A surprise hit in America, this 1994 Australian comedy is anchored by Terence Stamp as a transsexual who, in the company of two drag queens, travels to a remote desert location to put on a lip- synch performance--to the am... more »azement of the locals. Getting there on a pink bus named Priscilla, the trio stop and play for people all over the Outback, getting the same homophobic, bewildered responses. The weak link in the film is dialogue that seems to have been pulled from "Queer Movie Banter for Dummies," all bitchy and cliché-ridden but fortunately salvaged by strong acting. The most fun comes whenever the three are performing; fans of Abba will be particularly pleased. --Tom Keogh« less
Gloria B. (glowbird) from SPOKANE, WA Reviewed on 2/18/2013...
Exaggeration to the point of sterotype? Maybe. Earned two stars with me. One for my having actually watched it from beginning to end. I didn't find any of the characters particularly believeable, and one was excruciatingly annoying. There were a couple moments of funny humor, but in general I thought it was a rather pointless romp through dragsville.
4 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Entertaining, rewatchable ... a feast of colours too
William | Australia | 07/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1994 was a big year for Aussie films. PRISCILLA and MURIEL'S WEDDING came out at the same time, and both earned a cult following because of their over-the-top themes. Also, an ABBA revival was happening at that time, and these films featured ABBA music.PRISCILLA has many funny moments, but what makes it so special is the fantastic scenery and colours - truly showcasing Australia's beautiful outback. Overall, the film is a pleasure to watch again and again. It tells the tale of three drag queens who set out across the Australian outback in an old bus affectionally titled "Priscilla". Along the way, they become involved in many outrageous situations. DVD SUMMARY - Originally released as an awful blotchy pan/scan DVD in Australia, the film recently received the treatment it deserved for its 10 year anniversary! Yes, it was recently in it's correct aspect ratio (2:35) and given an anamorphic transfer. While this new transfer is still not 100% pristine (white flecks here and there), it is still a huge improvement on the original DVD release. It's fantastic to see this film in all its widescreen glory after all these years. The colours and scenery will blow you away. The soundtrack has also been remixed in DTS and 5.1 surround sound. This 10 Year Anniversary also contains lots of special features, which is amazing for a film of its age. The bad news is that the new DVD (in pink packaging) is only available in Australia. I recommend overseas buyers getting hold of this version over the current American DVD. The American DVD is only letterbox transfer (ie. not anamorphic) and doesn't include the special features."
A thoroughly enjoyable and shockingly likable film
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 07/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A film like this sinks or swims with the casting of the leads, and luckily, all three main actors are absolutely superb. I have to confess that I hadn't really liked Hugo Weaving before seeing this film. I disliked his role as "Agent Smith" in THE MATRIX, and barely noticed his "Elrond" in THE LORD OF THE RINGS. But I liked him enormously in this one. Of the three leads, he was probably the best and most enthusiastic drag performer. I had previously seen Guy Pearce in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, RAVENOUS, and MEMENTO, but I have to say that this is probably his finest performance. I have always been a Terence Stamp fan, and I have to say that, unlike the other two actors, he makes a dreadful looking transsexual. Nonetheless, the quiet self-possession and dignity with which his character conducts herself helps Stamp dominate most of the scenes in which he appears. Interestingly, although he plays a post op transsexual, he continues in his performance to speak in a relatively deep, masculine tone. One of the most enjoyable things about the film is seeing the way that the three performers gradually change in the way they interrelate with the others. The most brilliant thing about this film is that at no point does it succumb to the slightest tinge of self-parody or irony. The director as well as the three leads all take their characters with the utmost seriousness, so that the film ends up not being a film about drag queens, but about three individual who just happen to be drag queens, a subtle but crucial distinction. Most of all the film is fun. There are many, many over-the-top moments, and not every one succeeds, but most do. The script is superb, the scenery striking, and the music fun, even if most of the songs are, in one sense, outright wretched."
