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Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)

Documentary following singer Madonna on her controversial Blond Ambition tour in 1990.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Herself
Donna DeLory ...
Herself - Vocals and Dancer (as Donna Delory)
Niki Harris ...
Herself - Vocals and Dancer (as Niki Harris)
...
Himself - Dancer
Oliver Crumes Jr. ...
Himself - Dancer (as Oliver Crumes)
Salim Gauwloos ...
Himself - Dancer
Jose Guitierez ...
Himself - Dancer
...
Himself - Dancer (as Kevin Stea)
Gabriel Trupin ...
Himself - Dancer
...
Himself - Dancer
Sharon Gault ...
Herself - Mama Make-up
Joanne Gair ...
Herself - Madonna's Make-up
Jai Winding ...
Himself - Keyboards
Jonathan Moffett ...
Himself - Drums
...
Himself - Guitar (as David Williams)
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Storyline

From the rain of Japan, through threats of arrest for 'public indecency' in Canada, and a birthday tribute to her father in Detroit, this documentary follows Madonna on her 1990 'Blond Ambition' concert tour. Filmed in black and white, with the concert pieces in glittering MTV color, it is an intimate look at the work of the music performer, from a prayer circle with the dancers before each performance to bed games with the dance troupe afterwards. Written by Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Like you've never seen her before. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual dialogue and situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Truth or Dare  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$15,012,935 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Fincher was originally going to direct, but cancelled at the last minute. See more »

Goofs

Supposedly the live footage is filmed in the United States (she even greets the audience by saying 'Alright America do you believe in love' but they zoom out so far that you can't see her lips moving). In the United States Madonna was wearing the ponytail. In all the live footage she has curled hair. This means the show was actually filmed in Europe (according to the credits, it was in Paris). There are several references to the live footage being filmed in America, especially Like a Virgin in Toronto and Keep it Together (the technical problems) in Los Angeles, even though that footage was also filmed in Paris. See more »

Quotes

Niki Harris: I got the moves baby. You got the LOTION.
See more »

Crazy Credits

All through the end credits Madonna and her dancers' voices are heard getting ready for bed and after the credits are done Madonna is shown saying, "I'm just gonna push this button and the camera's gonna go off now. Ok?" See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Family Affair
Written by Sly Stone (as Slyvester Stewart)
Mijac Music (adm. by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.)
Performed by Madonna
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Whatever, girl.
3 May 2002 | by (Haddonfield, IL) – See all my reviews

I came away from "Truth Or Dare" feeling the way I do when someone cuts me off in traffic and then gives me the finger. On the surface, it's a competent documentary, well-edited and interestingly photographed (even the grainy backstage footage).

On the other hand, the film is like having obnoxious personalities thrust at you with every turn. It wants to be a "controversial", no-holds-barred record of Madonna's large-scale Blonde Ambition concert tour. At the center of this carnival of hard-working but uninspired nincompoops is Madonna herself. Madonna certainly fancies herself the queen bitch, but also wants to show us that she's got a sensitive side too (like when she lies on her mother's grave in front of the camera). I had to laugh when I read other reviews that ascertained how this film shows us that Madonna is "just another human being". What did we think she was? An alien? A ghost?

I enjoyed watching the weirdness involving Warren Beatty. Some of it is curious too, such as when the only heterosexual dancer in Madonna's troupe tries to express the fact that he doesn't like the gay guys he is working with. His words portray him as ignorant, but about his co-dancers he is right on the mark--they are irritating in the same way a nest full of twittering birds outside the bedroom window at 4am would be.

The one thing that fascinates me about "Truth Or Dare" is that Madonna herself had control over this film, yet she comes off as a self-obsessed clod. She's like a real-life version of the Faye Dunaway character from "Network", interested only in success and having no depth of her own. So either she herself didn't realize how shallow it makes her look, or she knew her fans wouldn't notice it--or even stranger, perhaps they idolize her for being so self-centered and detached.

Madonna has always put on airs about herself (like the faux British accent she speaks with these days), but here you can see her stumbling over her various phony images and fronts, like in her decidedly inarticulate prayer before the show that she dedicates to Keith Haring ("...who doesn't have the luxury of being alive like we do..."). The "religious" Madonna chokes on her words and seems flustered that the camera is still rolling, then reacts with a self-conscious aside. Wow, look--Madonna is sensitive!

In fact she's so sensitive that her first reaction when she hears that one of her makeup staff was given a date-rape drug and sodomized is a giggle, albeit a nervous one. Then there's the infamous scene where she totally misses Kevin Costner's sense of humor and mocks him behind his back. Gad, she's so wickedly funny, isn't she? We also learn that Madonna is loyal, like when she excitedly waits to reconnect with a childhood friend, then disregards the woman when she says she'd like to name her unborn baby after Madonna.

The movie also posits that Madonna is an "artist" and that her music is her "art". It's hilarious to watch Madonna and her brother, Christopher, defending the more 'risque' parts of the calculated stage show by calling it a "journey...you have to go through all the different parts to get to the end." See? They HAD to do the masturbation scene.

This kind of self-important stuff seems to be norm for those working with Madonna. She certainly didn't invent this kind of elaborate stage show, but you'd never know it from the way the show is discussed in this movie. Elaborate concerts like this were going on decades before Madonna, and certainly with more substantial artists involved--Pink Floyd comes to mind. Although Madonna's show is opulently staged, it ultimately has little to do with live musicianship. Although there are musicians involved, Madonna is not one of them herself, and the focus of the show is entirely on her and her sets. Yet it doesn't seem to work as theater either, since the "journey" it is purportedly representing is vague, at best.

I can understand how Madonna managed to sell millions of records (even people less talented than Madonna have done so), but I have never understood how she has inspired long-lasting devotion in some people who seem to find greatness in her, and "Truth or Dare" doesn't give much insight to this. In fact, she seems to have succeeded almost in spite of her bitchy attitude and her tendency to either alienate or disregard those who have befriended her or worked with her. Her music is sometimes enjoyable, often unremarkable, and she seems to want to paint herself as an individual who is relentlessly driven to succeed and gets everything she wants, at any cost--as if ruthless ambition were something to aspire to.

While it may be true that Madonna is ambitious, "Truth or Dare" seems to overlook the fact that Madonna is also very clearly a product of a corporate entity, a mediocre recording artist who was so heavily promoted by both herself and her record label that she was bound to catch on. At one point Madonna makes much of her so-called "talent" for pushing peoples buttons (as if being shocking or titillating is difficult), and this may have been one of the ways she made her money, but you can bet that a bunch of guys in suits and ties have made a lot more money off of her. Her willingness to do anything to succeed probably looked pretty good to Warner Brothers records, so they lavished her with money and promotion and let her take off like an obnoxious little kid racing a bike down a hill. The thing that "Truth or Dare" taught me about Madonna is that she was the little kid who probably pushed all the other kids off their bikes so she would get to the bottom of the hill first.

Blonde Ambition, indeed.


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