67 user 55 critic

Deathtrap (1982)

0:56 | Trailer
A Broadway playwright puts murder in his plan to take credit for a student's play.


Sidney Lumet


Ira Levin (based on the stage play by), Jay Presson Allen (screenplay by)
6 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


Join us for an evening of lively fun... and deadly games. [UK Theatrical] See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


One of two movies made during the early 1980s that Christopher Reeve made where he played a playwright. The other being Somewhere in Time (1980). See more »


When Clifford is attacking Sidney in the bedroom with the fake log, the screams from Myra don't always match the movements of her mouth. See more »


[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 »

User Reviews

Too bad they do not make such movies today...
3 February 2004 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Okay,it recalls "Sleuth" (1972).Okay ,it borrows the first part from Clouzot's 'Les Diaboliques" .But forget "sleuth"and "Diaboliques" and you can enjoy this armchair thriller:after all,Sidney Lumet has always been fond of these stories which take place in an enclosed space,and from the very start of his career,"twelve angry man" ,but also "the hill" "murder on the orient express" and his towering achievement "dog day afternoon".And anyway it's based on a play by Ira Levin ("the Stepford wives" and of course the brilliant "Rosemary's baby") Besides,in his preface to Agatha Christie's plays ,Levin mentions Anthony Shaffer .And Michael Caine's presence makes us think of Mankiewicz's celebrated movie.

The main difference with "sleuth" lies in the fact that almost any social comment has disappeared:it's detective story for the sake of detective story.The actors overplay and their lines are a bit tongue-in-cheek (speaking of Reeve's character,Caine mumbles :"don't you think HE's one of them?)Actually,it's grand guignol,Punch and Judy all over the place and if you like the genre,you will not be disappointed. Reeve particularly proves he was much more than Superman.

The ending , on a stage ,is another nod to "sleuth" :the whole movie looks like a filmed stage production,but where's the problem?So did "twelve angry men".When Lumet comes back to "true" cinema,is he so convincing with the likes of "the firm"?

People who enjoy a murder mystery peppered with humor should see this.

6 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 67 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

19 March 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ira Levin's Deathtrap See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,238,977, 21 March 1982

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed