IMDb > Obsession (1976)
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Obsession (1976) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 10 | slideshow) Videos
Obsession -- Cliff Robertson stars as a New Orleans businessman whose life is shattered when his wife (GenevieveBujold) and daughter are killed in a botched kidnap rescue attempt. Years later, he meets and fallsin love with a woman who bears a striking resemblance to the wife he lost.


User Rating:
6.8/10   5,611 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Brian De Palma (story) and
Paul Schrader (story) ...
View company contact information for Obsession on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 September 1976 (Sweden) See more »
The love story that will scare the life out of you See more »
A businessman becomes fixated upon a young woman who resembles his dead wife. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
(45 articles)
The 10 Best Brian De Palma Films
 (From CinemaNerdz. 13 November 2015, 2:00 AM, PST)

200 Greatest Horror Films (110-101)
 (From SoundOnSight. 24 October 2015, 10:11 PM, PDT)

Killer Couture: The Supplementary Pleasures Of Criterion’S Dressed To Kill Discs
 (From Trailers from Hell. 10 October 2015, 10:33 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Obsession See more (55 total) »


  (in credits order)

Cliff Robertson ... Michael Courtland

Geneviève Bujold ... Elizabeth Courtland / Sandra Portinari

John Lithgow ... Robert Lasalle
Sylvia Kuumba Williams ... Maid (as Sylvia 'Kuumba' Williams)
Wanda Blackman ... Amy Courtland

J. Patrick McNamara ... Third Kidnapper (as Patrick McNamara)
Stanley J. Reyes ... Insp. Brie
Nick Kreiger ... Farber (as Nick Krieger)
Stocker Fontelieu ... Dr. Ellman
Don Hood ... Ferguson
Andrea Esterhazy ... D'Annunzio
Thomas Carr ... Paper Boy
Tom Felleghy ... Italian Businessman
Nella Simoncini Barbieri ... Mrs. Portinari
John Creamer ... Justice of the Peace
Regis Cordic ... Newscaster

Loraine Despres ... Jane
Clyde Ventura ... Ticket Agent
Fain M. Cogrove ... Secretary
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Harper ... Man In Airport (uncredited)
Warren Kenner ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Brian De Palma 
Writing credits
Brian De Palma (story) and
Paul Schrader (story)

Paul Schrader (screenplay)

Produced by
Harry N. Blum .... producer
Robert S. Bremson .... executive producer
George Litto .... producer
Original Music by
Bernard Herrmann 
Cinematography by
Vilmos Zsigmond 
Film Editing by
Paul Hirsch 
Art Direction by
Jack Senter 
Set Decoration by
Jerry Wunderlich 
Costume Design by
Frank Balchus 
Production Management
Frank Beetson .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Wiliam Pool .... assistant director
Sound Department
David M. Ronne .... sound
Dan Sable .... sound effects editor
Special Effects by
Joe Lombardi .... special effects
Bob Herron .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Nick McLean .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
Music Department
Paul B. Clay .... music editor
Louis Halsey .... choral director (uncredited)
Bernard Herrmann .... conductor (uncredited)
Laurie Johnson .... conductor: finale (uncredited)
Christopher Palmer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Rachel Griffiths .... script supervisor
Hannah Scheel .... script supervisor
Rachel Ticotin .... production assistant
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
98 min | Australia:94 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | France:U | Iceland:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:12 (video rating) | UK:12 (video rating) (2011) | USA:PG | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

The church seen at the beginning of the film, Church of San Miniato, is different from the one that Michael actually goes into when he sees Sandra. The reason for this is because the priests of the Church of San Miniato would not allow De Palma and his crew to film inside of the church, because of a previous film crew that turned out to be making a porno film, and had told them otherwise. This can be seen clearly when Michael goes into the church, which only has one door to enter into, and then in the next shot, where Michael's back is towards the door, and there are now two, and a windows on the doors that don't match the one that we saw on the outside shot. The collegiate church in the town of San Gimignano was used for the interior shots.See more »
Anachronisms: In Robertson's first trip on the paddle-wheel boat to deliver ransom money in 1959, as it takes off, a pan to the street reveals traffic nearby with contemporary (1970's) cars.See more »
Robert Lasalle:[Michael has pointed out Sandra to him] Oh my God...See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Palermo Shooting (2008)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
Obsession, 30 October 2005
Author: lee953go from United States

