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Deathtrap (1982)

A Broadway playwright puts murder in his plan to take credit for a student's play.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Ira Levin (play), Jay Presson Allen (screenplay)

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6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Sidney Bruhl
Christopher Reeve ... Clifford Anderson
Dyan Cannon ... Myra Bruhl
Irene Worth ... Helga ten Dorp
Henry Jones ... Porter Milgrim
Joe Silver ... Seymour Starger
Tony DiBenedetto Tony DiBenedetto ... Burt - the Bartender
Al LeBreton Al LeBreton ... Handsome Actor
Francis B. Creamer Jr. Francis B. Creamer Jr. ... The Minister (as Rev. Francis B. Creamer Jr.)
Stewart Klein Stewart Klein ... Stewart Klein
Jeffrey Lyons ... Jeffrey Lyons
Joel Siegel ... Joel Siegel
Jenny Lumet ... Stage Newsboy
Jayne Heller Jayne Heller ... Stage Actress
George Peck George Peck ... Stage Actor
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Storyline

To make Sidney's slump all the more painful, Clifford Anderson, a student of one of Sidney's writing seminars, has recently sent his mentor a copy of his first attempt at playwrighting for Sidney's review and advice. The play, "Deathtrap", is a five character, two-act thriller so perfect in its construction that, as Sidney says, "A gifted director couldn't even hurt it." Using his penchant for plot, and out of his desperate desire to once again be the toast of Broadway, Sidney, along with Myra, cook up an almost unthinkable scheme: They'll lure the would-be playwright to the Bruhl home, kill him, and market the sure-fire script as Sidney's own. But shortly after Clifford arrives, it's clear that things are not what they seem. Even Helga Ten Dorp, a nosey psychic from next door, and Porter Milgram, Sidney's observant attorney, can only speculate where the line between truth and deception lies. Written by Craig C. Bailey

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When a man has murder on his mind be sure you don't fall into a...Deathtrap. [Video] See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 March 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ira Levin's Deathtrap See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,238,977, 21 March 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,282,134
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Director Sidney Lumet once commented on the real stage-play scenes seen in this movie: "We used the original set of 'Deathtrap' as our set for Sidney Bruhl's flop play. The Music Box (Theatre) is dark on Mondays, so we shot there on a Monday, along with six hundred dress extras as first-nighters. Thus, the opening scene is a movie of a play-within-a-play which takes place within the play on which the movie is based. If that's not completely clear, it's at least a 'first'!" See more »

Goofs

When Sidney has the Deathtrap script and threatens to throw it into the fireplace, the fire isn't lit. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[the actor on stage delivers an unintelligible line]
First Audience Member: It's the worst play I've ever seen.
Second Audience Member: I can't believe Sidney Bruhl wrote it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Murderous weapons by Eoin Sprott. See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS added 4 minutes to this film for its 1986 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 10 to Midnight (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Twist upon twist makes an absorbing mystery even better...
18 February 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Nothing's more enjoyable for me than a who-dun-it or suspense tale that keeps you guessing throughout as to how the whole thing will end. And that's precisely what happens in DEATHTRAP, based on a chilling play by Ira Levin ("Rosemary's Baby").

And in it, MICHAEL CAINE and CHRISTOPHER REEVE get to do the kind of stunt that Caine and Laurence Olivier pulled off in SLEUTH--with just about as much skill and as many puzzles as ever existed in that extraordinarily clever play.

But because it's meant to scare you, surprise you, and keep you guessing as to the outcome, it's difficult to write a review about the plot. Let's just say that what we know in the beginning is all you have to know about the film for the present. MICHAEL CAINE is an insanely jealous playwright whose latest play has failed miserably. When a young aspiring writer CHRISTOPHER REEVE sends him the manuscript of his play, Caine realizes that passing it off as his own would solve all his problems and get his reputation back.

From that point on, it's a matter of fun and games for the audience as Ira Levin's story unwinds, managing to trump Agatha Christie for the number of twists.

Caine and Reeve play off each other brilliantly, each bringing a certain dynamic tension to the tale as well as some humorous touches that come from a script that laces drama with humor.

Summing up: Well worth seeing--but not everyone is pleased with the ending.


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