To Die For

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German title To Die For
Original title To Die For
Country of production USA , UK
original language English
Publishing year 1995
length 102 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Gus Van Sant
script Buck Henry
production Laura Ziskin
music Danny Elfman
camera Eric Alan Edwards
cut Curtiss Clayton

To Die For is a US-British feature film from 1995, which is assigned to the genre of black comedy . It was directed by Gus Van Sant and the screenplay was written by Buck Henry based on a novel by Joyce Maynard . Which in turn is based on the true story of Pamela Smart . The main roles were played by Nicole Kidman and Matt Dillon .


Numerous media people rush to the funeral of Larry Maretto, husband of Suzanne Stone. Stone is suspected of complicity in her husband's death. Then Stone and the sister of the victim, Janice Maretto, explain the background.

Janice tries to pair her single brother Larry with one of her friends; However, he met Suzanne Stone in a club instead. Larry surprises Janice and the rest of the family with their wedding shortly afterwards. Suzanne dreams of a career in television. She tries by all means to make a career with a local television station. She amazes the other employees, who repeatedly tell her that the station is just a small cable television station . Finally, she is employed there as a moderator for the weather forecast.

Suzanne organizes a working group at the local school to make a documentary about young people. She leads one of the students, Jimmy Emmett, who is in love with her - also by sleeping with him - to murder her husband Larry Maretto. Emmett, a troubled teenager, and his friends Russell and Lydia, they pretend that Larry beats them and treats them inhumanely. With the help of Russell and Lydia, Jimmy eventually kills Larry. However, he realizes after the fact that Larry was a meek man and that Suzanne manipulated him.

Jimmy, Russell and Lydia are arrested. The police manage to gather evidence against Suzanne, but she is acquitted for procedural errors in the murder trial. Jimmy and Russell are sentenced to life imprisonment and 16 years in prison, respectively. Lydia had been guaranteed impunity for helping the police gather evidence against Suzanne.

Larry's father now uses his ties to the Mafia to avenge his son. The hit man lures Suzanne out of her house on the pretext of wanting to publish her life story. He kills her and sinks her corpse in the lake. In the final scene, you see Larry's sister ice-skating on the lake and literally dancing on Suzanne's grave.


James Berardinelli wrote on ReelViews that the film was not a masterpiece, but it was an electrifying, colorful production that satirically "toast" the media. The screenwriter is an "accomplished" satirist; the film humor often has an intellectual note. Nicole Kidman does "wonderful" work.

Prisma Online magazine described Nicole Kidman's account as "terrifyingly believable". The director "skilfully assembles current scenes, retrospectives, TV excerpts and interview scenes into a garish, exciting and, above all, bitterly angry media satire that sometimes makes the viewer laugh in the throat."

The German-French cultural broadcaster Arte rates the film as follows:

“This extremely black comedy is directed by a young woman from a small town who is ready for anything to become a television star. To Die For is a caustic satire about career addiction and the media. ... The leading actress, played by a great Nicole Kidman, is shown as a robot-like doll. As terrifying as it is sexy, as determined as it is far from any human emotion. The first Hollywood production in Gus Van Sant's career is one of his best films. We would not have expected such unrest from this changeable director. However, in this commissioned work we find his critical view of US society as well as his liking for visual experiments. Gus Van Sant also excels at eroticizing the bodies he's filmed. His portraits of the three lost teenagers anticipate the violent fate of the youth in Elephant . "

- Film review at Arte


Nicole Kidman won for her role Film Award Golden Globe Award . It also won the London Critics Circle Film Award , the Empire Award , the Seattle International Film Festival Award ( Golden Space Needle Award ), the Boston Society of Film Critics Award, and the Southeastern Film Critics Association Award ; she was nominated for the BAFTA Award , the American Comedy Award , the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Award ( Saturn Award ) and the MTV Movie Award .

Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix and Illeana Douglas were nominated for the Chlotrudis Award . Buck Henry was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award .

The German Film and Media Evaluation FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the title valuable.


Production costs were approximately 20 million US dollars . The film grossed approximately $ 21.3 million in US cinemas.

Web links


  1. Release certificate for To Die For . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , May 2009 (PDF; test number: 74 216 V / DVD / UMD).
  2. ^ Film review by James Berardinelli, accessed November 25, 2007
  3. ^ Prisma Online, accessed November 25, 2007
  4. "To Die For" by Gus Van Sant. In: One film, one minute. , accessed on January 14, 2019 .
  5. ^ Box office / business for To Die For, accessed November 25, 2007