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True Lies

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Title: True Lies  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: 21st Saturn Awards, 1995 MTV Movie Awards, 1994 in film, James Cameron, Bill Paxton
Collection: 1990S Action Films, 1990S Spy Films, 1994 Films, 20Th Century Fox Films, American Action Comedy Films, American Action Thriller Films, American Films, American Remakes of French Films, American Spy Films, Chase Films, English-Language Films, Films About Jihadism, Films About Nuclear War and Weapons, Films About Terrorism, Films Directed by James Cameron, Films Featuring a Best Musical or Comedy Actress Golden Globe Winning Performance, Films Set in Maryland, Films Set in Miami, Florida, Films Set in Washington, D.C., Films Shot in Florida, Films Shot in North Carolina, Films Shot in Rhode Island, Films Shot in San Diego, California, Films Shot in Switzerland, Films Shot in Toronto, Films Shot in Washington, D.C., Lightstorm Entertainment Films, Screenplays by James Cameron, Terrorism in Fiction
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

True Lies

True Lies
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Cameron
Produced by
  • James Cameron
  • Stephanie Austin
Screenplay by James Cameron
Story by
Based on La Totale! 
by Claude Zidi
Simon Michaël
Didier Kaminka
Music by Brad Fiedel
Cinematography Russell Carpenter
Edited by
Distributed by
Release dates
  • July 15, 1994 (1994-07-15)
Running time
141 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100–120 million
Box office $378.8 million[2]

True Lies is a 1994 American action comedy film written and directed by James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Art Malik, Tia Carrere, Bill Paxton, Eliza Dushku, Grant Heslov and Charlton Heston. It is a loose remake of the 1991 French comedy film La Totale!.[3] The film follows U.S. government agent Harry Tasker, who balances his life as a spy with his familial duties.

True Lies was the first Lightstorm Entertainment project to be distributed under Cameron's multi-million dollar production deal with 20th Century Fox, as well as the first major production for the visual effects company Digital Domain, which was co-founded by Cameron.

Upon its release, True Lies was the most expensive film ever made, as well as the first film with more than a $100 million production budget to achieve both commercial and critical success. For her performance, Curtis won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Saturn Award for Best Actress, while Cameron won the Saturn Award for Best Director. The film ultimately grossed $378 million worldwide at the box-office and was also nominated at the Academy Awards and BAFTAs in the Best Visual Effect category, and also for seven Saturn Awards.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Release 4
    • Critical reception 4.1
    • Box office 4.2
    • Accolades 4.3
  • Possible sequel and television series adaptation 5
  • Soundtrack 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Harry Tasker leads a double life, performing covert missions for the Florida Keys.

Aziz reveals he possesses small nuclear warheads hidden inside antique statues shipped by Juno and plans to detonate one to demonstrate his power, before ordering his men to torture the two. Harry, under a truth serum, reveals his double life to Helen but breaks free and rescues her. They secretly watch as Aziz prepares to detonate one of the warheads on the island in 90 minutes, take one of the warheads into downtown Miami by helicopter, and transport the remaining missiles by truck into the US over the unguarded Overseas Highway. Harry leaves Helen in a safe place as he attacks Aziz' men, but Helen is captured by Juno and taken with the convey on the Overseas Highway. Harry is rescued by Gib and other Omega Sector operatives who had pinpointed the island's location using a tracking bug planted earlier in Helen's purse by Harry and Gib. Assisted by two U.S. Marine Harrier jets, the agents in a helicopter pursue the terrorist convey, destroying part of the bridge to stop the trucks. Harry rescues Helen from Juno's limo before it falls over the destroyed section. The jets return to the mainland before the first bomb goes off, while Harry and Helen passionately kiss.

