In the film, Red Rocket (2021), the phrase “red rocket” was not mentioned in the dialogue nor were there any literal references to a red rocket. I'm not sure what it means or what it refers to in the context of the film.

Wiktionary gives the definition for "red rocket" as "US slang for the erect penis of a dog, wolf, etc." This meaning was also not referred to in the film, nor mentioned in the dialogue.

Who or what is being referred to by "Red Rocket"? What is the film title's significance or symbolism?

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    Close voter(s): How can I make this question more clear? What details should I add? Jan 15, 2022 at 12:08
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    having looked at the iMDB site for all of 30 seconds it is clear. I assume the close votes are because of the tawdry nature of this film. Jan 18, 2022 at 12:16
  • It's not just slang for a dog's penis. It seems more general. Sex and the male orgasm seem to be the main interpretations. Jan 23, 2022 at 6:21
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    To the VTCers: how is the title of a film 'trivia'?
    – Joachim
    Jan 23, 2022 at 10:19

2 Answers 2


I found this blurb in a review of the movie:

Consider the title of the film, “Red Rocket,” a euphemism related to the reproductive organ of a male dog. Lexi knows that as the dog in her life, Mikey is no more than a “suitcase pimp,” a term used in the porn world, usually to describe a man who depends on a woman or women porn stars for his livelihood.

It isn’t long before he’s on the prowl again.

It's also interesting to note that Sophie won the Palm Dog Award Jury Prize at the Cannes for her role as Sophie The Dog.

  • Yup, it's a dog's penis.
    – BlueMoon93
    Jan 18, 2022 at 15:53
  • So, Mikey is the red rocket? The review doesn't elaborate on how he is the red rocket. I get how Mikey is a "dog" but now how he is the "red rocket." Jan 18, 2022 at 23:47
  • @galacticninja I think when one considers both answers, the movie is then looking as the dynamics of "red rocket" and making some kind of statement about it. Nov 23, 2022 at 18:41

According to Red Rocket director and co-writer, Sean Baker, it's up to the film viewer's interpretation, and he also added that the parts of the film where the color red was applied are "very interesting". From a Q&A session at Viennale 2021 (quotes below paraphrased slightly):

Question asker: Why is the film called "Red Rocket"? Is that like a sexual word*? Or...

* Note: It's unclear to me if the question asker said "word" or "way".

Sean Baker: The very simple answer is that there is an English slang term. And I may as well just tell you what it means. It's a little crude. It's a dog's erect penis. […]

But also it's up for interpretation. Like some people think she's red rocket, some people think the truck is red rocket. Some people, you know… My sister who is the […] production designer on the film, she was playing with red and blue a lot, and shades of red and blue but where she would apply red is very interesting. Yes, so… But again, up for interpretation.

Video of the Q&A session (the question was asked at 19:33):

There are many parts of the film where the color red was applied. The most prominent of which is on Strawberry. Strawberry is red-haired, was wearing red the first time Mikey met her, and drives a red truck (the "truck" Baker was referring to).

My personal interpretation: the "red rocket" is Strawberry. Strawberry has that red rocket effect on Mikey — she's something that stands out in Texas City (to Mikey). (Mikey: You're like an extraterrestrial around here.) Mikey was smitten when he first saw her and his obsessive desire to turn her into an adult film star drives his actions throughout the rest of the film.

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