6.8/10
43,262
180 user 66 critic

To Die For (1995)

Trailer
2:18 | Trailer
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
2,628 ( 530)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 13 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Casey Affleck's feature film debut. See more »

Goofs

This story takes place in Little Hope, NH. Early in the movie, a newspaper article entitled "Sex, Violence and the Weather" shows a map of southern New Hampshire, with an arrow pointing to Little Hope. But the arrow actually points to a location in Massachusetts. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Lydia Mertz: But it's really something when you think that... I'm the one who's gonna be famous. Suzanne would die if she knew.
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Crazy Credits

A scene plays out over the end credits where Janice skates over the ice rink where Suzanne has been buried. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Married... with Children: The Weaker Sex (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

WASTING AWAY
Written by Max Cavalera & Alex Newport
Performed by Nailbomb
Courtesy of Roadrunner Records
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User Reviews

 
One of the few really good films of the modern era
27 April 2007 | by mrsastorSee all my reviews

I'm a little hesitant with my rating of 8 because this isn't really a film to be taken too seriously; having said that, I was glued to the screen and it holds up to repeat viewings so that says a lot.

It's peculiar that the closing credits of this film bear the usual disclaimer that "any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental" when the film is in fact the story of New Hampshire school teacher Pamela Smart, who did indeed co hearse a teenage student into murdering her husband in pretty much the exact same manner as depicted here. Writer Buck Henry has changed the characters name, occupation, and a number of the irrelevant details, but this is unmistakably the Pamela Smart story.

Played as dark comedy...! The heretofore unimpressive Buck Henry redeemed himself in my eyes with this wickedly amusing script.

While peppering us with the kind of mirroring observations about the shallowness and stupidity of the media and the society it reflects which makes us both laugh and squirm with more than passing discomfort, the top-notch cast masterfully play out the excellent script in such a mesmerizing fashion you simply will not believe nearly two hours are gone when it is over.

Nicole Kidman in particular displays intelligence and acting prowess I never imagined her capable of; she is in practically every frame of the film and while her character is truly despicable, you can't stop watching. The three teens, played by Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, and Alison Folland (who stands out as the easily led girl with a not too subtle lesbian infatuation on Suzanne Stone) are engaging. Perhaps the best of the cast after the lead is Illeana Douglas as the deliciously smart ass sister-in-law, she had me in stitches! From the opening credits of rushing reporters superimposed over headlines and newsprint, to the closing credits overlaid with the rather brilliantly selected Donovan song Season of the Witch, this one is a must see film from an era of otherwise bland cinema.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Die For 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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