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The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  5 May 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 8,720 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 98 user | 112 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

The life of Bettie Page, a 1950s pin-up model and one of the first sex icons in America, who became the target of a Senate investigation due to her risqué bondage photos.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
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Portrait of an American innocent. In 1955, Bettie Page (1923-2008 ) waits to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating the effects of pornographic material on American adolescents and juveniles. In flashbacks, we see her childhood in Tennessee, a brief marriage, a gang rape, and her going to New York City in 1949. There she takes acting lessons, models for photos, and acts in short films for adults, earning the nickname, "The Pin-Up Queen of the Universe." We see her relationship with merchants Irving and Paula Klaw, photographers John Willie and Bunny Yeager, boyfriends, and the public. Through it all, she is wholesome, sporting, and forthright - Eve before the fall. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Pin-Up Sensation That Shocked The Nation. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nudity, sexual content and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

5 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ballad of Bettie Page  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$143,131 (USA) (14 April 2006)


$1,410,778 (USA) (23 June 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The real John Willie (portrayed by Jared Harris) never met Bettie Page. He did publish a photo of her in his Bizarre magazine, but it was shot by another photographer. Irving Klaw, who published many of Bettie's most famous photos, did publish some of Willie's Adv. of Sweet Gwendoline material. See more »


When Bettie first meets future husband Billy in the park, she makes the statement that she'd seen Billy play football against Hume-Fogg high school. In reality, she and Billy both attended Hume-Fogg in Nashville, TN. See more »


[Bettie reacts angrily when John sings a ribald song during a bondage photo shoot]
John Willie: What's the matter, Bettie?
[John pulls the gag from Bettie's mouth]
Bettie Page: It's your language, Mr. Willie.
John Willie: Oh, it's just an old army ditty to help keep our spirits up while fighting the beastly Hun. Do you approve?
Bettie Page: I believe in Jesus.
See more »

Crazy Credits

craft service - Grover Cleveland, craft service assistant - Benjamin Harrison See more »


Featured in HBO First Look: The Notorious Bettie Page (2006) See more »


One Kiss Too Many
Written by Eddy Arnold, Ed Nelson, Jr. and Steve Nelson
Performed by Eddy Arnold (as Eddie Arnold)
Courtesy of RCA Nashville
Under license from BMG Film & TV Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Truth About Sex in America
28 September 2005 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Canadian filmmaker Mary Harron is a cultural gadfly whose previous films laid bare some the artistic excess of the Sixties and the hollow avaricious Eighties. With "The Notorious Bettie Page" she points her unswerving eye at Fifties America, an era cloaked in the moral righteousness of Joe McCarthy, while experiencing the beginnings of a sexual awakening that would result in the free love of the next decade. Harron and her co-writer Guinevere Turner, are clearly not interested in the standard biopic of a sex symbol. This is a film about the underground icon of an era and how her pure unashamed sexuality revealed both the predatory instincts and impure thoughts of a culture untouched by the beauty of a nude body. If the details of Bettie's life were all the film was concerned about, then why end it before her most tragic period was about to begin. Clearly, Harron is more interested in America's attitudes towards sexual imagery then and now. Together with a fearless lead performance by Gretchen Mol and the stunningly atmospheric cinematography of W.Mott Hupfel III, she accomplishes this goal admirably, holding up a mirror to the past while making the audience examine their own "enlightened" 21st Century attitudes towards so-called pornography. As America suffocates under a new conservatism, this is a film needed more than ever.

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