie Bennett ...
Murray Davies ...
Frank Cornelius ...
Piano Player
Bob Boyce ...
Petrol Station Attendant
Leighton Picken ...
Young Adam
Maria Kmet ...
Joseph Kmet ...
Alan Dargin ...
Aboriginal Man
Julia Cortez ...
Cynthia Campos


Two drag-queens (Anthony/Mitzi and Adam/Felicia) and a transexual (Bernadette) contract to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert. They head west from Sydney aboard their lavender bus, Priscilla. En route, it is discovered that the woman they've contracted with is Anthony's wife. Their bus breaks down, and is repaired by Bob, who travels on with them. Written by Randy Goldberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bus | desert | drag | drag queen | road movie | See more »


Finally, a comedy that will change the way you think, the way you feel, and most importantly... the way you dress. See more »


Comedy | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sex-related situations and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 August 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las aventuras de Priscilla, reina del desierto  »

Box Office


£823,293 (UK) (11 November 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Terence Stamp, he had gotten into character by imagining himself as a beautiful woman. But Stephan Elliott told Brian J. Breheny to make Stamp look as bad as possible. Stamp never watches his dailies so he had no idea how he looked until the premiere and was shocked. Breheny apologized to Stamp at the premiere. See more »


When they are in the bar in Broken Hill, Old Shirl comes over and slaps her right hand down on Bernadette's. Then, in the next camera shot, it's her left hand. See more »


Tick: [Tick and Bernadette are discussing what it would be like to have children] What happens if they turn out like Adam?
Bernadette: You stuff 'em back in and ask for a refund.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Bad Acting...Libby Blainey See more »


References The Poseidon Adventure (1972) See more »


E strano! Ah fors e lui
Written by Giuseppe Verdi (as Guiseppe Verdi)
Performed by Joan Carden and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy ABC Classics
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My take on Priscillianism
21 October 2011 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Exemplify a wacky dress without being tacky, and beyond, could be the film's tag. Whether you wear it on a frock or naked, should be aimed at people who say the film is OK, nicely done and frothy and all, but without much to it. Wrong. Wrong viewers they are that downplay the film's witty heart.

I do not think there has ever been a film that delivers its ethos in the tag-line "a cock in a frock on a rock - that's what our country hardly needed". The smashing alliteration outwits the scenario-in-a-capsule phrase of this more kind-than-kin road movie. It must have to do with something else. Queering the deadpan or deadpanning the queer? I am not sure I can fathom Terence Stamp's take on delivering what he says.

All three actors bless the idea of casting and based on their choice there should be a new kind of lifetime achievement award, bestowed by the Vatican, for the film should be included in all discussions of trinitarian discourse: Bernadette as a very dignified Holy Spirit or as trans-gendered Godhead, Adam as a reckless Holy Spirit or Son in drug-fueled high heels, Tick as Father, for sure. It should - the least

  • provoke a wave for re-evaluating the doctrines of Priscillian, the

early Church heretic, or martyr depending on your appreciation of controversial matters, who was the first person in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy: he mostly lived in the desert like Adam, Bernadette and Tick, but being a strict ascetic, had failed to watch the film and be converted.

It is a sly achievement to which one gives up and surrenders intelligently, when you realize that the film is a tender plea for man's precarious status, his always tenderness-seeking or wildly avoiding identity: the women in the film range from the bully in the bar to the inane, almost extra-terrestrially squeaking runner, to the unintelligible vagina performer, and when in the and at last we encounter a human being, Tick's wife, the rich ambiguities are neither explained nor skimmed: we now understand that these women with their full range of caricature and sexual being, are there to put into relief the three characters' embattled manhood (Tick trying to sell the odious face-creams totally drunk in that bar, by his drawl rightfully pronounces the product: woe-man): Bernadette still clutches to some core of enjoyment in what concerns her pre-operation self, as her rage whenever Adam calls her by her earlier name (and this somehow counter-contrasts, to call the effect by that name, with Adam's counter-molestation flash-back), Ralph, erupts, Tick has an amazingly human face charting all delicate and anxious hesitations concerning what is to be a father, drawing a line to procreation, and this, in turn, has an uncanny resonance to and with the fact that Adam seems peculiarly parentless. Perhaps it is this difficult to grasp effect that from the three performances the one that stayed with me was Pearce's with all its reckless abandon.

Terence Stamp has not demonstrated that he is from another solar system that well even in Pasolini's "Theoreme" - it is surely a system of stellar poise and dignity, and we rarely see that around here; and how difficult it is to have Hugo Weaving's strong, unmissable face playing a humane character without something leaking into false notes. The story is perfect in being a pilgrim's progress and its queering of it: Stephan Elliott touched genius with this film, and so did the leads, and so do we. Thank you.

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