Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions is a 1999 American teen romantic drama film directed by Roger Kumble and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair. The film is an adaptation of the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in 1782, but set among wealthy teenagers attending high school in New York City instead of 18th-century France.[3]

The film started as a smaller budget independent film, but was picked up by Columbia Pictures and released on March 5, 1999. Despite mixed critical reviews, the performances of Gellar, Philippe, and Witherspoon were praised. Cruel Intentions was a box office success, earning $76 million, with two direct-to-video sequels.

Cruel Intentions
Cruel intentions ver1
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoger Kumble
Produced byNeal H. Moritz
Screenplay byRoger Kumble
Based onLes Liaisons dangereuses
by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Music byEdward Shearmur
CinematographyTheo van de Sande
Edited byRyan Mikel
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 5, 1999
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • French
Budget$10.5 million[1][2]
Box office$76.3 million[1]


In an upscale New York City mansion, wealthy and popular teenager Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) discusses her prep school with Mrs. Caldwell (Christine Baranski) and her daughter, Cecile (Selma Blair). Kathryn promises Mrs. Caldwell that she will look out for the naive Cecile. When Kathryn's stepbrother Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) enters the room, Mrs. Caldwell reacts to him coldly and leaves with Cecile.

Kathryn tells Sebastian that she intends to use Cecile to take revenge on ex-lover Court Reynolds (Charlie O'Connell), who dumped her for Cecile. Kathryn asks Sebastian to seduce Cecile, thereby spoiling her in Court's eyes. Sebastian refuses because he is planning to seduce Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon), the headmaster's virgin daughter, who has published an essay in support of chastity until marriage.

After some negotiation, they agree on a wager: if Sebastian fails to seduce Annette, Kathryn gets Sebastian's vintage Jaguar XK140; if he succeeds, Kathryn will have sex with him, as Kathryn is the only girl Sebastian has failed to bed.

Sebastian's first attempt to seduce Annette fails, as she already knows about his bad reputation. Sebastian discovers that Mrs. Caldwell, Cecile's mother, warned Annette about him. He finally agrees to corrupt Cecile out of revenge.

Meanwhile, Cecile confides in Kathryn about her romance with her music teacher, Ronald Clifford (Sean Patrick Thomas). Kathryn reveals the romance to Mrs. Caldwell, who orders Cecile to end the relationship. Sebastian lures Cecile to his house, offering a letter from Ronald. He then blackmails Cecile in order to perform oral sex on her. The next day, Cecile confides in Kathryn, who advises her to be as promiscuous as possible to please Ronald.

Sebastian begins to truly fall in love with Annette, who returns his feelings but is still hesitant. Sebastian calls her a hypocrite because although she claims to be waiting for her one true love, she resists him when he chooses to love her back. Annette finally relents. But Sebastian, confused about his own feelings, now refuses her. Annette flees to the estate of her friend's parents. Sebastian finds her and professes his love, and they consummate their relationship.

Kathryn offers herself to Sebastian after he wins the bet, but he rejects her: he now only wants Annette. Enraged and jealous, Kathryn insults his masculinity. Stung, Sebastian informs her that he was planning to tell Annette the truth. Kathryn warns him that doing so will destroy both his and Annette's reputations. Sebastian lies to Annette, claiming he just wanted to see what she was like in bed, but has no real feelings for her. Devastated, Annette tells him to leave.

Sebastian informs Kathryn that he has broken with Annette and now wants his reward for winning the bet. Kathryn reveals that he, and not Annette, was the true victim of her scheme: for her own amusement, she manipulated him into abandoning Annette once she realized that he truly loved her. She then dismisses him, telling him that she doesn't sleep with "losers".

Sebastian desperately tries to contact Annette to confess the truth and beg her forgiveness, but she refuses to see him. He gives her his journal, in which he has detailed Kathryn's manipulative schemes, their bet, and his true feelings for Annette.

Ronald starts a fist fight with Sebastian after Kathryn tells him that Sebastian hit her and violated Cecile. Annette tries to intervene, but is thrown into traffic; Sebastian is hit by a car when he pushes her to safety. Before dying, Sebastian confesses his love for her and Annette tells him she loves him too. Ronald leaves the scene in shame, realizing Kathryn lied to him.

In her eulogy at Sebastian's funeral, Kathryn claims she tried to set an example for her late brother. When people start leaving midway through her speech, Kathryn rushes outside to find Cecile handing out copies of Sebastian's journal. Kathryn's spotless reputation is finally destroyed as the details of her manipulations are made public.

In the final scene, Annette drives away in Sebastian's car with his journal at her side, remembering the good moments they shared together.



