Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||James Cameron|
|Produced by||James Cameron
|Screenplay by||James Cameron|
|Story by||James Cameron
|Based on||La Totale!
by Claude Zidi
Jamie Lee Curtis
|Music by||Brad Fiedel|
|Edited by||Conrad Buff IV
Richard A. Harris
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox
(USA & Canada)
True Lies is a 1994 American action film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. It is loosely based on the 1991 French comedy film La Totale!.
True Lies was the first Lightstorm Entertainment project to be distributed under Cameron's multi-million dollar production deal with 20th Century Fox, as well as the first major production for the visual effects company Digital Domain, which was co-founded by Cameron.
Upon its release, True Lies was the most expensive film ever made as well as the first film to have over a $100 million production budget, and went on to a commercial and critical success. For her performance, Curtis won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Saturn Award for Best Actress, while Cameron won the Saturn Award for Best Director. The film ultimately grossed $378 million worldwide at the box-office and was also nominated at the Academy Awards and BAFTAs in the Best Visual Effect category, and also for seven Saturn Awards.
Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger) leads a double life, performing covert missions for the U.S government under a counter-terrorism task force called "The Omega Sector". Albert "Gib" Gibson (Arnold) and Faisal (Heslov) assist him in these missions under the command of Spencer Trilby (Heston). However, Harry's wife, Helen (Curtis), and his daughter, Dana (Dushku), believe he is a boring computer salesman with Tektel Systems (the cover company for Omega Sector) doing a lot of "corporate" travel. Harry's latest mission in Switzerland reveals the existence of a Palestinian terrorism organization group known as the Crimson Jihad, led by Salim Abu Aziz (Malik). Harry suspects that antiques dealer Juno Skinner (Carrere) has ties to Aziz. After visiting her, Harry is chased by Aziz's men through a shopping mall and a large hotel, meanwhile missing the birthday party that his wife and daughter have arranged for him.
Harry plans to surprise Helen the next day at her office to take her out to lunch, but overhears her talking to a man named Simon (Paxton). He uses his connections in Omega Section to learn that Simon is a used car salesman, pretending to be a covert agent to entice Helen. Harry and other Omega agents, disguised, kidnap Helen while she is at Simon's trailer while frightening Simon to stay away from her. Harry, using a voice masking device, interrogates Helen and learns she sought adventure with Harry gone all the time. Harry arranges for Helen to participate in a staged spy mission, where she is to seduce a mysterious agent in his hotel room (in actuality, Harry himself who hopes to surprise Helen) and plant a tracking bug on him. However, Aziz' men burst in and kidnap both of them, and take them to an island in the Florida Keys.
Aziz reveals he possesses small nuclear warheads hidden inside antique statues shipped by Juno and plans to detonate one to demonstrate his power to the United States, before ordering his men to torture the two. Harry, under a truth serum, reveals his double life to Helen, but then manages to break free and rescue Helen. They secretly watch as Aziz prepares to take one of the warheads into downtown Miami and sets another to go off on the island within the hour. Harry leaves Helen in a safe place as he starts to attack Aziz' men, but Helen is captured by Aziz and Juno and taken with the convoy on the Overseas Highway. Harry is rescued by Gibson and other agents in helicopters following the tracking bug that Helen was to set, and they pursue the convoy along the Seven Mile Bridge, with two U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jets firing and destroying part of the bridge to stop the convoy. Harry manages to rescue Helen from Juno's limo before it falls over the destroyed section. The jets make it back to the mainland in time before the first bomb goes off, while Harry and Helen passionately kiss.
They quickly learn that Aziz and his men have taken control of a downtown Miami skyscraper and have kidnapped Dana, threatening to detonate the second bomb in downtown Miami. Harry takes one of the Harriers to reach the skyscraper quickly, leaving Helen standing on the road barefoot and worried. Faisal poses as part of a requested camera crew for Aziz to make his demands, providing enough distraction for Dana to steal the ignition key and flee the room. Aziz chases Dana onto an overhead crane while Harry arrives in the Harrier. He is able to rescue Dana while Aziz falls onto the plane, eventually becoming ensnared on the end of one of the AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles on the plane. Harry fires the missile through the now-empty skyscraper, destroying a helicopter with Aziz' reinforcements and killing Aziz. Harry, Helen, and Dana are safely reunited.
A year later, the Tasker's family integrity has been restored, and it is revealed that Helen now also works for Omega Sector. Harry and Helen are called to embark on a new mission together, where they encounter "Simon" again, who is a waiter serving champagne and telling a female attendee at the event that he is actually a secret agent on a mission. Using her new skills, Helen intimidates Simon into leaving, just before a tango begins with Harry and Helen taking their places to complete their mission.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Harry Tasker
- Jamie Lee Curtis as Helen Tasker
- Tom Arnold as Albert 'Gib' Gibson
- Bill Paxton as Simon
- Tia Carrere as Juno Skinner
- Art Malik as Salim Abu Aziz
- Eliza Dushku as Dana Tasker
- Grant Heslov as Faisal
- Charlton Heston as Spencer Trilby
- Marshall Manesh as Jamal Khaled
- James Allen as Colonel
Schwarzengger stated that while filming a scene with a horse, a camera boom hit the horse and "it went crazy, spinning and rearing" near a drop of 90 feet. Schwarzenegger quickly slid off the horse and a stuntman caught him; he concluded, "[this is] why I will always love stunt people". Costing $100–120 million to produce, True Lies was the first film with a production budget of over $100 million. It was filmed over a seven-month schedule.
