Dangerous Liaisons

  • 15
  • Stephen Frears (1988)
  • US
  • 114 min
Dangerous Liaisons
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Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

This classically mounted, richly textured production of the scandalous 18th-century "sex as power play" novel is a handsome homage to the idea that women lose out in a man's world even when they at first appear to be in control. The extraordinary performances of Glenn Close, as the vindictive Marquise de Merteuil, and Michelle Pfeiffer, as the pure wife despoiled by the slimy Valmont (John Malkovich) on a wager, help make director Stephen Frears's chilling depiction of an era's corruption heart-wincingly believable. Malkovich, though, seems ill-cast, with all the sleaze but none of the necessary seduction in his portrayal. Despite that, this is a treat for eye and mind.

Plot Summary

Oscar-winning period drama starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer. Pre-Revolutionary France: the scheming, treacherous and beautiful Marquise de Merteuil is seething with jealousy because her most recent lover has left her to marry a virgin. Enlisting the help of the roguish and amoral Vicomte de Valmont in an intricate plot of seduction and revenge, she spins a web of deceit and sexual intrigue that can only result in tragedy for all.

Cast and crew


Marquise de Merteuil
Glenn Close
Vicomte de Valmont
John Malkovich
Madame de Tourvel
Michelle Pfeiffer
Madame de Volanges
Swoosie Kurtz
Chevalier Dancény
Keanu Reeves
Madame de Rosemonde
Mildred Natwick
Cécile de Volanges
Uma Thurman
Peter Capaldi
Joe Sheridan


Stephen Frears

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Warner Bros
Contains violence, sex scenes and nudity.
Available on video and DVD
Certificate 15