Truth or Dare (1991)

R | 118 mins | Documentary | 10 May 1991

Full page view
HISTORY

Actor Antonio Banderas's name is misspelled "Antonio Bandares" in end credits.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files refer to the film by its European release title, In Bed with Madonna.
       According to a 17 May 1991 NYT item, director Alek Keshishian was contacted by Madonna after she viewed a Wuthering Heights “pop opera” he directed at Harvard University, in which Madonna’s songs were used. The two met at Disney Studios, where Madonna was rehearsing for the “Blond Ambition” tour. Keshishian agreed to travel with her to Japan, where the tour began. Beginning in Mar 1990, Keshishian shot thirty hours of footage in Japan, including interviews with Madonna, her dancers, and others as they were just waking up in their hotel rooms. By doing so, Keshishian achieved an “intimate tone,” and the director decided against making a traditional concert film. Instead, Keshishian and Madonna agreed to approach the project as a feature film that emphasized behind-the scenes footage.
       Concert scenes were shot in 35mm color film, while some behind-the-scenes footage was shot in 16mm black-and-white. According to production notes, Alek Keshishian intended the color segments to represent “the world of light, artifice and theatricality that Madonna lives part of the time,” while black-and-white scenes captured “the grittier reality of her private life.” However, Keshishian was later quoted in the Jul 1991 issue of Los Angeles magazine as saying he used black-and-white film not for artistic purposes, but because it helped camouflage Madonna’s blemishes.
       The film cost roughly $4 million, and was personally financed by Madonna, as stated in the 2 May 1991 Long Beach Press-Telegram review. Two ... More Less

Actor Antonio Banderas's name is misspelled "Antonio Bandares" in end credits.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files refer to the film by its European release title, In Bed with Madonna.
       According to a 17 May 1991 NYT item, director Alek Keshishian was contacted by Madonna after she viewed a Wuthering Heights “pop opera” he directed at Harvard University, in which Madonna’s songs were used. The two met at Disney Studios, where Madonna was rehearsing for the “Blond Ambition” tour. Keshishian agreed to travel with her to Japan, where the tour began. Beginning in Mar 1990, Keshishian shot thirty hours of footage in Japan, including interviews with Madonna, her dancers, and others as they were just waking up in their hotel rooms. By doing so, Keshishian achieved an “intimate tone,” and the director decided against making a traditional concert film. Instead, Keshishian and Madonna agreed to approach the project as a feature film that emphasized behind-the scenes footage.
       Concert scenes were shot in 35mm color film, while some behind-the-scenes footage was shot in 16mm black-and-white. According to production notes, Alek Keshishian intended the color segments to represent “the world of light, artifice and theatricality that Madonna lives part of the time,” while black-and-white scenes captured “the grittier reality of her private life.” However, Keshishian was later quoted in the Jul 1991 issue of Los Angeles magazine as saying he used black-and-white film not for artistic purposes, but because it helped camouflage Madonna’s blemishes.
       The film cost roughly $4 million, and was personally financed by Madonna, as stated in the 2 May 1991 Long Beach Press-Telegram review. Two three-person units traveled with the singer behind-the-scenes, while as many as twenty-two 35mm cameras were employed during concert filming. Over 250 hours of footage was eventually edited down to 118 minutes.
       According to a 4 Feb 1991 New York brief, Warren Beatty’s lawyers requested “intimate scenes” between the actor and Madonna be cut from the film. Beatty, who dated Madonna during the production, was quoted as saying, “Madonna is a big talent and a friend of mine, and I wish her well.” Kevin Costner was also reportedly upset over his brief appearance, and felt he had been “set up,” as stated in a 6 May 1991 Var item.
       Referring to the film as Truth Or Dare – On the Road, Behind the Scenes & In Bed with Madonna, a 26 Oct 1990 DV brief announced Dino De Laurentiis Communications Inc. had acquired international distribution rights.
       The trailer received an “R” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Ratings Board, as noted in a 4 Apr 1991 DV item. Miramax planned to appeal the rating, which restricted the film to theaters playing only R and NC-17 rated films.
       Benefit premieres took place in Los Angeles on 6 May 1991, and New York City on 8 May 1991. The Los Angeles premiere screened at the Cinerama Dome and raised money for AIDS Project Los Angeles and the AIDS Action Foundation, while the New York premiere raised funds for AMFAR (The American Foundation for AIDS Research). A European premiere took place at the Cannes Film Festival on 13 May 1991, as noted in a 15 May 1991 Long Beach Press-Telegram article. The film also appeared as the closing night screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival, according to the 26 Apr 1991 HR.
