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Behind the Candelabra (2013)

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A chronicle of the tempestuous six year romance between megastar singer, Liberace, and his young lover, Scott Thorson.



(screenplay), (book) | 1 more credit »
2,151 ( 58)
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 41 wins & 48 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Black
Assistant Director
Tom Roach ...
Stunt Actor
Shamus Cooley ...
Camera Assistant
John Smutny ...
Sound Mixer
Rose Carracappa
Joe Carracappa
George Liberace
Dora Liberace
Billy Leatherwood


Scott Thorson, a young bisexual man raised in foster homes, is introduced to flamboyant entertainment giant Liberace and quickly finds himself in a romantic relationship with the legendary pianist. Swaddled in wealth and excess, Scott and Liberace have a long affair, one that eventually Scott begins to find suffocating. Kept away from the outside world by the flashily effeminate yet deeply closeted Liberace, and submitting to extreme makeovers and even plastic surgery at the behest of his lover, Scott eventually rebels. When Liberace finds himself a new lover, Scott is tossed on the street. He then seeks legal redress for what he feels he has lost. But throughout, the bond between the young man and the star never completely tears. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Too much of a good thing is wonderful"


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 June 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Liberace  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$23,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Liberace's Beverly Hills penthouse was shot on location in the real apartment space. The art department was able to recreate the apartment's original black and metallic look based on photos provided by the owner, who was a huge Liberace fan. See more »


In the movie both Liberace and his mother claim that his first name was "Walter". In fact Liberace was born "Wladziu Valentino", but used only his last name as his stage name for most of his career. See more »


Liberace: I have an eye for new and refreshing talent.
Scott Thorson: You have an eye for new and refreshing dick.
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2014) See more »


Written by Felix Arndt
Piano Performed by Liberace
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Liberace the Legend is served well
27 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

The film is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by Scott Thorson (with Alex Thorleifson) adapted for the screen by Richard LaGravenese about the tempestuous 6- year relationship between Liberace and his much younger lover Scott Thorson. This film along with SIDE EFFECTS are purported to be Steven Soderbergh's last films he will direct.

The cast is very solid. Matt Damon embodies the role of Scott Thorson well - a young apparently bisexual man who has been tossed from foster home to foster home while he does odd jobs (he is 17 years old) tending to animals. In a gay bar he meets Bob Black (Scott Bakula) who takes Scott to a Liberace concert (his first exposure to the mega-star) and to meet Liberace afterwards. There is tension in the air with Liberace's current paramour and performing partner Billy Leatherwood (Cheyenne Jackson) and we soon discover that Liberace (impeccably played by Michael Douglas) only keeps his 'boys' around for a while before his manager Seymour (Dan Ackroyd) gets rid of them with a check. Liberace and Scott find common ground in being needy people without confidants and soon Scott becomes Liberace's next lover. All goes swimmingly until Liberace sees himself on a TV show and sees how aged he has become. He engages plastic surgeon Dr. Jack Startz (Rob Lowe in a very fine performance) to perform a youthful face lift and at the same time convinces Scott to undergo plastic surgery to make him look more like Liberace! And here begins the downfall: Dr. Startz prescribes pain meds to Scott who becomes addicted and moves into heavier drugs, and his behavior, along with Liberace's need for a 'new face' (Boyd Holbrook), signals the breakup of a 6 year relationship - the best relationship either has ever had.

There are excellent cameos by Debbie Reynolds as Liberace's mother, Paul Reiser as Scott's lawyer, and others, but the star of the film is in all ways the flamboyant showman Liberace in some of the most interesting outfits ever created. The on screen relationship between Michael Douglas and Matt Damon is entirely credible and neither of these fine actors has a problem with being sexually physical without seeming to be a parody. There are moments that could have been cut, but as Liberace says, less is more and more is wonderful.

Grady Harp

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