38 user 21 critic

Private Lessons (1981)

R | | Comedy | 10 June 1981 (USA)
An immigrant housemaid seduces a 15-year-old boy and later fakes her own death as part of his chauffeur's blackmail plot. Troubles arise when the two start to fall in love.


Alan Myerson


Dan Greenburg (based on the novel: "Philly" by), Dan Greenburg (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Sylvia Kristel ... Mallow
Howard Hesseman ... Lester
Eric Brown ... Philly
Patrick Piccininni Patrick Piccininni ... Sherman
Ed Begley Jr. ... Jack Travis
Pamela Jean Bryant ... Joyce (as Pamela Bryant)
Meridith Baer ... Miss Phipps
Ron Foster Ron Foster ... Fillmore
Peter Elbling ... Waiter
Beans Morocco Beans Morocco ... Green (as Dan Barrows)
Dan Greenburg Dan Greenburg ... Hotel Owner
Marian Gibson Marian Gibson ... Florence
Judy Helden Judy Helden ... Miss Kristel's Double


Phillip Filmore is a naive, 15-year-old, preoccupied with sex, who develops a crush on Nicole Mallow, the new 30-something, French housekeeper and sitter to look after him when Phillip's father is out of town for the summer on a "business" trip. But Mr. Filmore's unscrupulous chauffeur, Lester Lewis, takes advantage of Phillip's crush on Nicole to hire her to seduce the youth, then draws her into a plot to fake her own death in a blackmail scheme aimed to drain Phillip's trust fund. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What happens if you leave a 15 year old boy in the care of a beautiful housemaid? [UK DVD] See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Quoted from the American Film Institute: "An article in the 3 Jun 1981 Var reported that Vision Features Corp. filed a $15 million lawsuit against Barry & Enright Films and R. Ben Efraim in U.S. District Court in New York. Breach of contract claims included non-payment of fees and expenses, failure to consult with Vision's president Irving Oshman on the film, and lack of proper credit. The outcome of the suit has not been determined." See more »


The movie is meant to take place over the summer, however when we first see Nicole she is picking oranges, which tend to ripen in December and January. See more »


Philly: If you're gonna get a new job, you're gonna have to have a letter of reference, from my father.
Mallow: Well, your father might not think I've been working long enough.
Philly: I didn't mean for him to write it. But, I know what he'd say if he knew you as well as I do: She was passionate about her household duties.
Mallow: And she kept things well in hand!
Philly: She gave everything she had to her employer.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version of the film shown on US broadcast television alters two scenes. The opening scene of a couple making out in car with only their legs showing has been replaced with a montage of scenes from later in the film when Philly and Lester are burying the body. The bathtub scene where Ms. Mallo takes a bath with Philly has been completely removed with the exception of a single question. In the original version, Ms. Mallow asks Philly if he would like to take a bath with her. He says "Yes" and the scenes continues. On television, he says "No" and the scene ends. See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


That's The Reason
Performed by Willie Nile
Composed by Willie Nile
Publisher: Lake Victoria Music
Courtesy of: Arista Records, Inc.
Played in the end credits
See more »

User Reviews

If older women make beautiful lovers, then how come there aren't more Nicole Mallows?!
23 January 2005 | by axemblueSee all my reviews

"Private Lessons" isn't astonishingly bad... if you can look at it from the standpoint of it being a cheap adolescent thrill on late-night "Skin-emax" or any other premium station du jour. I'm mostly fine with plots involving taboo; even the "Onegai" series of anime doesn't phase me. But I will say this: the one and only reason anyone should feel compelled to watch this movie is to see the rather hot (back then anyway) Sylvia Kristel in the nude. It does have a cute premise, but it's never done much justice due to all of the amateurish writing and pacing.

Eric Brown is Phillip Fillmore (Philly Philly??), a 15-year-old kid with hormones gone berserk. In other words, he's pretty damn average. His deadbeat dad has left on a... business trip (wink wink nudge nudge) and has left Philly back home with his recently arrived immigrant housekeeper Nicole Mallow (Kristel) and sleazy chauffeur Lester (Howard Hesseman). Seems Philly's got the hots for Nicole, and Lester takes advantage of this, persuading Nicole to fake her own death at the hands (or loins) of the boy so he can make off with Philly's money like a bandit. But Nicole switches around mid-plot, deciding instead to help stop Lester's Half-Baked Evil Scheme™. Cue several slapstick hijinks culminating in a final sex scene and serve.

Obviously, you don't watch movies like this for plots, no matter how inane and far-fetched they may be; you watch them to get sprung. Alas, this was back in the early eighties, and unless you had a big name and/or a lot of cash to burn, your film was almost destined to rot in film quality hell. Such seems to have been the case with "Private Lessons," and the fact that it is billed as a comedy rather than an adult movie bewilders me to no end. Even with the nudity, the filmography is agonizing to watch, but since this was probably produced as a "quick buck" teen-pleaser, that's not surprising. Panning shots of Kristel fondling or teasing Brown while the kid makes goofy, unrealistic "shocked and amazed" expressions are about as dynamic as this thing gets.

I should also mention that the character of Philly's chubby friend (Patrick Piccininni) is simply the most irritating part of the movie in my opinion. Some people have commented that this character, who comes across as being doomed to remain a virgin for the rest of his life, is rather cute in his behavior, and I fail to see how they arrive at that judgment... as if one gawking teenage boy wasn't enough. Hesseman's character is strictly porno-level, period, end of story. Even Dan Greenburg, the author of the book this film is based on, had the ego to have a bit role as the hotel owner, even going so far as to appear fully credited in the "profile" shots of the cast during the closing credits!

It's hard to recommend "Private Lessons" for any other reason than the aforementioned Ms. Kristel and the fact that it is better than most soft-porn out there. Aside from these aspects, it's downright mediocre.

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Release Date:

10 June 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Philly See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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