Cry-Baby (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cry-Baby (1990)



Critic Consensus: John Waters' musical ode to the teen rebel genre is infectious and gleefully camp, providing star Johnny Depp with the perfect vehicle in which to lampoon his pin-up image.

Movie Info

Eisenhower is President. Rock 'n' Roll is king. And Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker is the baddest hood in his high school. Johnny Depp heads up a supercool cast as the irresistible bad boy whose amazing ability to shed one single tear drives all the girls wild - especially Allison Vernon Williams (Amy Locane), a rich, beautiful "square" who finds herself uncontrollably drawn to the dreamy juvenile delinquent and his forbidden world of rockabilly music, fast cars and faster women. It's the hysterical high-throttle world of 1954 in director John Waters' outrageous musical comedy.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Waters
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 12, 2005
Universal Pictures


Johnny Depp
as Wade "Cry-Baby" Walk...
Amy Locane
as Allison Vernon-Willi...
Polly Bergen
as Mrs. Vernon-Williams
Iggy Pop
as Belvedere
Ricki Lake
as Pepper
Kim McGuire
as Hatchet-Face
Kim Webb
as Lenora
Troy Donahue
as Hatchet's Father
Mink Stole
as Hatchet's Mother
Joe Dallesandro
as Milton's Father
Joey Heatherton
as Milton's Mother
David Nelson
as Wanda's Father
Patricia Hearst
as Wanda's Mother
Willem Dafoe
as Hateful Guard
Jonathan Benya
as Snare-Drum
Angie Levroney
as Dupree's Girl Friend
Vivienne Shub
as Mrs. Tadlock
Ken Curtis
as Whiffle #2
Robert Marbury
as Angelic Boy Friend
Susan Lowe
as Night Court Parent
Dan Griffiths
as Snake-eyed Hood
Mary Vivian Pearce
as Picnic Mother
Steve Aronson
as Mean Guard
Kelly Goldberg
as Pepper's Baby
Drew Ebersole
as Whiffle #1
Scott Neilson
as Whiffle #3
Reggie Davis
as Cook #3
Nick Fleming
as Cook #4
Skip Spencer
as Strip Poker #1
Holter Graham
as Strip Pokers
Kirk McEwen
as Convict #1
Eric Lucas
as Convict #2
Frank Maldonado
as Convict #3
Robbie Jones
as Cook #5
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Cry-Baby

Critic Reviews for Cry-Baby

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (15)

For a while the actors seem intimidated by the '50s references, but the film eventually develops a musical energy that carries the day.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Cry-Baby is often sweet-spirited even when its crummy, but there's also something fetid in its foolery.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

If Cry-Baby has a message, it's that Cry-Baby and Allison deserve each other because they're young and they're beautiful, which certainly runs counter to Waters' affection for the grotesque, the bad and the ugly.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The wizard of odd still runs amok.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

It all adds up to zany, wide-eyed, quintessential Waters havoc -- the "kinder, gentler" 1990s brand, perhaps. But the genuine article, nonetheless.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Seattle Times
Top Critic

I don't quite know how Waters did it (and I have absolutely no idea why he did it), but the fact that Cry-Baby is fun suggests that the filmmaker possesses an instinctive understanding of what made those Elvis pictures so successful in the first place.

Full Review… | January 21, 2015
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cry-Baby


Johnny Depp's first starring role is as a sensitive "drape" who falls in love with a "square" in this campy John Waters juvenile delinquent musical. There's quirky humor (love the orphanage modeled on an animal shelter), and the doo-wop styled music is good, but the (deliberately) cardboard plot and underdeveloped characters failed to engage me.

Greg S

Super Reviewer

Good girls want him bad. Bad girls want him worse.

Cool musical movie! The movie at first to me seems a little boring but it gets better and better as it goes on. This is one Depp's earliest roles as an actor and boy did he deliver. The movie is funny and the story is easy to follow, enjoy!

Poor boy meets rich girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy's friends don't approve. Girl falls for boy. Girl's friends and family don't approve. Take one part "Romeo and Juliet", one part "Grease", a little bit of the "Outsiders", and a generous helping of "Mad Magazine" mentality, set it in the 50's and add some cool music and it comes close to "Cry-Baby", John Waters strange and campy homage to the star-crossed lover genre. Bad boy Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker meets good girl Allison Vernon-Williams, and it's love at first sight. It's the quirky characters and brilliant casting that set Water's version of this story (that's been done a million times already) apart from the rest. It's also these same qualities that make it a little inappropriate for younger audiences. Think Grease but with freaks and weirdos surrounding the attractive main characters.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


I really don't care for the film Grease, but I got a big kick out of this, which is a really silly, but tremendously fun satirical take on the Drapes(greasers) vs Squares rivalry of the 1950s. This movie may be over the top and really campy, but unlike Grease, it was intentional.

Leave it up to John Waters to be responsible for this. I could have guessed he was behind this had I not already known it. That's not a bad thing though. It's probably Waters's tamest film content-wsie along with Hairspray, but that's okay. It still fits in nicely with the rest of his filmography.

Johnny Depp takes the lead amongst a cast of notable names including Ricki Lake, Iggy Pop, Traci Lords, and even Willem Dafoe. It's weird seeing Depp here because he's so youthful and not quite as off the rails as a lot of the characters he's played. Everyone does a decent job, and you can just tell that they had fun making this.

Ok, so look, the film isn't high art, and it is silly and campy, but it has no pretensions surrounding it, and it's just a lot of fun and very watchable. Give it a shot.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Cry-Baby Quotes

– Submitted by Kristen B (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Kristen B (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Renae A (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Lea L (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Cry-Baby on our Movie forum!