841 user 241 critic

Being John Malkovich (1999)

0:32 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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



2,047 ( 32)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 75 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adaptation. (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper
Magnolia (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, Julianne Moore
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A theatre director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he creates a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse as part of his new play.

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire
Boogie Nights (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a young man's adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Brazil (1985)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ned Bellamy ...
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)


$22,858,926 (USA) (5 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The puppets in the film were created by Kamela Portuges and Images in Motion. Phillip Huber animated the puppets. See more »


When Craig and Dr. Lester sit together on the office windowsill to have a conversation, the shadow of a boom mic is visible on the window frame between them. 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 The World of Topo Gigio (1961) See more »


Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as Tchaikovsky)
Performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Seiji Ozawa
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophone Gesellschaft GmbH, Hamburg
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Insanely brilliant and brilliantly insane.
29 June 2001 | by (Oxfordshire, England) – See all my reviews

All hail Spike Jonze for he is a genius. Not content with being the undisputed king of music videos, he's set his sights on full-length-feature-films. One might imagine that the often surreal, always innovative humour of his short music promos might not transfer across to a much longer production – like hell. ‘Being John Malkovich' is a fresh exciting stroke of genius.

John Cusack is Craig Schwartz, an unemployed puppeteer looser guy. In order to earn a living he is forced to find himself a regular job, only it soon becomes apparent that regular it is not. Working as a filing clerk on floor seven and a half, Craig stumbles across a portal into John Malkovich's head. No, really, that's what happens. Anyway, he turns this into a business venture with help from the beautiful Maxine (Catherine Keener), whom he lusts after. Maxine is more interested, however, in his wife, Lotte (Diaz, like you've never seen her before) but only when she's being John Malkovich.

Don't worry if this all sounds a little strange to you, it should do, it's probably the most surreal film ever made. I obviously can't give all the credit for this to director Spike Jonze; Charlie Kaufman is the genius that wrote this insanity. He's the most acutely imaginative and ingenious man of our time.

With such a fantastic cast the acting is of course superb; everyone's brilliant, especially Malkovich himself. Well obviously, you say, he's playing himself – yes, but he's also playing himself being played by an increasingly psychotic puppeteer.

Monkey flash backs and a restaurant full of Malkoviches are highlights of the insanely brilliant and brilliantly insane movie. If you thought that Spike Jonez could never top the Daft Punk talking dog video, you have never been so wrong in your life.


119 of 177 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I am a MSTie, and found this uwatchable. gaijin33
Who's penis is that? matthew-vaughn-141-344338
Why John Malkovich? miles_fierce_larson
I completely do NOT get this movie, care to explain? yuan-van
This is a horror movie georgetazberik
Highly Overrated chironaphelion
Discuss Being John Malkovich (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: