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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 2

While its premise is ripe for comedy -- and it certainly delivers its fair share of laughs -- Priscilla is also a surprisingly tender and thoughtful road movie with some outstanding performances.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 1

While its premise is ripe for comedy -- and it certainly delivers its fair share of laughs -- Priscilla is also a surprisingly tender and thoughtful road movie with some outstanding performances.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 43,918

My Rating

Movie Info

The usually menacing British actor Terence Stamp does a complete turnaround as Bernadette, an aging transsexual who tours the backwaters of Australia with her stage partners, Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Adam/Felicia (Guy Pearce). Their act, well-known in Sydney, involves wearing lots of makeup and gowns and lip-synching to records, but Bernadette is getting a bit tired of it all and is also haunted by the bizarre death of an old loved one. Nevertheless, when Mitzi and Felicia get an offer to


Drama, Comedy

Stephan Elliott

Nov 24, 1997

Fox Home Entertainment

Watch It Now


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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (2) | DVD (21)

In this roaringly comic and powerfully affecting road movie, Terence Stamp gives one of the year's best performances.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's too bad that the requirements of plotting require movies like this to crank up the event count, when actually what works is just the daily minutiae of Bernadette's life.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (5)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bernadette -- formerly Ralph -- turns out to be an excellent role for Stamp.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The year's one clear candidate for future cult status.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Where else are you going to see General Zod, Agent Smith and the guy from Memento as drag queens stranded in the Australian Outback?

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

The best things in this transsexual comedy-melodrama are Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel's colorful costumes, which deservedly won the Oscar, and Terrence Stamp's performance, snubbed by the Academy.

June 26, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Funny, extravangantly silly, and surprisingly poignant.

June 17, 2004
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

Both an unalloyed delight and a surprisingly human, moving film.

August 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The casting of the film was a stroke of genius.

June 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Refreshing and fun.

January 29, 2003
KFOR Channel 4 News

You'll never look at The Matrix the same way again.

December 30, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

The film builds an enormously affectionate tribute to a band of outsiders.

January 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Movieline

Outrageous, in a calculated way, the film's success relies heavily on the players, and fortunately, Stamp, Weaving and Pearce are up for it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

This is a road movie with a difference.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

You may have Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive' rattling through your head for a few days, but that's a small price to pay for an audience with true royalty.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

For sheer camp value, Priscilla is a lot of fun, even if it has next to nothing to say.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

It's often very funny, looks great and is played to perfection.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

A bit Lord o' the Ringsy around the middle with all the traveling, but on the whole, a warm story about a lavender bus full o' drag queens and their journey of self-discovery and revival. Terence Stamp possesses amazing gravitas, Guy Pearce is louder than I've ever seen him but I can't really decide whether his performance is caricature or not, and Hugo Weaving's blue-lidded peepers are quite expressive.
August 20, 2013

Super Reviewer

Yes I'm thinking the exact same thing as you, how in dingo doo doo did they get Terence Stamp to do this?!. Two drag queens and a transsexual embark on a road trip across the Aussie outback to Alice Springs in order to put on a show. Little do they know that the hotel they are headed for is managed by a woman still married to one of the trio. Well the drag queen still married to the woman knows, he just hasn't told his friends yet.

The road trip idea isn't an original one that's for sure but turn it into a naughty drag act in the deserts of Australia and now you've got something. Sure enough the whole notion of doing something like this in the one country where homophobia and racism is not unusual and where men are men no question, is a brave move.

This film relies heavily on stereotypes, almost every character is a sly, but some might say perceptive, stereotype on the real world. The three main characters played by Weaving, Pearce and Stamp are very likeable, mouthy, bitchy queens that put each other down like no ones business, yet they clearly do care about each other greatly. These three are played up for the camera naturally, made to look loud brash and extremely catty, nails at high noon, but its harmless fun.

