6.8/10
2,193
24 user 18 critic

Dance with a Stranger (1985)

A stormy relationship, complicated by the strictures of 1950s social class and gender roles, ends in death. Based on the life of Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Britain.

Director:

Mike Newell

Writer:

Shelagh Delaney
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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Miranda Richardson ... Ruth Ellis
Rupert Everett ... David Blakeley
Ian Holm ... Desmond Cussen
Matthew Carroll Matthew Carroll ... Andy
Tom Chadbon ... Anthony Findlater
Jane Bertish Jane Bertish ... Carole Findlater
David Troughton ... Cliff Davis
Paul Mooney Paul Mooney ... Clive Gunnell
Stratford Johns ... Morrie Conley
Joanne Whalley ... Christine
Susan Kyd Susan Kyd ... Barbara
Lesley Manville ... Maryanne
Sallie Anne Field Sallie Anne Field ... Claudette (as Sallie-Anne Field)
David Beale David Beale ... Man in Little Club
Tracy-Louise Ward Tracy-Louise Ward ... Girl with David Blakely
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Storyline

Ruth Ellis lives with her 10-year old son Andy next to a night club. One night she meets David Blakely, and they start a love affair. However, for David with his upper-class background it is impossible to uphold the relationship. He breaks up with her, something which makes Ellis, obsessed by him, very upset... Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It wasn't simply love. It was a case of cold-blooded passion.

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bailar con un extraño See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,174,622

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,260,519
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruth Ellis (Miranda Richardson) was the last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom. The execution was performed by Albert Pierrepoint. See more »

Goofs

Ruth switches on a radio which begins to play immediately. In those times, vacuum-tube radios had to warm up for about 20 seconds. See more »

Quotes

David Blakeley: I want you to marry me.
Ruth Ellis: Why? Are you pregnant?
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Buried Treasures - 1987 Edition (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Dark Eyes
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Richard Hartley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not for the faint of heart
10 December 2000 | by joelcairo1941See all my reviews

There is nothing sentimental about this story of obsession. Set in London in the 1950's--and what could be drearier--this bleak story based on the true story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in England, is a tour-de-force for Newell, the director, the two leads, Richardson and Everett, and the incomparable Ian Holm.

Miranda Richardson as Ellis gives a knockout performance in every scene. She has so perfectly captured the emotional pitch of a woman in love with a heel that one cannot help identifying with her. Her all-consuming love, even to the point of neglecting her son, makes it ridiculous to entertain the common query of "why doesn't she just get away from him?" Mike Newell captures all of the emotional highs and lows of a relationship of this kind, and the rakishly handsome Everett is both charming and destructive as Ellis's amor.

The beauty of this movie is that it is not just about two ill-fated lovers, the way many Hollywood movies are. It is also about England's class system. Ellis's attraction to Blakeley is more about her desire to be acknowledged by her "betters" than just by this one man. Perhaps the most heartrending scene comes at the end where one sees Ellis's painted finger going over a letter she is about to send on the eve of her execution to Blakeley's mother, apologizing for the misery she has caused her. The language of the letter is perfect, because it reveals volumes about Ellis's class aspirations, and the hopelessness of her ever achieving them.

This movie is a must-see for movie lovers, but it is not for the Meg Ryan set.


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