A group of New Yorkers caught up in their romantic-sexual milieu converge at an underground salon infamous for its blend of art, music, politics, and carnality.
4,097 ( 295)
7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Dawson ... James
Lindsay Beamish ... Severin
Adam Hardman Adam Hardman ... Jesse / the John
Sook-Yin Lee ... Sofia / Rob's wife
Raphael Barker ... Rob / Sophia's husband
Peter Stickles ... Caleb / the Stalker
PJ DeBoy PJ DeBoy ... Jamie
David Pittu ... Jacuzzi Hunter
Jeff Whitty ... Jacuzzi Hunted
Mickey Cottrell ... Dead Man in the Jacuzzi
Mary Beth Peil ... Ann (Our Lady of the Gutter)
Shanti Carson Shanti Carson ... Leah / the Beautiful Couple
Jan Hilmer Jan Hilmer ... Nick / the Beautiful Couple
Mx Justin Vivian Bond ... Justin Bond
Bradford Scobie Bradford Scobie ... Dr. Donut


Numerous New York City dwellers come to the exclusive club Shortbus to work out problems in their sexual relationships. Rob and Sophia are a happily married couple, except for the fact that she has never experienced sexual climax. This irony follows her to work because she is a couples counselor who frequently has to deal with the sexual issues other couples have. Two of her patients are Jamie and James, a gay couple who have been monogamous for five years and counting. James wants to bring other men in to the relationship, and his own history with depression may hint at an ulterior motive. Ceth (pronounced Seth) may be the perfect addition to their family, but Caleb, a voyeur from across the street, may have his own ideas about that. Sophia visits Severin, a dominatrix with secrets of her own to reveal. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You've got to get on to get off See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The character Severin is named after the tragic hero of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novel "Venus in Furs". See more »


(at around 56 mins) Caleb is sitting in a chair in the background when Jamie asks James if James still loves him. In a reaction shot, Caleb is standing in a doorway. See more »


[first lines]
Jesse, the John: Are you a top or a bottom?
Severin: I beg your pardon?
Jesse, the John: I mean in real life.
Severin: This is real life.
Jesse, the John: Let me put it this way: do you think we should get out of Iraq?
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Crazy Credits

The orgy participants seen throughout Club Shortbus are credited as 'Sextras' at the end of the film. See more »


Featured in Indie Sex: Extremes (2007) See more »


Boys of Melody
Performed by The Hidden Cameras
Written by Joel Gibb
Published by A Common Enemy (SOCAN)
Courtesy of Evil Evil Records
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User Reviews

John Cameron Mitchell: "The way people express themselves sexually can tell you a lot about who they are."
10 May 2010 | by Galina_movie_fanSee all my reviews

Shortbus (2006) written/directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) is truly not for the easily offended. It is the film like nothing I've seen before and I've seen many films. It should be named Real Sex and the City or Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask had not the latter title been taken already by Woody Allen. Actually you don't have to ask anything - you will get more information and graphic answers that you ever would hope for. This is the film where the graphical sex scenes are in abundance, they are extremely explicit. John Cameron Mitchell means business, and he gets down to it. By his own words,

"In the old days, when you couldn't show sex on film, directors like Hitchcock had metaphors for sex (trains going into tunnels, etc). When you can show more realistic sex, the sex itself can be a metaphor for other parts of the character's lives. The way people express themselves sexually can tell you a lot about who they are. Some people ask me, "couldn't you have told the same story without the explicitness?" They don't ask whether I could've done Hedwig without the songs. Why not be allowed to use every paint in the paint box?" John Cameron Mitchell

But after the initial shock, you realize that there are ideas, feelings, the attempt to understand the important things - what do we want? What is sex for us? How to understand ourselves first of all, how to communicate your desires, how to fulfill them? Shortbus is totally honest; it does care about its characters, and tells their stories of struggling with all sorts of existential difficulties, sexual or not, without condescending, with the equal dozes of sweetness, wit, and understanding. The film was made by a talented filmmaker. The beginning scenes would certainly grab your attention while introducing a viewer to few New Yorkers whose lives will be intertwined later. The music score and the songs are nice and set a melancholic mood, they provide a welcomed rest for the passengers on the Shortbus. The cast that consists mainly of non-professional first time performers, did a convincing job. It is not porn, it is an independent dra-medy that uses sex scenes to answer many questions about life.

The DVD includes the documentary Gifted and Challenged: The Making of 'Shortbus'. I found the Making... quite interesting and a lot of fun.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

20 October 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sex Film Project See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$107,907, 8 October 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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