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Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

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A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writers:

Stanley Kubrick (screenplay), Frederic Raphael (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Popularity
704 ( 257)

Director's Trademarks: A Guide to Stanley Kubrick's Films

2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut are just the beginning of Stanley Kubrick's legacy. Are you up to speed on the film icon's style?

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Cruise ... Dr. William Harford
Nicole Kidman ... Alice Harford
Madison Eginton Madison Eginton ... Helena Harford
Jackie Sawiris Jackie Sawiris ... Roz
Sydney Pollack ... Victor Ziegler
Leslie Lowe Leslie Lowe ... Illona
Peter Benson ... Bandleader
Todd Field ... Nick Nightingale
Michael Doven ... Ziegler's Secretary
Sky du Mont ... Sandor Szavost (as Sky Dumont)
Louise J. Taylor Louise J. Taylor ... Gayle (as Louise Taylor)
Stewart Thorndike Stewart Thorndike ... Nuala
Randall Paul Randall Paul ... Harris
Julienne Davis ... Mandy
Lisa Leone Lisa Leone ... Lisa
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Storyline

After his wife, Alice, tells him about her sexual fantasies, William Harford sets out for a night of sexual adventure. After several less than successful encounters, he meets an old friend, Nick Nightingale - now a musician - who tells him of strange sex parties when he is required to play the piano blindfolded. All the men at the party are costumed and wear masks while the women are all young and beautiful. Harford manages to find an appropriate costume and heads out to the party. Once there, however, he is warned by someone who recognizes him, despite the mask, that he is in great danger. He manages to extricate himself but the threats prove to be quite real and sinister. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Cruise. Kidman. Kubrick.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug-related material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

EWS See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,706,163, 18 July 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$55,691,208

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$162,091,208
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tremendous hype around the release of this film resulted in several rumors about the plot. The most widely circulated rumor was that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman played married psychiatrists having love affairs with their patients. See more »

Goofs

When Alice and Helena are doing story problems, Alice says "Joe has two dollars fifty," which is a UK/Australian construction, as opposed to the more American "two dollars and fifty cents" or "two fifty". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Bill Harford: Honey, have you seen my wallet?
Alice Harford: Isn't it on the bedside table?
Dr. Bill Harford: Now listen, you know we're running a little late.
Alice Harford: I know. How do I look?
Dr. Bill Harford: Perfect.
Alice Harford: Is my hair okay?
Dr. Bill Harford: It's great.
Alice Harford: You're not even looking at it.
Dr. Bill Harford: It's beautiful. You always look beautiful.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to the staff of Hamleys of London. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Stanley Kubrick Tribute (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Fashioned Way
(1953)
Performed by The Victor Silvester Orchestra
Courtesy of Castle Copyrights Ltd
Music by Georges Garvarentz
Lyrics by Charles Aznavour
Published by Chappell Aznavour Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Final Masterpiece From The Greatest Filmmaker Of All Time
22 November 2015 | by CinemaClownSee all my reviews

From the director behind influential masterpieces like The Killing, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining & Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut marks the final entry in the decades-spanning, unprecedented & extraordinary filmmaking career of Stanley Kubrick. And just like all of his reappraised works, is a classic that unveils more of its intricate layers on multiple viewings.

Set in New York City, Eyes Wide Shut tells the story of Dr. William "Bill" Harford whose life spirals out of control when his wife tells him about an erotic fantasy she had about another man which shatters his faith in her. Unable to get the image of his wife & the other man out of his head, he embarks on a night-long adventure during which he comes extremely close to cheating on his wife & also infiltrates a quasi-religious sexual ritual at a country mansion after learning about it from a friend.

Co-written, produced & directed by Stanley Kubrick, Eyes Wide Shut is a film about sexual desires that's jam-packed with symbolism & metaphorical elements. The entire film exhibits a sexually charged atmosphere and every single character inhabiting it has nothing but sex on his or her mind. Kubrick's direction makes efficient use of all his trademarks and just like before, he manages to push forward the existing boundaries of the medium while adding a few innovative tricks into the filmmaking manual in the process.

The screenplay smears the plot with multitudes of themes & insinuations, the story unfolds in a slow, methodical manner, the leading characters have an in-depth complexity which is wonderfully illustrated by the master storyteller, each sequence is meticulously detailed & technically refined, and it has a lot to say about sex, infidelity, physical relations, desires & fantasies. However, dialogue isn't one of its strengths for every time anyone says anything, the other character repeats the same as a question which becomes annoying after a while.

The technical aspects always score very high marks in Kubrick films and Eyes Wide Shut is no exception. The set pieces are gorgeously rendered, extensively detailed & beautifully lit. Cinematography encapsulates the entire picture with a bizarre, dream-like ambiance which goes on to further amplify the overall experience while also intensifying its erotic attributes. The use of colours is noteworthy while lighting here is a work of perfection. Its 159 minutes of runtime & deliberately slow pace may feel like a challenging ordeal but it never becomes an issue once the drama sets in.

The incorporation of classical songs to compliment the unfolding drama continues in Eyes Wide Shut and all the musical arrangements are wisely chosen & carefully infused into the storyline. Coming to the performances, the cast comprises of Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Marie Richardson & Todd Field. Even though both Cruise & Kidman put in commendable effort into their respective roles of Mr. & Mrs. Harford, it's actually their on- spot chemistry that makes them click so well, and while there are no definite stand-outs, the contribution by its entire cast only works in the film's favour.

On an overall scale, Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut may not be as pathbreaking as most of his masterpieces but it's nonetheless a deeply fascinating meditation on sexual relations and despite its cynical tone, manages to be an erotic, enthralling & engaging thriller. While the plot is heavy & explicit in sexual content, approaching it as a sex-romp cinema won't do enough justice for Kubrick digs much deeper into the primordial aspects of human nature to put up an exquisite looking tale that's aesthetic, artistic & unlike anything before or since. It may not be Kubrick's greatest, but it's still a genre masterpiece. Thoroughly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.


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