AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Director: Milos Forman (Dir)
Release Date:   14 Mar 1979
Premiere Information:   New York opening at Ziegfeld Theatre: 14 Mar 1979; Los Angeles opening at Cinerama Dome: 15 Mar 1979; Cannes screening: 10 May 1979
Production Date:   11 Oct 1977--May 1978
Duration (in mins):   120
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Cast: Starring: John Savage (Claude [Hooper Bukowski]) as
    Treat Williams ([George] Berger) as
    Beverly D'Angelo (Sheila [Franklin]) as
    Annie Golden (Jeannie [Ryan]) as
    Dorsey Wright ([Lafayette] Hud [Johnson]) as
    Don Dacus (Woof [Daschund]) as
  and Cheryl Barnes (Hud's Fiancee) as
  Featuring: Richard Bright (Fenton) as
    Nicholas Ray (The General) as
    Charlotte Rae (Lady in Pink) as
    Miles Chapin (Steve) as
    Fern Tailer (Sheila's mother) as
    Charles Denny (Sheila's father) as
    Herman Meckler (Sheila's uncle) as
    Agness Breen (Sheila's aunt) as
    Antonia Rey (Berger's mother) as
    George Manos (Berger's father) as
    Linda Surh (Vietnamese girl) as
    Jane Booke (Debutante #1) as
    Suki Love (Debutante #2) as
    Joe Acord (Claude's father) as
    Michael Jeter (Sheldon) as
    Janet York (Prison psychiatrist) as
    Rahsaan Curry (Lafayette Jr.) as
    Harry Gittleson (The judge) as
    Donald Alsdurf (MP) as
    Steve Massicotte (Barracks officer) as
    Mario Nelson (Barracks officer) as
    Ren Woods ("Aquarius" soloist [performer])  
    Toney Watkins ("Colored Spade"/"Ain't Got No" [performer])  
    Carl Hall ("Colored Spade" [performer])  
    Howard Porter ("Colored Spade" [performer])  
    Nell Carter ("Ain't Got No"/"White Boys" [performer])  
    Kurt Yahjian ("Ain't Got No" [performer])  
  "Black Boys" [performers]: Laurie Beechman    
    Debi Dye    
    Ellen Foley    
    John Maestro    
    Fred Ferrara    
    Jim Rosica    
  [And] Vincent Carella    
  "White Boys" [performers]: Charlaine Woodard    
    Trudy Perkins    
    Chuck Patterson    
    H. Douglas Berring    
    Russell Costen    
    Kenny Brawner    
  [And] Lee Wells    
    Leata Galloway ("Electric Blues" [performer])  
    Cyrena Lomba ("Electric Blues" [performer])  
    Ron Young ("Old Fashioned Melody" [performer])  
    John DeRobertas ("Flesh Failures" [performer])  
    Grand Bush ("Flesh Failures" [performer])  
  and Melba Moore ("3-5-0-0" soloist [performer])  
  and Ronnie Dyson ("3-5-0-0" soloist [performer])  
  Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation, Inc.: Rose Marie Wright    
    Tom Rawe    
    Jennifer Way    
    Shelley Washington    
    Christie Uchida    
    Raymond Kurshals    
    Richard Colton    
    Anthony Ferro    
  [And] Sara Rudner    
  Dancers: Pat Benoye    
    Cameron Burke    
    Richard Caceres    
    Tony Constantine    
    Ron Dunham    
    Leonard Feiner    
    Ken Gildin    
    Kate Glasner    
    Christian Holder    
    Chris Komar    
    Nancy Letkowith    
    Joseph Lennon    
    Robert Levithan    
    France Mayotte    
    Hector Mercado    
    Sharon Miripolsky    
    Marta Renzi    
    Donna Ritchie    
    Ellen Saltonstall    
    Radha Sukhu    
    Byron Utley    
    Earlise Vails    
    Ronald Weeks    
    Kimmary Williams    
  [And] Deborah Zalkind    
  The Ballet Theatre Foundation's Ballet Repertory Company: Johanna Baer    
    Carolyn Brown    
    Colleen O'Callaghan    
    Susan Clark    
    Jennifer Douglas    
    Karen Mays    
    Megan Murphy    
    Vicki Lynn Powell    
    Anna Spellman    
    Lauralee Stapfer    
  [And] Deborah Wagman    
    Twyla Tharp (Dancer at the Hare Krishna wedding altar)  

