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Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 35,826 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 90 user | 56 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ron Vawter ...
Alexandra Root ...
Earl T. Taylor ...
David Foil ...
John's Colleague


Ann is married to John, who is having an affair with her sister Cynthia. Ann's a quiet type and unwilling to let herself go. When John's old friend, Graham, shows up, all their lives change. Graham likes to videotape interviews with women. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 September 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sex, Lies...  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)


$24,741,700 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Steven Soderbergh's told composer Cliff Martinez to channel Brian Eno, the ambient-music pioneer. See more »


Graham and Anne's hands when they discuss therapy in the cafe. See more »


[first lines]
Ann: Garbage. All I've been thinking about all week is garbage. I mean, I just can't stop thinking about it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to Ann Dollard 1956-1988 See more »


Referenced in Políticos, mentiras y videos (2004) See more »


Written by Mark A. Mangini
Performed by Mark A. Mangini
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating Debut
3 August 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Steven Soderbergh's now legendary debut was the first his film I saw. It was in 1989, during the Moscow International Film Festival. Only later I found out that Sodebergh was 29 when he wrote the screenplay in eight days during a trip to Los Angeles and made the film for $1.8 million. His independent movie was a real hit that was selected for Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or and the best actor prize for James Spader.

The film concerns four attractive and intelligent young people. Ann (Andy MacDowell in the best role I've ever seen her) is married to John (Gallagher) but their sexual life is practically non-existent since Ann finds sex over-rated, and to simply put it, she does not enjoy or even need it. John is having an affair with Ann's sexy younger sister, Cynthia (San Giacomo) who seems to resent Ann. Enters Graham (Spader), John's college friend with the unusual hobby of videotaping women while they describe their sexual fantasies and very important skill - he knows how to listen.

I had seen many movies before "sex, lies and videotape" and I've seen plenty since but it has a special place in my memory. It was the first film I had seen that dealt with and talked about very intimate topics of sexuality, satisfaction, jealousy, sisters' relationship, marital problems and loyalty, the secret longings in all of us, and the ever mysterious nature of erotic desire with such level of honesty, openness, and intelligence. The writing, the dialogs, and the acting are superb with James Spader and Laura San Giacomo simply outstanding and Andie McDowell very convincing.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Absolute CRAP londonsuedehead
Why did Spader had to go to the bathroom twice? Strange scene? unclebob-7
I Love James Spader ShanaJolene05
Why is Ann Thinking about Trash? Barbie_N
Was graham in love with her? Tarna85
Did graham have SPD? Tarna85
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