A successful young model finds trouble when her obsessive manager-turned-husband becomes dangerously jealous. Based on the true story of 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten.



Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dorothy's Mother
Aram Nicholas
Private Detective
Lisa Gordon ...
Sidney Miller ...
Nightclub Owner
Keith Hefner ...
Tina Willson ...
Bobo Weller
Shelly Ingram ...
Sheila Anderson ...
Exotic Dancer
Meg Davis
Kathryn Witt ...


Paul Snider is a narcissistic, small time hustler who fancies himself a ladies man. His life changes when he meets Dorothy Stratten working behind the counter of a Dairy Queen. Dorothy is a pretty but naive high school senior. Paul immediately falls for Dorothy, who sees in Paul a wise, worldly person unlike herself. Paul believes Dorothy is Playboy material, the magazine he sees as only a springboard to bigger and better things. Paul's dream does become a reality: not only does Dorothy eventually marry him, she becomes the August 1979 Playboy Playmate and ultimately Playboy Playmate of 1979, which does indeed lead to the start of an acting career. As Dorothy's star rises, Paul's life is one of a hanger-on as those in Dorothy's new circle, including Playboy publisher Hugh M. Hefner and movie director Aram Nicholas, don't much like Paul. Paul is unable to eke out a life of his own without using Dorothy's name, which she increasingly is reluctant to provide to her husband. Those that ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 February 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bob Fosse's Star 80  »

Box Office


$6,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The names of the movies in which Dorothy Stratten appeared in real life in were changed for the film. The picture called "Wednesday's Child" in reality was Autumn Born (1979). The movie referred to as "Ball Bearings" is actually Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). The movie that Paul Snider (Eric Roberts) says is "a sci-fi film [where] she plays a robot" was in real life Galaxina (1980). The final film mentioned, "Tinsel Time", which Aram Nicholas (Roger Rees) was editing at the time of Dorothy's death, is supposed to be They All Laughed (1981), which in real life was directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who had in real life personally been seeing Stratten. Bogdanovich in real life later in 1988 married Louise Stratten, the sister of Dorothy Stratten. The pair were divorced in 2001. See more »


While Paul harangues Dorothy about her upcoming trip to New York while she soaks in the bathtub her face and hair are alternately wet/dry between shots. See more »


Snider: I found her, you didn't. I found her.
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Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to Paddy Chayefsky See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Endless Love (2014) See more »


Music by Ralph Burns
Lyrics by Michael Tronick
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User Reviews

Eric Roberts dominates.
19 May 1999 | by (Marietta, GA, USA) – See all my reviews

Eric Roberts stole the show big time in this movie. He created one of the most despicable characters in all movie history, the small-time hustler Paul Snider. From the moment early on in the film when he's seen practicing his falsely sincere greetings in a mirror, the viewer takes an instant dislike to him. As he manipulates the naive and beautiful Dorothy Stratton (Mariel Hemingway) for his own selfish purposes the feeling gets almost exponentially larger. Hemingway is unlucky in a way to have to go up against such a dominating performance. She can't hope to match it, but she does a good enough job to make the film work. Cliff Robertson is excellent in the role of Hugh Hefner, which probably wasn't an easy situation, given that that man is both a well-known figure yet still a mysterious legend to some. Contrary to what a lot of people thought, I don't think Hefner came out looking that badly in the way that he was portrayed. This was a sad and ugly story but he wasn't the villain.

The movie serves as an epitaph to an ordinary young woman with extraordinary beauty who never had a chance once she got in the clutches of such a self-serving user. For me the most painfully sad moment in the movie came when Dorothy's mother (Carroll Baker) contemptuously tells Snider, "She never even used to go around in her bathrobe before you came along."

This movie is obviously not a lot of laughs but it's still worthwhile, especially for the outstanding performance of Roberts.

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