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Fatal Attraction (1987)

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A married man's one-night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.



(screenplay), (short film)
1,993 ( 407)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Latzen ...
Ellen Gallagher (as Ellen Hamilton Latzen)
Meg Mundy ...
Tom Brennan ...
J.J. Johnston ...
Michael Arkin ...
Fuselli (as Sam J. Coppola)
Eunice Prewitt ...


Happily married New York lawyer Dan Callagher has an affair with his colleague Alex, and the two enjoy a love weekend while Dan's wife and kid are away. But Alex will not let go of him, and she will stop at nothing to have him for herself. Just how far will she go to get what she wants? Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A look that led to an evening. A mistake he'll regret...FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. See more »


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Affairs of the Heart  »

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$156,645,693 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (5.1 surround)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ellen's (Ellen Latzen) babysitter early in the film is played by a young Jane Krakowski. Both actresses played the children of Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn of the Vacation film series. Jane Krakowski played cousin Vicky in the original National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). Later, Ellen Hamilton Latzen was cast as Ruby Sue in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). This technically makes the actresses on-screen sisters. See more »


In the final bathroom scene, the bloody knife becomes clean when knocked on the floor. See more »


[first lines]
Beth Gallagher: [to Dan] You better get going kiddo, we're gonna be late.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Barbara Harris is sometimes credited under the name Barbara Iley. In the final credits here, under 'Party Guests', she is credited under both names. See more »


Referenced in Dark Water (2002) See more »


Music by Giacomo Puccini (as Puccini)
Performed by Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti & Christa Ludwig
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan (as Herbert Von Karajan)
Courtesy of London Records
A division of Polygram Classics, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Why I Became A Philosopher
7 August 2015 | by (Kneeling In The Light) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

I detested Flashdance, 9 and a half weeks and Jacob's Ladder was painful. It is hard to believe the same man made this very scary movie. Renowned for its pop out scares and surprises, that I will not spoil for you, suffice to say, if you are eating during the movie, have a good grip on your food. Full of Death symbolism, she: wears black constantly, lives near a slaughterhouse, everyone she knew is dead, there are allusions that she is some kind of supernatural force. Apart from this, they meet, have fun and he cannot shake her. There are hints that she did something to that older man in her past. The movie is quite linear, Alex starts as a minor annoyance in Dan's life; the degrees of crazy that she begins evincing give the movie its suspense. She turns from a jilted lover to a potential mass murdering maniac. The progression is believable and well written. It moves just like real life, yet, she will surprise you with little pop outs of just how nuts she really is. No movie is perfect, especially an Adrian Lyne movie. Fat boy and wife, Dan's friends are quite annoying and inappropriate. It kills the intensity of the movie. Pankin was a big star on an HBO comedy show at this time. His scenes have not aged well. Imagine how good this would be and how much higher the intensity without a bad stand up comic as the couple's friends.

Douglas seems to know this, given his experience. Look at the pained look on his face when Fat Boy takes over the movie with his unfunny routine. The same flaw as Flashdance with hamburger boy who also killed the intensity with bad humor. This could have been a masterpiece if the couple's friends weren't a bad comic and his wife. Yet, it will scare you: I guarantee it. The movie plays with you; the old she is gone forever and we are safe now trick. The movie was attacked in 1987 for showing a child in danger; this had already been broken the year before, in 1986, with Aliens. The movie has graphic violence and is quite intense. Close does a very believable psychotic sociopath. This is not for children. While the violence is tame, by today's standards, the intensity remains. It also has lots of nudity and wild kitchen sex which are mild by today's depravations. A monster hit in 1987, it shot Lyne to the stars, Jacob's Ladder took care of that.

The ending is one of the scariest and most controversial. Feminists may be offended by his actions. He could have shot her in the legs; the death shot was justified by the charge she made at him. It was attacked as misogynistic and gratuitous in the name of scaring the crap out of people. I never had a problem with it. She charges and gives him little choice. The stresses that infidelity puts on a marriage will evoke laughter within this Zeitgeist. Lyne spends some time showing the devastation of Beth at learning of Dan's affair and the impact on the little girl. This is now quite anachronistic; it will seem odd to today's viewer. Our culture has little or no taboo on affairs like they was in 1987. The movie is slow at the beginning but once it gets going, there is no stopping until the terrifying ending. The Only Adrian Lyne Movie Worth Owning.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why didn't Alex kill the dog? nwacommish
Dan Gallagher's biggest mistake... MartianMan
Is there movie of a man who stalks a woman? slesleylawson
was Alex really pregnant??? hornyheather100
Why didn't they just script a son instead of a boyish little girl? mechminx
Who else actually felt sorry for Alex? saint_sophie
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