John Waters Top 10 Films

John Waters is a renowned filmmaker, writer, and artist who has been making waves in the world of cinema for several decades. Known for his unique, provocative, and often controversial style, Waters has amassed a cult following and has influenced countless filmmakers with his distinct voice and vision. In this blog post, we will explore Waters’ top 10 films and examine why they have made such a lasting impact on the industry.

1. Pink Flamingos (1972)
Considered one of Waters’ most iconic films, “Pink Flamingos” is a dark comedy that pushes boundaries and challenges societal norms. Centered around a competition for the title of “Filthiest Person Alive,” the film combines absurd humor, explicit content, and outrageous performances to create a truly unforgettable experience.

2. Hairspray (1988)
Although a departure from his earlier, more transgressive work, “Hairspray” showcases Waters’ ability to tackle social issues with wit and charm. Set in the 1960s, the film follows the story of a plus-sized teenager who becomes a local dance sensation, challenging racial segregation and promoting body positivity along the way.

3. Female Trouble (1974)
“Female Trouble” is another cult classic from Waters’ filmography that delves into the darker corners of society. Starring Divine, one of Waters’ recurring collaborators, the film explores themes of fame, beauty, and the destructive nature of societal norms.

4. Polyester (1981)
With “Polyester,” Waters introduced the gimmick of “Odorama,” providing audiences with scratch-and-sniff cards to enhance the sensory experience of the film. Mixing melodrama and black comedy, the film tells the story of a suburban housewife grappling with her failing marriage and the eccentric characters in her life.

5. Cecil B. Demented (2000)
In “Cecil B. Demented,” Waters takes on the Hollywood system and its obsession with mainstream cinema. The film follows a group of underground filmmakers who kidnap a famous actress and force her to star in their guerrilla-style movie, resulting in a chaotic and hilarious series of events.

6. Desperate Living (1977)
“Desperate Living” is a dark fantasy comedy that immerses viewers into a bizarre and grotesque world. Set in the fictional town of Mortville, the film tells the story of a housewife who flees her upscale life to live among a community of outcasts, including a murderous lesbian queen.

7. Pecker (1998)
With “Pecker,” Waters explores the art world and the commodification of underground culture. The film follows the life of a young amateur photographer who becomes a sensation in the art world, leading to a clash between authenticity and commercial success.

8. Multiple Maniacs (1970)
Considered one of Waters’ earliest and most shocking works, “Multiple Maniacs” is a low-budget film that embraces a chaotic and anarchic style. Exploring themes of sexuality, religion, and violence, the film is a testament to Waters’ ability to challenge societal norms and shock audiences.

9. Cry-Baby (1990)
“Cry-Baby” is a musical comedy that pays homage to the teen rebellion films of the 1950s. Set in the 1950s, the film tells the story of a young, charismatic delinquent who falls in love with a good girl from a conservative family, leading to a clash between social classes and expectations.

10. A Dirty Shame (2004)
“A Dirty Shame” is a satirical comedy that delves into the world of sexual fetishes and desires. The film follows the unraveling of a suburban community as its residents become consumed by their newfound sexual obsessions.

In conclusion, John Waters has carved out a unique place in the film industry with his provocative, boundary-pushing style. His films, including “Pink Flamingos,” “Hairspray,” and “Female Trouble,” continue to generate discussions and inspire filmmakers today. Waters’ ability to tackle social issues, challenge norms, and deliver engaging narratives has cemented his status as a true icon of independent cinema.


1. What makes John Waters’ films stand out?
John Waters’ films stand out due to their provocative and boundary-pushing nature. He tackles taboo subjects and challenges societal norms, creating a unique and often controversial viewing experience.

2. Are John Waters’ films suitable for all audiences?
No, John Waters’ films are known for their explicit content and dark humor. They may not be suitable for sensitive viewers or those uncomfortable with explicit or controversial subject matter.

3. What is John Waters’ most famous film?
“Pink Flamingos” is often considered John Waters’ most famous film due to its cult following and its reputation as a transgressive masterpiece.

4. How has John Waters influenced other filmmakers?
John Waters has influenced countless filmmakers with his unique style and willingness to push boundaries. Filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and Todd Solondz have cited Waters as an inspiration in their own work.

5. Are John Waters’ films commercially successful?
While some of John Waters’ films have achieved commercial success, he is primarily known for his cult following and critical acclaim rather than mainstream box office success.

6. Does John Waters still make films?
Yes, John Waters continues to make films and be involved in various artistic projects. His most recent film, “A Dirty Shame,” was released in 2004, but he has remained active in the creative industry with writing and speaking engagements.

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