Summary: During the late 1960s, naïve Oklahoma farm boy Claude Hooper Bukowski arrives in New York City to sightsee for a couple of days before enlisting in the Army and fighting in Vietnam. In Central Park, he notices three stylish women on horseback, who are being taunted by a group of frolicking hippies. Claude makes eye contact with one of the women, Sheila Franklin, and is immediately entranced. Meanwhile, George Berger, the impulsive, charismatic leader of the hippies, and his three friends, Jeannie Ryan, Lafayette “Hud” Johnson and Woof Daschund, rent a horse and attempt to ride alongside the prim socialites. When the rental horse bolts away, Claude comes to the rescue and reins in the animal. He then gallops past Sheila, showing off his rodeo skills, but she and her friends ride off in another direction. Afterward, Berger invites Claude to smoke marijuana and hang out in the park. Claude is amazed to learn that pregnant Jeannie is unconcerned whether the father of her baby is Woof or Hud. The next morning, as Claude prepares to leave the group, Berger finds a photograph of Sheila in the newspaper, announcing her debutante party. He suggests they attend so Claude can meet the girl. The hippies appear at the formal gathering in their Bohemian attire and mingle as if they were invited. At the dinner table, they are asked to leave, but Berger refuses. As Sheila’s father contacts the police, Berger announces to the astonished guests that Claude is in love with Sheila and wanted to see her one more time before leaving for Vietnam. Meanwhile, Sheila, who has been smoking marijuana with her girl friends, is quietly amused and flattered by the intruders. In court, Claude and the hippies are each sentenced to thirty days in jail unless they can pay the $50 fine. Although Claude has enough money to meet his bail, he reluctantly gives the cash to Berger, who promises to collect bail for everyone once he is released. After an unsuccessful attempt to hustle Sheila and her preppy boyfriend, Steve, Berger approaches his parents. Although his father tells him to get a job, his mother takes him aside and gives him $250. Meanwhile, in jail, Woof refuses to let the barber cut his long blonde hair. Upon release, the group joins a large crowd of counterculture tribes and anti-war protestors in Central Park. There, Claude takes the psychedelic drug LSD and hallucinates about his marriage to Sheila in a Hare Krishna wedding ceremony. When he becomes clearheaded and reunites with Berger and the group later that evening, Sheila is with them. She initially appears shy and indifferent, then summons the courage to swim naked with Claude. However, she runs away angry when Berger sneaks off with their clothes. Although Berger is amused by the prank, Claude reminds him that he is leaving the following day for the army and will not have another chance to see Sheila. A draft dodger, Berger cannot understand why Claude is enlisting, but Claude criticizes Berger for his lack of responsibility. Disappointed, Claude walks away from his new friends. The next day, Claude reports to the Army’s induction center and is transferred to a training base in Nevada. Sometime later, he writes to Sheila. When she shares the letter with Berger, he suggests that the friends should drive to Nevada for a visit. After stealing Steve’s car, Berger, Sheila, Woof, Hud, and Jeannie crowd into the vehicle for the cross-country journey. They are also joined by Hud’s fiancée, who is the mother of Hud’s young son, Lafayette, Jr. Unlike the free-spirited hippies, the young mother worries that Hud has fathered Jeannie’s baby. When the group arrives in Nevada, they are immediately turned away from the base by military police. Determined to see their friend, they devise an alternative plan. At a nearby bar, Sheila flirts with a base officer named Fenton and steals his uniform, while Hud confiscates the man’s car. With a new short haircut, Berger dons the uniform, drives to the gate in Fenton’s car, and is waved past security. Locating Claude in one of the barracks, Berger tries to coax his friend into hiding in the trunk and sneaking off base for a few hours. Although Claude is thrilled about the surprise visit and desperate to reunite with Sheila, he says the plan is too risky, since the base is on alert and recruits are subject to frequent head counts. Berger and Claude then agree to switch places, and Claude drives off base disguised as Officer Fenton. While Claude visits Sheila and the group in the desert, his unit is suddenly deployed overseas. Frightened, Berger is forced to march onto a plane bound for Vietnam. Claude panics when he returns to the base and realizes his friend is gone. Sometime later, at a military cemetery in Washington D.C., the friends mourn Berger’s death, and the peace movement gains momentum. 

