Indecent Proposal

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Indecent Proposal
Indecent proposal.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Adrian Lyne
Produced by Sherry Lansing
Screenplay by Amy Holden Jones
Based on Indecent Proposal
by Jack Engelhard
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Howard Atherton
Edited by Joe Hutshing
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
April 7, 1993 (1993-04-07)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $38 million
Box office $266.6 million

Indecent Proposal is a 1993 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Jack Engelhard. It was directed by Adrian Lyne and stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson.[1][2]


High school sweethearts David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) are a married couple who travel to Las Vegas, hoping they can win enough money to finance David's fantasy real estate project. They place their money on red in roulette and lose.

After gambling away all of their savings, they encounter billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford). Gage is attracted to Diana and offers them one million dollars to spend a night with her. After a difficult night, David and Diana decide to accept the offer, and a contract is signed the next day. Gage flies Diana to a private yacht where he offers her a chance to void the deal and return to her husband if he loses a toss of his lucky coin. Gage calls it correctly and she spends the night with him.

Although he had hoped to forget the whole incident, David grows increasingly insecure about his relationship with Diana, consumed with a fear that she remains involved with Gage; this insecurity is heightened by the fact that Diana discovers that Gage has bought their home/property while it was going into foreclosure. As tension between them builds, David and Diana separate.

Gage renews his advances on Diana. Although she initially resists, Diana eventually consents to spending time with him and a relationship develops. David, meanwhile, hits rock bottom and then slowly pulls his life back together. When Diana files for divorce, David signs the divorce papers and gives the million dollars away.

Diana tells Gage "I think we should talk". Gage, perhaps sensing what's coming, recognizes that, even if Diana stayed with him, their relationship would never achieve the intensity she had with David. Realizing that she longs to return to her husband, Gage makes up a story that she was only the latest in a long line of "million-dollar girls". Diana understands that Gage is doing this to make it easy for her to leave. Gage gives her his lucky coin, which is revealed to be double sided. She returns to the pier where David proposed seven years earlier, and he is there. She sits on the opposite side from him. They join hands.



Box office[edit]

The film was a box office success, earning $106,614,059 in the U.S. and $160,000,000 internationally for a worldwide total of over $266,000,000.[4][5]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics at the time of its release.[6] Gene Siskel gave the film thumbs down. Roger Ebert, however, gave it thumbs up on Siskel & Ebert,[7] and also wrote a positive print review.[8] Susan Faludi, a feminist writer, objected to the movie’s positioning of the female character. Another feminist characterized it as a “woman in prison” film.[9] Today, it maintains a 38% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 39 reviews.

Indecent Proposal was nominated for seven Razzie Awards in 1994 including Worst Actor (Robert Redford), Worst Actress (Demi Moore), Worst Director and Worst Original Song ("In All the Right Places"). It would ultimately win three trophies for Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson) and Worst Screenplay. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Worst Movies Ever Made.[10]

Differences between novel and film[edit]

Engelhard's novel contained cultural friction that the screenwriter left out of the movie: the main character, named Joshua, is Jewish, and his billionaire foil is an Arab. In a review of the novel, The New York Times summarized its themes as "the sanctity of marriage versus the love of money, the Jew versus significant non-Jews such as shiksas and sheiks, skill versus luck, materialism versus spirituality, Israel versus the Arab countries, the past versus the future, and the religious world versus the secular one."[11]


The soundtrack was released on April 6, 1993, by MCA Records. "In All the Right Places" by Lisa Stansfield was released as the album's lead single on May 24, 1993, and is the film's theme song. Sheena Easton makes a cameo appearance in the movie performing "The Nearness of You" at a pivotal part of the movie. The length of the soundtrack is 60 minutes and 37 seconds. "No Ordinary Love" by English band Sade was also prominently featured in the film, though it was not included on its soundtrack album.

In 2015 Intrada Records released an album of John Barry's score.

