The Cockettes


Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Chris Gore
    This is one of those rare docs that paints a grand picture of an era and makes the journey feel like a party.
  2. The Cockettes weren't talented, exactly, yet the bedazzled flakiness of their passion takes you closer than just about any movie has to what was once really meant by the term ''free-spirited.''
  3. New Times (L.A.)
    Reviewed by: David Ehrenstein
    Brilliant new documentary.
  4. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Joyously re-creates the brief but resplendent reign of the legendary freakadelic drag troupe.
  5. Cue the footage of Cockettes in spangles and glitter, high-kicking and belting out show tunes at the top of their lungs. Damn, it looks grand.
  6. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Chris Kaltenbach
    The Cockettes is a grand place to visit, even for those who wouldn't want to live there.
  7. 88
    It puts The Cockettes into social, political and popular cultural context and gives the documentary a moving resonance.
  8. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    The film does leave you with the lingering regret that you missed a hell of a good party. It is, as the kids used to say, a trip.
  9. Has the glorious, gaudy benefit of much stock footage of Those Days, featuring all manner of drag queen, bearded lady and lactating hippie.
  10. This comprehensive and charming film not only recalls those days exactly, it also manages the wonderful trick of taking us back there along with it.
  11. 80
    A fascinating, richly detailed documentary about the legendary queer collective based in San Francisco in the late '60s and early '70s.
  12. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Looks like Weimar decadence and feels like down-home friendship.
  13. 80
    An absorbing primer in one of the most fascinating chapters in American social history.
  14. Revisits the San Francisco of the late 1960's and early 70's, a time and place so encrusted with legend and cliché that you might wonder if there is anything left to say. It turns out there is quite a lot -- which the filmmakers have brought triumphantly to life.
  15. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jami Bernard
    The Cockettes epitomized a brief confluence of new possibilities, not so much in theater as in personal style, lending them a certain historical value that greatly exceeds their contribution to theater.
  16. The Cockettes is a fascinating poke into the soul of the '60s and it moves past a simple chronology of a counterculture phenomenon to examine how this predecessor to glitter rock and camp movies, such as "The Rocky Horror Show," could ever have ascended to such heights.
  17. 75
    A sweet reminder of their lost and lively world.
  18. A sweet-natured reconsideration of one of San Francisco's most vital, if least widely recognized, creative fountainheads.
  19. This amazing footage alternates with interviews that include more than a dozen surviving members of the troupe, whose recollections are by turn funny, touching and mind-boggling. What a time!
  20. 60
    Fond, funny documentary.
  21. 60
    Makes a terrific case for the group's historical importance, even though its performances seem more fun to discuss than watch.
  22. 38
    Indulgent, tedious documentary.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Aug 30, 2010
    The documentary is one of the most affective ways to capture a time and place in history especially when the subject is as visually compellingThe documentary is one of the most affective ways to capture a time and place in history especially when the subject is as visually compelling as the Cockettes. Counter culture San Francisco history is so saturated with tired tales of the Beat Generation and the Grateful Dead. It was delightful to stumble upon a lesser known group of artists (who were actually quite famous in their own right). Interesting to note were some of the pervasive themes present in the documentary namely the "New York City" response to this "San Francisco" phenomenon. This film depicts a primary example of the West Coast's more open and relaxed attitude toward artistic expression not to mention the DIY aspect of San Francisco art culture (exemplified by the Cockette's costuming and sets) in general. Full Review »