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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Poor, no-respect ABBA gets tweaked repeatedly in this unexpectedly handsome widescreen import - though, in keeping with the movie's soft tone, the gooning isn't mean-spirited or even all that catty. [10 Aug 1994]

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Julie Salamon

    Like the "girls," the movie is flamboyant in almost every respect - the costumes, the humor and the sentimentality. [1 Sep 1994]

  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It is done well, yet one is still surprised to find it done at all.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is about the most fun you can have with three guys who like to dress up as women.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    On the whole, though, it is funny and compassionate, silly and sweet. [26 Aug 1994]

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    The generosity and gorgeousness with which Aussie writer-director Stephan Elliott (and costume designers Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel) turn this most unlikely road picture into something arresting - if a tad sentimental - in its naive vision of a perfectly tolerant world.

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  • See all The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Drag queens drive funny, tender, but mature musical.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this funny drama about Australian drag queens contains tons of profanity and sexual innuendo. The cursing never stops, though it's not generally hostile, and includes everything you could imagine (from "f--k" to homophobic slurs). There is no sex or nudity, but plenty of crass and explicit talk about genitals, sex (both homo- and heterosexual), and some provocative dancing and clothing. The characters encounter homophobia, and the film includes one scene of intense threatening and moderate violence.

  • Families can talk about the main character's feelings about himself. Why do you think he was so anxious about going to Alice Springs? How did he change after he arrived? What lessons did others teach him about himself?
  • Talk about the trio's relationships with each other. Why do you think they were so mean to each other? How did that change over time?
  • Do you think this portrayal of homosexuals is positive or negative? Does it promote understanding or stereotypes (or both)?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The primary messages are about acceptance of oneself and others, as well as the benefits of friendship. A subtler message about shared humanity, including the need for love, affection, and companionship, runs through the film. The depictions of drag queens veer into stereotype territory often.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main characters drink too much, curse too much, and are often cruel to each other. That said, they come through for each other in times of great need, and their strength despite adversity is touching.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: When Felicia baits a conservative country fellow, he reacts with anger and violence. He chases, corners, and encourages others to hold her down while he threatens her with violence. Later, Bernadette kicks the man in the groin. Brief scene of potential pedophilia turns into humorous revenge fantasy. Someone vandalizes the RV with a homophobic slur.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Tons of graphic jokey innuendo with no actual sex. In one scene a woman does a provocative dance on a bar that includes putting ping pong balls into herself and then shooting them across the room, but nothing is shown on screen but reactions. The drag queens briefly show their butts in thongs.

  • language false5

    Language: From beginning to end the characters use every curse word possible to joke, tease, hurt, and punctuate. Words include "f--k," "twat," "asshole," "s--t," and "Christ Almighty."

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink excessively and without much consequence. One scene shows Bernadette challenging a local to a shots showdown, where the local ends up passing out. Felicia finds drugs in Bernadette's luggage and ends up in a dangerous situation, presumably after consuming the drugs.