8.1/10
6,229
35 user 18 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:

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16 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

August 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Children Are  »

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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  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Considered to be the first example of the now-common expression "throwing shade." See more »

Quotes

Dorian Corey: I always had hopes of being a big star. But as you get older, you aim a little lower. Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you've made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you've left a mark. You don't have to bend the whole world. I think it's better to just enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in RuPaul's Drag Race: Extra Special Edition (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Who's Zoomin' Who
Written by Aretha Franklin (uncredited), Preston Glass (uncredited) and Narada Michael Walden (uncredited)
Performed by Aretha Franklin
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User Reviews

 
Would love to see this on DVD!!!
16 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

Growing up in NYC in the late 80's/early 90's club-scene, I can personally say this is one of the most important documentaries made in covering that place in this time period. No Madonna did not come up with the idea of Voguing but this is where she got it from! Instead of taking out violence on each other or in bitchy cat fights, voguing allowed people to "fight" within the confines of everything short of touching each other (which would warrant an automatic disqualification). Seeing these kind of extraordinarily talented/well orchestrated "throw-downs" in the clubs was nothing short of spectacular and all the big names from back in the day are here...Pepper La Beija, Paris Duprée,Xtragavaganza, etc...all commemorated in the likes of such period-pieces as Malcom McLaren's song "Deep in Vogue"...it didn't matter who you were, or where you were from because when you walked through those doors into this "magic kingdom" of sorts, you became part of something bigger than yourself/you were important/and most importantly the creation of your own moves and imagination...and anybody from anywhere could become King (or Queen) as the case may have been. The words and wit were just as sharp as the moves on the floor. All of the tension, excitement, and magic of that very urban NYC energy is captured in this film. BRILLIANT!!! PLEASE RELEASE ON DVD for the world to see!!! Thank You!


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