Production Text: A Lester Persky and Michael Butler Production
A Milos Forman Film
Ragni, Rado and MacDermot's
A CIP Film
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp. (An MGM Company)
Director: Milos Forman (Dir)
  Michael Hausman (Asst dir/1st asst dir)
  Robert Greenhut (Unit prod mgr)
  Joe Ray (2d asst dir)
  Joel Tuber (2d asst dir)
Producer: Lester Persky (Prod)
  Michael Butler (Prod)
  Robert Greenhut (Assoc prod)
Writer: Michael Weller (Scr)
Photography: Miroslav Ondrícek (Dir of photog)
  Richard Kratina (Co-dir of photog)
  Jean Talvin (Co-dir of photog)
  Gerald Cotts (2d unit dir cam)
  Richard Pearce (Addl photog)
  Thomas Priestley (Cam op)
  Vincent Gerardo (Asst cam)
  Richard Quinlan (Gaffer)
  Edward Knott (Key grip)
  George Holmes (Gaffer, California unit)
  Jerry King (Grip, California unit)
  Jan Kiesser (Cam op, California unit)
Art Direction: Stuart Wurtzel (Prod des)
  Harold Michelson (Art dir, California unit)
Film Editor: Lynzee Klingman (Supv film ed)
  Stanley Warnow (Film ed)
  Alan Heim (Film ed)
  Michael Jablow (Assoc ed)
  Lois Freeman (Asst film ed)
  Karen Wanderman (Asst ed)
  John Davis (Asst ed)
  Neil Burrow (Asst ed)
  Neil Kaufman (Asst ed)
  Anne Stein (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: Joseph Caracciolo (Prop master)
  George DeTitta (Set dec)
  Edward Swanson (Chief carpenter)
  John Linder (Scenic artist)
  Gerald Wunderlich (Set dec, California unit)
  Pat O'Connor (Prop master, California unit)
  John Rutchland (Const coord, California unit)
Costumes: Ann Roth (Cost des)
  Elisabeth Seley (Ward supv)
  Gary Jones (Asst to Miss Roth)
  Sylvio Scarano (Ward, California unit)
Music: Galt MacDermot (Mus)
  Galt MacDermot (Mus arr and cond)
  Thomas Pierson (Vocal arr and cond)
  John Strauss (Mus ed)
  Chuck Irwin (Mus rec eng)
  Norman Hollyn (Asst mus ed)
  The Stylistics (Male vocal of "White Boys" rec by)
Sound: Chris Newman (Sd mixer)
  Bill Varney (Re-rec mixer)
  Steve Maslow (Re-rec mixer)
  Bob Minkler (Re-rec mixer)
  Don Digirolamo (Dolby consultant)
  Milton C. Burrow (Supv sd ed)
  William Sawyer (Sd ed)
  Edward L. Sandlin (Sd ed)
  Gordon Davidson (Sd ed)
Special Effects: Al Griswold (Spec eff)
  R/Greenberg Associates (Titles by)
Dance: Twyla Tharp (Choreog)
  Kenneth Rinker (Asst choreog)
  Rhoda Grauer (Project coord, Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation, Inc.)
