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Lolita (1997)

2:05 | Trailer

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A man marries his landlady so he can take advantage of her daughter.



(novel), (screenplay)
1,188 ( 118)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Keith Reddin ...
Reverend Rigger
Erin J. Dean ...
Joan Glover ...
Miss LaBone
Pat Pierre Perkins ...
Louise (as Pat P. Perkins)
Dr. Melinik
Mr. Beale
Mrs. Holmes
Ben Silverstone ...
Young Humbert Humbert
Annabel Lee (as Emma Griffiths-Malin)
Young Humbert's Father


Humbert Humbert, a British professor coming to the US to teach, rents a room in Charlotte Haze's house, but only after he sees her 14-year-old daughter, Dolores (Lolita), to whom he is immediately attracted. Though he hates the mother, he marries her as this is the only way to be close to the girl, who will prove to be too mature for her age. They start a journey together, trying to hide they're not just (step)father and daughter, throughout the country, being followed by someone whom Humbert first suspects to be from the police. The profound jealousy, and maybe some guilt from the forbidden love, seem slowly to drive the man emotionally labile. Written by Luis Canau <luis..canau@mail.EUnet.pt>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Watch it and make up your own mind. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for aberrant sexuality, a strong scene of violence, nudity and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 September 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Лолита  »


Box Office


$62,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,492, 26 July 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Due to considerable difficulty in securing an American distributor, the film had a very limited theatrical run in order to qualify for award contention. The final domestic gross income was over $1.1 million on a $62 million budget. See more »


When Lolita looks through the stacks of $100 bills Humbert has just given her, they are clearly modern notes with design elements and signatures of the 1990s, not the earlier versions that would have been in circulation circa 1950. See more »


[first lines]
Humbert: [voiceover] She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks, she was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always - Lolita. Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin. My soul.
Humbert: Lolita.
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Crazy Credits

After the credits are over there is a brief clip where Lolita is shown juggling a red apple. See more »


References Beau Pere (1981) See more »


Open The Door, Richard!
Written by Dusty Fletcher, John Mason, Jack McVea and Don Howell
Performed by Jack McVea
See more »

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User Reviews

A powerfully moving adaptation
13 August 1998 | by See all my reviews

Briefly put, this film is a quite brilliant adaptation of the novel. While staying pretty faithful to the original source, Stephen Schiff's screenplay fleshes out the primary characters and their relationship, which plays out as a taboo but reserved love story. Maintaining the central themes, the plot is reduced to the essence of the major players and the linear events of the book. It's almost impossible to adapt a long book into the confines of a single average-length movie, but Schiff captures most of the important moments quite well and humanizes the characters who could have come off as bizarre depictions from Humbert's narrative.

Lyne's movie is at once haunting, compelling, and beautifully photographed. For all the controversy, it is a mature, reflective, and subtle film. "Lolita" is a challenging piece of work that sublimely reflects the pathos of the story and manages to retain bits of the complex humor of Nabokov. This "Lolita" abandons the notion of being a complete social satire and works as an essentially dramatic portrayal of a doomed, inappropriate romance that is ultimately a sad, tragic tale.

The performances are remarkable, especially those of Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain. Irons is utterly perfect as the ill-fated wretch, Humbert Humbert. So understated but evocative with every move and gesture, he is the definitive Old-World European whose obsession bristles beneath his timorous demeanor. He evokes an incredible amount of sympathy for the character. Swain delivers an on-target portrayal of the flowering nymphet who toys with her burgeoning sexuality but hasn't overcome her fundamental brattiness. Swain elicits both allure and pity as the wayward character whose immaturity in mindset and behavior does not excuse her complicity in her affairs. Despite what some critics may have written, Melanie Griffith is fine in the small role as Lolita's overbearing mother. She is comically obtuse, and her veneer hits all the right, grating notes. Frank Langella rounds out the cast as the mysterious Quilty. He is appropriately shady, vague, and sinister when he appears from time to time, slowly revealing himself.

This is a real winner on many levels and should be up for several awards including best picture, director, actor, actress, and adapted screenplay. Showtime should be congratulated for its smart acquisition. I hope the movie finds its way to the largest possible audience.

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