As for other characters or generalisations its obvious. All the men portrayed in the outback are checkered shirt, cowboy hat, jean wearing butch types that look a bit grubby. You have the typical manly gruff Aussie female called Sheila and a gold digging, trashy strip teasing Filipino woman. The only character you would expect to be bigoted is Bob Hunter's character who looks it but turns out not to be.
There aren't really any surprises in the film, most characters are exactly as you would expect them. As its set in the outback you do get the obligatory ideas before its even started, can't be helped, we have 'Crocodile Dundee' to thank for that folks.

Despite the screaming stereotypes and scene similarities to other Aussie films of the time the film is a great comedy. Just the thought of a po-faced Stamp in drag complete with a flowing blonde wig and earrings bitch slapping Guy Pearce and continuously coming out with sarky derogatory remarks is enough to peak my interest.

At the same time the film is very touching and sweet. On one hand you have Stamp's character trying to get over the recent death of her partner whilst also hoping to find herself again, middle aged, tired with her job and needing a new spark in her life. On the other hand you have Weaving's character who is trying to balance his life between what he is on the inside, his friends and of course hoping/worrying if his son will accept him. Plus if his friends will accept him for having a semi straight secret life.

This film along with another in the same year put Aussie film making on the map and has since created a huge cult following much like 'Rocky Horror'. Completely enjoyable ride no matter what your sexual orientation. A great soundtrack which doesn't go overkill with ABBA, superb performances from the main trio and with some truly gorgeous scenery/location work that I'm sure boosted tourism. Everybody wins with this one.
March 14, 2013

Super Reviewer


I cannot recall ever seeing a film that's even nearly as charming, or profound, as this hugely upbeat, hilariously camp, cult classic. Hugo Weaving, Terrence Stamp and Guy Pearce are drag queen transexuals, in a comedy movie, you simply cannot describe that premise in any way other than, absolutely genius. But in a lot of different ways, it's nothing like the film you would proably be expecting. The film's narrative development progresses as it unfolds at a quick pace and changes the image of the trio effortlessly from a pack of hilarious, hugely likable comic personalities, to some saddened, ageing, troubled, emotionally frustrated human beings, who eventually end up in all sorts of unfortunate situations that at times I found quite overwhelming among other things. Such as the idea that the three terrific leads unforgivably missing out on many major award nominations, let alone wins, for their fantastically charismatic performances, is simply unbelieveable. Unlike most modern comedies it never runs out of steam, and all the way through I watched it with a smile firmly on my face. If anyone out there watched this film and had trouble finding even the very best gags hysterical, then your someone who is obviously without even the slightest sense of humour. A road trip movie that truly lives up to the title doesn't come around often, it's a real adventure that quite naturally prevents you from resisting to smile. It's always fun annd thanks to it's relaxed yet comically capable cast, it's very well-skilled directorial talent, visually impecable landscapes, and it's bus named Priscilla, that makes for one unforgettable and uproaringly funny set piece, it's a film that remains in your thoughts and keeps you uplifted every time you think about it. It's simply the manifestation of film making energy, a humourous and heartfelt classic that is as colourful, beautiful and gratifying as the region it is set.
September 7, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

I actually thoroughly enjoyed this movie, although i was watching it with my boyfriend at the time and he actually recommended it which may be a bit odd!
Nevertheless its a thoroughly enjoyable movie thats funny and sweet in every way! A very good movie that must be watched as Stamp, Weaving and Pearce do a superb job at acting!
April 11, 2012
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

    1. Bernadette: Now, listen here, you mullet. Why don't you just light your tampon and blow your box apart? Because it's the only bang you're ever gonna get, sweetheart.
    – Submitted by The Vinh H (18 months ago)
    1. Adam/Felicia: It's not purple... it's lavender!
    2. Tick/Mitzi: Yeah it's nice. In a hideous sort of a way.
    – Submitted by Zoë R (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Priscilla - Königin der Wüste (DE)
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (UK)
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