Upon its release in 1994, the film garnered mostly positive reviews. Based on 47 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, True Lies has a 72% fresh rating and a weighted average of 6.5/10 with the consensus being "If it doesn't reach the heights of director James Cameron's and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's previous collaborations, True Lies still packs enough action and humor into its sometimes absurd plot to entertain". Website Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean to various reviews, gave the film a 63 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
James Berardinelli from Reelviews gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, saying,
"I have yet to decide whether True Lies is a better comedy or action film. It contains heavy elements of both, and plays them equally well. Unlike such failed attempts as Hudson Hawk and Last Action Hero, however, True Lies is a big, grandiose movie that has an immense amount of fun while never taking itself too seriously... Speed and True Lies deliver a summer one-two punch that will leave viewers squirming with excitement and gasping for breath."
The film earned $146 million domestically and $232.6 million abroad, making it third best-grossing movie of 1994, and also a comeback for Schwarzenegger following Last Action Hero the previous summer. For her performance, Jamie Lee Curtis received a 1994 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy.
Despite the positive reviews, the film was criticized as sexist, cruel or even misogynistic, for its treatment of female characters, such as the hero (Schwarzenegger) using his agency's resources to stalk and frighten his wife. Others perceived it as conveying a strong anti-Arab or anti-Muslim prejudice.
Of the many locations that were used in the film, the Rosecliff Mansion was used for the ballroom tango scenes in the beginning of the film and the exterior of the Swiss chalet that Harry Tasker infiltrates is the Ochre Court. The ballroom dancing scene that closes the film, as well as the scenes in the lobby of the fictional Hotel Marquis in Washington, take place in the Crystal Ballroom of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Opening in 2,368 theaters in the United States, True Lies ranked #1 in its opening weekend, earning $25,869,770. True Lies was a box-office success, earning $146,282,411 in the United States and $232,600,000 in the rest of world, totaling $378,882,411 worldwide.
Possible sequel and television series adaptation
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2010)|
In September 2010, multiple websites reported Cameron developing True Lies as a possible television series with Dark Angel producer René Echevarria acting as showrunner and producer. In 2012, online news reports quoted Eliza Dushku as saying there would be a sequel reuniting the original cast with the writer/director James Cameron. Cameron originally planned to make a sequel sometime in 2002, but he put his plans on hold once the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred in New York City, saying terrorism was no longer something to be taken lightly. In an interview, James Cameron stated there are no plans for a True Lies sequel, but he and Schwarzenegger had spoken about possibly working on a new project together once Schwarzenegger leaves office.
In the film The Kid & I, Tom Arnold plays a fictional character based on himself. In that film, the character had starred in True Lies and is pursued by a fan and teams up with Henry Winkler and Linda Hamilton to make a sequel; Schwarzenegger and Curtis cameo as themselves. Tom Arnold jokingly commented at the Schwarzenegger campaign headquarters that a sequel to True Lies was cancelled after Arnold Schwarzenegger had won the 2003 California recall election.
|Film score by Brad Fiedel and various artists|
|Released||July 19, 1994|
|1.||"Sunshine of Your Love"|
|3.||"Alone in the Dark"|
|5.||"Sunshine of Your Love (The Adrian Sherwood & Skip McDonald Remix)"|
|6.||"Main Title/Harry Makes His Entrance"|
|7.||"Escape from the Chateau"|
|8.||"Harry's Sweet Home"|
|9.||"Harry Rides Again"|
|10.||"Spying on Helen"|
|12.||"Caught in the Act"|
|17.||"Harry Saves the Day"|
Songs appearing in the film not included on the soundtrack album:
- "I Never Thought I'd See the Day" – Sade
- "More Than a Woman" – Bee Gees
- "The Blue Danube" – The Philadelphia Orchestra
- "Por una Cabeza" – Argentinean tango, performed by The Tango Project
- "TRUE LIES (15)". United International Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. August 9, 1994. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- "True Lies (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
- "Schwarzenegger Heats Up the Summer with Action-Packed True Lies". Electronic Gaming Monthly (61) (EGM Media, LLC). August 1994. p. 169.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold. "IamArnold. AMA 2.0.". Reddit. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Fox, D., 1994. Movies: 'True Lies,' 'Forrest Gump' and 'The Lion King' are on target to break a record for non-holiday weekend ticket sales. Los Angeles Times, [internet] July 18. Available at http://articles.latimes.com/1994-07-18/entertainment/ca-17141_1_true-lies [Accessed July 24, 2010].
- Kempley, R., 1994. ‘True Lies’ (R). The Washington Post, [internet] July 15. Accessed July 24, 2010.
- Thompson, Anne. (1994-07-29) 5 True Lies About James Cameron. Ew.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
- "First film with a $100 million budget". Guinness World Records. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- "True Lies". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- lies. Metacritic.com (2009-12-18). Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
- 1994 James Berardinelli, ''True Lies''. Reelviews.net. Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
- True Lies (1994). Box Office Mojo (1994-10-18). Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
- 1994 Domestic Grosses. boxofficemojo.com
- Jamie Lee Curtis – Awards & Nominations – MSN Movies. Movies.msn.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
- John Simon, "True Lies," National Review, August 29, 1994.
- Charles Glass, "A prejudice as American as apple pie," New Statesman, November 20, 1998.
- Filming in Los Angeles, the Biltmore Hotel Filming History
- "James Cameron Adapting 'True Lies' For TV". Deadline.com. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Sequel talk true or lies?".
- "Cameron Doubtful for TL2 but Hopeful for Another! Tom Arnold Claims Another Project with "Lies" Team!". TheArnoldFans.com. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to True Lies.|
- True Lies at the Internet Movie Database
- True Lies at Box Office Mojo
- True Lies at Rotten Tomatoes
- True Lies at Metacritic