Sleeping with the Enemy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sleeping with the Enemy
Sleeping With The Enemy.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Ruben[1]
Produced byLeonard Goldberg
Screenplay byRonald Bass
Bruce Joel Rubin (uncredited)
Based onSleeping with the Enemy
by Nancy Price [2]
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyJohn Lindley
Edited byGeorge Bowers
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 8, 1991 (1991-02-08)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$19 million[3]
Box office$175 million[3]

Sleeping with the Enemy is a 1991 American romantic psychological thriller film directed by Joseph Ruben and starring Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin and Kevin Anderson. The film is based on Nancy Price's [2] 1987 novel of the same name. Roberts plays a woman who escapes from her abusive husband, from Cape Cod to Cedar Falls, Iowa, where she captures the attention of a kindly college drama teacher.

Sleeping with the Enemy was released theatrically on February 8, 1991. The film upon its release received negative reviews from the critics but was a box office success grossing $175 million on a production budget of $19 million. The film also broke the record at the time for the highest domestic opening for a female centric film, grossing $13 million on its opening weekend surpassing the previous record held by Alien, which grossed $10 million in its first weekend.


Laura Burney lives in a beautiful home by the beach on Cape Cod with her husband, Martin, a charming, handsome and wealthy investment counselor. Beneath his charm, Martin has extreme obsessive control issues and also has been physically, emotionally and sexually abusing Laura throughout their marriage. He makes her keep everything in order in the house, tells her what she should wear, picks out what music she listens to, and limits her social activities.

One day, Martin believes Laura has been flirting with an attractive neighbor, and he physically assaults her in a jealous rage. In an effort to escape Martin, Laura fakes her own death at sea in a storm while the couple are boating. Because Laura had deliberately led Martin to believe that she could not swim, he believed she had drowned once she was lost overboard. However, Laura was able to swim safely to shore, because she had recently taken swimming lessons at the YWCA. Laura secretly returns home, retrieves some clothing and cash she had hidden away in preparation, disguises herself, and leaves home after flushing her wedding ring down the toilet.

Laura moves to Cedar Falls, Iowa. In preparation, she has told Martin that her blind mother, Chloe Williams, died and pretends to attend the funeral, but secretly moves her from a nursing home in Minneapolis to Iowa. She rents a modest house, and adopts the name Sara Waters. In Cedar Falls, she meets Ben Woodward, who teaches drama at University of Northern Iowa. A relationship develops, but suffers a setback when Ben discovers that her real name is not Sara. After a date, Laura is unable to be physically intimate with Ben, and the next day, she confesses that she is on the run from her abusive husband. Later she visits her mother at hospital in disguise of a man.

Meanwhile, Martin receives a chance phone call from a friend of Laura's from the YWCA and learns of Laura's swimming lessons. His suspicions aroused, Martin heads home and finds Laura's wedding ring in the toilet bowl where it failed to flush. From the Minneapolis nursing home, he learns that Laura's mother is alive, and has a private investigator trace her to the nursing home in Iowa. He visits Laura's mother and tells her he is a police officer needing information about Laura. He learns from her that Laura is seeing a college drama teacher in Cedar Falls.

Martin finds Laura and Ben at a local fair, then follows her home. After leaving idiosyncratic clues of his presence around the house for Laura to find, such as the cans lined up in the cabinet, Martin confronts her. Ben appears at the front door and Martin, brandishing a gun, threatens to kill Ben if she doesn't make him leave. Laura talks to Ben and he appears to leave, but then he breaks down the door and struggles with Martin, who knocks him unconscious. As Martin points the gun at Ben, Laura distracts Martin then attacks him. He drops the gun and Laura manages to take control of it; she fires at Martin but misses.

Laura holds Martin at gunpoint while she calls the police. She tells the police that she just killed an intruder, hangs up the phone and shoots Martin three times.

When Martin falls to the ground, she drops the pistol and collapses, sobbing. Martin, not yet dead, picks up the gun and attempts to shoot her, but the gun only clicks empty and he dies. Ben is revived by Laura. They embrace as Martin's dead body lies on the ground with Laura's wedding ring inches from his hand.