       Truth or Dare was a critical and box-office success. A 15 May 1991 HR item reported an opening weekend box-office gross of $311,143 on nine screens in New York City and Los Angeles, CA. The release was set to expand to 350 screens on 17 May 1991, according to a 13 May 1991 DV brief. In a 5 May 1991 LAT article, Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein stated that the film would be a “smash” hit if it grossed $5 million. Final box-office earnings amounted to just over $15 million, as reported in a 24 Oct 1991 LAT box-office chart.
       A 23 Jan 1992 DV news item reported backup dancers Oliver Crumes, Kevin Stea, and Gabriel Trupin filed a lawsuit against Madonna, Propaganda Films, and Miramax Films for “deceit, invasion of privacy and emotional distress connected with” the documentary. The dancers claimed they were not paid to appear in the film, were pressured to sign waivers, and were led to believe that footage would be for Madonna’s personal use or a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)-style documentary, not a theatrically released feature film. Although Alek Keshishian allegedly told participants they could edit or censor footage that invaded their privacy, Gabriel Trupin’s requests for edits were denied. In a conflicting report, a 1 Feb 1992 LAT brief claimed the three plaintiffs had not signed waivers, but the other dancers had. The 30 Sep 1994 LAT “Morning Report” column reported Crumes, Stea, and Trupin settled for an undisclosed amount.
       End credits include the following statements: “Thanks to Anne-Marie MacKay, Bobby Woods, Jim Haygood, Angus Wall, Chip Garamella”; and “Filmed in part at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Michigan; Palais Omnisport de Paris, Bercy.”

More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1991.
---
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1991.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 1991.
---
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 1991
p. 9, 23.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1991
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1991.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
2 May 1991
Section C, p. 5.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
15 May 1991
Section A, p. 2.
Los Angeles
Jul 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Apr 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 May 1991
p. 8, 22.
Los Angeles Times
8 May 1991
Section E, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1991
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
24 Oct 1991
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
1 Feb 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Sep 1994
Calendar, p. 2.
New York
4 Feb 1991.
---
New York Times
10 May 1991
p. 1.
New York Times
17 May 1991.
---
Variety
6 May 1991.
---
Variety
6 May 1991
p. 335.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Miramax Films presentation
A Propaganda Films/Boy Toy production
An Alex Keshishian film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Prod mgr - Japan, documentary personnel
Prod mgr - L. A./Houston, documentary personnel
Prod mgr - France, concert filming personnel
Prod mgr - U. K., concert filming personnel
Prod mgr - U. S., concert filming personnel
1st asst dir, concert filming personnel
2d asst dir, concert filming personnel
Prod mgr, Blond Ambition personnel
Vid dir, Blond Ambition personnel
PRODUCERS
Prod
Supv prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Segment prod - Japan, documentary personnel
Segment prod - L. A./Houston, documentary personne
Line prod - Paris, concert filming personnel
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog, documentary U. S./Europe
Dir of photog, documentary N. Y./Europe
Dir of photog, concert
Dir of photog, documentary U. S.
