France before 1789: When a widow hears that her lover is to marry her cousin's daughter, she asks the playboy Valmont to take the girl's virginity. But first she bets him, with her body as prize, to seduce a virtuous, young, married woman.


Milos Forman
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Firth ... Valmont
Annette Bening ... Merteuil
Meg Tilly ... Madame de Tourvel
Fairuza Balk ... Cecile
Siân Phillips ... Madame de Volanges (as Sian Phillips)
Jeffrey Jones ... Gercourt
Henry Thomas ... Danceny
Fabia Drake ... Madame de Rosemonde
T.P. McKenna ... Baron
Isla Blair ... Baroness
Ian McNeice ... Azolan
Aleta Mitchell Aleta Mitchell ... Victoire
Ronald Lacey ... José
Vincent Schiavelli ... Jean
Sandrine Dumas ... Martine


Set in Baroque France, a scheming widow and her lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman. The lover, Valmont, bets that he can seduce her, even though she is an honorable woman. If he wins, he can have his lover to do as he will. However, in the process of seducing the married woman, Valmont falls in love. Based on the same novel as "Dangerous Liaisons." Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


As unpredictable as love itself.


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Meg Tilly and Colin Firth fell in love while they were making the film. A year later they had a son together. See more »


When Tourvel is in the market she places several food items in her basket one after the other. However, every time she does so the basket appears empty even though she had just placed something in it a moment before. See more »


Mertuil: [to Valmont] You must have a lot of courage, Visconte, to come here after you sent that lunatic harp teacher to kill me.
See more »


Version of Cruel Intentions (1999) See more »


Le Sorcier
François-André Danican Philidor
Performed by the orchestra of the The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
See more »

User Reviews

Totally Misses the Point
29 March 2004 | by wrhayee-2See all my reviews

Milos Forman's version of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" is really shocking, but for all the wrong reasons. In the original story two jades who are ex-lovers have nothing better to do than amuse each other with stories of their sexual conquests. They seduce and betray, then relish the pain they've caused. Their vicious games (They take the love out of love as someone put it) take an unprecedented turn when one of them actually falls in love with his current prey.

The two previous movie versions of this book were more than satisfying and entertaining. It was a relief to see two master debauchers meet their grotesque fates, and the irony of each of them being the cause of the other's ruin gave the story its final edge.

"Valmont" doesn't have an edge, much less a point. Milos Forman pulled all the teeth out of de Laclos' story and left us with nothing but mush. He does the same disservice to "Dangerous Liaisons" that the Demi Moore version of "The Scarlet Letter" did to Hawthorne, reduces it to pap.

I mean, you'd really have to be dense not to see how "Valmont" totally misses the point of the material.

The performers, even those who have been out of school a while, appear to be doing a high school play with very pretty sets. Colin Firth and Annette Benning are not at their best, but their roles have been reconceived to the point where they are soft and blurry; their games have no sting because they're sentimentalized. The rest of the leads either look like kids in a school play (Fairuz Balk and poor Henry Thomas) or sound like children (Meg Tilly).

Usually we think a certain movie sucks because it bites. This one is all gums and has no bite.

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France | UK



Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Valmont See more »


Box Office


$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$96,008, 19 November 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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