After the detonation Harry learns from Gib that Aziz and his men have taken control of a downtown Miami skyscraper and have kidnapped Dana, threatening to detonate the second bomb in downtown Miami. Harry commandeers one of the jump jets to reach the skyscraper quickly, leaving Helen on the Highway barefoot and worried. Faisal poses as part of a requested camera crew for Aziz to make his demands, providing enough distraction for Dana to steal the control key and flee the room. Aziz chases Dana onto an overhead crane while Harry arrives. Using the Harrier's ability to hover, Harry is able to rescue Dana from the crane but Aziz also falls onto the plane. During the encounter Harry banks the craft, causing Aziz to slip off the plane and become entangled on one of the plane's missiles. Harry fires the missile through the now-empty skyscraper, destroying a helicopter with Aziz' reinforcements and naturally killing Aziz. Harry, Helen, and Dana are safely reunited.

A year later, the Tasker's family integrity has been restored; Harry is able to balanced his career and quality time with his family, and Helen now also works for Omega Sector. Harry and Helen are called to embark on a new mission together, where they encounter "Simon" again, who is a waiter serving champagne and telling a female attendee at the event that he is actually a secret agent on a mission. Using her new skills, Helen intimidates Simon into leaving, just before a tango begins with Harry and Helen taking their places to complete their mission.



Schwarzenegger stated that while filming a scene with a horse, a camera boom hit the horse and "it went crazy, spinning and rearing" near a drop of 90 feet. Schwarzenegger quickly slid off the horse and stuntman Billy D. Lucas (who was one of Arnold's main doubles and closest pals) caught him; he concluded, "[this is] why I will always love stunt people".[4] Costing $100[5][6]–120[3][7] million to produce, True Lies was the first film with a production budget of over $100 million.[8] It was filmed over a seven-month schedule.[3]

Of the many locations that were used in the film, the Rosecliff Mansion was used for the ballroom tango scenes in the beginning of the film and the exterior of the Swiss chalet that Harry Tasker infiltrates is the Ochre Court.[9] The ballroom dancing scene that closes the film, as well as the scenes in the lobby of the fictional Hotel Marquis in Washington, take place in the Crystal Ballroom of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.[10]


Critical reception

Upon its release in 1994, the film garnered mostly positive reviews. Based on 47 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, True Lies has a 72% approval rating and a weighted average of 6.5/10; the consensus states, "If it doesn't reach the heights of director James Cameron's and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's previous collaborations, True Lies still packs enough action and humor into its sometimes absurd plot to entertain".[11] Website Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean to various reviews, gave the film a 63 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12]

Despite the positive reviews, the film was criticized as sexist, cruel, or even misogynistic, for its treatment of female characters, such as the hero (Schwarzenegger) using his agency's resources to stalk and frighten his wife.[13] Others perceived it as conveying a strong anti-Arab or anti-Muslim prejudice.[14]

Box office

Opening in 2,368 theaters in the United States, True Lies ranked #1 in its opening weekend, earning $25,869,770. True Lies was a box-office success, earning $146,282,411 in the United States and $232,600,000 in the rest of world, totaling $378,882,411 worldwide,[2] making it third best-grossing movie of 1994.[15]


For her performance, Jamie Lee Curtis received a 1994 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy.[16]

Award Category Recipient Result
Golden Globe Award Best Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Won
BAFTA Best Special Visual Effects John Bruno, Thomas L. Fisher, Jacques Stroweis, Pat McClung, Jamie Dixon Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Won
Best Direction James Cameron Won
Best Special Effects Won
Best Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Tia Carrere Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Bill Paxton Nominated
Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film - Nominated
Academy Award
(The Oscars)
Best Visual Effects John Bruno, Thomas L. Fisher, Jacques Stroweis and Patrick McClung Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Nominated
Best Comedic Performance Tom Arnold Nominated
Best Kiss Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis Nominated
Best Dance Sequence Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tia Carrere Nominated
Best Action Sequence Bridge Explosion/Limo Rescue Nominated
Eddie Award Best Editing Conrad Buff IV, Mark Goldblatt, Richard A. Harris Nominated
Japanese Academy Awards Outstanding Foreign Language Film - Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role Jamie Lee Curtis Nominated