Dir of photog, documentary Japan
Dir of photog, documentary Houston
Lighting dir and lighting des
Video off-line asst
Gaffer, documentary personnel
Gaffer, documentary personnel
Gaffer, documentary personnel
Cam op, documentary personnel
1st asst cam, documentary personnel
1st asst cam, documentary personnel
1st asst cam, documentary personnel
1st asst cam, documentary personnel
1st asst cam, documentary personnel
2d asst cam, documentary personnel
2d asst cam, documentary personnel
Best boy elec, documentary personnel
Best boy elec, documentary personnel
Gaffer, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Cam op, concert filming personnel
Louma crane, concert filming personnel
Louma tech, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
1st asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
2d asst cam, concert filming personnel
Best boy elec, concert filming personnel
Elec, concert filming personnel
Elec, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Regiscene lighting crew, concert filming personnel
Spot op, concert filming personnel
Spot op, concert filming personnel
Spot op, concert filming personnel
Spot op, concert filming personnel
Louma grip, concert filming personnel
Louma grip, concert filming personnel
Louma grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Dolly grip, concert filming personnel
Chief rigger, concert filming personnel
Rigger, concert filming personnel
Rigger, concert filming personnel
Rigger, concert filming personnel
Video communications, concert filming personnel
Video communications, concert filming personnel
Mag runner, concert filming personnel
Mag runner, concert filming personnel
Mag runner, concert filming personnel
Mag runner, concert filming personnel
Mag runner, concert filming personnel
Mag runner, concert filming personnel
Rigger, Blond Ambition personnel
Rigger, Blond Ambition personnel
Lighting crew chief, Blond Ambition personnel
Spot board op, Blond Ambition personnel
Beam board op, Blond Ambition personnel
Lighting, Blond Ambition personnel
Lighting, Blond Ambition personnel
Lighting, Blond Ambition personnel
Lighting, Blond Ambition personnel
Telescan op, Blond Ambition personnel
Telescan op, Blond Ambition personnel
Eng in charge of video, Blond Ambition personnel
Video eng, Blond Ambition personnel
Projectionist, Blond Ambition personnel
Projectionist, Blond Ambition personnel
Cam, Blond Ambition personnel
Cam, Blond Ambition personnel
Cam, Blond Ambition personnel
Cam, Blond Ambition personnel
Generator, Blond Ambition personnel
Generator, Blond Ambition personnel
Film stock
ART DIRECTOR
Artistic dir
FILM EDITORS
Mus seq ed
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
Negative cutters
Documentary edit system
Concert edit system
SET DECORATORS
Head carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Hydraulic carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Carpenter, Blond Ambition personnel
Scenic dir, Blond Ambition personnel
COSTUMES
Cost des, Blond Ambition personnel
Addl cost
Ward, Blond Ambition personnel
Ward asst, Blond Ambition personnel
Ward asst, Blond Ambition personnel
MUSIC
Mus prod by
Mus editing by
Mus prod asst, documentary personnel
Mus dir/keyboards, Blond Ambition personnel
Drums, Blond Ambition personnel
Guitar, Blond Ambition personnel
Percussion, Blond Ambition personnel
Bass, Blond Ambition personnel
Keyboards, Blond Ambition personnel
Keyboard tech, Blond Ambition personnel
Addl keyboards, Blond Ambition personnel
Guitar tech, Blond Ambition personnel
Guitar tech, Blond Ambition personnel
Keyboard/drum tech, Blond Ambition personnel
Percussion tech, Blond Ambition personnel
Drum tech, Blond Ambition personnel
Addl mus
Addl mus
Addl mus
Mus legal clearance
Mus legal clearance
Mus legal clearance
SOUND
Sd supv
Dial ed
Sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR/foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Field sd mixer, documentary personnel
Field sd mixer, documentary personnel
Field sd mixer, documentary personnel
Field sd mixer, documentary personnel
Field sd mixer, documentary personnel
Field sd mixer, documentary personnel
Boom op, documentary personnel
Audio communications, concert filming personnel
Audio communications, concert filming personnel
Audio communications, concert filming personnel
Tech, Eurosound Recording Truck, concert filming p
Mixer, Eurosound Recording Truck, concert filming
Asst, Eurosound Recording Truck, concert filming p
House mixer, Blond Ambition personnel
Monitor mixer, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd, Blond Ambition personnel
Sd editing by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt supv
Titles & opticals by
Opt timing
Opt line-up
Opt cam
Typesetting
DANCE
PRODUCTION MISC
Co-dir: Blond Ambition tour
Madonna's mgr
Madonna's pub
Asst to Madonna
Post prod supv
Post prod supv
Prod coord
Prod auditor
Post prod auditor
Asst prod accountant
L A. prod coord
Asst to Mr. Keshishian
Asst to Mr. Roewe
Post prod asst
Interview researcher
Film assembly asst
Asst to Mr. De Mann
Segment prod coord, documentary personnel
Segment prod coord, documentary personnel
Key prod asst, documentary personnel
L. A. office prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Prod asst, documentary personnel
Driver, documentary personnel
Driver, documentary personnel
Driver, documentary personnel
Driver, documentary personnel
Interpreter, concert filming personnel
Prod coord, concert filming personnel
Asst prod coord, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Prod asst, concert filming personnel
Tour mgr, Blond Ambition personnel
Tour accountant, Blond Ambition personnel
Road mgr, Blond Ambition personnel
Stage mgr, Blond Ambition personnel
Prod asst, Blond Ambition personnel
Security, Blond Ambition personnel
Security, Blond Ambition personnel
Trainer, Blond Ambition personnel
Massage therapist, Blond Ambition personnel
Cook, Blond Ambition personnel
Prod accountant, Blond Ambition personnel
Logistics, Blond Ambition personnel
Ambiance, Blond Ambition personnel
Ambiance, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Caterer, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Truck driver, Blond Ambition personnel
Negative translation system
COLOR PERSONNEL
Answer print timing
Col timing by
Film dailies
Film dailies
Film dailies
Film dailies
SOURCES
SONGS
“Papa Don’t Preach,” Brian Elliott, Elliott/Jacobsen Music Publishing Company
“Express Yourself,” Madonna, Stephen Bray, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing, Inc., WB Music Corp., Black Lion Music
“Don’t Make Me Over,” Burt Bacharach, Hal David, New Hidden Valley Music, Casa David
+
SONGS
“Papa Don’t Preach,” Brian Elliott, Elliott/Jacobsen Music Publishing Company
“Express Yourself,” Madonna, Stephen Bray, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing, Inc., WB Music Corp., Black Lion Music
“Don’t Make Me Over,” Burt Bacharach, Hal David, New Hidden Valley Music, Casa David
“Heaven Is A Place On Earth,” Ellen Shipley, Rick Nowles, Virgin Songs, Inc., Shipwreck Music, Virgin Music, Inc., Future Furniture Music
“The Man I Love,” George and Ira Gershwin, New World Music Company, (adm. WB Music Corp.)
