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Dressed to Kill (1980)

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A mysterious blonde woman kills one of a psychiatrist's patients, and then goes after the high-class call girl who witnessed the murder.

Director:

Brian De Palma

Writer:

Brian De Palma
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Popularity
3,688 ( 29)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Doctor Robert Elliott
Angie Dickinson ... Kate Miller
Nancy Allen ... Liz Blake
Keith Gordon ... Peter Miller
Dennis Franz ... Detective Marino
David Margulies ... Dr. Levy
Ken Baker Ken Baker ... Warren Lockman
Susanna Clemm ... Betty Luce
Brandon Maggart ... Cleveland Sam
Amalie Collier Amalie Collier ... Cleaning Woman
Mary Davenport Mary Davenport ... Woman in Restaurant
Anneka Di Lorenzo Anneka Di Lorenzo ... Nurse (as Anneka De Lorenzo)
Norman Evans Norman Evans ... Ted
Robbie L. McDermott Robbie L. McDermott ... Man in Shower
Bill Randolph ... Chase Cabbie
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Storyline

While taking a shower, Kate Miller, a middle-aged, sexually frustrated New York City housewife, has a rape fantasy while her husband stands at the sink shaving. Later that day, after complaining to her psychiatrist Dr. Robert Elliott about her husband's pathetic performance in bed, she meets a strange man at a museum and returns to his apartment where they continue an adulterous encounter that began in the taxicab. Before she leaves his apartment, she finds papers which certify that the man has a venereal disease. Panicked, Kate rushes into the elevator, but has to return to his apartment when she realizes she's forgotten her wedding ring. When the elevator doors open, she's brutally slashed to death by a tall blonde woman wearing dark sunglasses. Liz Blake, a high-class call girl, is the only witness to the murder and she becomes the prime suspect and the murderess's next target. Liz is rescued from being killed by Kate's son Peter, who enlists the help of Liz to catch his mother's ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Brian De Palma, Master of the Macabre, invites you to a showing of the latest fashion... ...in murder. See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 July 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dressed to Kill See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$31,899,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The person who provides the voice of Bobbi is actor William Finley, a regular in Brian De Palma's movies. See more »

Goofs

Although Peter Miller uses a suction-cup audio pickup to overhear the closed-door conversation between Detective Marino and Dr. Elliott, it's apparent in the view from inside Marino's office, as they get up to leave, that the large windowed door does not actually have any glass in it.

Reflections off the door glass can be seen during outside shots, but it was presumably removed for the interior scene in order to keep the waist-level, upward camera angle from revealing all the overhead lights when the door is swung open. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Peter Miller: Look, Liz, I've got to get home and get to work.
Liz Blake: Gee, I'm gonna miss having you on my tail. You made me feel kind of safe.
Peter Miller: Want to come home with me? I'd love the company.
Liz Blake: Wouldn't Mike mind?
Peter Miller: Mike's out of town on a business trip. We've got plenty of room.
Liz Blake: Great. I could sure use the vacation.
Peter Miller: Good, good. I'll get the check.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the opening shower sequence, the following changes were made to avoid an X rating in the USA release. Two close-ups of Kate's fingers caressing her pubic hair were replaced with one shot of her caressing her belly, and the other shot being her breast. Two shots of the man raping Kate, showing the two bodies around the waist moving, were cut. A shot of the man's hand covering Kate's own hand over her pubic area was also cut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Schramm (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

The Forgotten Ring/The Murder
(uncredited)
Composed by Pino Donaggio
Conducted by Natale Massara
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

De Palma's best known, but not best Hitchcock homage. Style triumphs over substance but it's still good fun.
20 January 2003 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'Dressed To Kill' was Brian De Palma's third Hitchcockian thriller, and his most successful. I don't necessarily mean artistically successful, but it still remains one of his best known movies, and is the one on which his reputation as "that Hitchcock" guy mainly rests on. De Palma has made all kinds of movies in his long career but it says a lot for the impact 'Dressed To Kill' had on audiences for him to be stereotyped like that by many movie lovers. In 'Sisters' De Palma paid tribute to 'Rear Window', in his underrated 'Obsession' it was 'Vertigo', and this time around 'Psycho' is the major inspiration. Some critics of De Palma complain he is more interested in style over substance, and in 'Dressed To Kill' there is some truth in that. You will probably guess the murderer after the first 20-25 minutes, then think to yourself "no, that's just a red herring and there will be an unexpected twist later on". You might then be a bit let down when the your initial guess turns out to be correct after all, but there are enough thrills and dazzling sequences throughout to keep most thriller fans happy. Michael Caine and Angie Dickinson are both pretty good in their respective roles, but Nancy Allen ('RoboCop') gives the real outstanding performance in the picture. De Palma would subsequently give her another good role in 'Blow Out' opposite John Travolta. Also strong are Keith Gordon (who went on to star in John Carpenter's 'Christine') and Dennis Franz ('NYPD Blue') in supporting roles. Personally I don't think 'Dressed To Kill' is as good as 'Sisters', but I still think it's first rate exploitation thriller and definitely worth watching. Not De Palma's most interesting movie by a long shot, but still one of his most watchable.


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