Traveling through the movies: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert


The full title of the movie is The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, released in 1994. For those in the know, “Priscilla” is a bus. Yes, a bus. Well, see, there’s two drag queens and a transexual traveling across the Australian outback in a big bus they paint purple and they name it Priscilla. What else would you call it?

This is a great movie and very colourful in many senses of the term. The performers are drag queens with very imaginative and colourful costumes put and the characters themselves, along with those they meet on the way are equally colourful. It was a low budget film when it was made and they found all sorts of odds and ends to make the costumes, including one memorable dress made of beach flip flops! The characters themselves would not have a lot of money and would have to be creative with their costumes so it all works well.

They head out across the Australian Outback from Sydney to a resort in Alice Springs to do a cabaret act for an old friend of “Tick”, an old friend that turns out to be his ex-wife. Tick, played by the awesome Hugo Weaving, persuades Bernadette, played by the equally amazing Terence Stamp, to come along. She used to be Ralph and is grieving the death of her lover. They are saddled with Adam, played by a young Guy Pearce, a drama queen in every sense of the word,  but Adam is very good at what he does.

Along the way, Priscilla lets them down and they meet up with a miner and his mail order bride, they surprise the heck out of the rough and ready inhabitants of more than one town and find some kindred spirits in a band of Aboriginal people late one night.

Australia is a continent that I’d love to see. A road trip through the wild outback would be amazing. The scenery you see here really shows off the majesty of the country. It might look like miles and miles of not very much but then you see the stars at night or the sun rise and you want to phone and book a ticket right away. Australia is a very diverse place, with tropics, desert, beautiful coastlines and valleys stocked with wineries.

The movie is a lot of fun and if you can’t get to Australia, you can visit through this film. There is a musical stage production as well but without the scenery to drop your jaw, it’s going to be fun, but it won’t make you want to pack your bags.

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2 thoughts on “Traveling through the movies: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

  1. Forestwoodfolkart says:

    I live in this “great” continent, and have not yet seen more than snippets of this film. I once, felt as you do, that the immense nothingness was something to see. And it was, but now, I prefer other places and lament that we are so far away from everything else. Tourists tell me Australia is very expensive to visit. And something they always forget, is that it is a huge country and you need several weeks to travel around to see any of the major places. It takes eight days to get from my part of the country to the other side of Australia. :(

    • Tvor says:

      I’m from Canada so I understand what you mean about the vastness of the country. There’s a great variety of scenery here as well though we don’t have any desert. We do have the Prairies with miles and miles of flat land where they grow wheat and corn. I’ve not been there.

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