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      Hairspray

      1988, Comedy, 1h 30m

      46 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      Hairspray is perhaps John Waters' most accessible film, and as such, it's a gently subversive slice of retro hilarity. Read critic reviews

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      Hairspray  Photos

      Hairspray (1988) Hairspray (1988) Hairspray (1988)

      Movie Info

      When Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), an overweight teen, auditions for a spot on a popular teen dance show, she beats out the spiteful Amber von Tussle (Colleen Fitzpatrick), winning over Amber's boyfriend (Michael St. Gerard) in the process. After meeting some black students at her school, Tracy begins to push for more racial integration on the dance show. This gets her into trouble on many sides, especially with Amber's pushy parents (Sonny Bono, Deborah Harry).

      • Rating: PG

      • Genre: Comedy

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: John Waters

      • Producer: Rachel Talalay

      • Release Date (Theaters):  wide

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Box Office (Gross USA): $6.7M

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Image Entertainment Inc.

      • Production Co: New Line Cinema

      • Sound Mix: Surround

      Cast & Crew

      Ricki Lake
      Divine
      Jerry Stiller
      Sonny Bono
      Vitamin C
      Ruth Brown
      Deborah Harry
      Leslie Ann Powers
      Shawn Thompson
      Ric Ocasek
      Pia Zadora
      Pat Moran
      John Waters
      David Insley
      Janice Hampton
      Vincent Peranio
      Vincent Peranio
      Van Smith
      Julia Cort

      News & Interviews for Hairspray

      Critic Reviews for Hairspray

      Audience Reviews for Hairspray

      • Jul 15, 2014

        Without a doubt, this is John Waters's best film, and he crafts something that is quite enjoyable, funny, entertaining and well worth your time. If you're familiar with Waters' filmography, you'll notice that he was more an exploitation, trash director who made some of film's most bizarre films. With Hairspray, he makes his most accessible picture, a film that is highly enjoyable, well acted and with a good story. The film may not be a perfect effort, but it does manage to be an entertaining film while using the theme segregation and racial issues as its backdrop for its story. With that, I thought it brought something serious to a comedy, and the way it handled it was very well done. John Waters has made his finest film yet with Hairspray, and this is a highly amusing entertaining film that is one of the finest musical comedies that I have seen. Every actor here brings something wonderful to the screen, and it's a satisfying film that will certainly appeal to any viewer looking for a pleasant time waster. Hairspray works well because it's a witty, funny picture with a message and it is a film that shows us that John Waters is a capable director who was able to shift from Exploitation to a more mainstream type of movie. Hairspray is worth seeing, and it's a film that surprised as I didn't expect to really enjoy it, but I did. If you're uncertain about John Waters, give this film a shot, it's easily one of his most accessible works, and with many well thought out characters, it's a memorable musical that ranks among the genres finest films.

        Super Reviewer
      • Mar 18, 2014

        A plus-sized teen dance sensation campaigns for "Miss Auto Show" and agitates for integration in 1963 Baltimore. This mockingly saccharine PG-rated effort from John Waters lacks his transgressive nastiness, but the tacky decor, elaborate hairstyles, and offbeat casting (Sonny Bono, Debbie Harry, blues singer Ruth Brown, Divine in and out of drag) still reveal his arch worldview.

        Super Reviewer
      • Mar 24, 2013

        The most interesting part of this movie for me was the cast. Like wow, Debbie Harry and Ric Ocasek were in this. It is definitely a weird Waters film, although it's PG. This is one of the strangest portrayals of the early 60s I have ever seen. I was expecting more singing, though, hearing from others that it's a musical and all. I didn't really get into this movie, but I guess others like it.

        Super Reviewer
      • Jan 09, 2012

        Slightly better than the remake. Probably didn't deserve to be remade. Waters has made better since.

        Super Reviewer

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