“Teddy’s Jam,” Gene Griffin, Aaron Hall, Timothy Gatling, Teddy Riley, Virgin Songs, Inc., Cal-Gene Music, Cal-Rock Music, Virgin Music, Inc., Zomba Music, Donril Music, performed by “Guy,” courtesy of MCA Records
“Don’t Clap Your Hands, Just Dance,” Gene Griffin, Aaron Hall, Timothy Gatling, Teddy Riley, Virgin Songs, Inc., Cal-Gene Music, Zomba Music, Donril Music performed by “Guy,” courtesy of MCA Records
“In The Mix,” Martin Luna, Popstar Music Publishing, performed by “Mix Masters,” courtesy of D.J. International Records
“Oh Father,” Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Johnny Yuma Music, WB Music Corp.
“Like A Virgin,” Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg Music, Denise Barry Music
“Hanky Panky,” Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Johnny Yuma Music, WB Music Corp.
“Happy Birthday To You,” Mildred J. Hill, Patty S. Hill, Summy-Birchard Music
“Big Spender,” Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Noteable Music Co. Inc., Lyda Enterprises (adm. WB Music Corp.)
“Promise To Try,” Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing, Inc., Johnny Yuma Music, WB Music Corp.
“Like A Prayer,” Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Johnny Yuma Music, WB Music Corp.
“Dr. Love,” Harris, Felder, Tyson, Six Strings Music, Lucky Three Music
“Holiday,” Curtis Hudson, Lisa Stevens, Pure Energy Music Pub. Co., House of Fun Music, Inc., (A Division of Jellybean Productions, Inc.)
“Live To Tell,” Madonna, Patrick Leonard, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Johnny Yuma Music, WB Music Corp.
Vogue,” Madonna, Shep Pettibone, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Lexor Music, WB Music Corp.
“Causing A Commotion,” Madonna, Stephen Bray, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Black Lion Music, WB Music Corp.
“Family Affair,” Sylvester Stewart, Mijac Music (adm. By Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.)
“Keep It Together,” Madonna, Stephen Bray, Bleu Disque Music Co. Inc., Webo Girl Publishing Inc., Black Lion Music, WB Music Corp.
