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Being John Malkovich (1999)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  3 December 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 242,071 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 833 user | 241 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of the movie star, John Malkovich.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 46 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Mantini
Father at Puppet Show
Madison Lanc ...
Daughter at Puppet Show
Woman in Elevator (as Octavia L. Spencer)
K.K. Dodds ...
Byrne Piven ...
Captain Mertin
Judith Wetzell ...
Tiny Woman
Cab Driver
Guy in Restaurant


Puppeteer Craig Schwartz and animal lover and pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz are just going through the motions of their marriage. Despite not being able to earn a living solely through puppeteering, Craig loves his profession as it allows him to inhabit the skin of others. He begins to take the ability to inhabit the skin of others to the next level when he is forced to take a job as a file clerk for the off-kilter LesterCorp, located on the five-foot tall 7½ floor of a Manhattan office building. Behind one of the filing cabinets in his work area, Craig finds a hidden door which he learns is a portal into the mind of John Malkovich, the visit through the portal which lasts fifteen minutes after which the person is spit into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig is fascinated by the meaning of life associated with this finding. Lotte's trips through the portal make her evaluate her own self. And the confident Maxine Lund, one of Craig's co-workers who he tells about the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ever Wanted To Be Someone Else? See more »


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 December 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Biti John Malkovich  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$637,721 (USA) (29 October 1999)


£1,882,462 (UK) (5 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Orson Bean had a role in the film Innerspace (1987); also about a man taking control of another man's body. See more »


When Craig first wakes up ("wintry economic climate"), the position of the comforter around his shoulders changes several times. See more »


[first lines]
Lotte Schwartz: Craig, honey, it's time for bed.
[fade out and in]
Orrin Hatch the bird: Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up, Craig, honey, time to get up,
Craig Schwartz: Lotte...
Lotte Schwartz: I'm sorry. I didn't know Orrin Hatch was out of his cage.
See more »

Crazy Credits

at the end of the cast listing is noted ...and John Malkovich See more »


References An American in Paris (1951) See more »


Documentary Music
Written by Les Hooper
Performed by Les Hooper
Courtesy of Hooperman Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I want to be John Malkovich.
23 November 1999 | by See all my reviews

This film was absolutely incredible. Attempting to explain the plot in any way that would do it justice would be an excercise in futility, but let it be said that I see many, many movies, and in my lifetime, I have never seen a movie such as Being John Malkovitch.

The acting is completely brilliant .. Cameron Diaz is nearly unrecognizable, both in behavior and appearance, as is John Cusack. John Malkovich was presented with an interesting opportunity in playing himself, and he seems to have seized the opportunity with relish. He is most definitely not being himself in front of the camera, but instead creates this wonderful character of John Malkovich the vessel.

I've admired Spike Jonez's work for a good long time, and I'm pleased to say that in his first full length feature as a director, he succeeds with flying colors in creating an original, beautiful, humorous, and good natured picture.

See Being John Malkovich, because come Oscar time, you're going to want to know why its winning!

112 of 156 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I am a MSTie, and found this uwatchable. gaijin33
Why John Malkovich? miles_fierce_larson
I completely do NOT get this movie, care to explain? yuan-van
Highly Overrated chironaphelion
Catherine Keener as Maxine? metanthrax
This is a horror movie georgetazberik
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