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Cruel Intentions (1999)

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Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster's daughter before the start of term.


Roger Kumble


Choderlos de Laclos (novel), Roger Kumble (screenplay)
1,100 ( 81)
7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Michelle Gellar ... Kathryn Merteuil
Ryan Phillippe ... Sebastian Valmont
Reese Witherspoon ... Annette Hargrove
Selma Blair ... Cecile Caldwell
Louise Fletcher ... Helen Rosemond
Joshua Jackson ... Blaine Tuttle
Eric Mabius ... Greg McConnell
Sean Patrick Thomas ... Ronald Clifford
Swoosie Kurtz ... Dr. Greenbaum
Christine Baranski ... Bunny Caldwell
Alaina Reed-Hall ... Nurse (as Alaina Reed Hall)
Deborah Offner ... Mrs. Michalak
Tara Reid ... Marci Greenbaum
Herta Ware Herta Ware ... Mrs. Sugarman
Hiep Thi Le ... Mai-Lee


Kathryn Merteuil and Sebastian Valmont are seductive, manipulative step-siblings who get what they want when they want it. Kathryn makes a bet with Sebastian: Sebastian must bed Annette, daughter of the headmaster at their school, before the end of summer break. Annette has stated that she would wait until love and marriage to sleep with a man. If Kathryn wins, she gets Sebastian's vintage 1959 Jaguar Roadster. If Sebastian wins, he gets Kathryn, the only girl he knows he'll never have. Also in play is Cecile, a naïve girl whose mother had enlisted Kathryn to help her fit in at her new school. However, Kathryn (with Sebastian's help) plans to ruin Cecile's reputation as revenge on Kat's ex-boyfriend, who left her for Cecile.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They're old enough to know better, but too young to care. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual dialogue and sexual situations involving teens, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Vietnamese | French

Release Date:

5 March 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cruel Inventions See more »


Box Office


$10,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,020,565, 7 March 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Sebastian is handing Kathryn the Seventeen Magazine to read, on the cover is Jennifer Love Hewitt, who appeared with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). See more »


In the luncheon scene in Aunt Helen's yard, she leans down to hug Sebastian after saying the line, "You two are the best!" In one shot, she moves her left hand to his left shoulder, but in the next shot (close-up) her hand is not on his shoulder. See more »


Annette: I don't know. Relationships seem too distracting. I'd rather concentrate on my studies.
See more »


References A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »


Every You Every Me
Written by Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal, Steve Hewitt (as Steven Hewitt) and Paul Campion
Performed by Placebo
Courtesy of Elevator Music Ltd./Virgin Records America Inc.
Published by Famous Music Corp. and Island Music Ltd./Mukka Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Has some redeeming qualities, but I don't recommend this one
12 February 2000 | by XophianicSee all my reviews

The main reason I wanted to see this one is because I am a big SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR fan. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is one of my all-time favorite shoes. I also rather like REESE WITHERSPOON and a few of the other actors in this movie. The plot also seemed original and interesting, and of course there was no hiding the sexy scenes that seemed like it would add to the plot. It turns out this movie is just a collection of these scenes, with a seemingly original, but actually predictable, plot to hold them together.

Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) are two victims of bad parenting. They are two rich stepchildren who enjoy making other students miserable. Kathryn, with a reputation as the perfect student, often uses others to ruin people's lives. Sebastian, who has a very nasty reputation that he is proud of, prefers to do the work himself. He finds an attractive girl, charms her over, sleeps with her, and finally ruining her reputation. Kathryn has set her sights on the ditsy Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair), while Sebastian goes for the great challenge of seducing and ruining the all-American, virgin, goody-goody Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon). Sebastian has a bet with Kathryn that he can win Annette over. If she wins, she gets his Jaguar. If he wins, she gets to sleep with her.

The plot, in writing, sounds fairly original. This is really just a shield. In truth, this movie is a mixture of two things. One is a predictable love story. The other is a bunch of scenes intended to turn on the teenagers who watch it, and get them to watch it over and over. I am a teenager, and I had no real desire to watch this movie again afterwards.

The acting is about even. Sarah Michelle Gellar does an excellent job as the scheming, evil rich-b***h. Reese Witherspoon did a pretty good job, but her character was not especially interesting. Joshua Jackson and Selma Blair are extremely annoying in this movie, which is good because it is what they are meant to be. Blair did better than Jackson, for the record. Ryan Phillippe did OK, but I really didn't buy his evil rich-guy character. The characters in this movie aren't anything great. This is probably because the two main characters are rich mean people, which most viewers can't relate to or enjoy much. The target audience is obviously teens, but these people, although cute, probably remind them too much of students they hate. Witherspoon's character is a little 2D, mostly because she was underplayed and the two main characters were overplayed. Blair's character is pretty fun.

The movie is very predictable. I had the entire movie figured out by the previews, and my theory (which was correct) didn't change at all watching this movie. There is only one part I didn't see coming, which happens near the end. The ending of this movie is the best part, even though I saw it coming since the beginning.

If you feel like getting drunk and watching a movie with college buds so you can drool and howl at the TV, this movie is a good choice. Most teenagers would probably enjoy it too, especially fans of the actors, but I can't say I recommend this one.

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