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To Die For (1995)

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A beautiful but naïve aspiring television personality films a documentary on teenagers with a darker ulterior motive.

Director:

Gus Van Sant

Writers:

Joyce Maynard (book), Buck Henry (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,937 ( 963)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Suzanne Stone
Matt Dillon ... Larry Maretto
Joaquin Phoenix ... Jimmy Emmett
Casey Affleck ... Russel Hines
Illeana Douglas ... Janice Maretto
Alison Folland ... Lydia Mertz
Dan Hedaya ... Joe Maretto
Wayne Knight ... Ed Grant
Kurtwood Smith ... Earl Stone
Holland Taylor ... Carol Stone
Susan Traylor ... Faye Stone
Maria Tucci ... Angela Maretto
Tim Hopper ... Mike Warden
Michael Rispoli ... Ben DeLuca
Buck Henry ... Mr. H. Finlaysson
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Storyline

Suzanne Stone (Kidman) knows exactly what she wants. She wants to be a television newscaster and she is willing to do anything to get what she wants. What she lacks in intelligence, she makes up for in cold determination and diabolical wiles. As she pursues her goal with relentless focus, she is forced to destroy anything and anyone that may stand in her way, regardless of the ultimate cost or means necessary. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She was prepared to go all the way... for what she wanted. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Todo por un sueño See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$386,510, 1 October 1995

Gross USA:

$21,284,514

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$21,284,514
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix were brothers-in-law (though they were not during the filming of the movie). Casey was formerly married to Joaquin's sister Summer Phoenix. See more »

Goofs

At Larry Maretto's burial the Catholic priest says "in nominis patris et filius et spiritus sanctus," getting most of the endings wrong. Correct is "in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti," which any priest would know. See more »

Quotes

Suzanne Stone Maretto: [to Lydia in the dressing room] Well, you grow up, you know? You think it's all gonna be like a fairytale. Like you're Sleeping Beauty, and along comes this Prince Charming, and he looks at you, and it's night time, and he smiles at you and kisses you.
Lydia Mertz: Yeah, I - I know that story.
Suzanne Stone Maretto: And then... then you wake up... and it's daylight... and you look at him. It's just when you work all day, trying to perfect yourself and create something meaningful, you expect some support. Does anyone ever say "Did ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The credits say that Misha is played by Walter but in fact, in the movie the dog's name was Walter and its real name is Misha. See more »


Soundtracks

SWEET HOME ALABAMA
Written by Edward King, Gary Rossington & Ronnie Van Zant
Performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Courtesy of MCA Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
90's Masterwork
9 March 2008 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

Gus Van Zant's wildly original take on the pursuit of fame at any price is a gruesome black comedy that works flawlessly on every level. Van Zant comes at his story from the viewpoint of a series of narrators who see through media lusting Susan Stone Marretto as she stops at nothing to bask in it's spotlight. The media in turn is more than willing to accommodate.

Nicole Kidman as Susan is intimidating beyond the screen as she narrates much of her story into the camera. In addition to her remarkable seductive charm being put to use she also intimidates with a convincing icy coldness. She is the bold and the beautiful and Kidman is perfect to the role.

Having bullied her way into a job as a weather forecaster at a small audience cable station Susan never stops shooting higher. She enlists three aimless high schoolers in a plot to kill her husband so as to unburden her to pursue her career. With sex as a tool it is easy to convince the moronically dim Jimmy who masturbates to her late night forecasts to come on board. The three teens Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck and Allison Foland are uniformly brilliant particularly Phoenix as the clueless doomed Jimmy. Her husband Larry (Matt Dillon)it might be said is in the same boat. Dillon along with Ileana Douglas and Wayne Knight fill out the solid supporting cast as narrators and victims of Susan.

Buck Henry's biting script shows he has not lost his edge since his Graduate days. Director Van Zant's vision of a fin de siecle cross section of America is brutal and original. From those laboring for the American Dream to the bleak Lidsville existence of the teens Die burns with both nervous energy and tragic-comic farce. Accompanied by an all inclusive period music score Vant Zant's wide angle is both brazen and revealing from gaudy colored suburban drab sterility with hints of incest to tragic siding housing and an auto graveyard landscape that serves as a playground to the teens. Told in flash forward and back Van Zant's pace never lingers for a moment as it rapidly presents an in your face comic and tragic pastiche of dark Americana. Van Zant admirably expresses it with a bold visual flair keeping scenes lean and sharp that over a dozen years later still retain there power and energy. It is a vibrant piece of film making and a 90s classic.


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