A Broadway playwright puts murder in his plan to take credit for a student's script.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Irene Worth ...
Joe Silver ...
Tony DiBenedetto ...
Burt - the Bartender
Al LeBreton ...
Handsome Actor
Francis B. Creamer Jr. ...
The Minister (as Rev. Francis B. Creamer Jr.)
Stewart Klein ...
Jeffrey Lyons ...
Stage Newsboy
Jayne Heller ...
Stage Actress
George Peck ...
Stage Actor


To make Sidney's slump all the more painful, Clifford Anderson, a student of one of Sidney's writing seminars, has recently sent his mentor a copy of his first attempt at playwrighting for Sidney's review and advice. The play, "Deathtrap," is a five character, two act thriller so perfect in its construction that, as Sidney says, "A gifted director couldn't even hurt it." Using his penchant for plot, and out of his desperate desire to once again be the toast of Broadway, Sidney, along with Myra, cook up an almost unthinkable scheme: They'll lure the would-be playwright to the Bruhl home, kill him, and market the sure-fire script as Sidney's own. But shortly after Clifford arrives, it's clear that things are not what they seem! Indeed, even Helga Ten Dorp, a nosey psychic from next door, and Porter Milgram, Sidney's observant attorney, can only speculate where the line between truth and deception lies. Written by Craig C. Bailey

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When a man has murder on his mind be sure you don't fall into a...Deathtrap. [Video] See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 March 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ira Levin's Deathtrap  »

Box Office


$17,385,291 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some people confuse this movie as being a remake of Sleuth (1972) where Michael Caine gets to play the Laurence Olivier role with Christopher Reeve playing Caine's role from that movie. It can be said that the Michael Caine's part of Sidney Bruhl in this film is similar to Olivier's role in Sleuth (1972)_. This movie is not a remake of Sleuth (1972) but interestingly, twenty-five years after this film was made, Michael Caine did actually appear in a remake of Sleuth (1972). The Sleuth (2007) remake had the same title and actually really did have Caine playing the Olivier role from the original Sleuth (1972). See more »


When Sidney has the Deathtrap script and threatens to throw it into the fireplace, the fire isn't lit. See more »


[first lines]
[the actor on stage delivers an unintelligible line]
First Audience Member: It's the worst play I've ever seen.
Second Audience Member: I can't believe Sidney Bruhl wrote it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Murderous weapons by Eoin Sprott. See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent mystery movie soaked in wit
20 June 2003 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Deathtrap runs like a play within a movie about who did what to whom, as it primarily takes place on one set. The premise is that an accomplished playwright, whose star is falling, receives a magnificent manuscript from a former student and so he plans to off his protege and appropriate his play, to the (loud) protests of his wife. Or so you think, for the first half of the movie. Past the halfway mark, Deathtrap begins to throw in twists and surprises that turn its premise on its head, then right around, and then in a mad spin, all the time keeping its title appropriate. It's an excellent mystery movie soaked in wit.

Michael Caine, as the senior playwright, plays himself in this movie - a slightly loony and very dramatic Brit. No surprises here - he does his usual good work. He gets the best line of Deathtrap, which he executes perfectly: "What is your definition of success, being gang-banged in a state penitentiary?"

Christopher Reeve, on the other hand, juggles comedy and drama in a surprisingly strong performance playing the ambitious (and psychopathic) young playwright. He also gets to show off his very toned body, which he must've retained coming off the Superman movies.

Caine and Reeve have collaborated in another movie that's one of my favorite comedies - Noises Off. It similarly revolves around a play as well, although this time Caine is the director and Reeve is an actor. They are joined by comic veterans Carol Burnett, John Ritter, Marilu Henner (Taxi) and Mark Linn-Baker (Perfect Strangers). Together, they demonstrate the calamities that befall the bed-hopping cast and crew of a play. On the surface, the movie looks to be mostly slapstick but upon watching you find that they are many subtle jokes that require more than one viewing to catch. Wish this underrated movie was available on DVD.

15 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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