Make Up: Joe Tubens (Hairstylist)
  Max Henriquez (Makeup artist)
  Vivienne Walker (Hairstylist, California unit)
  Robert Mills (Makeup artist, California unit)
Production Misc: Michael Butler (Prod for the Broadway stage by)
  The New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre (Originally prod by)
  Nancy Tonery (Scr supv)
  Martin Danzig (Loc mgr)
  Lois Kramer (Prod office coord)
  Anne Gyory (Asst to the dir)
  Lloyd Zeiderman & Associates (Prod accountant)
  Kathleen McGill (Prod accountant)
  Larry Kaplan (Unit pub)
  James Fanning (Transportation capt)
  Albert Ostermaier (Equestrian trainer, Dance seq)
  Foy (Flying by)
  Larry Rechling (Puppet creations)
  Howard Feuer Fenton & Feinberg (Casting)
  Jeremy Ritzer Fenton & Feinberg (Casting)
  Ronald Colby (Loc mgr, California unit)
  Lillian MacNeill (Scr supv, California unit)
  James Foote (Transportation capt, California unit)
  Michael Peyser (Prod asst)
  David Dreyfuss (Prod asst)
  Jennifer Ogden (Prod asst)
  Shawn Hausman (Prod asst)
  Barry Strugatz (Prod asst)
  Barbara Pettick (Prod asst)
  Tom Fritz (Prod asst)
  Steve Montgomery (Prod asst)
  Carol Clemente (Prod asst)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Somebody To Hold," music and lyrics by Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot, sung by Charlie Brown.
Composer: Galt MacDermot
  James Rado
  Gerome Ragni
Source Text: Based on the musical Hair by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, music by Galt MacDermot, lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado (New York, 29 Apr 1968).
Authors: Galt MacDermot
  Gerome Ragni
  James Rado

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
CIP Film Produktions, G.m.b.H. 7/9/1979 dd/mm/yyyy PA48167

PCA NO: 25542
Physical Properties: Sd: Recorded in Dolby Stereo® at Samuel Goldwyn Studios, Los Angeles
  Lenses/Prints: Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®/Prints by Technicolor®

Genre: Musical
Subjects (Major): Friendship
  Military service, Compulsory
  New York City--Central Park
  United States--History--Vietnam War, 1964--1973
Subjects (Minor): Adolescence
  Draft dodgers
  Free love
  Generation gap
  Hallucinogenic drugs
  Impersonation and imposture
  Interracial relationships
  Military bases
  New York City
  Officers (Military)
  Peace symbols
  Protest songs
  Race relations

Note: End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: The City of New York: Mayor Ed Koch; Gordon J. Davis, Commissioner of Parks; Lt. Paul Glanzman; The Astoria Studios; National Park Service, National Capital Region: Jack Fish, Director, National Capital Parks; George Berklacy, Asst. to Regional Director, Public Affairs; New Jersey Film Commission; The State of California.”
       A film adaptation of the Tony Award-nominated musical Hair was in development since the show’s initial success on Broadway, where it opened 29 Apr 1968 at New York City’s Biltmore Theatre. On 6 Oct 1968, NYT reported that Michael Butler, producer of the original Broadway musical, was negotiating a financing arrangement with Commonwealth United Entertainment. Initially, the filmmakers planned to use the same Broadway cast and crew, and film at a New York City studio. However, the project continued to evolve over the next decade. A 21 Mar 1973 Var article announced that Butler finally acquired film rights from book and lyric authors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and composer, Galt MacDermot, for $1 million, but a distribution deal was still pending.
       Other producers who pursued the screen version included Leonard “Buzz” Blair and Robert Stigwood. According to a 13 Feb 1969 HR brief, Blair approached Gene Kelly about directing the film, while Stigwood was interested in directors Ken Russell and Hal Ashby, as noted in a 6 Feb 1976 LAT item.