Critical reception[edit]

As of January 2019, the film held a 21% 'Rotten' rating based on 33 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 stars upon its release, calling it "a slasher movie in disguise, an up-market version of the old exploitation formula where the victim can run, but she can't hide."[5]

Box office[edit]

The film's opening ended Home Alone's eleven week run atop the box office.[6] By the end of its run, the film had grossed $101,599,005 in the domestic box office; with an international total of $73,400,000, the film's worldwide gross was $174,999,005; based on a $19 million budget, the film was a box office success.[7] The film was released in the United Kingdom on April 12, 1991, and opened on #2, behind Highlander II: The Quickening.[8] The next week, the film remained in the same position.[9]


The original music for the film was composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith. Columbia Records released an album concurrently with the film containing just over 38 minutes of score plus the Van Morrison song "Brown Eyed Girl." In 2011, La-La Land Records issued a limited edition album of 3500 copies expanding Goldsmith's score (but omitting the song).

Home media releases[edit]

The film reached #1 in the rental charts.[10] It was released on LaserDisc in Australia, the United States, United Kingdom and Japan by Fox Video in 1991.[11] It also received various releases on VHS, was released on DVD on 2 September 2003[12] and subsequently entered the Blu ray market on in June 2011.[13]


The score by Jerry Goldsmith won the BMI Film Music Award, 1992, and the film was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for 1992 in four categories: Best Actress (Roberts), Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor (Bergin), Best Horror Film and Best Music (Goldsmith).


Year Film Language Cast Director
1995 Yaraana Hindi (India) Rishi Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Raj Babbar David Dhawan
1996 Agni Sakshi Hindi (India) Jackie Shroff, Nana Patekar, Manisha Koirala Partho Ghosh
1996 Daraar Hindi (India) Rishi Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Arbaaz Khan Abbas-Mustan
1997 Pelli Telugu (India) Naveen, Maheswari, Prudhvi Raj Kodi Ramakrishna
1997 Maduve Kannada (India) Ramesh Aravind, Charulatha, Kumar Govind V. Umakanth
1997 Khilona Urdu Meera, Saud Sangeeta
1997 Sagorika Bangla (Bangladesh/India) Amin Khan, Helal Khan & Rituparna Badol Khandakar
Ranga Bou Bangla (Bangladesh/India) Amin Khan, Humayan Faridi & Rituparna Delowar
1998 Aval Varuvala Tamil (India) Ajith Kumar, Simran Raj Kapoor
2002 Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe Hindi (India) Aftab Shivdasani, Esha Deol, Sanjay Kapoor Vinay Shukla
2008 Mu Sapanara Soudagar Odiya (India) Arindam Roy, Archita Sahu, Sabyasachi Mishra Sanjay Nayak
2012 Luchakali Odiya (India) Babushan, Samaresh Routray & Shreya Susant Mani
Korean Im Sang-soo
2013 "Loobat Al Mawt"(series) ar:لعبة الموت Lebanese, Syrian & Egyptian Cyrine Abdelnour, ar:عابد فهد, ar:ماجد المصري Laith Hajo, Samer Barqawi
2017 Til Death Do Us Part English Annie Ilonzeh, Stephen Bishop, Taye Diggs Chris Stokes


  1. ^ Granville, Kari (1991-02-08). "Joseph Ruben Finally Gets His Crane : Movies: A veteran director of low-budget fare makes it to majors with 'Sleeping With the Enemy.'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
  2. ^ a b Nancy Price. "Nancy Price - Biography". Retrieved 2012-11-17.
  3. ^ a b Sleeping with the Enemy at Box Office Mojo Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^, "[rotten-tomatoes|sleeping_with_the_enemy Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)]", accessed November 30, 2017.
  5. ^ "Sleeping With The Enemy ::". Ebert, Roger. 1991-02-08.
  6. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1991-02-12). "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : 'Sleeping,' 'L.A.' Knock 'Home' Out". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
  7. ^ Sleeping with the Enemy at Box Office Mojo
  8. ^ "Weekend box office 12th April 1991 - 14th April 1991". Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Weekend box office 19th April 1991 - 21st April 1991". Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  10. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1991-09-05). "Video Rental Chart : Sales Reduce 'Home' Rentals". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  11. ^ "Laser Disc Laserdisc Movie Sleeping With The Enemy Julia-Roberts". Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  12. ^ "Sleeping with the Enemy". DVD Release Dates. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Sleeping with the Enemy Blu-ray". Retrieved November 6, 2015.

External links[edit]