Spanking the Monkey

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Spanking the Monkey
Spanking the monkey ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David O. Russell
Produced by Dean Silvers
Written by David O. Russell
Music by David Carbonara
Cinematography Michael Mayers
Edited by Pamela Martin
Distributed by

Fine Line Features

Axiom Films (UK and Ireland)
Release date
  • July 15, 1994 (1994-07-15)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200,000[2]
Box office $1,359,736[2]

Spanking the Monkey is a 1994 American black comedy film[3] written and directed by David O. Russell. The title is a slang phrase for masturbation and is used in the film by one of the teenage characters. It was filmed in Pawling, New York.


Susan Aibelli, a married, lonely woman, suffers a leg injury at home just as her husband is about to leave on his job as a travelling salesman and her son, Raymond, is about to leave for the summer on a medical internship. Raymond is then forced to stay at home to take care of her as his father cannot. He eventually loses the internship. These troublesome events leave him emotionally confused as he and his mother are left alone together, and they develop an incestuous relationship.



Select tracks from Morphine's album Cure for Pain are used throughout the film, including "In Spite of Me" which plays over the end credits.


Spanking the Monkey was a box office success, grossing $1,359,736 on a $200,000 budget.[2] It currently holds a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 22 critics.

The film won the Audience Award at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay.


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