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Waiting for Guffman (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  31 January 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 22,082 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 201 user | 49 critic | 19 from

An aspiring director and the marginally talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Williamson ...
James McQueen ...
Singing Auditioner (as Jim McQueen)
Jerry Turman ...


A town of Blaine, Missouri is preparing for celebrations of its 150th anniversary. Corky St.Clair, an off-off-off-off-off-Broadway director is putting together an amateur theater show about the town's history, starring a local dentist, a couple of travel agents, a Dairy Queen waitress, and a car repairman. He invites a Broadway theater critic Mr. Guffman to see the opening night of the show. Written by Piotr Zembrowski <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's A Good Reason Some Talent Remains Undiscovered See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Christopher Guest Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,990 (USA) (31 January 1997)


$2,892,582 (USA) (18 July 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (uncredited)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Frances Fisher filmed scenes as Johnny Savage's mother but her scenes were deleted from the film. She does appear in the film's trailer. See more »


In the Chinese dinner scene, the plate of beef to the left of Sheila appears and disappears. See more »


Corky St. Clair: It's a Zen thing, like how many babies fit in a tire.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits Christopher Guest's character shows us some of the fun memorabilia that he sells in his store. See more »


Followed by A Mighty Wind (2003) See more »


A Penny For Your Thoughts
Written by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest
Courtesy of Tuxedo Time Music / Coney Island Whitefish Music / Hazen Music (ASCAP)
Sung by Parker Posey (uncredited) and Christopher Guest (uncredited) in the show
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny and deceptively authentic
21 October 2006 | by (Hellfudge, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

The current climate of cinematic comedy is comparable, to an extent, to the trend in horror: everything is geared toward pull-out-all-stops excess that is more disgusting than entertaining. We should thank our lucky stars for Christopher Guest, a consistently surprising filmmaker (he directed "Best in Show" and wrote "This is Spinal Tap") who makes 'mockumentaries' that play like actual documentaries. "Waiting for Guffman" follows Corky St. Clair (Guest), a flamboyant stage director who gathers a group of 'eclectic' locals (a cross-eyed dentist; a husband-and-wife travel agent team; a Dairy Queen employee) for a production about the sleepy town in which they live (its claim to fame being home of the footstool). There is a hilarious authenticity to the behind-the-scenes footage, but the film never laughs at its subjects--as viewers, we share Corky's (admittedly delusional) passion with bittersweet good humor. The supporting cast--consisting of Guest regulars Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, and Larry Miller--is in top form here. "Waiting for Guffman" is a quiet comedy gem about a dull, quiet town. And it's also ridiculously rated "R" for two quick instances of F-word usage (way to call it, MPAA!).

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