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Dressed to Kill (1980)

aka Dressed to Kill

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 105 mins · English · R (USA)


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Small Doctor Robert Elliott
Small Kate Miller
Small Liz Blake
Small Peter Miller
Small Detective Marino
No_movie_poster Dr. Levy
No_movie_poster Subway Cop
No_movie_poster Bobbi
Small Peter Miller
No_movie_poster Chase Cabbie


No_movie_poster Gerald B. Greenberg Editor
Small Brian De Palma Director
No_movie_poster Pino Donaggio Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Ralf D. Bode Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Samuel Z. Arkoff Executive Producer
No_movie_poster George Litto Producer
Small Brian De Palma Writer
No_movie_poster Gerald B. Greenberg Editing


Kate Miller is a sexually frustrated housewife who is in therapy with New York City psychiatrist Dr. Robert Elliott. During an appointment, Kate attempts to seduce him, but Elliott rejects her advances.

Kate goes to the Metropolitan Museum. In a ten-minute sequence entirely without dialogue, she has an unexpected flirtation with a mysterious stranger. Kate and the stranger "stalk" each other through the museum until they finally wind up outside, where Kate joins him in a taxi. They begin to have sex and continue at his apartment, unaware that Kate has left her underwear on the floor of the cab.

Hours later, Kate awakens and, thoroughly satisfied with her evening, decides to discreetly leave while the man, Warren Lockman, is asleep. Kate sits at his desk to leave Warren a note and finds a document indicating that he has contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Mortified, she leaves the apartment. But in her haste, she has left her wedding ring on the stranger's nightstand, so she returns to retrieve it.

The elevator doors open on the figure of a tall, blonde woman in dark sunglasses wielding a straight razor, and Kate is slashed to death in the elevator (a murder scene DePalma has called the best he has ever done). A high-priced call girl, Liz Blake, happens upon the body. She catches a glimpse of the killer, therefore becoming both the prime suspect and the killer's next target.

Dr. Elliott receives a bizarre answering machine message from "Bobbi," a transgender patient. Bobbi taunts the psychiatrist for breaking off their therapy sessions, apparently because Elliott refuses to sign the necessary papers for Bobbi to get a sex change operation. Elliott tries to convince Dr. Levy, the patient's new doctor, that Bobbi is a danger to herself and others.

A police detective, Marino, is skeptical about Liz's story, partly due to her profession, so Liz joins forces with Kate's revenge-minded son Peter to find the killer. Peter, an inventor, uses a series of homemade listening devices and time-lapse cameras to track patients leaving Elliott's office. They catch Bobbi on camera, and soon Liz is being stalked by a tall blonde figure in sunglasses. Several attempts are subsequently made on Liz's life. One, in the New York City Subway, is thwarted by Peter, who sprays Bobbi with homemade mace.

Liz and Peter scheme to learn Bobbi's real name by getting inside Dr. Elliott's office to look at his appointment book. Liz baits the therapist by stripping to lingerie and coming on to him, distracting him long enough to make a brief exit and leaf through his appointment book. When she returns, it is Bobbi rather than Elliott who confronts her; they are the same person. Elliott/Bobbi is shot and wounded by a female police officer who looks like Bobbi, revealing herself to be the tall blonde figure who has been trailing Liz.

Elliott is arrested by the police and placed in an insane asylum. It is explained by Dr. Levy that Elliott wanted to be a woman, but his "male" side would not allow him to go through with the operation. Whenever a woman sexually aroused Elliott, it was "Bobbi," representing the female side of the doctor's personality, who became threatened.

In a final sequence, Elliott escapes from the asylum and slashes Liz's throat in a bloody act of vengeance. She wakes up screaming, Peter by her side, realizing that it was just a dream.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1980-07-25 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1980-08-21 : Argentina

Theatrical : 1980-10-16 : Australia

Theatrical : 1980-12-19 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1981-01-22 : Netherlands

Theatrical : 1981-01-23 : Finland

Theatrical : 1981-01-26 : Spain

Theatrical : 1981-02-03 : Italy

Theatrical : 1981-02-20 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1981-02-20 : Norway

Theatrical : 1981-03-05 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1981-03-15 : France

Theatrical : 1981-04-04 : Japan

Theatrical : 1981-06-05 : Portugal

Theatrical : 1981-06-25 : Belgium

Theatrical : 1981-08-27 : Mexico

Theatrical : 1981-09-14 : Brazil

Theatrical : 1984-07-22 : South Korea

Theatrical : 2000-06-07 : France

DVD : 2001-08-28

DVD : 2007-04-23 : Greece

2003-10-07 : Greece

2012-07-25 : France

2013-06-30 : Paris