Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

To Die For (1995)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

To Die For (1995)

In director Gus Van Sant's thriller and media satire based, in part, on a real-life relationship and notorious incident in New Hampshire between a teacher (Pamela Smart) and her young lover/student (who was seduced into murdering the teacher's husband):

  • the character of icy blonde New Hampshire local TV weathercaster Suzanne Stone Maretto (Nicole Kidman) with her memorable words: "You aren't really anybody in America if you're not on TV"
  • her flashback trial - told Rashomon-style - for the murder of her sweet-natured but obstructive Italian-American bartender husband Larry Maretto (Matt Dillon) on their first anniversary
  • the sequence of her dancing in the rain to the tune of "Sweet Home Alabama"
  • and the scene of her taped interview when she defends the use of her maiden name for professional reasons
  • Suzanne's seduction of dim-witted infatuated loser high-school teen Jimmy (Joaquin Phoenix) to kill her husband
  • the film's final scene - punctuated by Donovan's tune "The Season of the Witch" -- Suzanne's off-screen death by a "Hollywood producer" (a cameo by director David Cronenberg) hired by her husband's father Joe (Dan Hedaya) (with Mafia connections)
  • her dead body in a lingering closeup under the ice of a frozen pond as Larry's sister Janice (Illeana Douglas) skated and performed twirls and pirouettes on the frozen lake (above the location of the frozen body) before the credits rolled


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