Paris Is Burning
Paris Is Burning (1991)

Jennie Livingston's documentary offers a behind-the-scene glimpse at the golden age of New York "Drag Balls" where rival fashion houses come together to celebrate, vogue and compete for bragging rights. Shot between 1985 and… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: March 13, 1991
DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

One emerges from this film not only with a new vocabulary and a fresh way of viewing the straight world but with a bracing object lesson in understanding what society "role models" are all about.

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Jeremy Heilman

Livingston is smart enough to realize that her subjects are best equipped to explain themselves.

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Glenn Dunks

Livingston's film is a poignant look at black and Latinx gay and transgender communities, dissecting race and class, gender and sexuality.

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Emanuel Levy

This landmark docu celebrates the resourcefulness of a group that's subcultural but not truly countercultural--its denizens long to become members of the society they imitate, operating at its periphery.

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Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The directness and honesty of moment after moment strike back at peppily 'cheerful' white America's model-world. Blazes forth the importance, for a marginalized community, of adopting a fervid, fiery attitude all its own.

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Fernando F. Croce
Slant Magazine

The beauty of the film is Livingston's nonjudgmental, accommodating camera.

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More reviews for Paris Is Burning

Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Spencer S.
This documentary is a beautiful time capsule of the "ball" culture of late eighties drag culture. Not only does it show the performance aspect of… More
Jim Hunter
This documentary focuses on the aspirations and culture of African American homosexuals and transsexuals. What is interesting about this subject is the depth of… More
Carlos Magalhães
A revealing (and sad) portrait of this subculture of the 1980s, it documents the balls, "houses" (or "families"), "voguing" and a… More
Derek Daniels
Intruiging documentary about the lives of homosexuals and drag balls in Harlem, specifically vogueing, the art of dancing in a way that rips off runway models.… More
Christian C
A timeless, classic LBGT film. Quite bold for its time...which I guess means it isn't exactly "timeless"....still....
_kelly .King
It's just fab that there are any documentaries as revealing and close to its subjects as 'Paris Is Burning'. An obvious landmark for queer… More