From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Crybaby (disambiguation).
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Waters
Produced by Rachel Talalay
Written by John Waters
Starring Johnny Depp
Amy Locane
Polly Bergen
Susan Tyrrell
Iggy Pop
Ricki Lake
Traci Lords
Music by Patrick Williams
Cinematography David Insley
Edited by Janice Hampton
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • April 6, 1990 (1990-04-06)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
91 minutes (Director's cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million[2]
Box office $8,266,343[3]

Cry-Baby is a 1990 American teen musical romantic comedy film written and directed by John Waters. It was the first and last film of Waters' that studios were in a bidding war over, coming off the heels of the successful Hairspray. It stars Johnny Depp as 1950s teen rebel "Cry-Baby" Wade Walker, and also features a large ensemble cast that includes Amy Locane, Polly Bergen, Susan Tyrrell, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, and Traci Lords with appearances by Troy Donahue, Joe Dallesandro, Joey Heatherton, David Nelson, and Patricia Hearst.

The story centers on a group of delinquents that refer to themselves as "drapes" and their interaction with the rest of the town and its other subculture, the "squares", in 1950s Baltimore, Maryland. "Cry-Baby" Walker, a drape, and Allison, a square, create upheaval and turmoil in their little town of Baltimore by breaking the subculture taboos and falling in love. The film shows what the young couple has to overcome to be together and how their actions affect the rest of the town.

Part of the film takes place at the now-closed Enchanted Forest amusement park in Ellicott City, Maryland. Others take place in the historic towns of Reisterstown, Jessup, Milford Mill, and Sykesville, Maryland.

The film did not achieve high audience numbers in its initial release, but has subsequently become a cult classic and spawned a Broadway musical of the same name which was nominated for four Tony Awards.


In 1954 Baltimore, Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker is the leader of a gang of "Drapes", which includes his sister Pepper, a teenage mother, Mona "Hatchet Face" Malnorowski, who is facially disfigured, Wanda Woodward, who's constantly embarrassed by her yuppie parents, and Milton Hackett, Hatchet Face's devoted boyfriend. His ability to shed a single tear drives all the girls wild. One day after school, he is approached by Allison Vernon-Williams, a pretty girl tired of being a "square", and the two fall in love. ("Women in Cadillacs", "Gee!"), That same day, Cry-Baby approaches the "square" part of town to a talent show ("Sh-Boom", "A Teenage Prayer") at the recreation center where Allison's grandmother hosts events, and introduces himself to her, who is skeptical of his motives. Cry-Baby invites Allison to a party at Turkey Point, a local hangout spot for the drapes.

Despite her grandmother's skepticism, Allison accompanies Cry-Baby to Turkey Point and sings with the drapes ("King Cry-Baby"). As Cry-Baby and Allison tell each other about their orphan lives (Cry-Baby's father was sent to the electric chair after being the "Alphabet Bomber" - a killer who bombed places in alphabetical order while his mother tried to stop him but got killed as a result; Allison's parents always took separate flights to avoid orphaning her if they crashed, but one day both their planes went down), Allison's jealous square boyfriend, Baldwin, starts a riot. Cry-Baby is blamed for the fight and sent to a penitentiary, outraging all his friends and even Allison's grandmother, who is impressed by Cry-Baby's posture, manners, and musical talent. ("Teardrops Are Falling")

As Lenora Frigid, a loose girl with a crush on Cry-Baby but constantly rejected by him, claims to be pregnant with his child, Allison feels betrayed and returns to Baldwin and the squares, though her grandmother advises her against rushing into a decision. ("Doin' Time Bein' Young") Meanwhile, in the penitentiary, Cry-Baby gets a teardrop tattoo. He tells the tattoo artist, fellow drape Dupree (Robert Tyree): "I've been hurt all my life, but real tears wash away. This one's for Allison, and I want it to last forever!".

Eventually after performing with Baldwin and the Whiffles ("Mr. Sandman"), Allison is persuaded by the newly established alliance between the Drapes and her grandmother to stand by Cry-Baby and join the campaign for his release ("Please, Mr. Jailer"). Cry-Baby is released but immediately insulted by Baldwin who, after revealing that his grandfather is the one who electrocuted Cry-Baby's father, challenges him to a chicken race. ("High School Hellcats") Cry-Baby wins, as Baldwin chickens out, and is reunited with Allison.

