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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
4,302 ( 13)
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 knew what it took to get to the top... a lot of heart and a little head. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

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)

Gross USA:

$21,284,514
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original literary source: 'To Die For', novel by Joyce Maynard, Dutton Books, January 1992, Dutton Books, Boston, Massachussetts, 304 pp., ISBN: 978-0525933960. See more »

Goofs

Printed photo images of Suzanne and Jimmy, shown later in the movie, don't match their poses in the photo booth. See more »

Quotes

Lydia Mertz: Suzanne used to say that you're not really anybody in America unless you're on TV... 'cause what's the point of doing anything worthwhile if there's nobody watching? So when people are watching, it makes you a better person. So if everybody was on TV all the time, everybody would be better people. But, if everybody was on TV all the time, there wouldn't be anybody left to watch, and that's where I get confused.
See more »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Rednecks and Broomsticks (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

NOTHING FROM NOTHING
Written by Billy Preston & Bruce Fisher
Performed by Billy Preston
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the most underrated films of the 1990's
29 March 2003 | by atlasfalconSee all my reviews

A lot of people dislike To Die For. The film's detractors largely find fault with its tone and subject matter. It is really the epitome of black comedy, and anyone expecting either pure comedy or pure suspense will be very disappointed.

That said, To Die For deserves a place in film history as one of the sharpest satires of television and fame, ranking alongside films such as Network. Forgive the cliche, but Nicole Kidman's performance is truly a revelation -- she shows talents that were clearly invisible in earlier travesties such as Far & Away and are only now beginning to resurface. But the real discovery in this film is the magnificent Illeana Douglass. It is scandalous that few people mention her amazing work when discussing To Die For. If for nothing else, the film should be seen for the work of Kidman and Douglass. (Note also that To Die For has one of Joaquin Phoenix's earliest roles.)

As other commentators here have suggested, you are not guaranteed to love this film. Nonetheless, as far as I'm concerned, it's required viewing if you're a film fan.


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