Pink Flamingos

1972

Pink Flamingos

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 41

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,155
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Pink Flamingos Photos

Movie Info

Renegade filmmaker and noted aficionado of expressive bad taste John Waters exploded into international infamy with this darkly comic, no-budget parade of the perverse (his third feature film, and first in color), in which plus-size cross-dresser Divine stars as Babs Johnson, a flashy criminal on the lam from the FBI who is hiding out in a trailer outside of Baltimore, MD. Accompanying Babs are her mother (Edith Massey), an obese and dim-witted woman who is malignly obsessed with eggs; her degenerate son, Crackers (Danny Mills); and Cotton (Mary Vivian Pierce), Babs' duplicitous "traveling companion" and Crackers' co-conspirator in unwholesome erotic play. While Babs would prefer to be left in peace, she takes great pride in her status as "the Filthiest Person Alive" (an honor confirmed by one of America's sleazier tabloid newspapers), and when Connie and Raymond Marble (Mink Stole and David Lochary) announce their plans to take the title away from her, Babs is not about to stand idly by. The Marbles are a hateful couple who kidnap women, force their homosexual manservant, Channing (Channing Wilroy), to impregnate them, and sell the babies to lesbian couples found unfit for legal adoption; the Marbles then turn the profits back into pornography and narcotics trafficking. Impressive stuff, to be sure, but Babs is not about to take a back seat to anyone in a battle of filth, and when the Marbles throw down the gauntlet, Babs and her family retaliate in a no-holds-barred battle to determine who truly are "the Filthiest People Alive." Featuring murder, bestiality, rape, dismemberment, coprophagia, a dizzying variety of sexual perversions, and a performance of "Papa Oom Mow Mow" you will not soon forget, Pink Flamingos is nonetheless a comedy, and a surprisingly successful one; shot on a budget of only 12,000 dollars, the film has grossed close to ten million dollars around the world, and its success launched John Waters into a career as America's leading authority on poor taste.

Cast

Divine
as Divine/Babs Johnson
Mink Stole
as Connie Marble
Danny Mills
as Crackers
Edith Massey
as Miss Edie
Paul Swift
as The Egg Man
Susan Walsh
as Suzie, Blonde in Basement
David Lochary
as Raymond Marble
Linda Olgeirson
as Linda, Brunette in Basement
Elizabeth Coffey
as Transexual in Park
Margie Skidmore
as Brunette in Park
Berenica Cipcus
as Blonde in Park
Max Mueller
as Noodles
Pat Moran
as Patty Hitler (Party Guest In Nazi Uniform)
Jack Walsh
as Party Guest
Bob Skidmore
as Delivery Boy
Pat LeFaiver
as First Lesbian
Jackie Sidel
as Party Guest
Julie Munshauer
as Party Guest
Steve Yeager
as Nat Curzan from "The Tattler"
Nancy Crystal
as Sandy Sandstone
George Figgs
as Bongo player
John Oden
as Onlooker
George Stoll
as Onlooker
David Gluck
as Onlooker
Iris Burman
as Party Guest
Randy Burman
as Party Guest
Don Blumberg
as Party Guest
Vince Peranio
as Musician at party
Bob Adams
as Police officer who gets shot
Mark Lazarus
as Officer
David Layman
as Party Guest
Caitriona Maloney
as Party Guest
Richard Keller
as Cab Driver
Charlie Swope
as Party Guest
Barry Golome
as Party Guest
Ed Peranio
as Party Guest
Elia Katz
as Army Guy
Billy Davis
as Party Guest
Howard Gruber
as Party guest sniffing popper
Van Smith
as Guest at party in drag
Chuck Yeaton
as Deli clerk
Laurie Birnbaum
as Party Guest
Lenny Taylor
as Party Guest
Mark Isherwood
as Party Guest
Sandy Damm
as Party Guest
Alan Reese
as Party Guest
Alberta Reese
as Party Guest
Cowboy Foulke
as Party Guest
David Sander
as Party Guest
Brigitte Grey
as Party Guest
Ellis Clark
as Party Guest
Joe Wilepski
as Party Guest
Jimmy Hutzler
as Party Guest
Paul Landis
as Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for Pink Flamingos

