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Dangerous Liaisons (1988)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 27
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


User Ratings: 45,787



Movie Info

Adapted for stage and screen several times over the past century, French author Francois Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel Les Liasons Dangeureuses was the basis for this Academy Award-winning Stephen Frears film. The plot is motivated by a cruel wager between the beautiful but debauched Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and her misogynistic former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovitch). The Marquise challenges Valmont to seduce the virginal Cecile de Volanges (Uma Thurman) before the … More

R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
Christopher Hampton
In Theaters:
May 1, 2001
Warner Home Video



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Critic Reviews for Dangerous Liaisons

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (2) | DVD (5)

This incisive study of sex as an arena for manipulative power games takes too long to catch fire and suffers from a deficient central performance.

Full Review… | February 8, 2008
Top Critic

The creepy plot still holds a certain fascination.

Full Review… | February 8, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A sombre, manipulative affair in which the dà (C)cor is never allowed to usurp our interest.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Witty, entertaining, if occasionally overripe.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Director Stephen Frears accelerates entertainingly through Christopher Hampton's wig-and-powder sado-comedy about sexual mind games in 18th-century France.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Tantalizingly wicked -- watching it makes the color rise to your cheeks.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Emotional cruelty through sexual manipulation is the rule of the game of this smooth transfer of Christopher Hampton's witty play, with an all-American cast, headed by Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Full Review… | April 30, 2007

Splendid... full of deliciously devious characters

December 3, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

For a tragedy that carries a strong emotional kick, it's wickedly fun.

February 5, 2004
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Close, Malkovich e Pfeiffer aproveitam ao máximo seus fascinantes personagens e os diálogos afiados do roteiro de Hampton, mas o filme é um pouco mais frio do que deveria.

February 3, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Wicked and well-appointed, this is a deliriously sinful costume a drama.

August 16, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Its vernacular style allows the film to connect easily with present-day morals, sexual politics, and thirst for power.

Full Review… | July 30, 2003
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Stephen Frears' direction is superb -- the design and lighting evoke simultaneous worlds of privilege and squalor, and while the nature of day-to-day life in 18th century France becomes readily apparent, it never becomes distracting.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002

Perhaps the juciest adaptation of the story that one could hope for.

July 25, 2002
Matinee Magazine

It's like Masterpiece Theater ... but not boring!

July 25, 2002

A scintillating study of sexual politics that skillfully presents the cruel ways two malevolent protagonists manipulate their targets and deceive others around them.

Full Review… | February 14, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

If the very most basic plot is a little too much like some of those incompetently made French sex-romps that show up on late-night cable, everything else is first-rate in this production.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Probably the best adaptation of the celebrated novel you can find.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Dangerous Liaisons


Dangerous Liaisons oozes sex and excess, the depths of human wickedness, lush, seduction, all the good bits basically. It is directed beautifully by Stephen Frears who doesn't stick to a cliched look at this particular period in France but gives the story an element of believability at the same time as bringing a brilliant bit of theatre to life. No one else really does this as well as Frears, I can see anyone else getting away with a film like The Queen for example, his technique of bringing theatre to the screen is great as it is unique. The performances are among the collective cast's best, if I read the script yesterday and the film had never been made I certainly wouldn't think Glenn Close and John Malkovich but that is why I'm not a casting director, I don't think I've enjoyed either actor as much as I did in this film.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


I love France in this time.... pretty dresses. I found it very intriguing and seductive. Proves once more Glenn Close is astonishing and that Keanu Reeves actually has had a good role in his life. WOW.

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

good plot

JOHN MALKOVICH is a strange actor... he kept the same face the entire time!!! he never showed emotion evan when he died!

Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer


This is basically Elizabeth, if Elizabeth were an old slutty manipulatress. I know it's a good movie and technically impressive and all that shit that bodice-rippers always are, but these films always deal with the exact same themes. "lol the hidden strength of a woman" "lol the heart plays by no rules" "lol even the most dignified man is still a beast" Come on, now. Mix things up a little bit.

The highlight of the film remains John Malkovich, a chilling sociopath who's out to ruin as many lives as possible just for personal challenge. His performance is a study in how to properly exude inexpressiveness - the perverse, confused smiles, and the declarations of love that are totally hollow even when he doesn't mean them to be. It is almost terrifying. Glenn Close is also capable, though the character is no new take on the Imperial Dragon Lady. Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer fade away, the latter especially surprisingly considering she picked up a Supporting Actress nod. And Keanu Reeves...*sigh* That performance in The Gift is looking more and more like a fluke every day.

Anyway, Dangerous Liaisons isn't bad. It's just nothing special. Another example of the Oscars drinking the Period Piece Koolaid. There's a bit of humor, and a bit of nastiness and a bit of violence and a whole lot of lust, and it makes the movie watchable but nothing even remotely near art or auteurial. If you're not totally sick of these films yet, I guess this is a good place to go.

Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

Dangerous Liaisons Quotes

Vicomte De Valmont: But it is always the best swimmers who drown.
– Submitted by Raj G (2 years ago)
Vicomte De Valmont: You are a genuinely wicked woman.
– Submitted by Raj G (2 years ago)
Marquise De Merteuil: When it comes to marriage, one man is as good as the next.
– Submitted by Raj G (2 years ago)
Marquise De Merteuil: War.
– Submitted by Trish G (3 years ago)

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