Possible sequel and television series adaptation

In September 2010, multiple websites reported Cameron developing True Lies as a possible television series with Dark Angel producer René Echevarria acting as showrunner and producer.[17] Cameron originally planned to make a sequel sometime in 2002, but he put his plans on hold once the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred in New York City, saying terrorism was no longer something to be taken lightly.[18] In an interview, James Cameron stated there are no plans for a True Lies sequel, but he and Schwarzenegger had spoken about possibly working on a new project together once Schwarzenegger leaves office.[19]

In the film The Kid & I, Tom Arnold plays a fictional character based on himself. In that film, the character had starred in True Lies and is pursued by a fan and teams up with Henry Winkler and Linda Hamilton to make a sequel; Schwarzenegger and Curtis cameo as themselves. Tom Arnold jokingly commented at the Schwarzenegger campaign headquarters that a sequel to True Lies was cancelled after Arnold Schwarzenegger had won the 2003 California recall election.


True Lies
Film score by Brad Fiedel and various artists
Released July 19, 1994
Length 70:35
Label Lightstorm/Epic Soundtrax
Track list
No. Title Music Length
1. "Sunshine of Your Love"   Living Colour 5:17
2. "Darkness, Darkness"   Screaming Trees 4:08
3. "Alone in the Dark"   John Hiatt 4:46
4. "Entity"   Mother Tongue 4:21
5. "Sunshine of Your Love (The Adrian Sherwood & Skip McDonald Remix)"   Living Colour 5:49
6. "Main Title/Harry Makes His Entrance"     2:40
7. "Escape from the Chateau"     2:41
8. "Harry's Sweet Home"     1:06
9. "Harry Rides Again"     7:05
10. "Spying on Helen"     4:16
11. "Juno's Place"     1:29
12. "Caught in the Act"     1:29
13. "Shadow Lover"     1:20
14. "Island Suite"     6:55
15. "Causeway/Helicopter Rescue"     7:56
16. "Nuclear Kiss"     0:51
17. "Harry Saves the Day"     8:26
Total length:

Songs appearing in the film not included on the soundtrack album:


  1. ^ (15)"TRUE LIES".  
  2. ^ a b (1994)"True Lies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Schwarzenegger Heats Up the Summer with Action-Packed True Lies".  
  4. ^ Schwarzenegger, Arnold. "IamArnold. AMA 2.0.". Reddit. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Fox, D., 1994. Movies: 'True Lies,' 'Forrest Gump' and 'The Lion King' are on target to break a record for non-holiday weekend ticket sales. Los Angeles Times, [internet] July 18. Available at [Accessed July 24, 2010].
  6. ^ Kempley, R., 1994. ‘True Lies’ (R). The Washington Post, [internet] July 15. Accessed July 24, 2010.
  7. ^ Thompson, Anne. (1994-07-29) 5 True Lies About James Cameron. Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
  8. ^ "First film with a $100 million budget".  
  9. ^ "Movies Filmed in Newport RI - Hollywood loves the "City by the Sea"!". 
  10. ^ "Filming in Los Angeles - Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles Filming History - Filming in LA". 
  11. ^ "True Lies". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  12. ^ lies. (2009-12-18). Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
  13. ^ John Simon, "True Lies," National Review, August 29, 1994.
  14. ^ Charles Glass, "A prejudice as American as apple pie," New Statesman, November 20, 1998.
  15. ^ 1994 Domestic Grosses.
  16. ^ Jamie Lee Curtis – Awards & Nominations – MSN Movies. Retrieved on 2011-07-14.
  17. ^ "James Cameron Adapting 'True Lies' For TV". 2010-09-13. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  18. ^ "Sequel talk true or lies?". 
  19. ^ "Cameron Doubtful for TL2 but Hopeful for Another! Tom Arnold Claims Another Project with "Lies" Team!". 2009-05-08. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 

External links

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