The Rocky Horror Picture Show

1975 film by Jim Sharman / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy horror film by 20th Century Fox, produced by Lou Adler and Michael White and directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman and actor Richard O'Brien, who is also a member of the cast. The film is based on the 1973 musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show, with music, book, and lyrics by O'Brien. The production is a tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s through to the early 1960s. Along with O'Brien, the film stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and Barry Bostwick and is narrated by Charles Gray, with cast members from the original Royal Court Theatre, Roxy Theatre, and Belasco Theatre productions, including Nell Campbell and Patricia Quinn.

Quick facts: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Directed by, S...
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sharman
Screenplay by
Based onThe Rocky Horror Show
by Richard O'Brien
Produced by
Narrated byCharles Gray
CinematographyPeter Suschitzky
Edited byGraeme Clifford
Music by
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • 14 August 1975 (1975-08-14) (United Kingdom)
  • 26 September 1975 (1975-09-26) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[1][2]
  • United Kingdom[3]
  • United States[3]
Budget$1.4 million[4]
Box office$226 million[5][needs update]

The story centres on a young engaged couple whose car breaks down in the rain near a castle, where they seek a telephone to call for help. The castle or country home is occupied by strangers in elaborate costumes celebrating an annual convention. They discover the head of the house is Dr. Frank N. Furter, an apparently mad scientist who actually is an alien transvestite from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania, who creates a living muscle man named Rocky in his laboratory.

The film was shot in the United Kingdom at Bray Studios and on location at an old country estate named Oakley Court, best known for its earlier use by Hammer Film Productions. A number of props and set pieces were reused from the Hammer horror films. Although the film is both a parody of and tribute to many kitsch science fiction and horror films, costume designer Sue Blane conducted no research for her designs. Blane has claimed that her creations for the film directly affected the development of punk rock fashion trends, such as torn fishnet stockings and colourfully dyed hair.[6]

Initial reception was extremely negative, but it soon became a hit as a midnight movie, when audiences began participating with the film at the Waverly Theater in New York City in 1976. Audience members returned to the cinemas frequently and talked back to the screen and began dressing as the characters, spawning similar performance groups across the United States. At almost the same time, fans in costume at the King's Court Theater in Pittsburgh began performing alongside the film. This "shadow cast" mimed the actions on screen above and behind them, while lip-synching their character's lines.

Still in limited release in 2023, some 47 years after its premiere, it is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. In many cities, live amateur shadow-casts act out the film as it is being shown and heavily draw upon a tradition of audience participation.[7] The film is most often shown close to Halloween. Today, the film has a large international cult following and has been considered by many as one of the greatest musical films of all time. In 2005, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."