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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  25 December 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 129,540 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 692 user | 200 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 75 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergio Rubini ...
Inspector Roverini
Alvin MacCarron
Aunt Joan
Fiorello ...
Fausto (as Rosario Fiorello)
Ivano Marescotti ...
Colonnello Verrecchia
Anna Longhi ...
Signora Buffi
Sergeant Baggio


The 1950s. Manhattan lavatory attendant, Tom Ripley, borrows a Princeton jacket to play piano at a garden party. When the wealthy father of a recent Princeton grad chats Tom up, Tom pretends to know the son and is soon offered $1,000 to go to Italy to convince Dickie Greenleaf to return home. In Italy, Tom attaches himself to Dickie and to Marge, Dickie's cultured fiancée, pretending to love jazz and harboring homoerotic hopes as he soaks in luxury. Besides lying, Tom's talents include impressions and forgery, so when the handsome and confident Dickie tires of Tom, dismissing him as a bore, Tom goes to extreme lengths to make Greenleaf's privileges his own. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

25 December 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Strange Mr. Ripley  »

Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,738,237 (USA) (24 December 1999)


$81,292,135 (USA) (21 April 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Matt Damon actually sings the song "My Funny Valentine". See more »


Tom supposedly only has the green corduroy jacket in Italy, but we see him wearing a black sport coat upon his arrival. See more »


[first lines]
Tom Ripley: If I could just go back... if I could rub everything out... starting with myself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening title uses all the adjectives of the complete title before cutting to the final "The Talented Mr. Ripley". See more »


Spoofed in Dungeons & Dragons (2000) See more »


Written by Don Raye & Gene de Paul
Performed by Alan Barnes
See more »

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User Reviews

Thoughtful psychological study or perversely entertaining? Your pick
29 December 1999 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Patricia Highsmith's original novel is about a charming, amoral man who already has all the elements in place before he does his terrible deeds, and while Rene Clement's adaptation, PURPLE NOON(1960) doesn't show us Ripley before he came to Europe, Alain Delon certainly was all amoral charm. In his adaptation, Anthony Minghella takes on a different tack, showing us Tom Ripley before he became the Talented Mr. Ripley(just as last year's ELIZABETH showed Elizabeth before she became The Virgin Queen; by coincidence, both films star Cate Blanchett). When a filmmaker tries to add psychological depth to what is generally pulp entertainment, it doesn't always work, but Minghella has pulled it off, while keeping it entertaining.

There have been some people who think Matt Damon is too colorless here. In Clement's adaptation, that might have been true, but the point here is Ripley is SUPPOSED to be a nonentity, a blank page waiting to be filled(thus lines like "I always figured it would be better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody," or when Dickie Greenleaf(Jude Law) tells Ripley that with his glasses on, he looks like Clark Kent) by someone like Dickie. Ripley may have been pretending from day one(which is how he gets to meet Dickie in the first place), but there was nothing sinister about it, just a bunch of little white lies. It's not till he gets entranced by the life in Italy, and Dickie's life in particular, and then finds himself shut from it, that things happen. And Damon is excellent at going through the transformation(and it's not just the glasses, as one comment suggested, it's the hair, the clothes, and the whole attitude).

Anthony Lane of The New Yorker, probably my favorite critic today, liked the film, but he thought it would have been better if Damon and Law had switched roles. Again, if Minghella was remaking Clement's version, sure, but not this way. If you want someone to be an object of desire, you better make sure they're desirable, and Law is quite good there, along with showing the layers underneath. Gwyneth Paltrow has the tougher role, because she has to be both smart and able to be fooled, but she pulls it off, especially in the scene when she tells Tom she really knows what he is. Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman are also good in small roles, James Rebhorn is dependable, and Philip Baker Hall makes a memorable cameo.

One more thing; there have also been complaints that the first half is too long, and the ending is weak. The first half not only sets up Ripley's slowly falling in love with Dickie's life(and even Dickie), but also sets up some plot points which pay off later, so it's necessary. And when Ripley finally becomes The Talented Mr. Ripley, it's unsettling and still delivers a perverse kick. As for the ending, without giving anything away, it's the only way it could end; he goes on, but at what cost? This is terrific moviemaking.

132 of 168 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did he ever feel anything? (Vulnerability, weakness, etc.) Lily1357
why did Tom not kill Meredith? mikeos3
Did Tom kill Dickie's mistress? ericjstacey
Freddie - most watchable hateable character I've seen in a long time daniel-grigg
When Dickie sent Tom sightseeing... iremb13
The Italian Policeman asking Tom was he homosexual - why? Marsha_CutiePie
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