The Talented Mr. Ripley (film)

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The Talented Mr. Ripley
Talented mr ripley.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Produced by William Horberg
Tom Sternberg
Screenplay by Anthony Minghella
Based on The Talented Mr. Ripley
by Patricia Highsmith
Music by Gabriel Yared
Cinematography John Seale
Edited by Walter Murch
Mirage Enterprises
Timnick Films
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Miramax Films
Release date
  • December 12, 1999 (1999-12-12) (Fox Bruin Theater)
  • December 25, 1999 (1999-12-25) (United States)
Running time
139 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $128.8 million[1]

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 American psychological thriller film written for the screen and directed by Anthony Minghella. An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name, the film stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood and Cate Blanchett as Meredith Logue.

The novel was previously filmed as Plein Soleil in 1960.


Tom Ripley is a young man struggling to make a living in 1950s New York City. While working at a recital, he is approached by the wealthy shipbuilder Herbert Greenleaf, who develops the impression that Ripley attended Princeton with and knew his son, Dickie. Greenleaf recruits Ripley, for $1,000, to travel to Italy to use his influence to persuade Dickie to return home to the United States.

In Mongi, Italy, Ripley insinuates himself into the lives of Dickie and his fiancée, Marge Sherwood, especially as he gives the impression that he is an admirer of jazz. Dickie introduces Ripley to his friend Freddie Miles, who treats Ripley with contempt.

A local woman is impregnated by Dickie, he refuses to help her financially and she drowns herself. Ripley knows about the two. Dickie begins to tire of Ripley as a moocher although Ripley is increasingly growing infatuated with Dickie and his lifestyle, they are soon to separate and decide to sail to San Remo. While out on the water they argue. Dickie gets physically threatening and Ripley batters Dickie with an oar. Dickie is killed. Ripley scuttles the boat and swims to shore.

At the hotel, Ripley lets the concierge assume that he is Dickie. Marge is left by Ripley to believe that she has frightened him off by the prospect of marriage, he creates the illusion that Dickie is still alive by checking into one hotel as Dickie and he in the other and creating an exchange of communications between the two. Through forgery, he is able to draw on Dickie's allowance.

As Dickie, Ripley rents an expensive apartment in Rome. Freddie visits Dickie and finds Ripley living in his place dressed much as Dickie would be but the furnishings different from Dickie's style. Freddie's suspicions are heightened when the landlady acknowledges Ripley as "Signor Greenleaf". Freddie returns to the apartment, Ripley bashes him to death with a bust and then disposes of the body.

Ripley has a cat-and-mouse existence with the Italian police and Dickie's friends, his predicament is complicated by the presence of Meredith Logue, an heiress he met upon his arrival in Italy and to whom he had introduced himself as Dickie. Ripley clears himself by forging a suicide note addressed to Ripley in Dickie's name and moves to Venice. Marge suspects Ripley's involvement in Dickie's death and confronts him after finding Dickie's rings in Ripley's apartment. Ripley is about to murder her but is interrupted by a mutual friend, Peter Smith-Kingsley, who enters the apartment.

Herbert hires a private investigator, Alvin MacCarron, and they come to Italy. MacCarron reveals to Ripley that anyone connected as witnesses to the situation will not testify and all leads indicate that Dickie was involved in the killing of Freddie. And as the Italian authorities had no idea about Dickie's hostile actions in The US, Herbert would stop his investigation and transfer to Ripley income from Dickie's trust in order to keep the matter quiet. Marge, unaware of Dickie's past, again accuses Ripley before being taken away by Greenleaf and MacCarron.

Ripley goes on a cruise with Peter and finds that Meredith is on board. Ripley placates her with a kiss that Peter sees. Ripley believes that he cannot keep Peter from discovering that he has been passing himself off as Dickie, because Peter and Meredith know each other and could meet on the cruise; in Peter's cabin, Ripley takes a tie and lays next to Peter. Ripley returns to his cabin and the voice-over is of Peter giving the impression that he is being strangled.



Rino Barillari and Matt Damon at Harry's Bar, Via Veneto, Rome, during The Talented Mr. Ripley shooting

The Guardian reported in 2000 that Leonardo DiCaprio declined the offer to play Ripley before Damon was cast in the role.[2] Apart from the beginning scenes filmed in New York City, the movie was shot entirely on location in Italy, the cliffside resort town of Positano and various villages on the islands of Ischia and Procida, near Naples, were used to represent the fictional town of "Mongibello".[3] The scenes taking place in San Remo were actually filmed in Anzio, a resort-town near Rome. Famous locations included the Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna in Rome, and the Caffè Florian in the Piazza San Marco, Venice.[3]

To prepare for the role of Ripley, Damon lost 30 pounds and learned to play the piano.[4] Jude Law gained weight and learned to play the saxophone for his character; he also broke a rib when he fell backward while filming the murder scene in the boat.[5]



Critical reaction was positive, and the film has a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.[6]

