Skip to content

Directed by John Waters

United States 1988 92 mins.

Hairspray marked the moment when underground film’s most purposeful provocateur, John Waters, finally broke through to the mainstream–with his madcap, camp-heavy sensibilities still amazingly intact. 1960s Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) finally gets her big break and lands on the American Bandstand-inspired Corny Collins Dance Show. As a girl of noble ideals, Tracy soon forces the issue of integrated dancing on the previously all white program, much to the horror of her square parents (Waters’ longtime muse Divine and comedian Jerry Stiller). Hairspray is the perfect melding of the bad taste genius of its maker with a 1960s coming-of-age narrative…and has a crackin’ soundtrack to boot. “In a very real sense, Hairspray is Waters’ most daring movie. It took more courage and judgment to make a comedy like Hairspray (rated PG for a few four-letter words) with its bigots and fat people than it did to make Pink Flamingos.”—Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times.

PG | 

Doors open at 8 pm.

The movie starts at dusk.


The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.