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Showgirls Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 1.0

    out of 100

    Overwhelming dislike
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 12

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    This film is like a shiny, red apple that's rotten to the core -- despite slick direction and a glossy sheen, it reeks of decay. Showgirls isn't a good drama, a good thriller, or even good pornography.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    If the plot and screenplay are juvenile, the production values are first-rate, and the lead performance by newcomer Elizabeth Berkley has a fierce energy that's always interesting.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    The film's big lap-dance sequence is impressive, however, if only for the sheer athleticism of Elizabeth Berkley's contortion. Later, when she pulls the same stunt in a swimming pool, we recognize the show for what it is--a male fantasy film in which the women are little more than rag dolls. [22 Sept 1995]

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    As Nomi, Elizabeth Berkley has exactly two emotions -- hot and bothered -- but her party-doll blowsiness works for the picture.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    Who knew such a seamy swim in the misogynistic swill of life could be so entertaining?

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  • See all Showgirls reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Borderline porn cult "hit" with drugs, rape, topless fights.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film was adults-only for a reason. As Showgirls gradually enters into the nudie-show environment, topless dancing and sex (often in combo, a la prostitution) become frequent and stop just short of hardcore pornography. Violence includes a brutal gang rape of a sympathetic female character and a man is also beaten viciously. Practically every nasty word there is comes out at one point or another. Characters are stereotyped. A "milder" R-rated cut is available, but this is a review of the more widely available NC-17 movie.

  • Families can talk about the choices Nomi and the other characters make. What (if anything) ennobles Nomi as more heroic than the other showgirls?
  • Themes of backstabbing women in the same profession are handled much better in the classic All About Eve. Which movie seems more realistic?
  • Why do you think this movie is NC-17? Did it dissuade viewers from seeing it? Find out more about ratings controveries in the mature documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Theme about a strong woman holding on to her integrity and not lowering herself to become a "whore" even though mired in the sex-show trade. But the whole movie is so sleazy it strongly gives the opposite message. Nomi's moral victory: abandoning her topless career to avenge (toplessly) her one true friend.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Only one character, Molly, seems thoroughly decent (though she works backstage on an upscale sex show), and her "reward" is assault and rape. Brash heroine Nomi is repeatedly disparaged as a "whore," a label she fights (but third-act revelation is that she really is one, with a rap sheet). Plenty of negative racial stereotyping to go around: Asians are shown as leering businessmen, etc.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A (topless) kickboxing attack. A young woman is beaten and gang-raped. Backstage catfighting, reckless driving, bad falls on the dance floor and backstage (some caused deliberately).

  • sex false5

    Sex: Extensive female nakedness -- full-frontal and back-end -- or barely-there attire. Some rear-end nudity of the male lead. Sex, graphic pole dancing, lapdancing, and topless Vegas production numbers that are unsubtle mimicry of oral sex, even rape. Prostitution.

  • language false5

    Language: Comprehensive, with versions of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "p---y," "t--s." Two small children of a showgirl hear the f-word backstage and cry.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Numerous Las Vegas real-life casinos, restaurants, and attractions in the backdrop. A strong materialist vibe puts emblems of hot cars, boats, and fashion in your face. The clothing label Versace is a running detail. Mention of Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul and the Alvin Ailey dance company.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Plenty of cocaine-snorting (though heroine Nomi abstains, she turns out to be a past crack user), talk of marijuana. Social and recreational drinking.