Old Westbury Gardens 10
Old Westbury Gardens was one of the filming locations

One of the filming locations was Old Westbury Gardens in Nassau County, New York, as well as the Harry F. Sinclair House in New York City.[4]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 54%, based on reviews from 112 critics, with an average score of 5.24/10. The site's consensus stated: "This darkly comic drama and its attractive young cast are easy on the eyes, but uneven performances and an uninspired script conspire to foil Cruel Intentions."[5] Metacritic gave the film an average score of 56% based on reviews from 24 critics.[6] Charles Taylor of described the film as "The dirtiest-minded American movie in recent memory - and an honestly corrupt entertaining picture is never anything to sneeze at."[7] Stephen Holden of The New York Times stated, "You have the queasy sense that the whole thing is just an elaborate stunt, and in this case an exploitative one."[8] Despite this, Roger Ebert—a noted film critic for The Chicago Sun Times—praised Cruel Intentions and gave the film three out of four stars in his review. He stated that it was "smart and merciless in the tradition of the original story".[9]

Cruel Intentions was a commercial success. The film grossed $13,020,565 in its opening weekend, ranking #2 behind Analyze This; released in 2,312 theaters, the movie raked in $76.3 worldwide.[1][10]


The film received the following awards and nominations:

Year Ceremony Category Result
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actress (Reese Witherspoon) Won
Golden Slate Awards Best Original Score Won
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Nominated
Best Movie Nominated
Best Movie Soundtrack Won
Best Teen Movie Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Won
Best Kiss (Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair) Won
Best Male Performance (Ryan Phillippe) Nominated
Best Villain (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Drama Won
Choice Movie Actor (Ryan Phillippe) Nominated
Choice Movie Actress (Reese Witherspoon) Nominated
Choice Movie: Love Scene (Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe) Nominated
Choice Movie: Villain (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Won
Choice Movie: Soundtrack Nominated


The Cruel Intentions soundtrack is a compilation soundtrack released on March 9, 1999 by Arista/Virgin Records. It reached number 60 on the Billboard chart.

The lead track for the film was "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by rock band The Verve.

Prequel and sequels

The film received two direct-to-video follow-ups: a prequel titled Cruel Intentions 2 in 2001, and a sequel titled Cruel Intentions 3 in 2004. Written and directed by Roger Kumble, the former was assembled from Manchester Prep, a scrapped prequel series by Fox, of which three episodes had been filmed. It features younger versions of the characters of Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil played by Robin Dunne and Amy Adams, alongside Sarah Thompson and Keri Lynn Pratt. Cruel Intentions 3 was directed by Scott Ziehl and features Kerr Smith, Kristina Anapau, Nathan Wetherington, Melissa Yvonne Lewis, Natalie Ramsey and Tom Parker.

Cancelled television series

NBC announced in October 2015 that they had picked up a television pilot for a continuation of the film's storyline. The pilot was to be written by Kumble, Jordan Ross and Lindsey Rosin, with Sebastian Valmont and Annette Hargrove's son being the main character.[11] In February 2016, Taylor John Smith and Samantha Logan were cast, with Smith playing the male lead role of Bash Casey, Sebastian Valmont and Annette Hargrove's son.[12] Gellar reached a deal with producers to reprise her role as the female lead, Kathryn Merteuil.[13] In March, Kate Levering was cast in the role of Annette Hargrove.[14] On October 31, 2016, NBC announced that they decided not to go through with the series.[15]


Cruel Intentions: The Musical is a 1990s jukebox musical also by Ross, Rosin and Kumble, based on the film. After two runs in Los Angeles and a pop-up engagement in New York, the show made its Off-Broadway debut at the Greenwich Village nightclub Le Poisson Rouge in November 2017 and ran into April 2018. Set to pop and rock hits of the 1990s and songs from the film's soundtrack, the plot concern the manipulations of Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil. The diabolical step-siblings place a bet on whether or not Sebastian can deflower their incoming headmaster's daughter, Annette Hargrove.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Cruel Intentions (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  2. ^ "The Fault in Our Stars (2014)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  3. ^ White, Adam (August 21, 2017). "The cult of Cruel Intentions: how a debauched teen movie seduced a generation". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  4. ^ "Cruel Intentions - 1999". Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "Cruel Intentions". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  6. ^ "Cruel Intentions Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  7. ^ Taylor, Charles. (1999-03-05). "Cruel Intentions". Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  8. ^ Holden, Stephen. (1999-03-05). "'Cruel Intentions': Back to Their Old Tricks, but a Whole Lot Younger". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  9. ^ "Cruel Intentions Movie Review (1999)". March 5, 1999. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  10. ^ Keating, Shannon. "It's Been 20 Years Since "Cruel Intentions," And There's Never Been Another Movie Quite Like It". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 2, 2016). "'Cruel Intentions' Reboot Gets NBC Pilot Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 23, 2016). "'Cruel Intentions': Taylor John Smith Set As the Male Lead, Samantha Logan Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 24, 2016). "Sarah Michelle Gellar To Reprise 'Cruel Intentions' Role In NBC Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 1, 2016). "'Cruel Intentions': Kate Levering To Play Reese Witherspoon's Annette In NBC Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 31, 2016). "'Cruel Intentions' Not Going Forward At NBC, To Be Shopped Elsewhere By Sony". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  16. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "Cruel Intentions Musical Extends Off-Broadway Run for Third & Final Time",, February 20, 2018

