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Valmont (1989)

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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.

Director:

Milos Forman
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

As unpredictable as love itself.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ha-Peetooim Ha-Assurim Shel Velmont See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$96,008, 19 November 1989

Gross USA:

$1,132,112

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,132,112
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wil Wheaton was originally chosen to play Danceny, but the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) would not release him from his commitments, and the role went to Henry Thomas. (Ironically, Drew Barrymore, who played Thomas' little sister in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) was nearly cast as Cecile de Volanges, Danceny's love interest, in the competing film, Dangerous Liaisons (1988).) See more »

Goofs

After the scene at the pond, Valmont enters his room soaked, with his white shirt almost translucent. As he and Madame de Merteuil order Valmont's servant in and out of the room, Valmont's shirt rapidly dries out. When Valmont finally begins to remove his clothes, they are sopping wet again. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Featured in No Small Parts: Vincent Schiavelli (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

L'Apotheose de Lulli
François Couperin
Performed by the orchestra of the The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A less sadistic version of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereruses
24 April 2002 | by countryway_48864See all my reviews

I think I've seen all the variations on a theme of this story, which, in turn, is a variation on the Don Juan legend. Of all of them, I like this one best.

Colin Firth is a marvelous Valmont. Firth is a VERY subtle actor. Early in the film, he pretends to be helpless in the water, unable to swim in order to elicite a response from his victim,(Tilly), but when his actions do not receive the response he expected, his face changes immediately. He is no longer the smiling, charmer, but a man furious that his plan was thwarted. These changes in expression happen in an instant. The alteration of his features is absolutely chilling.

It is, to me, far more effective to have the villian of the piece LOOK like an angel, than to look like what he really is (Malkovitch).

Annette Benning, with her delicate beauty and dimple certainly doesn't look like the scheming, sexual predator that she really is.

There is one scene in which Firth really does a virtuoso performance. He dances with four women in turn. First, he dances with his elderly Aunt. This lady still loves to flirt. He is graceful and charming and flatters her outrageously. Next he dances with his 15 year old prey. Here he cappers like a 15 year old, which delights and disarmes her. Next, Valmont dances with Benning, his former lover. Here he is remote and aloof. It is SHE who flirts with him! He withholds what she knows should be hers. THEN he dances with the woman he has fallen in love with. He has a bet with Benning that he can bed this married, pious lady. In this dance he is sensual and genuine. SHE reacts with the most rapturous expressions and movements I have ever seen on screen. Meg Tilly and Colin Firth dancing in this sequence are breathtaking to behold.

Because all of the feelings of the characters in Valmont are so beautifully acted, Firth, Benning, Tilly and Balk are all believable and because you believe in them you also feel their pain.

Each character suffers because of decisions they have made, over and above the seductions that do take place.

A marvelous film that I recommend to those over 18. There are some explicite scenes in this film that are too hot for young people.


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