Roger Ebert gave the film four-out-of-four stars, calling it "an intelligent thriller" that is "insidious in the way it leads us to identify with Tom Ripley ... He's a monster, but we want him to get away with it";[7] in her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Law's performance: "This is a star-making role for the preternaturally talented English actor Jude Law. Beyond being devastatingly good-looking, Mr. Law gives Dickie the manic, teasing powers of manipulation that make him ardently courted by every man or woman he knows".[8] Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "A-" rating, and Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote: "Damon is at once an obvious choice for the part and a hard sell to audiences soothed by his amiable boyishness ... the facade works surprisingly well when Damon holds that gleaming smile just a few seconds too long, his Eagle Scout eyes fixed just a blink more than the calm gaze of any non-murdering young man. And in that opacity we see horror".[9]

Charlotte O'Sullivan of Sight and Sound wrote, "A tense, troubling thriller, marred only by problems of pacing (the middle section drags) and some implausible characterisation (Meredith's obsession with Ripley never convinces), it's full of vivid, miserable life".[10] Time named it one of the ten best films of the year and called it a "devious twist on the Patricia Highsmith crime novel".[11] James Berardinelli gave the film two and a half stars out of four, calling it "a solid adaptation" that "will hold a viewer's attention", but criticized "Damon's weak performance" and "a running time that's about 15 minutes too long."[12] Berardinelli compared the film unfavorably with the previous adaptation, Purple Noon, which he gave four stars,[13] he wrote, "The remake went back to the source material, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. The result, while arguably truer to the events of Highsmith's book, is vastly inferior. To say it suffers by comparison to Purple Noon is an understatement. Almost every aspect of René Clément's 1960 motion picture is superior to that of Minghella's 1999 version, from the cinematography to the acting to the screenplay. Matt Damon might make a credible Tom Ripley, but only for those who never experienced Alain Delon's portrayal."[14]

In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "On balance, The Talented Mr. Ripley is worth seeing more for its undeniably delightful journey than its final destination. Perhaps wall-to-wall amorality and triumphant evil leave too sour an aftertaste even for the most sophisticated anti-Hollywood palate";[15] in his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw wrote, "The Talented Mr. Ripley begins as an ingenious exposition of the great truth about charming people having something to hide: namely, their utter reliance on others. It ends up as a dismayingly unthrilling thriller and bafflingly unconvincing character study";[16] in her review for the Village Voice, Amy Taubin criticized Minghella as a "would-be art film director who never takes his eye off the box office, doesn't allow himself to become embroiled in such complexity. He turns The Talented Mr. Ripley into a splashy tourist trap of a movie. The effect is rather like reading The National Enquirer in a café overlooking the Adriatic".[17] Damon was apparently unhappy with the film's departures from Highsmith's novel, telling an interviewer shortly after the film was released, "I'd like to make the whole film all over again with the same cast and same title but make it completely like the book."[18]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
1999 Academy Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jude Law Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Art Direction Roy Walker (art director)
Bruno Cesari (set decorator)
Best Costume Design Ann Roth
Gary Jones
Best Original Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 BAFTA Awards Best Film William Horberg
Tom Sternberg
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jude Law Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Direction Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Film Music Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Anthony Minghella Nominated
2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Composer Gabriel Yared Won
2000 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
2001 Empire Awards Best British Actor Jude Law Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Matt Damon Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Jude Law Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Original Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Actor Matt Damon Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Score Gabriel Yared Nominated
2000 London Film Critics Circle Awards British Screenwriter of the Year Anthony Minghella Nominated
British Supporting Actor of the Year Jude Law Nominated
2000 MTV Movie Awards Best Musical Sequence Matt Damon
Rosario Fiorello
Jude Law
Best Villain Matt Damon Nominated
2000 National Board of Review Awards[19] Top Ten Films Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Won
Best Director Anthony Minghella Won
2000 Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated
1999 Satellite Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Drama Jude Law Nominated
Best Director Anthony Minghella Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Cinematography John Seale Nominated
Best Editing Walter Murch Nominated
2000 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Drama Nominated
Choice Movie Actor Matt Damon Nominated
Choice Movie: Breakout Star Jude Law Nominated
Choice Movie: Liar Matt Damon Nominated
2000 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Anthony Minghella Nominated


  1. ^ a b The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  2. ^ Ojumu, Akin (January 30, 2000). "Bad will hunting". The Guardian. Retrieved February 18, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Film locations for the Talented Mr. Ripley". Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  4. ^ Interview with Matt Damon - Mr. Ripley. YouTube. 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  5. ^ The Talented Mr. Ripley: Jude Law Exclusive Interview. YouTube. 2015-01-14. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  6. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 24, 1999). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 24, 1999). "Stealing a New Life, Carnal, Glamorous And Worth the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  9. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (January 7, 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  10. ^ O'Sullivan, Charlotte (March 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Sight and Sound. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  11. ^ "The Best Cinema of 1999". Time. March 2000. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  12. ^ "The Talented Mr. Ripley - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Purple Noon (Plein Soleil) - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  14. ^ "James Berardinelli Top 100: #86: Purple Noon". Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  15. ^ Sarris, Andrew (December 26, 1999). "The Year at the Movies: Overlong, Overambitious". The New York Observer. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  16. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (February 25, 2000). "The Talented Mr. Ripley". The Guardian. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  17. ^ Taubin, Amy (December 21, 1999). "From Riches to Rags: Ugly Americans and Plucky Irish". Village Voice. Retrieved July 6, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Ripley: my part in his downfall - Profiles, People". The Independent. February 18, 2000. Retrieved October 14, 2011. [dead link]
  19. ^ "1999 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 

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