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The Cockettes (2002)

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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 433 users   Metascore: 77/100
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Documentary about the gender-bending San Francisco performance group who became a pop culture phenomenon in the early 1970s.

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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Larry Brinkin ...
Peggy Cass ...
Herself (archive footage)
Pristine Condition ...
Himself (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Dusty Dawn ...
Himself (archive footage)
Anton Dunnigan ...
Himself (archive footage)
John Flowers ...
Himself (archive footage)
Goldie Glitters ...
The Grateful Dead ...
Themselves (archive footage)
Ann Harris ...


On New Year's Eve, 1969, a flamboyant ragtag troupe of genderbending hippies took the stage of San Francisco's Palace Theater and The Cockettes were born. For the next 2 1/2 years, these outrageous drag performers created 20 shows with titles like "A Crab on Uranus Means You're Loved" and "Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma," and were featured in four underground films. But when the Cockettes flew to New York City to appear Off Broadway - well, you'll just have to see what happened when New Yorkers took a look at them. Documentarians Weissman and Weber have crafted a record of a wondrous time and a wild group in The Cockettes. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


1969 ... San Francisco ... Sexual Anarchy



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nudity, sexual content, drug references and some language | See all certifications »

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Official Sites:




Release Date:

16 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cockettes  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,118 (USA) (10 May 2002)


$220,077 (USA) (7 February 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


On the Weekend of 22 December 2002, the movie grossed $75.00 (by contrast, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) took in $62,007,000). See more »


John Waters: Well, the Cockettes were basically complete sexual anarchy
John Waters: which is always a good thing.
See more »


References Oklahoma! (1955) See more »


Early Shows Boogie
Written by Peter Dunne and Richard Koldewyn
Published by Tunestead Tunes (ASCAP)/Scrumbly Music (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

Dressed to kill!
4 July 2002 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Perhaps I was expecting more from the documentary. Don't get me wrong, it captures the era and the craziness of the time, but sometimes it goes flat. A little more gay wit should have helped here. The directors have captured the idea behind the Cockettes in their heyday in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, behind the happy facade of the parties, the theatre performances, we never get to really know most of the people who created the scene.

The main character, and the "mother" of the Cockettes, Hibiscus, is an enigma. He's obviously so high on LSD and other drugs of the period to make any sense at all. Hisbiscus did have a vision, but carrying it to the stage was another story. Most of the skits kind of fall flat. I guess that in order to have appreciated the group at the Palace Theatre in San Francisco in its prime would have required tons of acid to view what went onstage as probably Hibiscus conceived it.

The people that survived the Cockettes talk to the camara and tells us what it was like. It's great seeing the survivors as they look now and they looked then. Director John Waters is very effective in telling us his part of the story. The fabulous Devine, who only appears briefly in the film is a welcome distraction since she was the queen of all queens!

The Cockettes were way ahead of their time. When you see today's drag queens, they pale in comparison to that group which were probably the idea for most of the ones around today.

Go see it and enjoy a bygone time that will never be able to capture again.

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