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To Die For (1995)

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A beautiful but naïve aspiring television personality films a documentary on teenagers with a darker ulterior motive.

Director:

Gus Van Sant

Writers:

Joyce Maynard (book), Buck Henry (screenplay)
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3,050 ( 795)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Suzanne Stone
Matt Dillon ... Larry Maretto
Joaquin Phoenix ... Jimmy Emmett
Casey Affleck ... Russel Hines
Illeana Douglas ... Janice Maretto
Alison Folland ... Lydia Mertz
Dan Hedaya ... Joe Maretto
Wayne Knight ... Ed Grant
Kurtwood Smith ... Earl Stone
Holland Taylor ... Carol Stone
Susan Traylor ... Faye Stone
Maria Tucci ... Angela Maretto
Tim Hopper ... Mike Warden
Michael Rispoli ... Ben DeLuca
Buck Henry ... Mr. H. Finlaysson
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Storyline

Suzanne Stone (Kidman) knows exactly what she wants. She wants to be a television newscaster and she is willing to do anything to get what she wants. What she lacks in intelligence, she makes up for in cold determination and diabolical wiles. As she pursues her goal with relentless focus, she is forced to destroy anything and anyone that may stand in her way, regardless of the ultimate cost or means necessary. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All she wanted was a little attention. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Todo por un sueño See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$21,284,514
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film could be seen as an abrasive, in your face and more starry version of Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Wojas Smart Story (1991). Nicole Kidman's Suzanne Stone also overshadowed Helen Hunt's Pamela Smart, although Hunt did a credible job of playing an unsympathetic character as well as Kidman. See more »

Goofs

At Larry Maretto's burial the Catholic priest says "in nominis patris et filius et spiritus sanctus," getting most of the endings wrong. Correct is "in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti," which any priest would know. See more »

Quotes

Lydia Mertz: [about Jimmy] He says that he needs to see you and that he's dying of love.
Suzanne Stone Maretto: Ughhh! Tell him to call a doctor.
Lydia Mertz: And Russell wants his money, and his CDs.
Suzanne Stone Maretto: Really? Well, you tell Russell if he doesn't keep his mouth shut, he's gonna be playing his goddamn CDs in the gas chamber!
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Crazy Credits

The credits say that Misha is played by Walter but in fact, in the movie the dog's name was Walter and its real name is Misha. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Joaquin Phoenix Performances (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star-Spangled Banner
Written by John Stafford Smith
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This one will stay with you a little bit
4 August 1999 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

Clever story with more depth that appears at first blush, directed with irony and a sardonic sense of humor by Gus Van Sant. Nicole Kidman plays an especially shallow TV weather person who gets some grunge kids to kill her husband for her. Her motive is, as Illeana Douglas, who plays the sister-in-law, says, "he got in her way." This is a nice study of narcissism metastasized into psychopathology. She is headstrong, motivated and rather stupid. She thinks only of herself and would do anything for herself and would do anything to anybody who got in her way. And amazingly, she does.

Matt Dillon is wasted as the husband (in more ways than one). I'm surprised he agreed to do the part. Kidman is mesmerizing and makes us believe in a slightly unbelievable character. We've all known narcissistic little darlings who would kill you for the right shade of eye shadow, but to see it acted out so coldly and with such appalling stupidity, yet with a psychology so bizarre that it has to be real, fairly takes your breath away. It was especially apt that she had him killed so that her pointless little docu-drama "Teens Speak Out" could become newsworthy enough for national exposure. Consicously she doesn't realize this: she has no introspection; she just acts.

Also cute is the way the picture is framed: a pseudo-documentary within a pseudo-documentary. Everything is so well orchestrated that when Kidman gets her surprising, but entirely appropriate comeuppance at the end, we are quite pleased.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


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