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Pink Flamingos

  • Oct 23, 2013
    John Waters most famous film, Pink Flamingos is an awful piece of crap that is just poorly constructed with a poorly thought plot, which really doesn't make sense, and really bad cast. This is pure Exploitation done wrong. I've seen my fair share of Exploitation pictures, but this one ranks as the worst. I really don't understand as to why this film has gotten praise. This film was trash, and a poor waste of film. There is little substance here to really make it worth seeing, and the content is despicable and it's just for shock value. This is not a film classic by any means, and it doesn't deserve the praise it has gotten. Trash films are fun, I mean look at what Trauma has done. However this is just a disturbing piece of garbage that should not be watched at all costs. I was curious about this film, as I've heard plenty of things about it, how it was a milestone of cinema and such. However, when I unfortunately ended up watching it, I really didn't get the hype. Waters exposes us to every taboo there is, purely for shock value. The film leaves asking questions, as to why this crap would be made. This is not landmark cinema, and it really a picture that exhibits poor taste. The success of Pink Flamingos on the midnight film circuit is surprising. Aside from sheer shock content, the film is boring with nothing interesting going for it. I really don't see what's funny with Pink Flamingos, and it is a poorly constructed film that never should have been made.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2013
    An outrageous and repellent exercise in bad taste whose only infantile objective is to leave you disgusted as if eating dog shit yourself. It isn't funny, the acting is horrible and John Waters only proves that he is an awful director with his trashy zooms and ugly camera movements.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2012
    I knew it. I just knew it. Those two times when I just can't continue on watching the film is a foreboding all on its own. Sure, films like "Salo" and "Cannibal Holocaust" have disturbed me to the fullest, but it's only during "Pink Flamingos" that I have looked away from the screen several times simply because I just can't take what the film is showing me anymore. This, I believe, is trash American cinema at its most deprived, disturbed and relentlessly absurd. Damn New York Magazine for nonsensically comparing this to Luis Buñuel's "An Andalusian Dog". Buñuel's short classic is pure silent art; "Pink Flamingos" is a radical piece of noisy trash. But hell, there's such a thing we call 'junk art'. Perhaps "Pink Flamingos" belongs to that category. A film about the filthiest person alive (played by late drag legend Divine), one can't really expect a film with such subject matter to be an exercise in elegance and good taste. In fact, John Waters seemed to have seen that 'filthy' little branding as a challenge to visually top himself in every sequence, shock factor-wise. From cannibalism to castration, Waters has thrown everything into the film but the kitchen sink, and the result may just be the most appalling piece of trash ever made. That is a compliment, by the way. But the film, as crazy as it may be, is still a story rooted in familial bond. Divine, although an extremely disturbed person, is still family-oriented. And beneath her heavily made-up, genuinely intimidating exterior is a truly caring daughter to a mentally ill, egg-loving mother (Edith Massey) and a consistently encouraging mother to a mentally unstable son (Danny Mills). But still, do not be misled by the ostensibly tender characterization. Personally, I still think that Divine is, without a doubt, one of the most frightening characters in all of movie history. The only difference is unlike most movie killers who prefer to murder alone, Divine prefers company and an audience, but she only does so when there's enough justification. And in her case, the word 'justification' means fending off some hacks who want to seize from her the title of 'the filthiest person alive'. Referencing a clichéd action film tagline, "God help those who come his/her way". But in the end, no matter how deprived and murderous Divine may be, she may just ultimately prefer to cook her dear mother some eggs all day (and maybe eat some excremental droppings from dogs on the way) rather than to murder for fun. But then again, you may never know. This Divine is one unpredictable fella to deal with. But so is John Waters, the same man who has declared "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" as the best film ever made. As an auteur, Waters is commendable for making the film look as cheap as possible while also feeding it with enough acts of deprivations and cruelty to make it even more shockingly antithetic to what makes a film acceptable at the least. But ultimately, what Waters has achieved is something stylistically noteworthy. By integrating songs into scenes while rendering the dialogue mute, he was able to consistently create an ironically fun-loving atmosphere. Take the scene where Raymond (David Lochary) and Connie Marble (Mink Stole), the scheming couple who wants to dethrone Divine from her filthy throne, is about to deliver a birthday gift to Divine as an example. We know that the content of the gift is something unspeakably dubious to say the least (okay, a fecal matter's what's inside the gift box), but Waters, despite of the disgusting nature of the gift, has chosen to insert the very pristine "Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby" song by 'The Tune Weavers' to accentuate the mockery that accompanies the sequence. Amid all the nonsense, John Waters has indeed forged his own style. He has ensured that "Pink Flamingos" will be a tough act to follow. Until now, I believe it still is. This film persists. 'An Exercise in Poor Taste," the tagline says. Yes, it sure is, but one can't also deny the fact that "Pink Flamingos" is a trash film worthy to be deemed as truly influential. We can at least safely say that if there's no "Pink Flamingos", there will be no such films as Harmony Korine's "Gummo" or even Rob Zombie's more recent "The Devil's Rejects". And also maybe without "Pink Flamingos", exploitation cinema would have been a lot tamer. Honestly, no other films have disturbed me as much. For me, films like this are stuff nightmares are made of. To admire this film's true aesthetic value is quite hard but it is not really impossible. But to find enough motivation to rewatch the film will surely be an intense scatological dig. Well, at least for me.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2012
    I'm trying very hard to find something to say without being completely rude. Just why? Filmmakers, why on earth did you think this was a good idea? I'm very very surprise that this got 81% fresh and audiences liking it. It's absolutely vulgar, pointless and almost porn, not to mention the horrendous filmmaking and acting. It's not funny or entertaining in the slightest and I wonder how I sat through it all. Don't. Really don't waste your time.
    Sophie B Super Reviewer

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