The film ends with all watching the chicken race crying a single tear, all except for Allison and Cry-Baby, who has finally let go of the past, enabling him to cry from both eyes.


  • Johnny Depp as Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker
  • Amy Locane as Allison Vernon-Williams
  • Polly Bergen as Mrs. Vernon-Williams
  • Susan Tyrrell as Ramona Rickettes
  • Iggy Pop as Belvedere Rickettes
  • Ricki Lake as Pepper Walker
  • Traci Lords as Wanda Woodward
  • Kim McGuire as Mona "Hatchet-Face" Malnorowski
  • Darren E. Burrows as Milton Hackett
  • Kim Webb as Lenora Frigid
  • Stephen Mailer as Baldwin
  • Alan J. Wendl as Toe-Joe Jackson
  • Jonathan Benya and Jessica Raskin as Snare-Drum and Susie Q, Pepper's son and daughter
  • Troy Donahue and Mink Stole as Mr. and Mrs. Malnorowski, Hatchet-Face's parents, who sell cigarettes to high school students
  • Joe Dallesandro and Joey Heatherton as Mr. and Mrs. Hackett, Milton's overzealous, religious parents
  • Robert Marbury as Pepper's angelic boyfriend
  • David Nelson and Patricia Hearst as Mr. and Mrs. Woodward, Wanda's happy-go-lucky parents who remain completely oblivious to their daughter's activities
  • Robert Tyree as Dupree, a faithful Drape who joins Cry-Baby in the slammer
  • Robert Walsh as Judge, the judge who sentences Cry-Baby to the reformatory; he has a crush on Mrs. Vernon-Williams
  • Willem Dafoe as Hateful guard
  • Brad Baker as Mean Policeman

Musical numbers[edit]

  1. "Women in Cadillacs by Doc Starkes and The Night Riders" *(sung along)* - Cry-Baby
  2. "Gee! by The Crows" *(sung along)* - Cry-Baby, Hatchet-Face, Milton, Pepper, Wanda
  3. "Sh-Boom" – Baldwin, the Whiffles
  4. "A Teenage Prayer" – Allison
  5. "King Cry-Baby" – Cry-Baby, Allison, Hatchet-Face, Milton, Pepper, Wanda
  6. "Teardrops Are Falling" – Cry-Baby, Dupree, Prisoners
  7. "Doin' Time for Bein' Young" – Cry-Baby, Prisoners
  8. "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" (Director's cut) – Baldwin, the Whiffles
  9. "Mr. Sandman" – Allison, Baldwin, the Whiffles
  10. "Please, Mr. Jailer" – Allison, Cry-Baby, Company, Prisoners
  11. "Chicken" (deleted scene) – Baldwin, the Whiffles
  12. "High School Hellcats" – Cry-Baby, Allison, Pepper, Company


The film was screened out of competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

The film currently holds a 71% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 55 reviews, with the consensus "John Waters' musical ode to the teen rebel genre is infectious and gleefully camp, providing star Johnny Depp with the perfect vehicle in which to lampoon his pin-up image."[5] Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars.[6]

Box office[edit]

Cry-Baby opened on April 6, 1990 in 1,229 North American cinemas — an unprecedented number for a John Waters film. In its opening weekend, it grossed a soft $3,004,905 ($2,445 per screen) and grossed $8,266,343 by the end of its theatrical run,[3] making it a box office flop from its $12 million budget.[2]

Musical adaptation[edit]

Main article: Cry-Baby (musical)

Cry-Baby is the second of Waters' films to be adapted for the stage as a musical comedy (following Hairspray).


  1. ^ "CRY-BABY (12)". British Board of Film Classification. 1990-04-11. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Dreamland News: Filmography: Cry Baby". Dreamland News. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  3. ^ a b Cry-Baby at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Cry-Baby". Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  5. ^ Cry-Baby at Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ "Cry-Baby :: ::ww Reviews". Roger Ebert. 1990-04-06. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 

External links[edit]