1979 | Musical | 121 minutes | In English
Hair is a rock musical set against the hippie protest movements during the Vietnam War. Claude Hooper Bukowski, a native Oklahoman, sets off to New York for a fling after being drafted by the army. As he wanders about the city, he encounters a close-knit group of hippies led by George Berger. He also becomes smitten with Sheila Franklin, a wealthy debutante, who the hippies tried to panhandle. Berger notices Sheila’s address from a newspaper clipping about a big party to take place at her parents mansion. Berger decides that he, Claude, and the hippies are going to crash the private party. His intention is to use the occasion to introduce Sheila to Claude. This all backfires as the hippies are arrested. Claude uses his last $50 to bail out Berger from jail. Berger then borrows the money from his mother to bail out the rest of the hippies. They all attend a peace rally in Central Park. Sheila shows up to apologize to the group. Hippie Jeannie Ryan proposes marriage to Claude figuring this may keep him out of the army. Claude now experiences a huge conflict. He’s not sure where he fits in: his Oklahoman farm culture; Sheila’s upper-class society; or the hippies’ freewheeling world. This conflict will have to wait. Claude must report to the army base in Nevada to await shipment to Vietnam. The hippies drive out to Nevada for a farewell picnic. Berger wants Claude to attend the picnic, so he disguises himself as an army recruit and takes Claude’s place. Thus, Claude can attend the picnic. But Berger miscalculates. The army is on alert and shortly thereafter Berger is put on a plane headed to Vietnam. Months later, Claude, Sheila, and the hippies gather around Berger’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery. They mourn their lost friend. They all leave the cemetery to a rendition of “Let the Sunshine In” as they attend a huge peace protest in Washington, D.C.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 90%
- Metacritic Score: 68
Golden Globes Awards: Nominated- Best Motion Picture; New Star of the Year (Treat Williams)
American Film Institute (AFI) Best 100 Songs from Films- “Aquarius” listed as #33
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The film version of HAIR is proof that real miracles can happen in show business. If ever a project looked doomed, it was this one. HAIR succeeds at all levels—as lowdown fun, as affecting drama, as exhilarating spectacle and as provocative social observation. It achieves its goals by rigorously obeying the rules of classic American musical comedy: dialogue, plot, song and dance blending seamlessly to create a juggernaut of excitement.
I walked into HAIR with the gravest doubts that this artifact of 1960s social shock would transfer to our current, sleepier times. My doubts disappeared with the surge and bold authority off the first musical statement: This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius! Director Milos Forman’s HAIR opens with such confidence and joy, moves swiftly and sustains itself so well that I wonder why I had any doubts. HAIR is, amazingly, not a period piece but a freshly conceived and staged memory of the tribulations of the mid-sixties. It is also a terrific musical.
Milos Forman’s movie version of HAIR is every bit as exhilarating and exciting as the original play. What’s more, Forman has managed to recreate with amazing accuracy the rebellious mood and irreverent spirit of this confusing times. Forman’s view of the flower people, peaceniks and potheads of the 60’s is tempered with sweetness and compassion.
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