External links

1999 Teen Choice Awards

The 1999 Teen Choice Awards ceremony was held on August 1, 1999, at the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport. The event didn't have a designated host, however, Britney Spears introduced the show with Christina Aguilera, Blink-182, NSYNC & Gloria Estefan, and Britney Spears as performers.

Cory Lee

Cory Lee (born as Cory Lee Urhahn) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and actress. She is most noted for playing the role of Karma in the television series Instant Star, and Miss Oh on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Cruel Intentions (EP)

Cruel Intentions is the debut extended play (EP) by Canadian rapper Tory Lanez; it was released on June 26, 2015 by WeDidIt Records. All producers on the album are on the label except Play Picasso. Lanez collaborated with Play Picasso, RL Grime, Baauer, and Sholomo.

Cruel Intentions (Simian Mobile Disco song)

"Cruel Intentions" is the second physical single from Simian Mobile Disco's second album Temporary Pleasure. It was co-written by Beth Ditto, who also sings on the track.

Cruel Intentions (disambiguation)

Cruel Intentions is a series of three films:

Cruel Intentions, the first film in the series, released in 1999, starring Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon

Cruel Intentions (soundtrack), the soundtrack to the original film

Cruel Intentions 2, the second film in the series, a prequel to the first one, released in 2001

Cruel Intentions 3, the third film in the series, bearing only slight resemblance to the first two movies, released in 2004Cruel Intentions may also refer to:

"Cruel Intentions" (Simian Mobile Disco song), a 2010 single by London band Simian Mobile Disco

"Cruel Intentions" (JMSN song), a 2016 single by JMSN

Cruel Intentions (pilot), an upcoming reboot to the movies.

Cruel Intentions (pilot)

Cruel Intentions is an American drama pilot that was in production for NBC in 2016. It acted as a sequel to the 1999 film of same name, with Sarah Michelle Gellar reprising her role of Kathryn Merteuil.

Cruel Intentions (soundtrack)

Cruel Intentions is the compilation soundtrack to the 1999 film of the same name. The film's soundtrack peaked at #60 on The Billboard 200.

Cruel Intentions 2

Cruel Intentions 2 (also known as Cruel Intentions 2: Manchester Prep or simply as Manchester Prep) is the 2000 American comedy-drama film. It was written and directed by Roger Kumble and starring Robin Dunne, Sarah Thompson, Keri Lynn Pratt and Amy Adams. It is a prequel to Cruel Intentions (1999) and was released direct-to-video on March 13, 2001. Both films are based on Les Liaisons dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos.

Originally planned as a television series called Manchester Prep, a re-imagined prequel series to the first film, it was picked up by Fox, however, it was cancelled prior to broadcast in September 1999. Due to the cancellation, the three completed episodes were edited together into film re-titled Cruel Intentions 2, sexual content scenes involving nudity were added for the DVD release. This film is about how Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil met and how they started their reign of terror.

Cruel Intentions 3

Cruel Intentions 3 is a 2004 American teen drama film directed by Scott Ziehl and released direct-to-video in 2004. Despite its name, the film has almost no relation to the previous films in the series, except for the shared themes and the lead character in this film, Cassidy Merteuil, who is a cousin of one of the characters from the first film, Kathryn Merteuil.

Every You Every Me

"Every You Every Me" is a song by British alternative rock band Placebo, released as the third single from their second album, Without You I'm Nothing, on 25 January 1999. It was released as a 2-CD set and on cassette, but promotional copies on 12" vinyl exist. The single managed to chart at number forty-six in Australia, ninety-nine in Germany and eleven in the UK Singles Chart. The song was featured on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack. There are two versions of the video, both filmed live at London's Brixton Academy; one includes clips from the film Cruel Intentions.It was voted from a poll of 500,000 votes to be ranked number 83 on the list of the Hottest 100 of All Time in July 2009, conducted by Australian radio station Triple J.Along with the rest of the album (apart from "Pure Morning"), "Every You Every Me" was recorded in early 1998 at Real World Studios with Steve Osborne. When asked who it was about, Brian Molko replied with "Who's it about? I'm not really too sure just yet. I think it's about a lot of people. Probably anybody... everybody who's had the displeasure of sleeping with me." About his choice to include it in the Cruel Intentions soundtrack, Molko said that he "studied drama, I know the original (Dangerous Liaisons) and we watched it on the tour bus when they wanted to use our song. I said: 'If he doesn't die in the end, if it's a happy ending, we don't do it.' It's quite perverted and manipulative, so the theme of the song fits in quite well.""Every You Every Me" is featured on the soundtrack of the Formula One racing game F1 2000.

