Dance with a Stranger (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dance with a Stranger (1985)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Dance with a Stranger Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This darkly haunting slightly fictionalized film is a retelling of the life and death of Ruth Ellis (Miranda Richardson), the last woman to be executed in England. Ellis, a divorcee and ex-prostitute works as a "hostess" in a tacky nightclub. There she meets and begins an obsessive love affair with upper-class David Blakely (Rupert Everett), who eventually discards her. Still obsessed and jealous because of David's upcoming marriage to a woman of his own class, Ellis murders him. Miranda Richardson, in a stark, knock-out performance is outstanding as the cold, calculating Ellis, unscrupulous in her use of everyone to get what she wants. Ian Holm, in an often-overlooked performance, is superb as the man who loves Ellis, supporting her and her teenage son, without ever gaining her love. He is her mainstay and the surrogate father to her teenage son, who Ellis has little time for. In his own, quiet way he is as obsessed as Ellis. The screenplay, adapted by Shelagh Delaney remains faithful to the true story, taking only minor dramatic license. Dance With a Stranger is an uncompromising look at obsessive love and its consequences on others. The story is made even more poignant because of the sad life and eventual suicide of Ellis' real son. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Shelagh Delaney
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 23, 2001
Concorde Film


Rupert Everett
as David Blakely
Ian Holm
as Desmond Cussen
Tom Chadbon
as Anthony Findlater
Jane Bertish
as Carole Findlater
David Troughton
as Cliff Davis
Paul Mooney
as Clive Gunnell
Stratford Johns
as Morrie Conley
David Beale
as Man in Little Club
Charon Bourke
as Ballroom Singer
Charles Cork
as Policeman
Ian Hurley
as Policeman
Miki Iveria
as Landlady
Susan Kyd
as Barbara
Tony Mathews
as Customer "Madgala"
Lizzie McKenzie
as Woman in Launderette
Colin Rix
as Landlord "Madgala"
Tracy-Louise Ward
as Girl with David Blak...
Joanne Whalley
as Christine
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dance with a Stranger

Critic Reviews for Dance with a Stranger

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

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

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

Miranda Richardson gives a brilliant performance as Ruth Ellis in Mike Newell's gloomy and dowbeat film noir, based on the life of the last British femme to be hanged for murder.

Full Review… | July 16, 2005

An unforgettable performance by Miranda Richardson.

Full Review… | August 22, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Dance with a Stranger

Based on the story of Ruth Ellis - the last woman to be hanged in Britain. The film provides the tale of the build up toward her crime of passion.

Miranda Richardson (possibly better known for her comedy roles) plays a great role here as a woman who doesn't suffer fools gladly and a fiesty, perhaps controversial character of her time and has a weakness in the man she loves. I am unaware of how factual this film is, but it made for entertaining viewing.

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

Good News/Bad News

Good News: Miranda Richardson is incredible. Beyond her command of the character, which in itself is remarkable, is her sheer screen presence. To quote Steve Wiecking, she looks like a "delicious chilled confection".

Bad News: The film has a BBC-made-for-television feel to it, especially the sound reproduction and score.

Good News: The docudrama presentation lends itself well to detail and, as far as I can tell, historical accuracy. Ruth's debilitating codependency with her abusive and alcoholic beau is laid before us with excruciating clarity.

Bad News: Except for a postscript reference, there are no details about Ruth's trial, incarceration, execution, or the impact it all had [if any] on public attitudes and perceptions. Dance With A Stranger delivers a detailed reenactment of a terminally dysfunctional relationship, but barely hints at the tragic consequences.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

dark intriguing movie. miranda richardson is sensational.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Dance with a Stranger Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Dance with a Stranger on our Movie forum!