8.1/10
8,284
36 user 22 critic

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.

Director:

Jennie Livingston
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16 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brooke Xtravaganza Brooke Xtravaganza ... (as Carmen and Brooke)
André Christian André Christian
Dorian Corey Dorian Corey
Paris Duprée
Pepper LaBeija ... Herself
Junior Labeija Junior Labeija
Willi Ninja
Sandy Ninja Sandy Ninja
Kim Pendavis Kim Pendavis
Freddie Pendavis
Sol Pendavis
Avis Pendavis Avis Pendavis
Octavia St. Laurent ... (as Octavia Saint Laurent)
Stevie Saint Laurent Stevie Saint Laurent
Anji Xtravaganza Anji Xtravaganza ... (as Angie Xtravaganza)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Having a ball...wish you were here

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Children Are See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$310,127, 11 August 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,779,620
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A young Pepper LaBeija can be seen very briefly as a contestant in the 1968 documentary The Queen, about a drag beauty pageant held in New York City. The legendary Crystal LaBeija, original mother and founder of the House of LaBeija, is also featured giving a fierce and shady reading. See more »

Quotes

Pepper LaBeija: This is white America. Any other nationality that is not of the white set, knows this and accepts this till the day they die. That is everybody's dream and ambition as a minority - to live and look as well as a white person. It is pictured as being in America. Every media you have; from TV to magazines, to movies, to films... I mean, the biggest thing that minority watches is what? "Dynasty" and "The Colbys". Umm, "All My Children" - the soap operas. Everybody has a million-dollar bracket. When...
See more »

Connections

References Dynasty (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Hangover
Written by Pam Sawyer (as P. Sawyer) and Marilyn McLeod (as M. McLeod)
Performed by Diana Ross
See more »

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User Reviews

more than an introduction to vogue
20 October 2004 | by queenhellySee all my reviews

This is my favorite documentary... the subtle undertone of this movie that not everyone gets is the socio-economic commentary. Most people see this movie as an introduction to the world of drag queens or introduction to voguing and "balls". But if you dig deeper it is even sadder believe it or not. It's sad to think that most of these wonderful "larger than life" folks are dead, but it holds a very deep social commentary for anyone who is not a straight white well to do male. (by the way, despite my user name I'm a biological female ! ha ha... but I'm Hispanic so I am marginalized by sex as well as ethnicity...) Anyway the comments on being female... Pepper Labeija explaining why he would never get a sex change "women have it worse than anyone" or Octavia St. Laurent... "all men are dogs... sooner or later they all start barking" are comments u'd hear straight women say all the time. And what it means to be a black or Hispanic in the trickle down world of Reaganomics and beyond... before you even factor in homosexuality... please watch it again and really listen for the racial and economic commentary. Those from Pepper Labeija and Dorian Corey are particularly poignant... ("I emulated Deitrich and Monroe... it wasn't acceptable to emulate Lena Horne... even as a black"- Dorian Corey) I'm sorry to be "preachy" but I love this movie and it has a lot more to say than the "fad" it glorified. I am a straight Latina who grew up in the NYC club scene but for me the best thing about this movie besides the great dancers and "characters" is what it says about being a marginalized group in the dog eat dog 1980's, and what they did to hold on to a semblance of family and fame. Most of the house "mothers" died within a few years of the movie... Pepper Labeija (my very favorite) died recently... but before he died he sadly had his feet amputated because of diabetes... yet he, I should call Pepper SHE... appeared in a Ball, in full Egyptian regalia, carried by strapping shirtless men to the delight of all those in attendance. May we all enjoy love and acceptance, no matter what it is that makes us different.


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