       In 1976, producer Lester Persky purchased the screen rights from Butler, outbidding Warner Bros. at a price of $1,050,000 million, according to a 4 Apr 1979 Var article. Butler and Persky agreed to share producing credit. Once Milos Forman signed on as director, Persky was able to interest United Artists Corp. in distribution. As the production budget escalated to $12 million, plus $5 for marketing expenditures, Persky raised additional financing through CIP, a German investment group.
       Forman explained in a 19 Apr 1979 Rolling Stone interview that he became fascinated by Hair upon seeing the original 1967 Off-Broadway show, produced by Joseph Papp. After an unsuccessful attempt to stage the musical in his home country of Czechoslovakia, he aspired to make a film version, but did not receive a firm offer until Persky contacted him in 1976. By this time, Forman had directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, see entry), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director. Forman auditioned approximately twenty writers before selecting Michael Weller. Together, they changed the musical’s story “from a political commentary into a personal odyssey,” primarily through the character of “Claude,” who was rewritten as a Midwestern farm boy. In the musical, he is member of the hippie community. The picture marked Weller’s debut feature film screenplay, as stated in AMPAS library production files.
       Hair also represented the first feature film choreography credit for Twyla Tharp and the motion picture acting debut of Cheryl Barnes in the role of “Hud’s fiancée.”
       During the casting process, actresses Carrie Fisher and Estelle Parsons were early favorites for leading roles, as mentioned in a 12 Aug 1977 NYT item, while actor Keith Carradine was considered a top choice for the part of “Claude,” as noted in the 6 Feb 1976 LAT brief.
       According to production notes, principal photography began 11 Oct 1977 at St. Marks Place in New York City. However, the naked swimming scene at a Central Park lake was shot during late summer 1977 to take advantage of the warmer weather. Central Park was also the location for musical numbers, “Ain’t Got No,” “Aquarius,” and “Colored Spade” as well as for a “1968-style Be-In,” involving thousands of background actors on Sheep Meadow. In lower Manhattan, the prison sequence was captured at a former a jail on White Street, and the U.S. Customs House stood for the Army induction center. Additional location sites in the New York City-area included the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Washington Square Park, and Pine Street in the financial district. The filmmakers also used courthouses in Weehawken, NJ, and Jersey City, NJ. A 16 Dec 1977 HR column reported that the debutante party was filmed at a Long Island mansion in Mill Neck, NY, known as Oakley Court. The production relocated to Fort Irwin in Barstow, CA, to capture the military base scenes, with the cooperation of the CA National Guard. Another “Be-In” gathering was filmed near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., providing the setting for the musical numbers, “3-5-0-0” and “Let The Sun Shine In.” The picture was shot entirely on location except for the wedding hallucination sequence, which was filmed on a soundstage at Astoria Studios in Queens, NY. The 4 Apr 1979 Var article reported that the eight-month shooting schedule finished during May 1978.
       The first public showing was a preview screening in Denver, CO, according to a 4 Mar 1979 LAT article. The world premiere took place 12 Mar 1979 at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre, as announced in a 6 Mar 1979 HR brief.
       The film was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical and New Star Of The Year (Actor) for Treat Williams. A 1 Aug 1979 LAT news item reported that Hair received two David di Donatello prizes, Italy’s annual film award, for best director and best soundtrack composer in the foreign film categories.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Hollywood Reporter   13 Feb 1969.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Dec 1977.   
Hollywood Reporter   6 Mar 1979.   
Hollywood Reporter   14 Mar 1979   p. 3, 18.
Los Angeles Times   6 Feb 1976   Section E, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times   4 Mar 1979   Section T, p. 28.
Los Angeles Times   15 Mar 1979   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   1 Aug 1979   Section G, p. 7, 9.
New York Times   6 Oct 1968   Section D, p. 19.
New York Times   12 Aug 1977   Section C, p. 7.
New York Times   14 Mar 1979   p. 15.
Rolling Stone   19 Apr 1979.   
Variety   21 Mar 1973.   
Variety   14 Mar 1979   p. 21.
Variety   4 Apr 1979.   

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