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Deathtrap (1982)

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

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! Indeed, 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:

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

When the film was made and released, Christopher Reeve was at the peak of his fame as a result of playing the title character in both Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) and was about to appear in Superman III (1983). Reeve accepted the role of Clliford Anderson, because it had nothing to do with either Clark Kent or Superman, and he wished to avoid being typecast by his superhero persona. During the making of the film, he said, "I've had a lot of training as an actor, and I want to use it." 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 By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
So Easy to Spoil...
22 March 2008 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Ira Levin's Deathtrap is one of those mystery films in the tradition of Sleuth that would be very easy to spoil given any real examination of the plot of the film. Therefore I will be brief in saying it concerns a play, one man who is a famous mystery playwright, another man who is a promising writer, the playwright's wife who is much younger and sexier than the role should have been, and one German psychic along for the ride. Director Sidney Lumet, no stranger to film, is quite good for the most part in creating the tension the film needs to motor on. The dialog is quick, fresh, and witty. Michael Caine excels in roles like these. Christopher Reeve is serviceable and actually grows on you the more you see him act. Irene Worth stands out as the funny psychic. How about Dyan Cannon? Love how Lumet packaged her posterior in those real tight-fitting pants and had her wear possibly the snuggest tops around, but she is terribly miscast in this role - a role which should have been given to an older actress and one certainly less seductive. But why quibble with an obvious attempt to bribe its male viewers when nothing will change it now? Deathtrap is funny, sophisticated, witty, and classy. The mystery has some glaring flaws which do detract somewhat, and I was not wholly satisfied with the ending, but watching Caine and Reeve under Lumet's direction with Levin's elevated verbiage was enough to ensnare my interest and keep it captive the entire length of the film.


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