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Cruel Intentions (1999)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  5 March 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 141,217 users   Metascore: 56/100
Reviews: 747 user | 99 critic | 24 from

Two wealthy step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to de-flower the new headmaster's daughter before the start of term.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herta Ware ...
Mrs. Sugarman
Hiep Thi Le ...


Kathry Mertieul and Sebastian Valmont are seductive, manipulative step-siblings who get what they want when they want it. Kathryn makes a bet with Sebastian: Sebastian must bed Annette, the headmaster of their school's daughter, before the end of summer break. Annette has stated that she would wait until love and marriage to sleep with a man. If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian's vintage 1959 Jaguar Roadster. If Sebastian wins, he gets Kathryn, the only girl he knows he'll never have. Also in play is Cecil, a naïve girl whose mother had enlisted Kathryn to help her fit in at her new school. However, Kathryn (with Sebastian's help) plans to ruins Cecil's reputation as revenge on Kat's ex-boyfriend, who left her for Cecil.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

seduction | virgin | bet | wager | jaguar | See All (133) »


In the game of seduction, There is only one rule: Never fall in love See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual dialogue and sexual situations involving teens, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

5 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cruel Inventions  »

Box Office


$10,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,020,565 (USA) (5 March 1999)


£4,080,631 (UK) (13 August 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Roger Kumble initially wrote the script in 12 days. See more »


Sebastian tells Kathryn about what has happened "between Annette and I." The correct grammar is "between Annette and me." See more »


Kathryn: The parental units called while you were out.
Sebastian: How IS your gold-digging, whore of a mother enjoying Bali?
Kathryn: She suspects your impotent, alcoholic father is diddling the maid.
Sebastian: Good.
See more »


Spoofed in Scary Movie (2000) See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A fantastic update about the rules of seduction
14 August 2001 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

Cruel Intentions was my favorite movie when I was 14, to me it was everything I just wanted to be as a teen, despite how cruel and manipulative Katheryn was, I thought she was the coolest and strongest female character I'd ever seen on film. Now a couple years afterwards I read the book and saw the original Dangerous Liasons with John Malkovich and Glenn Close, I still very much enjoy Cruel Intentions. Like I said, this was just a terrific updated version of the ultimate story of love and betrayal, it was a little Dawson's Creek at times, but from what angle they went at, it was understandable. It had the biggest stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, Reese Withersppon, Tara Reid, Joshua Jackson, and Selma Blair. May I say they gave extremely impressive performances, but the best without a doubt goes to Sarah Michelle Gellar, she was just ultimately brilliant as Kathryn Muertiel, the cruelist girl in school who's goal isn't to be the most popular, but to dominate everyone's innocence.

Kathryn and Sebastion are step brother and sister, they have a partnership together to work the school into a total wave of turning the most innocent into the most corrupted. They also have a love for each other, but Kathryn is the only girl Sebastian can't have, it kills him and she teases him constantly over it. Kathryn asks Sebastian if he could help her corrupt the girl that took her boyfriend, Cecil, a naive young girl who is under Kathryn's wing, but isn't aware of her intentions. But the plot thickens when Kathryn finds out that Cecil is in love with her black music teacher which her mother wouldn't like very much. Then Sebastian finds a girl, Annette, who believes that people shouldn't experience the act of love until they are in love. He and Kathryn make a bet while he seduces Cecil, that if he can corrupt Annette, he gets to bed Kathryn. But there's one problem, he might be in over his head when he starts to fall in love with Annette.

Cruel Intentions is a great movie with good, strong performances. For what might have been a typical teen movie, this was just a good idea on where the director made decisions on how to make the story real. It's very romantic, heart breaking, and even has it's dark comedic moments for a little breath of air. I will always recommend this film to anyone, it's a great story. I would also highly recommend to watch Dangerous Liasons along with Cruel Intentions, so you have a little bit of a different variety. You'll find yourself a bit seduced with these movies.


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