Archive of films Hair / Hair

1979, 121 min

Section: Tribute to Miroslav Ondříček
Year: 2004

Miloš Forman adapted the famous American musical which, in view of its committed political stance, exceeded the confines of the genre; above all, it was a feast for the hippy movement and the free-thinking world.


Hair attracted Miloš Forman not only because it offered the possibility of including dance numbers and modern music with provocative lyrics, but mainly because it reached beyond the usual limits of the musical genre. At the time of its creation Hair was a work of sharp political and social criticism, condemning the war in Vietnam and bourgeois indifference to this tragedy. But it was also a romantic work – worshipping hippies and their varied forms of rebellion against excessive conservatism. Forman had no trouble relating to these purely American topics since their underlying themes were the same as those of his Czech films: the generation gap, youth’s pure though naïve desire for love and freedom, and the protest against conventions and prejudices which destroy these illusions. As cameraman, Miroslav Ondříček was challenged to shoot a far more diverse and temperamental cross-section of the younger generation than he had known at home, and he took advantage of it to the fullest. He records them almost constantly in action, in dynamic motion, noting not only the language of their faces but of their entire bodies. Young men and women in his interpretation are unrestrained and wild, engaging for their spontaneity. It is certainly thanks to him as well that this film is a contagious celebration of the vitality and joy of being alive.

About the director

Miloš Forman (b. 1932, Čáslav, Czechoslovakia) graduated in screenwriting and directing from Prague’s Film Academy (FAMU) in 1955, and during the sixties he was one of the foremost filmmakers of the Czechoslovak new wave. His films reveal a sense of ironic humour for the weaknesses and tribulations of ordinary people: Audition (1963), Black Peter (1963), Loves of a Blonde (1965) and The Fireman’s Ball (1967). Since the end of the sixties he has worked in the USA. There he has furthered his earlier thematic aims and earned international acclaim for films highlighting the conflict between misfits and the social structure: Taking Off (1971), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975, five Oscars), Hair (1979), Ragtime (1981), Amadeus (1984, eight Oscars), Valmont (1989), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996, Golden Bear at Berlin), and Man on the Moon (1999). For his entire body of work he has received numerous honours, including the Czech State Medal of Merit, first grade (1995), a Czech Lion (1997), the Lifetime Achievement Award at Karlovy Vary (1997) and France’s Knight of the Legion of Honour (2004). 


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Miroslav Ondříček
Director: Miloš Forman
Screenplay: Michael Weller podle muzikálu / based on a musical by Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Dir. of Photography: Miroslav Ondříček
Music: Galt MacDermot
Editor: Stanley Warnow, Alan Heim
Producer: Michael Butler, Lester Persky
Production: CIP Filmproduction GmbH
Cast: Treat Williams, John Savage, Beverly D’ Angelo, Annie Golden, Don Dacus, Dorsey Wright, Cheryl Barnes, Miles Chapin, Nicholas Ray
Contact: National Film Archive


Vladimír Opěla

Film Institution Rep.


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