Your Dragucation Starts Here.
Ahead of the release of Stage Mother, we have compiled ten films that explore drag culture in its different variations. Beyond the world of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, there are so many films that offer an insight into the fascinating and beautiful world of drag. We couldn’t pick a ranking as we love them all, so dive in, explore and immerse yourself in some drag herstory with our ten top picks for your next movie marathon.
Number 1: The Birdcage
This critically acclaimed comedy is a great start to a marathon. A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée’s right-wing moralistic parents. Starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/the-birdcage
Number 2: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!
An unapologetically fun classic from the 1990s. Three drag queens travel cross-country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town. Starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/to-wong-foo-thanks-for-everything-julie-newmar
Number 3: Kinky Boots
If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll know how wonderful this gem is. If you haven’t, get streaming it now. Charles meets the flamboyant drag queen Lola who saves his father’s shoe business from going down the drain by giving it a makeover and re-inventing the business by making men’s fetish footwear. Starring Joel Edgerton and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/kinky-boots
Number 4: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
This is a classic. We will say no more. Three friends uncover secrets and adventure as they travel across the Australian outback sharing their talents and performance art with those they meet along the way. Starring Hugo Weaving, Terrence Stamp, and Guy Pearce. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/the-adventures-of-priscilla-queen-of-the-desert
Number 5: Flawless
An oldie, but a goldie. It’s emotional, perhaps predictable but Seymour Hoffman’s performance deserves all the awards. A security guard suffers a debilitating stroke and is assigned to a rehabilitative program that includes singing lessons, with the drag queen next door. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/search?q=flawless
Number 6: Cherry Pop
A film full of laughter, Drag Race royalty, and music. Who needs to go out when you can bring the party to you? Spend the night behind the scenes of ‘Cherry Pop’, a local drag night. Uncover the secrets and scandals, the highs and the lows, the new stars and the old. It’s a deliciously funny musical offering an insight into the world of drag with appearances from a variety of Drag Race Queens. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/cherry-pop
Number 7: Hurricane Bianca
If you’re in the mood for a laugh and some wonderful Drag Race cameos — this is your film. A man moves to a small Texas town to start work as a teacher at the local school. When the school catch wind of his sexual preferences, they unfairly dismiss him. So, unbeknownst to his colleagues, he returns to teach at the school by utilising his drag alter ego, Bianca Del Rio. And, as you can imagine, chaos ensues. Starring Roy Haylock (Bianca Del Rio) of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/hurricane-bianca
Number 8: I Am Divine
Number 9: Paris is Burning
We cannot stress this enough, this is a must-watch. This iconic 1990 documentary chronicles New York’s drag scene throughout the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing, and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality. Find your stream here: justwatch.com/uk/movie/paris-is-burning
Number 10: Dating Amber
We’re sliding this one in here as it’s a wonderful film. David Freyne’s Dating Amber may not entirely be about drag — but it features a beautiful scene of self-discovery through a visit to a drag show. It stars Fionn O’Shea and Lola Petticrew and it’s available to stream on Amazon Prime. We wholly recommend you do so. It’s funny, it’s sweet and it offers a message of hope to all those who are yet to truly discover who they are.
Number 11: Stage Mother
And a bonus film, for when you’ve finished your marathon and you’re ready for more. Or maybe you saw this one first and thought you’d hunt for more incredible films to binge. Either way, last, but by no means least, we have Stage Mother. After her estranged son’s death, a conservative church choir director inherits her son’s drag club in San Francisco. What starts out as a journey to understand her late son, fast becomes a journey of self-discovery, leading Maybelline to question everything she thought she knew about love, drag, and life outside her small town. Starring Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu, Andrian Grenier, Jackie Beat, and many more.
Stage Mother is in cinemas now. Book your tickets here: stagemother.film
By Madeleine Finlay-Hudson