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Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

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An affluent New York couple find their lives touched, intruded upon, and compelled by a mysterious young black man who is never quite who he says he is.



(play), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody (as Osgood Perkins)
Doug (as Jeffrey Abrams)
Joe Pentangelo ...
Police Officer


New Yorkers Ouisa and Flan Kittredge are upper class private art dealers, pretentious but compassionate. Their prized possession is a double sided Kandinsky, one side that represents control, the other side chaos. They relay a story to their friends and acquaintances that over time becomes legendary. It is their encounter with a young black man who they had never met or heard of but who comes stumbling upon their front door one evening as they are courting an important investor, Geoffrey Miller, who could make them wealthy beyond what they could have dreamed. That black man is Paul Poitier, who has just arrived in the city, was just mugged outside their building and is sporting a minor knife wound to the abdomen. He is a friend of the Kittredge's children, who are attending Harvard, but more importantly is the son of actor/director Sidney Poitier. Tomorrow, Paul is meeting up with his father who is in town directing a movie of "Cats". Beyond the attraction of talking Paul into getting... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For Paul, every person is a new door to a new world.


Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 December 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Seis Graus de Separação  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)


$6,410,676 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Will Smith's character in the film passes himself off as Sidney Poitier's son. In real life, when Smith met Poitier for the first time, the veteran actor said "Well, you're almost handsome enough to be my son". See more »


When Paul is on the phone to Ouisa he calls Flan (Donald Sutherland) "Donald". See more »


[first lines]
Flan: My God!
Ouisa: Is anything gone?
Flan: How can I look, I'm shaking!
Ouisa: I want to know if anything's gone!
Flan: Calm down.
Ouisa: We could have been killed! Oh, my God! The Kandinsky!
Flan: The Kandinsky!
Ouisa: It's gone, oh my God! Call the police!
Flan: Oh, no, there it is. Oh! The silver Victorian inkwell!
See more »


References Blackboard Jungle (1955) See more »


The Bridal Chorus
from "Lohengren"
by Richard Wagner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

This was a brilliant play
14 August 2003 | by (Venice, CA) – See all my reviews

I saw Stockard Channing do this play on Broadway, and it remains one of the best theater experiences ever. It's really the story of her character Ouisa gradually seeing that her life is just pretty surfaces, and in meeting this young con-man with whom she makes an intense emotional connection, that she wants more than her marriage, her friends, her life. The dialogue goes like the wind and you barely get a chance to catch your breath; some of the dialogue is spoken as a soliloquy. It's John Guare's mastery of the language at its best, better than "The House of Blue Leaves." I'm much more of a movie person than a theater person, but this play really sang.

Unfortunately the translation to film is only partially successful. Whereas the play is a spoken confessional of Oiusa Kitteridge, the movie emphasizes Paul (Will Smith). Smith does a good-to-great job with this character. The transition from a verbal to a visual medium robs the language of much of its power, and rather than re-write it as a movie, it's sort of a 'half-transition,' which doesn't really please anyone. The other problem I had with it was Donald Sutherland; who wasn't half-bad. But John Cunningham, who played the role on Broadway, was sharper, harder, a GAMBLER...Sutherland just comes across as a nice guy that gets a bit upset that he's been conned. And the emotional blow that comes at the end of the play when you realize that Oiusa's perfect marriage is falling apart just doesn't come across.

Still fascinating for its premise and worth a look; even this watered-down version never fails to entertain.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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