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1,908 Ratings

Dressed to Kill

Directed by Brian De Palma
United States, 1980
Mystery, Thriller


At once tongue-in-cheek and scary as hell, Dressed to Kill revolves around the grisly murder of a woman in Manhattan, and what happens when her psychiatrist, her brainiac teenage son, and the prostitute who witnessed the crime try to piece together what happened while the killer remains at large.

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Dressed to Kill Directed by Brian De Palma

Awards & Festivals

Golden Globes (USA)

1981 | Nominee: New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - Female

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

1980 | 2 nominations including: Best Film



The film opens like a diamond reflecting light in many directions, inside the Day-Glo ambience of a bedroom, bathed in the immortal sound-sphere of Pino Dinnaggio’s soft-core string arrangements; the mind is where this film begins and ends. The glare of light pierces through the skin of this film like a sharpened razor, tearing at the fabric of the illusion. No other filmmaker, other than Godard, has played so much with what we as viewers perceive as the surface.
June 17, 2016
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It is such obvious surface, but the surface goes on for miles. As a formalist, Mr. De Palma repeatedly cast his lot with the films of Alfred Hitchcock — in “Blow Out,” “Body Double” and “Raising Cain,” too. The museum sequence is like an exhibitionist “Vertigo” whipping open its trench coat and flashing its great big Judith Krantz.
June 09, 2016
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Mr. De Palma has made more coherent movies than “Dressed to Kill” (namely “Carrie” and “Blow Out”) during his long career, but few have been so technically accomplished, felt more personal or raised more hackles: “Dressed to Kill” had to be recut to avoid an X rating and, along with William Friedkin’s “Cruising,” which opened the same summer, was attacked for its stereotyping.
October 21, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Lights in the Dusk's rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    The first 30 minutes function almost as a perfectly self-contained narrative; establishing themes of female desire, voyeurism & objectification, perception & identity, which further develop throughout. The cat & mouse suspense that follows draws heavily on the influence of Hitchcock, but is most redolent of Italian giallo. Freudian subtext & De Palma's blurring of dream & reality mark this as one of his masterworks.

  • Henri de Corinth's rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    Rewatch. My dad had a VHS bootleg of this and watching it growing up it always seemed like it 'drifted' between two or three different a dream or fugue state. It still comes across that way I feels very romantic (capital R, as in Romanticism) -almost futurist- in the way it's Argento's Tenebrae.

  • Addy K.'s rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    I knew the film had me when after a delightful afternoon of steamy sex with a stranger, Angie Dickinson sits down to leave him a love letter: as Pino Donaggio's beautiful score swells, as the camera lingers on her sublime smile, and then—the look of horror when Angie discovers that the man she just fucked has a dozen venereal diseases! Cue laughter+gasps! Trashy, scary and contains perfect deadpan by Michael Caine.

  • Renton47's rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    Forget 'homage', De Palma is the world we inherited from Hitchcock. Isn't that the case with being shown a little of our nightmares? A little is never enough, and De Palma knows if our dreams look real they look something like the movies, with blood and titillation and irrepressible transgressions. I want a spin-off of Peter and Liz solving mysteries, and Allen is amazing here.

  • josé neves's rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    35mm. Forget Hitchcock, from whom this film enjoy some motifs. What matters most it's how appropriates a cinema considered minor by "la fine bouche" - the European erotic B and Z movies and notably the Giallo - and reconfigures it as an intrinsically structuralist exercise, from the inside of cinema. See the figure of the young inventor and how his gadgets serve to integrate the way the film looks and listens.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    Seen in 1981 and tonight. After 35 years, I remembered the first shower dream scene (you know, with Angie's face and someone else's body), the travellings in the museum with Pino Donaggio's music and, of course, the elevator's scene. I also remember that American critics were crucifying Brian de Palma then and that only some faithful fans understood him. Now, he's in the Criterion collection. Recommended.

  • TheCinemaAdventurist's rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    Brian De Palma at it again with his Hitchcock homages and making it his own in this erotic giallo-esque horror slasher film. An interesting film that captures 80's horror film sleaze with classic De Palma charm. Although I felt like it didn't quite turn the story on its head, the story is pretty much inspired from Hitchcock's "Psycho". However it's still a great film to watch.

  • Harry Rossi's rating of the film Dressed to Kill

    A wonderful satirical thriller, also my first De Palma experience and it's definitely got me excited for more! Loved Michael Caine, the story, the style and tone. Some absolutely fascinating shots. Truly fantastic, sexy, smart, funny and suspenseful.

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