7.5/10
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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

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Two drag performers and a transgender woman travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.

Director:

Stephan Elliott

Writer:

Stephan Elliott
Reviews
Popularity
4,037 ( 701)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugo Weaving ... Tick / Mitzi
Guy Pearce ... Adam / Felicia
Terence Stamp ... Bernadette
Rebel Penfold-Russell Rebel Penfold-Russell ... Logowoman (as Rebel Russell)
John Casey John Casey ... Bartender
June Marie Bennett June Marie Bennett ... Shirley
Murray Davies Murray Davies ... Miner
Frank Cornelius Frank Cornelius ... Piano Player
Bob Boyce Bob Boyce ... Petrol Station Attendant
Leighton Picken Leighton Picken ... Young Adam
Maria Kmet Maria Kmet ... Ma
Joseph Kmet Joseph Kmet ... Pa
Alan Dargin Alan Dargin ... Aboriginal Man
Bill Hunter ... Robert 'Bob' Spart
Julia Cortez Julia Cortez ... Cynthia Campos
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Storyline

Two drag-queens (Anthony/Mitzi and Adam/Felicia) and a transgender woman 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 <goldberg@nymc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's back... Looking as gorgeous and outrageous as ever in a brand new frock. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Filipino

Release Date:

10 August 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Priscilla See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$11,220,670
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director Stephan Elliott, he took the three leads out in drag prior to the beginning of filming. None of them was recognized: Guy Pearce took the opportunity to be outrageously rude, Terence Stamp eventually forgot he was in drag and started hitting on girls, and Hugo Weaving got super-drunk and lay under a table for hours, tapping his finger in time to the music. This last detail was incorporated into the film in the hotel room scene. See more »

Goofs

Tick is practicing their dance routines and he is wearing a green dress and he's got a cigarette in his hand. In one shot the cigarette is there and in the next, which is far away, it's not there. See more »

Quotes

Tick: [to Bernadette] Look, you're not helping, here. Just eat your hormones.
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Crazy Credits

Best Naughty Boy...Matt Inglis See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was "Shown in Dragarama" at select theatres at the time of release. This involved some theatres using a mirror-ball and colored lighting during the "Finally" dance number. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dancing with the Stars: Episode #9.6 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

A Desert Holiday
(uncredited)
Performed by Guy Pearce
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A bitchy, gaudy, outrageous, kitsch comedy classic (8/10)
14 February 2001 | by Paul KyddSee all my reviews

1994 proved to be rather a good year for Australian movies, with both this and MURIEL'S WEDDING delighting international audiences with their cheeky over-the-top humour, panache, pathos, winning performances, and fun soundtracks. Both, of course, heavily featured the music of ABBA (Australia has long had a particular love-affair with the Scandinavian quartet - it was probably no coincidence that it was decided to shoot the group's own feature, ABBA: THE MOVIE, during the Australian leg of their 1977 world concert tour). In MURIEL'S WEDDING the band's music is perhaps treated with more reverence and respect - Muriel Heslop is, after all, a huge fan, and the film itself is of a far more serious, distinctly black nature. PRISCILLA, on the other hand, constantly revels in its own bitchiness and catty humour, and has countless memorable, and in many cases unprintable, lines of dialogue, including stabs at the supergroup - "I've said it once and I'll say it again - no more f***ing ABBA"; "What are you telling me - this is an ABBA turd?" Of course ABBA is merely one of MANY verbal targets for the film's three main protagonists, but far from this alienating us from any of them, we cannot help but be swept along by the sheer garish joy of the entire venture.

The basic plot focuses on recently bereaved transsexual Bernadette (a magnificent, hardly recognizable Terence Stamp), who teams up with two younger drag artistes, sensitive Tick/Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and screaming queen Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce), so that they can travel half-way across Australia on board an all but dilapidated bus named "Priscilla", in order to perform a cabaret act at a remote casino run by an ex-partner of Tick's, soon revealed to be, horror of horrors, a WOMAN! Along the way they encounter all sorts of absurd situations and individuals almost as strange and unconventional as they themselves are, whilst Bernadette, against her better judgement, falls for gruff mechanic Bob (Bill Hunter, who also features in MURIEL'S WEDDING) that they pick up en route, and in so doing he loses his "mail-order" bride Cynthia (Julia Cortez), who in one especially memorable scene does things with ping-pong balls you just don't want to imagine!

The performances are really the thing here - Terence Stamp (who won numerous accolades for his cast-against-type labours) is amazing and totally credible as the quietly dignified transsexual, and it is hard to believe that Weaving and (especially) Pearce have not worked as flamboyant, lip-synching drag queens all their professional lives! The gaudy, outrageous costumes won a well-deserved Oscar, and the photography of the barren, surreal landscape is also masterful, as is Stephan Elliott's creative direction and hilarious, ultimately poignant script. The soundtrack may not be to everyone's taste, but it has enough camp classics to satisfy anyone yearning to relive the tacky heyday of the '70s - including ABBA's "Mamma Mia", the Village People's "Go West", and Gloria Gaynor's superb "I Will Survive", given a gloriously inventive rendition to a bunch of appreciative aboriginals, with one of their number joining in most enthusiastically.

A true kitsch classic, then - well worth re-visiting, again and again ... and again.


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