Croatian metal band Ashes You Leave covered "Every You Every Me" on their 2009 album Songs of the Lost. and in 2017, Lisa Mitchell covered the song on her EP When They Play That Song.

Kathryn Merteuil

Kathryn Merteuil is a fictional character who appears in Cruel Intentions and Cruel Intentions 2, portrayed by actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar and Amy Adams, respectively. Based on the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's Les Liaisons dangereuses, Kathryn serves as the primary antagonist of the series.

Not Another Teen Movie

Not Another Teen Movie is a 2001 American teen comedy film directed by Joel Gallen and written by Mike Bender, Adam Jay Epstein, Andrew Jacobson, Phil Beauman, and Buddy Johnson. It features an ensemble cast including Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Christian Olsen, Eric Jungmann, Mia Kirshner, Deon Richmond, Cody McMains, Sam Huntington, Samm Levine, Cerina Vincent, Ron Lester, Randy Quaid, Lacey Chabert, and Riley Smith.

Released on December 14, 2001 by Columbia Pictures, it is a parody of teen movies. While the general plot is based on She's All That as well as Varsity Blues, 10 Things I Hate About You, Can't Hardly Wait and Pretty in Pink, the film is also filled with allusions to teenage and college-age films from the 1980s and 1990s, such as Bring It On, American Pie, Cruel Intentions, American Beauty, Never Been Kissed, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Can't Buy Me Love, Jawbreaker, Sixteen Candles, Lucas, Rudy, and The Breakfast Club.

Original Film

Original Film is an American film production company founded by Neal H. Moritz.

Rhett Reese

Rhett Reese is an American film producer, television producer and screenwriter. As a screenwriter, his early credits included Clifford's Really Big Movie and Cruel Intentions 3. He has collaborated with Paul Wernick, writing the films Zombieland, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Life, as well as Deadpool and its 2018 sequel. Together they also created the reality series The Joe Schmo Show.

Roger Kumble

Roger Kumble (born May 28, 1966) is an American film director, screenwriter, and playwright.

Ryan Phillippe

Matthew Ryan Phillippe (; born September 10, 1974) is an American actor. After appearing as Billy Douglas on the soap opera One Life to Live, he came to fame in the late 1990s with starring roles in a string of films, including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and 54. In the 2000s, he appeared in several films, including Gosford Park (2001), Crash (2004), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Breach (2007), Stop-Loss (2008), MacGruber (2010), and The Lincoln Lawyer (2011). In 2010, Phillippe starred as Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Greg Marinovich in The Bang-Bang Club. He starred in the lead role of Bob Lee Swagger in the USA Network thriller drama Shooter.He was married to actress Reese Witherspoon from 1999 to 2007; together, they have a daughter and a son. He also has a daughter from a relationship with actress Alexis Knapp.

Sam Hill (director)

Sam Hill is an American television director and television producer. He is best known for his directing and producing work on the television series CSI: Miami. His other directing credits include CSI: NY, Cult, Body of Proof, Almost Human, Believe, Forever and Scorpion.Prior to working in television, Hill worked as a film assistant director, most notably on the films Cruel Intentions (1999), Cruel Intentions 2 (2001) and The Sweetest Thing (2002), all of which were directed by Roger Kumble.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Prinze (née Gellar; born April 14, 1977) is an American actress, producer and entrepreneur. After being spotted by an agent at the age of four in New York City, she made her acting debut in the made-for-television film An Invasion of Privacy (1983). Her television breakthrough came in 1993, when she originated the role of Kendall Hart on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children, winning the 1995 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.

Gellar received widespread recognition for her portrayal of Buffy Summers on the WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), which earned her five Teen Choice Awards and a Golden Globe Award nomination, and became recognized as one of the greatest female characters in U.S. television. Her most successful films, in terms of box office receipts, are I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Scream 2 (1997), Cruel Intentions (1999), Scooby-Doo (2002), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) and The Grudge (2004). Other film roles include Harvard Man (2001), Southland Tales (2007) and The Air I Breathe (2008). She headlined the television series Ringer (2011–2012) and The Crazy Ones (2013–2014).

In 2015, Gellar, along with Galit Laibow and Greg Fleishman, founded Foodstirs, a food crafting brand and e-commerce startup selling baking kits, and in 2017, she released her cookbook Stirring Up Fun with Food.

Cruel Intentions
Films directed by Roger Kumble

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.