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Being John Malkovich (1999)

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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 »



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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


Be All That Someone Else Can Be 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 name of John Cusack's character is a combined reference to Edward Gordon Craig and Bruce Schwartz. Schwartz is an accomplished American puppeteer while Craig was a turn-of-the-century theater artist who suggested that actors should be viewed as no more important than marionettes. See more »


When Craig first lands by the N.J. Turnpike, there is an operating oil well in the background. There are no known natural oil reserves in New Jersey. 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 »


Featured in I Love the '90s: Part Deux: 1999 (2005) 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

"Meet you in Malkovich in one hour"
19 April 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Being John Malkovich (1999), the Spike Jonze's directorial debut, is an amazing film - hip, inventive, delightfully weird, incredibly funny and disturbingly serious with the gleefully absurd plot twists. Let's face it, that was a stroke of genius - to throw together the tragic medieval lovers, Abelard and Heloise in the street show created by a talented puppeteer Craig Scwartzh (John Cusack) with the nimble fingers but out of work in "today's wintry economic climate", Elijah the Chimp with the mental problems that go back to his childhood, the surreal office that is located on the 7 1/2 store of a New York City office building and a floor is four feet high. Add Cameron Diaz (Craig's animals loving wife Lotte), completely unrecognizable, aging and balding Charlie Sheen, cynical and practical Maxine (Catherine Keener), who had an unique experience of having two people looked at her "with complete lust and devotion, through the same pair of eyes", and send them all to the wild ride inside the famous and respectable actor John Malkovich's brain to see what he sees and to feel what he feels, to the trip that would last 15 minutes and end up in a ditch on the side of New Jersey Turnpike. This is just the beginning...Oh, and what John Horatio Malkovich feels with all the travelers in his head and what he sees when he enters the portal to his own brain, you have to find out for yourself! What drug were Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze on?! Not even two hours long, the movie never ceases to surprise and entertain. "Being John Malkovich" is a fascinating and truly original film which I love and always enjoy watching even if there were never a connection with any of its characters (with the exception of Abelard and Heloise and Elijah the Chimp).

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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
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