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Valmont (1989)

2:07 | Trailer
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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


As unpredictable as love itself.


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The leading actors Colin Firth and Annette Bening were both at the beginning of their film careers and unknown to a wider audience at that time. See more »


In bed, talking to her lover, Madame's legs change position from one shot to the next. See more »


Danceny: Sir, it would be embarrassing for me to fight you in your condition.
Valmont: So what do we do? Send for our harps?
See more »


Version of Untold Scandal (2003) See more »


Te Deum
Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Performed by the orchestra of the The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
See more »

User Reviews

Stunning version of "Dangerous Liaisons"
8 June 2017 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Valmont" is a 1989 film based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, as well, of course, the better-known film Dangerous Liaisons starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich.

Here, Annette Benning is the Merteuil who is stunned to learn that her lover, Gercourt (Jeffrey Jones) is betrothed to the fifteen-year-old virginal Cecile (Fairuza Balk). She makes a bet with her Casanova-like friend Valmont (Colin Firth) that he can seduce Cecile so that on her wedding night, she is not a virgin, thus giving Merteuil revenge against Gercourt. Of course, the best-laid plans and all that - Cecile is in love with her music teacher (Henry Thomas), and Merteuil aids and abets the romance as much as possible. But things become more and more complicated, with Valmont, the eternal playboy, actually falling in love himself. And as the story says, once you fall in love, your power is gone.

This film is far superior to the more famous one. Forman is a fantastic director, and the cast warms up what is basically a cold, calculated story and really makes you care.

Annette Bening is more full-dimensional than Close's Martueil - she's beautiful, smart, and she's so sweet and lies so beautifully one has no idea what she's really like. Firth's Valmont is far more believable than Malkoitch's egomaniacal portrayal.

Henry Thomas is the desperately in love music teacher - it's good casting, but he comes off as too modern. It's a minor point because the entire cast is wonderful, including Fabia Drake as Madame de Rosemond, Sian Philips, Meg Tilly, and Fairuza Balik.

The film is beautiful to look at, sumptuously and carefully produced. It's a sad case of being the second film version out when the first was better marketed with a more American cast. Nevertheless, it's not too late to discover this gem.

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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:

See more on IMDbPro »

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
See full technical specs »

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