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Over the last few decades, there has been a rise in the number of movies about beauty pageants. Here’s a list of some of the subgenre’s best.

The top 7 films about beauty pageants you need to watch now

Beauty pageants are the perfect subject for a movie. There’s only one location, where a lot of strangers are gathered all fighting for the same crown and title. This and the drama are the reasons why, over the last few decades, there has been a rise in the number of movies about beauty pageants. Here’s a list of some of the subgenre’s best.

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

First on the list is the star-studded movie made back in 1999, which included Denise Richards, Brittney Murphy, Allison Janney, Amy Adams, Elle Barkin, Kristie Alley, and Kirsten Dunst. 

Drop Dead Gorgeous features a killer plot about a group of girls who are driven enough to do anything and win. The movie is also a satire about pageant experiences. The women in the film are contestants of the Sarah Rose Cosmetics American Teen Princess Pageant held in Minnesota.

Miss Congeniality (2000)

If we are to talk about beauty pageant films, Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality is arguably the most popular one. With the pageant being the target of an attack by international terrorists, an agent from the FBI needs to step up and go undercover as one of the contestants. 

An FBI agent played Sandra Bullock accepts the assignment and puts on the Contact Lens for Beauty Queens. The premise of the film is pretty simple, but all the circumstances in the movie are romcom gold.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Featuring a young and very talented Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine is more than just a film about beauty pageants. With their charming characters, a family travels across America for Olive’s show. 

Little Miss Sunshine successfully weaves the tropes of a dysfunctional family and a road trip together as they attempt to make the kid’s dream come true. It is also brilliantly made in a way that every small action of the characters is essential for the plot. It also features the iconic and arguably the best “you do you” speech in film history.

Beautiful (2000)

Through the direction of Sally Field, Beautiful tells the story of a mother who tries her best to make her pageant dreams come true, even if it meant putting her relationship with her daughter at stake. 

Featuring Minnie Driver as Mona, who continues to chase her dream of being a beauty queen despite being ineligible because of her daughter. The movie is a combination of both drama and comedy that will offer you fun makeover sequences, emotional stakes, and the hope of fulfilling a dream.

Dumplin’ (2018)

Starring as Rosie, Jennifer Aniston is the mother of Danielle Macdonald’s Willowdean. Much like its predecessors Drop Dead Gorgeous, Miss Congeniality, and Smile, Dumplin’ also offers a satirical view on the superficiality of pageants. 

Dumplin’ brings something new to the table by focusing on the contestants and what they learn through the experience. While there is competition among the contestants, they are also shown to be friendly and sympathetic to each other. The film also does an excellent job by respecting the women who invest time and effort in pageants. It shows how these women should not be defined whether they win the crown or not.

Miss Firecracker (1989)

Miss Firecracker stars Holly Hunter as Carnelle Scott, whose main goal in life is to enter all the beauty contests she sees. However, she is not considered to be a serious contender as she attempts to join the Miss Firecracker contest, which her cousin has previously won before. 

The best thing about Miss Firecracker is that the cinematographer and director featured much of the local scene of Yazoo City with a bonus romantic glow. What makes the film stand out is how it veers the focus away from who wins the contest. It shows how pageants are a niche for people who wants to be loved.

Smile (1975)

Smile is a film directed by Michael Ritchie, who takes a semi-documentary approach to his movies. This movie is no different as it follows the lives of around 20 girls from different states as they prepare for a teenage beauty pageant set in Southern California. 

They were gowned, drilled, exhorted, and choreographed to keep the smiles on their faces for a whole week. Ritchie made sure to consider the girls as well as the world they are living in. He highlighted the rivalries, friendships, and strategies that the girls employed and formed on the pageant. The movie did an excellent job of overcoming challenges such as sexism and hypocrisy that are typical in beauty contests.

Although it has its advantages, creating a film about beauty pageants might be difficult since replicating the whole experience may be impossible. If you are a fan of the sub-genre, these seven are the best ones out there. Not to mention that they also have the most accurate portrayals of the glamorous lives that beauty queens have.

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