"A reviewer below said the movie will leave you with "soaring spirits" -- so true! This Australian-drag-queens-on-a-road-trip-with-a-purpose flick will appeal to homos and heteros alike, assuming open minds from both camps. For me the movie brought both laughter and tears of joy -- one of those rare flicks to inspire almost universal goodwill-to-mankind in its viewers. As has been said before (but not enough times), Stamp's performance is brilliant, bringing the right combination of sensitivity, humor, and realism to a character you won't meet on the sidewalk every day. Guy Pearce is a marvelous beauty, out of drag as well as in, and he, too, plays his part extremely well. The ABBA background music complements the darkly fizzy goings-on onscreen. Though the protagonists confront challenges and enemies throughout, including among themselves, the world in which their colorful road trip takes place is benevolent enough to allow them a cheerful ending. That's not the outcome that would be expected in real life -- so let's give a round of applause to the moviemakers for departing from real life. Entertaining and uplifting, this one's a keeper."
"Cult Classic" : Priscilla Eats "Wong Foo" for Breakfast !
Graham Douglas Lincoln | Louisville, KY | 02/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Terence Stamp, as a Transexual...need I say more? OK...I will: "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" is a wonderful, frollicking (or is it "frocking?") Adventure. Terence Stamp (of "The Hunger") is fabulous as an aging transexual, with bitter views and a sarcastic, biting sense of humor. His fellow(ette) travelers are performers, en route to the show of their lifetime, across the desert land of Australia....bickering and cat-fighting the entire way. Some of the banter is obviously a politically incorrect portrayal of gay men--the lines are often inspired by the worst-case scenario of gay men bickering--yet, I've met a few of those guys, in real life...so, the PC people will need to suspend their sense of appropriateness and enjoy the entertainment. This is NOT just a movie for "gay culture," as some people think. Straight couples enjoy the film and there are many hilarious scenes that couples can appreciate, together. There are some very Dramatic episodes that make the film more than a Comedy and aspire to give you an understanding of the sub-culture and humanity of the characters (despite personal prejudices). Besides, let's put the Anthropological Dissertation aside and get down to the core of the matter.... "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" is a great movie!Wait'll you see what one Lady likes to do with Ping-Pong Balls ; )"
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 04/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Priscilla" is now approaching its 10th anniversary. Rather than comment on the movie itself, I'd like to pay tribute to the amazing triumverate of actors at the center of the story. Because as time goes on, it becomes more and more notable that these three appeared together.Hugo Weaving ("Tick" / Mitzi) - Later becomes Agent Smith in "The Matrix" and Elrond in "Lord of the Rings"...i.e., only becomes a central figure in two of the largest franchises in movie-making history.Guy Pearce (Adam / Felicia) - Later becomes Leonard Shelby in "Memento" (and robbed of an Oscar nomination) and Ed Exley in "LA Confidential" (thought he was better there than Russell Crowe). Plus, he's a legend in Australia for his 1986 - 1990 part in the TV series "Neighbours" (where, most notably) he suited up next to Kylie Minogue).Terence Stamp - (Ralph / Bernadette) - Finest actor of his generation? Perhaps. Later becomes Wilson in "The Limey" (don't miss that), Terry Stricter (founder of Scientology-like 'Mindhead' in the under-rated Steve Martin-penned 'Bowfinger'). Also famous to US audiences as General Zod in the Superman series. Career began as 'Billy Budd' back in the 1962 (!) Peter Ustinov classic.Also here: Bill Hunter, outstanding as usual, as Bernadette's beau "Bob." To me, Hunter was the high point of "Strictly Ballroom" (as Federation President, Barry Fife). Wow, what a great actor. It's wonderful to see this collection of actors, especially in such risk-taking roles. Especially Stamp, whose career has been hallmarked by intensely masculine roles. He has talked at length in various venues (e.g., 'Fresh Air' with Terry Gross) about his trepidation of playing Bernadette & the freedom he felt once he pulled it off.So, if you've never seen 'Priscilla' before or don't think it would be your cup of tea, hopefully, I've given you four reasons here to rent or buy it today."