Six Degrees of Separation (film)

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Six Degrees of Separation
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFred Schepisi
Screenplay byJohn Guare
Based onSix Degrees of Separation
by John Guare
Produced byFred Schepisi
Arnon Milchan
CinematographyIan Baker
Edited byPeter Honess
Music byJerry Goldsmith
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 8, 1993 (1993-12-08)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[2]
Box office$6.4 million[3]

Six Degrees of Separation is a 1993 American comedy-drama film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by Fred Schepisi, adapted from John Guare's Pulitzer Prize-nominated[4] 1990 play of the same name.

The plot of the film was inspired by the real-life story of David Hampton, a con man and robber who convinced a number of people in the 1980s that he was the son of actor Sidney Poitier. In October 1983, Hampton came to the New York apartment of Inger McCabe Elliott and her husband Osborn Elliott, who allowed him to spend the night in the apartment. The next morning, Inger found Hampton in bed with another man and later called the police. The Elliotts told their friend, writer John Guare, the story, which inspired him to write the play years later.[5][6]


Fifth Avenue socialite Ouisa Kittredge and her art dealer husband Flan are parents of "two at Harvard and a girl at Groton". However, the narrow world inhabited by the Kittredges and their public status as people interested in the arts make them easy prey for Paul. A skillful con-artist, Paul mysteriously appears at their door one night, injured and bleeding, claiming to be a close college friend of their Ivy League kids, as well as the son of Sidney Poitier.

Ouisa and Flan are much impressed by Paul's fine taste, keen wit, articulate literary expositions and surprising culinary skill. His appealing facade soon has the Kittredges putting him up, lending him money and taking satisfaction in his praise for their posh lifestyle. Paul's scheme continues until, after he brings home a hustler, his actual indigence is revealed. The shocked Kittredges kick him out when it is revealed that they are but the most recent victims of the duplicity with which Paul has charmed his way into many upper-crust homes along the Upper East Side.

Paul's schemes become anecdotes which are bantered about at their cocktail parties. In the end, Paul has a profound effect on the many individuals who encounter him, linking them in their shared experience.



On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 88% approval rating based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 7.1/10 and a consensus: "Though it betrays its theatrical roots, Six Degrees of Separation largely succeeds thanks to astute direction and fine performances–particularly from an against-type Will Smith."


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Six Degrees of Separation (1993)". BBFC. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  2. ^ Plunka, Gene A. (2002). The Black Comedy of John Guare. University of Delaware Press. p. 188. ISBN 9780874137637.
  3. ^ "Six Degrees of Separation". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  4. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes". Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  5. ^ New York Mag The Story of David Hampton accessed 7-27-2015
  6. ^ Gerston, Jill (6 March 1994). "Stockard Channing Goes West". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
  7. ^ a b "THE 66th ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS : Best Actress". Los Angeles Times. 1994-02-10. Retrieved 2016-02-18.

External links[edit]