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Death Becomes Her (1992)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy  |  31 July 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 73,088 users  
Reviews: 166 user | 39 critic

When a woman learns of an immortality treatment, she sees it as a way to outdo her long-time rival.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Psychologist (as Alaina Reed Hall)
Vivian Adams
William Frankfather ...
Mr. Franklin
Opening Man
Opening Woman
Second Man


In 1978, in Broadway, the decadent and narcissist actress Madeline Ashton is performing Songbird, based on Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth. Then she receives her rival Helen Sharp, who is an aspiring writer, and her fiancé Ernest Menville, who is a plastic surgeon, in her dressing-room. Soon Menville calls off his commitment with Helen and marries Madeline. Seven years later, Helen is obese in a psychiatric hospital and obsessed in seeking revenge on Madeline. In 1992, the marriage of Madeline and Menville is finished and he is no longer a surgeon but an alcoholic caretaker. Out of the blue, they are invited to a party where Helen will release her novel Forever Young and Madeline goes to a beauty shop. The owner gives a business card of the specialist in rejuvenation Lisle Von Rhuman to her. When the envious Madeline sees Helen thin in a perfect shape, she decides to seek out Lisle and buys a potion to become young again. Further, she advises that Madeline must take care of ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In one small bottle... The fountain of youth. The secret of eternal life. The power of an ancient potion. Sometimes it works... sometimes it doesn't. See more »


Comedy | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some nudity and off-color humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 July 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La muerte le sienta bien  »

Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)


$58,422,650 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In several scenes, references to deceased musicians and actors are visible. When Bruce Willis's character falls through the glass roof and lands in the pool, Jim Morrison can clearly be seen with a girl. Later on, an extra playing James Dean turns around (with his signature hairdo) as Willis steals his Grey Spider. See more »


When Ernest is looking at the picture in front of the mirror, the top of a crew member's head is clearly visible moving in the bottom left corner of the mirror. See more »


Ernest Menville: [at Helen's book party] Have you seen her yet?
Madeline: What a joke. She's not even here.
Ernest Menville: Wait. Look over there.
Madeline: [a heavy-set woman stands surrounded by people] Oh! Looks as though she's lost a few pou-
[the heavy set lady moves out of the way to reveal the incredibly thin Helen Sharp]
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Girls: Death Becomes Her (2014) See more »


Written by Geoffrey Aymar
Lyrics by Martin Donovan & David Koepp
Arranged by William Ross
Performed by Meryl Streep (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

A genius combination of three great actors makes this worth while!
24 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

Ok, call me crazy but wasn't this the first film that anyone had ever seen Bruce Willis play a character that didn't involve him blasting bad guys into the air with a machine gun? Don't get me wrong, I loved "Die Hard" and am a big fan of Bruce but it was just so refreshing to see him play a character that was so different to his previous (and, indeed, later) roles. His performance of the downtrodden, weedy "Ernest" is masterful as he strikes a perfect balance between the comedy and darkness of the film. If you like black comedies (like me), you'll love this! Whoever thought of casting such a genius combination of these three great actors in this film should be applauded. Hawn and Streep are excellently cast as the two feisty women competing over Ernest, desperately hanging on to their long-gone youth and stopping at NOTHING to get what they want - the bitch fight between the two gals is a scene NOT to be missed!

All in all, "Death Becomes Her" is a deliciously dark comedy with a brilliant cast, great direction and some pretty convincing special effects - considering it was made way back in 1992!

34 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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