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Waiting for Guffman (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  31 January 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 22,203 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 201 user | 50 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

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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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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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 <zembrows@astro.utoronto.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A New Comedy from the lead guitarist of 'Spinal Tap' 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?


In an early cut of the film, the musical alone ran 40 minutes. See more »


After Ron (Fred Willard) deploys the whoopee cushion, he holds it up with his left hand; but when the camera then cuts to close-up, it's in his right hand. See more »


Dr. Pearl: I dream of Genie with the light brown hair. Floating like a vapor on the soft summer air. LOOK OUT! Campdown races sing this song doo da doo da...
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 »


Colors Of America
Written by Lee Campbell-Towell
Courtesy of Southern Music Company (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

Definitely not to everyone's taste, but a lovely film nonetheless
10 November 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is the first of several films that Christopher Guest and his friends have made using a very unusual style. Instead of a clearly defined script, some very talented actors (such as Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard and others) took a script idea and improvised throughout. The film was then created using the best bits and I can honestly say that there is nothing like this film. While some of the jokes are very, very dry and occasionally fall flat, there is a subtle charm and wit to the film as you follow a group of 3rd rate local actors who have insane visions of Broadway.

The film is ostensibly about a very local stage production about the founding of some small town. While these sort of pageants have been ubiquitous in small town America, this one is unique because supposedly a guy by the name of Guffman is coming to town and plans two see it. Guffman, it seems, is from Broadway and the cast has the temerity to believe that maybe they'll impress him so much that they'll become major stars. Considering the quality of the acting is well below that of an average high school production, this is very absurd. Yet, although ridiculous, there is a certain something in many of these people that is very likable so there is some depth to the film--you aren't just laughing at yokels who have ridiculous aspirations.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and think that people who like their humor subtle and perhaps a bit painful will enjoy this film. People who prefer broad comedy probably won't enjoy this very much.

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