No previews of this movie should be read if there is any chance that it gives away the plot of the movie. The ending is quite unbelievable and heart-stopping. You think all through this movie that you know what is going on--but you won't. I know people who saw this movie and still did not know what actually happened. I was fortunate enough to see this movie in a theater in 1976. There was hardly anyone else in the theater. In one week I saw the movie five times and would have seen it more but the theater ended the showing of it. In my city it was not shown at any other theater. The reason "Obsession" did not do well in ticket sales was that the title made people think of demon possession movies(which many were tired of at that time). It was not marketed correctly. The movie opens in 1959 as a rich business man in New Orleans, Courtland,(Cliff Robertson) is married to a wonderful wife and has a daughter who is about five years old. The wife and daughter are kidnapped and held for ransom. Courtland, thinking that he is doing the safest thing that he can do, contacts the police. The police find the kidnappers and the wife and daughter. The kidnappers escape with the hostages in a car and the police chase them. The kidnapper's car slams into a fuel truck on a bridge and all is lost. Courtland blames himself for the tragedy. Courtland spends the next sixteen years buried in guilt and remorse. Psychotherapy does not do much good. In 1975, Court(as he is known as) is finally persuaded to take a vacation in Italy where his firm conducts business. His partner(John Lithgow, who does a great job speaking Italian with a New Orleans drawl)goes with him. Court goes to a huge,beautiful, cathedral where he makes a heart-rendering, earth-shaking, discovery. All through the movie, care must be taken to carefully observe the paintings, whether they are in the cathedral or in a house. They all have meaning. There are art students in the cathedral who are restoring paintings that have been damaged during a flood(A second chance for the works of art). One of the students,a young woman, bears an uncanny resemblance to Court's dead wife. Court returns later with his business partner who is shocked by the resemblance of the woman. The musical score during these scenes are hauntingly beautiful and tell the story of a man who has awakened from a nightmare of self-reproach. Court meets the student, Sandra(Geniveve Bujold,one of the most beautiful actresses in the world) and takes her to lunch. Lunch turns into dinner and a relationship develops. Court falls madly in love with her. He is alive for the first time since 1959. Court returns with her to New Orleans and announces that he is going to marry her. His friends try to talk him out of this whirlwind romance and give himself time to think about it. Court dismisses their advice and decides to marry Sandra the next day without his friends. Sandra reluctantly agrees. The next morning, Court finds that Sandra has been kidnapped. The ransom note is a copy of the 1959 ransom note. This nearly drives Court info insanity and he decides that this time he will do the ransom right--but will he succeed? The rest of the movie is a frenzy. The last two minutes of the movie should not be viewed by anyone with a heart condition. It is that intense. I cannot explain further because the movie is not only a love story and thriller, but also a mystery. Brian DePalma was a genius for directing this movie. There are several scenes in this movie where the camera rotates around a character, painting a picture of an unsteady state of mind. You can see the same cinematography and effect in the 2005 movie, "Flightplan", with Jodie Foster. Both movies have the same portrayal of one who is desperately cares for a loved one and is dealing with intense guilt from the past. Both movies end in an airport with the main characters doing exactly the same thing, which I cannot reveal without ruining the ending of the movies. You must find a copy of "Obsession" and view it because it is like no other movie--even though some have compared it to Hitchcock's movie, "Vertigo".

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (55 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Obsession (1976)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Daughter chris_hughes-1
Oldboy? *spoilers for both* bignosebob1
1959 Scenes - Wha????? SamticJudd
I can do all things through Bernard Herrman's score who inspires me... BrightsLights
Extended soundtrack re-issue londomollari
Q: the second briefcase (spoilers, obviously) dukeofauge
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man 3 The Usual Suspects Bullitt Flightplan
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.