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Cry-Baby (1990)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 9

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.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 210,461

My Rating

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


Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy

Jul 12, 2005

Universal Pictures

Watch It Now


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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (9) | DVD (21)

Waters' hole card is Johnny Depp, the winsome tough from TV's 21 Jump Street, who radiates big- screen grace and swagger as Cry-Baby -- no easy trick, since he is guying his own image.

June 20, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

John Waters' mischievous satire of the teen exploitation genre is entertaining as a rude joyride through another era, full of great clothes and hairdos.

June 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Waters' finest film to date, a worthy successor to Hairspray which exudes teen angst and young lust from every pore.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Depp, who smolders naturally when he isn't trying so hard, acts this role about as well as Elvis would have; under the circumstances, that's fine.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Basically the filmmaker reminds us of his affection for social misfits, but without much conviction. He's simply too hip to commit himself to his beliefs, and a relentless frivolity prevails.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If there is one constant in recent social history, it is that we feel nostalgia for yesterday's teenage badness even while we fear today's.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Campy '50s parody has mild sex references, violence.

September 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Johnny Depp is extremely well cast in John Waters' sweet-natured fable about rebellious youth

April 23, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The film is high on energy, color and camera movement and, as usual in Waters's world, everything is styled within an inch of its life, capturing all the fun and fever of the 1950s.

June 20, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Cheerfully camp, terrifically enjoyable teen parody that ranks among Waters' best moments. Oh, and world -- meet Johnny Depp!

June 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

It's a satire that functions the same way the stuff it's satirizing does.

July 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Great campy fun. How many tears will Johnny shed?

November 7, 2005

Pink Flamingos fans will find Cry-Baby decidedly tame, but it's one of my favorites.

August 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Waters is just as offbeat as any of his film characters- and he surrounds himself with creative people who wouldn't at all be out of place in a John Waters movie.

July 23, 2005

Everyone is clearly having a ball in Cry-Baby, and one can only imagine what the nightlife was like on the set

May 7, 2005 Full Review Source:

Successfully works in fits and starts.

May 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Johnny Depp is a rockin' revelation

March 11, 2005

Unhinged and inventive

November 8, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Tears for fears? Nah, it's Johnny Depp's. When will this Waters gem be adapted for Broadway?

October 25, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

John Waters at his most accessible -- which is still really odd.

September 9, 2004
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Better than Grease. Overlooked but fabulous John Waters' musical.

August 28, 2003
Your Movies (

Waters goes mainstream. Johnny proves he has depth.

July 23, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

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.
July 20, 2014
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.
June 11, 2011
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.
May 18, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Gimmicky and cringe worthy through out, I still find it hard to knock this movie because that was clearly the way it was supposed to be. Bordering between coming of age tale of lust and a hark back to the musical era of slick backed hair and fast cars, this movie assaults the senses and makes you want to watch it again and again. I think the best way to describe Cry-Baby is this - its Grease ... on crack.
January 20, 2011
Unknown Hobo

Super Reviewer

    1. Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: My mother tried to stop him. She couldn't even spell, for Christ's sake, but they fried her too.
    – Submitted by Kristen B (2 years ago)
    1. Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: That's right, Allison. My father was the 'Alphabet Bomber.' He may have been crazy, but he was my pop. Only one I ever had.
    – Submitted by Kristen B (2 years ago)
    1. Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: Kiss me, kiss me hard!
    – Submitted by Renae A (2 years ago)
    1. Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: [to Mrs. Vernon-Williams] I may be a drape, but I love your granddaughter. And if that's a crime, I'll stand convicted, ma'am.
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
    1. Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker: You're cool, Allison. You just look square. Underneath it all, I think you're really hip.
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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