|Directed by||Bob Fosse|
|Produced by||Wolfgang Glattes
|Written by||Teresa Carpenter
|Music by||Ralph Burns|
|Edited by||Alan Heim|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|November 10, 1983|
Star 80 is a 1983 American film about the true story of Playboy Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her estranged husband Paul Snider in 1980. The film was directed by Bob Fosse, and starred Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts.
The film was shot on location in Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles, California; the death scene was filmed in the same house in which the murder-suicide actually took place. The story is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Village Voice article "Death of a Playmate" by Teresa Carpenter; the film's title was taken from Snider's vanity license plates.
Star 80 was the second movie based on the murder of Stratten. It was preceded by the 1981 television film Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story in which Jamie Lee Curtis portrayed Stratten and Bruce Weitz portrayed Paul Snider.
Roberts earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Dramatic Actor for his performance in the film. Star 80 was the last film Fosse directed.
A teenaged girl, Dorothy Hoogstraten, is working at a Dairy Queen in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada when a customer in his 20s, Paul Snider, makes her acquaintance. Snider becomes her date for a school dance, over the objections of Dorothy's mother, Nelly, who does not care for his manner, dress or attempt to ingratiate himself with the family.
Snider has such a violent and jealous nature, he literally backstabs a former boyfriend of Dorothy's with a pocket knife at the dance. But he is persuasive, winning over Dorothy with his attention and flattery, until finally he gets her to agree to pose for Polaroid photographs, nude. He then sends the pictures to Playboy magazine, which invites Dorothy to come to Los Angeles to be shot by a professional photographer.
Dorothy's beauty and sweet nature make her an immediate success at the magazine, where she becomes Playmate of the Month for the issue of August, 1979 under a new name, Dorothy Stratten. She appreciates publisher Hugh Hefner's personal interest. Paul pressures her into marrying him, which Dorothy agrees to out of gratitude. She is named Playmate of the Year for 1980.
Paul spends money they don't have, putting up a false front, buying an expensive Mercedes with the vanity license plate STAR80. His attempts to manage her career are mainly futile. Paul begins coming to the Playboy Mansion, with or without Dorothy, which annoys Hefner and others. Obsessively jealous, Paul is at first pleased when film director Aram Nicholas wants to make Dorothy an actress, then furious when he senses Aram's interest has turned romantic. He hires a private investigator to follow her.
Dorothy is mistreated by Paul and encouraged by others to leave him. She finally declares her intention to do so, but agrees to one last meeting with Paul at their house. He first makes pleas for her not to leave him, then flies into rages, verbally and physically abusing her. He finds a hidden shotgun, shoots 20-year-old Dorothy, then sexually violates the body before turning the gun on himself.
- Mariel Hemingway as Dorothy Stratten
- Eric Roberts as Paul Snider
- Cliff Robertson as Hugh Hefner
- Carroll Baker as Nelly Hoogstraten
- Roger Rees as Aram Nicholas
- Dean Hajum as George
- Josh Mostel as Private Detective
- David Clennon as Geb
- Lisa Gordon as Eileen
- Carol Hills as playmate Celeste
- Bob Fosse - Director/Screenwriter/Choreographer
- Wolfgang Glattes — Producer
- Kenneth Utt — Producer
- Sven Nykvist - Director of Photography
- Grace Blake — Associate Producer
The film was screened out of competition at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival. The film received a mixed reception upon release, although it was generally agreed that Eric Roberts gave an impressive performance as Snider. The Washington Post called it "Bob Fosse's latest stylish stinker." Gene Siskel placed the film on his top-ten list of the best films of 1983, taking into account that the film was very unpleasant to watch. Roger Ebert gave the film four-out-of-four stars.
Appearing with Siskel on an October 1986 edition of The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, Ebert said, to agreement from Rivers and Siskel, that Roberts "should have been [Oscar]-nominated." Ebert spoke of a "Star 80 syndrome," with Gary Oldman's reading of Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986) being snubbed for the same reason as Roberts' performance: "Hollywood will not nominate an actor for portraying a creep...no matter how good the performance is."
The film opened in 16 theaters grossing $233,312 its opening weekend. Eventually the film grossed a total of $6,472,990 domestically with 502 theaters being its widest release. Star 80 maintains an 89% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
- "Berlinale: 1984 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
- "The Best of 1983", Siskel & Ebert At The Movies, 1983.
- "Star 80". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Ebert, Roger (October 17, 1986). "Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel". The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. Season 1. Episode 7. Fox Network. Fox Entertainment Group.
I tell you who definitely won't be [Oscar] nominated – and should be, and that's a young British actor named Gary Oldman, who plays Sid Vicious – the punk rocker – in Sid and Nancy. And he's going to fall prey to the Star 80 syndrome, which is why Eric Roberts wasn't nominated: Hollywood will not nominate an actor for portraying a creep, no matter how good the performance is...He [Roberts] should have been nominated.