A Perfect Murder

June 5th, 1998


more trailers A Perfect Murder

Emily & DavidEmily & Steven at dinnerEmily & StevenDavid, Emily and Steven at the museum

A remake of the Hitchcock classic dial "M" for murder

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 6.4/10 (31,895 voted)

Critic's Score: 50/100

Director: Andrew Davis

Stars: Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen

Millionaire industrialist Steven Taylor is a man who has everything but what he craves most: the love and fidelity of his wife. A hugely successful player in the New York financial world, he considers her to be his most treasured acquisition. But she needs more than simply the role of dazzling accessory. Brilliant in her own right, she works at the U.N. and is involved with a struggling artist who fulfills her emotional needs. When her husband discovers her indiscretion, he sets out to commit the perfect murder and inherit her considerable trust fund in the bargain.

Writers: Frederick Knott, Patrick Smith Kelly

Michael Douglas - Steven Taylor
Gwyneth Paltrow - Emily Bradford Taylor
Viggo Mortensen - David Shaw
David Suchet - Mohamed Karaman
Sarita Choudhury - Raquel Martinez
Michael P. Moran - Bobby Fain
Novella Nelson - Ambassador Alice Wills
Constance Towers - Sandra Bradford
Will Lyman - Jason Gates
Maeve McGuire - Ann Gates
Stephen Singer - Effete Man at Met
Laurinda Barrett - Met Woman #1
Aideen O'Kelly - Met Woman #2
Reed Birney - Merchant Prince #1
Robert Vincent Smith - Merchant Prince #2

Taglines: Husband. Wife. Lover. A Dangerous Affair. A Perfect Murder.


Official Website: Warner Bros. |

Release Date: 5 June 1998

Filming Locations: New Jersey, USA

Opening Weekend: $16,615,704 (USA) (7 June 1998) (2845 Screens)

Gross: $67,629,105 (USA) (13 September 1998)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | USA:

Did You Know?

The title, "A Perfect Murder", is a quote from the 1954 Hitchcock version of this story, "Dial M For Murder". See Memorable Quotes from "Dial M For Murder".

Continuity: When detective Karaman shows Emily the pictures and the sketches of he murdered man, you can see the man stabbed on the left side of the neck on the picture (as really happened), but on the right side of the neck on both sketches.

[first lines]
Steven: There you are. And how was your day? Any progress in saving the world?
Emily: I'm working on it.

User Review

Slick and stylish Hitchcock update

Rating: 7/10

I went into A Perfect Murder expecting to enjoy it, but I recognised the fact that I wouldn't be in for a great film. To be honest, I love thrillers like this as they offer a solid two hours (or so) of non-too taxing entertainment, and what's not to like about that? A Perfect Murder is an update of the Hitchcock classic 'Dial M For Murder', and while the film doesn't touch Hitchcock's in terms of how thrilling it is, this update has been well handled and despite losing things such as the claustrophobia and the tight plot, A Perfect Murder still does what you'd expect it to do. The plot has become more expansive for this update, but the filmmakers have still managed to keep it tight so that the plot is focused mainly on the characters as opposed to the actual crime. The plot follows a rich man (Michael Douglas) who discovers that his trophy wife (Gweneth Paltrow) is having an affair with an artist (Viggo Mortensen). When his business affairs start to go awry, he decides to commit the perfect murder so that he can inherit his wife's trust fund. However, as all of us Hitchcock fans know; there's no such thing as the perfect murder.

Michael Douglas was the absolute perfect choice for this role. He may get typecast as the slimy businessman often, but he does it so well! You can really believe that he wants to kill his wife. Gweneth Paltrow, who is often solid but never outstanding; and Viggo Mortensen, who is actually a good actor, join him and make up the three-piece central cast. Mortensen's performance here isn't awesome; but it's good, and hints at the sort of stuff that would be to come - such as a great turn in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. Like most nineties thrillers, this one is very stylishly shot and there's a focus on the more steamy elements of the story. The locations used aptly convey the groups within society that the characters belong to and the film does a good job of setting its scenes. The central set piece is well executed, and the build up to it is well done also; but it has to be said that the film starts to fall apart a little after that. Still, A Perfect Murder never becomes boring and even during it's down time; the film still manages to be thrilling. As mentioned, this isn't as great as Hitchcock's version - but as modern remakes go - this certainly isn't a bad one, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.