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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 74,326 users  
Reviews: 166 user | 40 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 3 wins & 12 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?


Catherine Bell was Isabella Rossellini's nude body double. See more »


Just before Madeline gets her head knocked down by Helen, you can see her body shift. This is because of body double replacement. See more »


Ernest: Well, from now on, I'm going to be the kind of idiot I want to be!
See more »


Referenced in Wings: Death Becomes Him (1995) See more »


Bridal Chorus
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

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User Reviews

A Cult Classic
10 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I never saw "Death Becomes Her" when it first come out because of a review I had read somewhere. The review was dismissive and made a lot of sense, so I decided to give it a miss. What a terrible mistake! This is a movie I would love to see on a big screen. The script is so brilliantly clever. Disguised as a silly comedy there is a world of serious themes executed by a knowing cast. Meryl Streep in particular, playing convincingly an actress without talent. I remember the bad review criticized the writers for setting the story in a rainy, stormy Los Angeles when California was going through a drought. Imagine if a comedy about magic potions should worry about the accuracy of the weather. In fact the Los Angeles of "Death Becomes Her" feels more like Los Angelers than most realistic movies and it does it with nerve and wit. "In 12 years in Los Angeles have you ever seen a neighbor?" screams Meryl to his mousy Bruce. An absolute delight. Other hidden treasures are a cameo from Sidney Pollack and a very funny and very sexy "76 years old" Isabella Rossellini. A new cult classic and a total must.

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