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Fatal Attraction (1987)

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A married man's one-night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (short film)
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2,425 ( 502)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ellen Latzen ...
Ellen Gallagher (as Ellen Hamilton Latzen)
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Meg Mundy ...
Tom Brennan ...
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Michael Arkin ...
Lieutenant
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Fuselli (as Sam J. Coppola)
Eunice Prewitt ...
Receptionist
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Storyline

Happily married New York lawyer Dan Gallagher has an affair with his colleague Alex, and the two enjoy a love weekend while Dan's wife and kid are away. But Alex will not let go of him, and she will stop at nothing to have him for herself. Just how far will she go to get what she wants? Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On the other side of drinks, dinner and a one night stand, lies a terrifying love story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Affairs of the Heart  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,602,740 (USA) (20 September 1987)

Gross:

$156,645,693 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (5.1 surround)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was decried as misogynistic by some (like Pauline Kael) who pointed out that the heroes in this movie were the traditional 1950s style nuclear family where the wife did not work; and they were being attacked by a career woman who is presented as evil and homicidal. Pauline Kael goes even further with her critique saying that "(Alex is) also the director Adrian Lyne's and the screenwriter James Dearden's hostile version of feminism. The film is about men seeing feminists as witches, and the way the facts are presented here, the woman is a witch." See more »

Goofs

The newspaper clipping about Stanley Forest's death was from 1959. Alex had mentioned that her dad died when she was 7 and at another point says that she is now 36 years old. Based on dates on the unused opera tickets, we see that it is 1986, putting her birth year at 1950. Thus, she would have been 9 years old in 1959, not 7 years old. Also, the clipping says that Mr. Forest was 42 when he died, but the man in the photo appears to be around 60 years old. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Beth Gallagher: [to Dan] You better get going kiddo, we're gonna be late.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Barbara Harris is sometimes credited under the name Barbara Iley. In the final credits here, under 'Party Guests', she is credited under both names. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: October Surprise (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

ECHIGO-JISHI
Arranged by Hideaki Shibata
Courtesy of King Record Co., Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
holds up over time... except...
23 September 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's amazing to think that dozens - maybe hundreds(?) - of movies, especially from the Lifetime channel, can trace their lineage to this film (and people like John Carpenter and Brian De Palma turned this down in part as they saw it as unoriginal, taking from Clint Eastwood's great debut, Play Misty for Me). I think that makes this hold up is the acting, pure and simple. Douglas and Close and also Anne Archer as the wife really make this material work as strong as it can - they sell every minute they can, and they have to. This is even in knowing that the movie doesn't really have a very firm moral leg to stand on; we should be on Michael Douglas' side, but he's the one that screwed up.

Sure, Glenn Close is crazy, or a victim of abuse as well if one wants to dig a little deeper (who knows what happened with dear old dad before he died of that heart attack), but, and this is important, she's right (certainly initially) or at least has a point that should matter about how he's just tossing her to the wayside after a night or two of "fun". I like that Lyne and the writer have underlying implications that make it more harrowing and that it paints the two sides as neither right or wrong (though of course one is more wrong than the other, the wrongs don't make anything right) up to varying degrees. What makes it not stand up over time is the ending, or even the last act.

From a writing perspective it should have ended how it was originally supposed to, with Alex killing herself and framing Dan as if it was murder. It calls back to the mention of Madame Butterfly, which is the set up and pay-off. But because the producers acquiesced it turns into the template for countless s***y movies where the character has one last hurrah to mess with the supposed heroes and blood is spilled and one more life is lost. In a sense my criticism is the same as Ebert's, that it kind of turns into a Friday the 13th movie. But at least for 85% of the running time, maybe 90%, it is a provocative, terrifying drama that has a simple moral message: don't cheat.


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