—— The Identical Sep 05
—— The Longest Week Sep 05
67% Thunder and the House of Magic Sep 05
74% God Help the Girl Sep 05
—— The Remaining Sep 05

Top Box Office

92% Guardians of the Galaxy $16.3M
20% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $11.8M
38% If I Stay $9.3M
33% As Above/So Below $8.3M
21% Let's Be Cops $8.2M
36% The November Man $7.7M
18% When The Game Stands Tall $5.6M
32% The Giver $5.3M
65% The Hundred-Foot Journey $4.6M
34% The Expendables 3 $3.5M

Coming Soon

—— No Good Deed Sep 12
—— Dolphin Tale 2 Sep 12
—— Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? Sep 12
100% The Skeleton Twins Sep 12
100% The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Sep 12

Premieres Tonight

25% Houdini: Season 1

New Episodes Tonight

—— Anger Management: Season 2
71% Dallas: Season 3
—— Mistresses: Season 2
25% Partners: Season 1
67% Teen Wolf: Season 4
62% Under the Dome: Season 2

Discuss Last Night's Shows

—— Breathless: Season One
100% Falling Skies: Season 4
89% Manhattan: Season 1
97% Masters of Sex: Season 2
78% Ray Donovan: Season 2
46% Reckless: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
—— Unforgettable: Season 2

Desperate Living (Edited Version)

Desperate Living (Edited Version) (1977)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Dec 31, 1977 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,005

My Rating

Movie Info

Divine was touring as a cabaret singer when director John Waters made this comedy of the grotesque, but he filled the void admirably with the equally rotund Jean Hill and burlesque-queen Liz Renay. The film tells the story of Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole), a mad housewife who kills her husband then goes on the lam with her 300-pound maid Grizelda (Hill). After being sexually accosted by a lewd, cross-dressing cop with gingivitis, the women are directed to Mortville, a shanty-town for fugitive



Apr 1, 2003


Watch It Now



Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (3) | DVD (9)

Even John Waters himself was not entirely pleased with his weird tale of mad housewives and eccentric lesbians in revolt, but the performances are good.

February 28, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Desperate Living [is] a movie that feels like three separate films fused together. The first and the second are fantastic.

August 22, 2005 Full Review Source: DVD Verdict
DVD Verdict

Not for the weak of heart or stomach, this one is worth a look for truly brave movie fans. People with delicate constitutions shouldn't even get close.

November 1, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

even by Waters' own admission, it is too grim and unsavory

September 26, 2001
Q Network Film Desk


September 9, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Desperate Living (Edited Version)

Possibly more depraved than "Pink Flamingos", if that's possible, "Desperate Living" is a paradox for the senses. Although tasteless and shocking, it is ultimately warm hearted and uproariously hilarious. Those familiar with John's style know that these contradictions work splendidly within the context that he intended them to. Never mean spirited, the outrageousness lends itself to an overall statement on the callousness of society itself. Mink Stole is simply incredible as Peggy Gravel. Her ranting and raving throughout the film is side splitting. Special mention to Jean Hill as Grizelda, Liz Renay as Muffy, and of course the ever demure (ha!) Edith Massey as Queen Carlotta. Leave all inhibitions at the door and enjoy this twisted fairy tale roller coaster ride of a good time
January 8, 2008

Super Reviewer

An adult fairy tale in which the evil queen of a shanty-town called Mortville is overthrown by a bunch of lesbians. Some of this is hilarious but, on the whole, Waters' satire is darker and less flippant than usual, and it's less enjoyable as a result. Mink Stole and Edith Massey are on superb form in this.
December 5, 2007

Super Reviewer

A trashy sleazy fairy-tale - done the John Waters way. A bored housewife and her obese maid escape to a fantasy shanty-Kingdom, ruled by a kinky old Queen and her faggy leather soldiers. Life is filthy and unpredictable, with Lesbian neighbors, royal proclamations and some cruel discipline. It's borderline porn with ugly people. Expect the unexpected! Prepare to be shocked and amused. I got a huge laugh out of it. Probably my favorite John Waters flick.
June 21, 2007

Super Reviewer

It's dirty, it's funny, it's sick, it's hilarious. The storytelling is interesting, it's a whole lot of weird ideas combined, and yet the compound is clear and simple
July 21, 2011
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Desperate Living (Edited Version) on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Critics Consensus
Critics Consensus

November Man is Slick, Convoluted

Total Recall
Total Recall

Pierce Brosnan's 10 Best Movies

Mindy Project
Mindy Project

Get caught up on the comedy

Red Carpet Roundup
Red Carpet Roundup

See pictures from this week's premieres

Foreign Titles

  • Desperate Living (DE)
  • Desperate Living (UK)
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile