The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert follows two drag queens, Anthony “Tick” Belrose, also known as Mitzi del Bra (Hugo Weaving), and Adam Whitely, also known as Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Guy Pearce), and their transsexual friend, Bernadette Bassenger (Terence Stamp), as they travel from Sydney across the Australian Outback to the town of Alice Springs to perform a drag act at Lasseter’s Hotel Casino Resort.
The course of their journey takes them through a variety of small towns and encounters with people they would’ve never known otherwise. This is charming at times, as when they perform for a group of Australian Aborigines, but frightening at others, as when Felicia Jollygoodfellow is almost brutally assaulted by a group of homophobic attackers in one town.
Eventually Tick reveals that Marion, the woman who had booked their act at the casino, is actually his estranged wife, from whom he had never divorced, and that he also has an 8-year-old son, Benjamin, whom he has not seen in many years. He admits that he’s nervous to meet his son again, given his sexuality and chosen profession, but finds out in the end that his son already knows and supports him. Finally, Tick and Adam take Benjamin back to Sydney for some bonding time, giving Marion a much-needed vacation.
“In this roaringly comic and powerfully affecting road movie, Terence Stamp gives one of the year’s best performances.”
— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“The comic pizazz and bawdy dazzle of this film’s vision of gaudy drag performers trekking across the Australian outback certainly has a boisterous, addictive way about it.”
— Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Did You Know
One scene in the movie, where Adam hikes through King’s Canyon, was originally intended to be filmed at Uluru (Ayers Rock), but permission was denied by the organizations that oversee the monument, deeming it in violation of indigenous Australian religious beliefs. The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert directed by Stephan Elliott is also largely considered to have helped put Australian cinema on the map, garnering a lot of critical attention. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer