Death Becomes Her (1992) - IMDb
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Death Becomes Her (1992)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror | 31 July 1992 (USA)
2:10 | Trailer
When a woman learns of an immortality treatment, she sees it as a way to outdo her long-time rival.


Robert Zemeckis
1,515 ( 194)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Madeline Ashton Menville
Bruce Willis ... Dr. Ernest Menville
Goldie Hawn ... Helen Sharp
Isabella Rossellini ... Lisle Von Rhuman
Ian Ogilvy ... Chagall
Adam Storke ... Dakota
Nancy Fish ... Rose
Alaina Reed-Hall ... Psychologist (as Alaina Reed Hall)
Michelle Johnson ... Anna
Mary Ellen Trainor ... Vivian Adams
William Frankfather ... Mr. Franklin
John Ingle ... Eulogist
Clement von Franckenstein ... Opening Man
Petrea Burchard ... Opening Woman
Jim Jansen ... Second Man


In 1978, in Broadway, the decadent and narcissist actress Madeline Ashton is performing Songbird, based on Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth. Then she receives her rival Helen Sharp, who is an aspiring writer, and her fiancé Ernest Menville, who is a plastic surgeon, in her dressing-room. Soon Menville calls off his commitment with Helen and marries Madeline. Seven years later, Helen is obese in a psychiatric hospital and obsessed in seeking revenge on Madeline. In 1992, the marriage of Madeline and Menville is finished and he is no longer a surgeon but an alcoholic caretaker. Out of the blue, they are invited to a party where Helen will release her novel Forever Young and Madeline goes to a beauty shop. The owner gives a business card of the specialist in rejuvenation Lisle Von Rhuman to her. When the envious Madeline sees Helen thin in a perfect shape, she decides to seek out Lisle and buys a potion to become young again. Further, she advises that Madeline must take care of ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Some people will go to any lengths to stay young forever. But Madeline Ashton and her old friend Helen Sharp are about to go TOO far. See more »


Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some nudity and off-color humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The box containing the potion is decorated with the symbol "ankh", an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic ideograph symbolizing life. See more »


Helen has had a hole blown through her stomach by the time the "shovel fight" has begun. As Ernest leaves the scene, you see the shadows of the women fighting, only now the hole is in Madeleine's shadow, not Helen's. See more »


[first lines]
Opening Man: [leaving the theatre in the rain] Can you believe that? A musical version of "Sweet Bird of Youth."Who are they kidding?
Opening Woman: Thank God you wanted to leave...
Second Woman: Can you believe Madeline Ashton? Talk about waking the dead.
Second Man: I gotta get a drink...
[zoom in on discarded playbill featuring Madeline Ashton]
See more »


Featured in Heartstoppers: Horror at the Movies (1992) See more »


Bridal Chorus
Written by Richard Wagner
See more »

User Reviews

A touch of youth and eternal life...
23 July 2017 | by paul_haakonsenSee all my reviews

I remember watching this movie back in the mid 1990's, give or take, and do recall it as being an entertaining movie. So I took the time to sit down and watch it again in 2017.

And let me just start out by saying that having aged 25 years has done nothing to the movie, because it is every bit as entertaining and enjoyable now as it was back then. So one might speculate whether or not the potion that thwarts aging and restores youth have been given to the movie as well...

The story is about the rivalry between two friends; Helen Sharp (played by Goldie Hawn) and Madeline Ashton (played by Meryl Streep). Helen is engaged to be married to Ernest Menville (played by Bruce Willis) when Madeline swoops in an steal him away. Ernest and Madeline become married, but the years of marriage wedges an emotional separation between them, and during these years Helen is down on her luck and harbors a strong resentment towards Madeline all these years. 12 years later, Helen walks back into the lives of Ernest and Madeline, and things are taking a very unexpected turn...

It is a combination of storyline, acting performances and special effects that keep this movie fresh and up to date. Yes, even while the movie is from 1992, the special effects are quite good and still do manage to stand up to the effects of today.

The music score for the movie was quite good, as it should be of course at the hands of Alan Silvestri.

Director Robert Zemeckis managed to turn writers Martin Donovan and David Koepp's story into a very enjoyable movie on the screen.

If you haven't already seen "Death Becomes Her", then I can strongly recommend that you find the time to do so, should you happen to get the chance, because this is a rather nice movie.

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Release Date:

31 July 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Death Becomes Her See more »


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,110,355, 2 August 1992

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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