Indecent Proposal: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "I'm Not in Love" (The Pretenders) Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart Trevor Horn 3:50
2. "What Do You Want the Girl to Do" (Vince Gill featuring Little Feat) Allen Toussaint Tony Brown 5:07
3. "If I'm Not in Love With You" (Dawn Thomas) Thomas Scott Sheriff 3:38
4. "Out of the Window" (Seal) Seal Horn 5:35
5. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (Bryan Ferry) Gerry Goffin, Carole King Robin Trower 4:15
6. "The Nearness of You" (Sheena Easton) Hoagy Carmichael, Ned Washington Patrice Rushen 3:16
7. "In All the Right Places" (Lisa Stansfield) John Barry, Stansfield, Ian Devaney, Andy Morris Devaney 5:42
8. "Instrumental Suite from Indecent Proposal" Barry Barry 25:20
9. "A Love So Beautiful" (Roy Orbison) Jeff Lynne, Orbison Lynne 3:31
Chart (1993) Peak
Dutch Albums Chart[12] 71
US Billboard 200[13] 137

Cultural references[edit]

  • The 1993 Mad About You episode "Pair of Hearts" in the last scene has Jamie and Paul at the gambling table when a stranger offers Paul $1M to sleep with Jamie. Unlike the movie (which also premiered in 1993) there's no angst here and they both readily agree.[14][better source needed]
  • The 2002 episode "Half-Decent Proposal" of The Simpsons parodies and follows the story of the film loosely.[15]
  • The episode "Conference" of UK comedy series Peep Show references the central concept of the film, where one of Mark's bosses offers Jeremy £530 to spend the night with Jeremy's past girlfriend "Big Suze".
  • In season one episode four of Mike Tyson Mysteries Robert Redford appears and proposes to give the team one million dollars to gamble on in exchange for some time with Yung Hee.
  • In season two, episode twenty-two of Community, millionaire Pierce Hawthorne offers Troy and Abed $1000 to buy the rights to their secret handshake. Recognizing the similarity to the premise of Indecent Proposal, the two film buffs accept the offer.
  • In the episode "Dennis' Double Life" from season 12 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank suggests they make a "Decent Proposal" to buy off the mother of Dennis's child. However, Frank insists $1 million is too much money to spend for a night with a woman, and instead offers the woman $5,000.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Galbraith, Jane (1993-05-01). "Movies: While feminists, columnists and the public argue the merits of 'Indecent Proposal,' the film's grosses keep climbing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  2. ^ "Baldwin In Line For 'Indecent Proposal'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  3. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (1993-04-18). "For Some, the Signs Are Unsettling". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  4. ^ "Indecent Proposal". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  5. ^ Wells, Jeffrey (1993-04-13). "Movies: The reviews panned 'Indecent Proposal,' but the box office generated $24 million in five days. Star power didn't hurt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (1993-04-25). "Moviegoers take pleasure in fantasy". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  7. ^ Siskel, Gene, Ebert, Roger. Review (Television production). United States: Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (1993-04-07). "Indecent Proposal". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  9. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (1993-04-18). "MOVIES : A flurry of recent women-as-barter movies looks like a disturbing trend to feminists, but these films are finding an audience--'Indecent Proposal' earned $24 million in five days. Are these movies merely a manifestation of the fantasies of the men who run the studios--or do they represent something much more serious? : For Some, the Signs Are Unsettling". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  10. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  11. ^ New York Times Book Review. "From the Author", as presented by Retrieved on 2010-07-23.
  12. ^ "Soundtrack - Indecent Proposal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  13. ^ "Original Soundtrack: Indecent Proposal". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  14. ^ ""Mad About You" A Pair of Hearts (TV Episode 1993)",, retrieved 2017-09-01 
  15. ^ Jean, Al. (2010). Commentary for "Half-Decent Proposal", The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Shining Through
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture
14th Golden Raspberry Awards
Succeeded by
Color of Night