+
PERFORMERS
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Madonna: Truth or Dare
In Bed with Madonna
Truth or Dare - On the Road, Behind the Scenes & In Bed with Madonna
Release Date:
10 May 1991
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 May 1991
Production Date:
March--August 1990
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31126
SYNOPSIS

In a hotel room, pop singer Madonna muses about the depression that comes with the end of a concert tour. Months earlier, she begins her “Blond Ambition” tour in Japan, where she must perform at least one outdoor show in the rain. By the time they leave Japan, Madonna, her two female backup singers, Donna Delory and Niki Harris, and seven male backup dancers, have bonded. She calls the dancers her “children” and says she draws emotionally crippled people who need mothering, perhaps because of her own need to be mothered. She is moved by the innocence of the dancers and believes the tour offers them the thrill of their lives. In Houston, Texas, a dancer named Oliver Crumes gets to see his father for the first time in five years. Afterward, he happily reports that his father apologized for discouraging his dancing career. Madonna calls her father, Silvio Ciccone, to remind him about her upcoming shows in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. She hopes he will attend both, although she worries some of the racy content might make him uncomfortable. Silvio mentions that Madonna’s brother, Marty Ciccone, will be released from an alcohol rehabilitation center just before her arrival. He suggests a party, but Madonna says the tour is too grueling. Because the show is so elaborate, she and her crew encounter numerous technical difficulties. At one of several shows in Los Angeles, California, her microphone fails during multiple songs, and she reprimands a soundman backstage. Her boyfriend, actor Warren Beatty, entertains famous friends at the after-show party, including Al Pacino, Mandy Patinkin, and Kevin Costner. Madonna finds it irritating that some celebrities act as if they are ... +


In a hotel room, pop singer Madonna muses about the depression that comes with the end of a concert tour. Months earlier, she begins her “Blond Ambition” tour in Japan, where she must perform at least one outdoor show in the rain. By the time they leave Japan, Madonna, her two female backup singers, Donna Delory and Niki Harris, and seven male backup dancers, have bonded. She calls the dancers her “children” and says she draws emotionally crippled people who need mothering, perhaps because of her own need to be mothered. She is moved by the innocence of the dancers and believes the tour offers them the thrill of their lives. In Houston, Texas, a dancer named Oliver Crumes gets to see his father for the first time in five years. Afterward, he happily reports that his father apologized for discouraging his dancing career. Madonna calls her father, Silvio Ciccone, to remind him about her upcoming shows in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. She hopes he will attend both, although she worries some of the racy content might make him uncomfortable. Silvio mentions that Madonna’s brother, Marty Ciccone, will be released from an alcohol rehabilitation center just before her arrival. He suggests a party, but Madonna says the tour is too grueling. Because the show is so elaborate, she and her crew encounter numerous technical difficulties. At one of several shows in Los Angeles, California, her microphone fails during multiple songs, and she reprimands a soundman backstage. Her boyfriend, actor Warren Beatty, entertains famous friends at the after-show party, including Al Pacino, Mandy Patinkin, and Kevin Costner. Madonna finds it irritating that some celebrities act as if they are automatically friends with other celebrities because they have fame in common. She tells her manager, Freddy De Mann, that she does not want entertainment industry executives seated in the front rows at her next show, as they do not enjoy the performance as much as her actual fans. In Toronto, Canada, she performs two shows. On the second night, police arrive and threaten to arrest her for indecency if she simulates masturbation onstage. Madonna refuses to compromise her artistic integrity and performs the show as choreographed. While singing “Like A Virgin,” she writhes on a bed, pretending to masturbate. The police do not arrest her as threatened. In Detroit, she observes that hometown concerts are the most difficult, in part because stardom can have a negative effect on family members. Her brother, Marty, admits he sometimes gets criticized for not being as successful as his sister. He describes their relationship as “give and take.” At the end of the first show, Madonna calls her father, Silvio, onstage and announces it is his birthday. She tells the audience she worships the ground he walks on and encourages them to join her in singing “Happy Birthday.” Afterward, Silvio and his second wife, Joan, visit Madonna’s dressing room. She is pleasantly surprised when they praise the show, although her father describes it as “a little touchy in spots,” in reference to the sexually explicit content. That night, Madonna waits for her brother Marty in her hotel room, but he does not arrive on time. Exhausted, she goes to bed. Later, Madonna’s childhood friend, Moira McFarland-Messana, visits her at the hotel. Madonna recalls Moira teaching her how to use a tampon, and the two sexually experimenting together, but Moira denies any memory of those things. She admits she was addicted to drugs for many years and, as a result, her memory has suffered. Moira, who has several children, tells Madonna she is unexpectedly pregnant and asks if she would be the child’s godmother. Madonna promises to consider it. Afterward, Moira recalls when Madonna’s mother died. Madonna was only five years old at the time, and Moira was seven. Madonna and her brother, Christopher Ciccone, who works as her artistic director on the tour, visit their mother’s grave. Although Madonna does not remember her mother well, she knows that she was a religious woman. While Christopher looks on, she lies down in the grass and kisses her mother’s grave. Soon, Madonna has to cancel several shows due to a throat infection. A doctor makes a house call to the singer’s New York City apartment, and Warren Beatty is surprised that she allows her throat examination to be filmed. He remarks that Madonna “doesn’t want to live off camera, much less talk.” Some of the dancers enjoy their days off by attending a gay pride parade. A tabloid reports that Madonna left Warren Beatty for Oliver Crumes, her only heterosexual male backup dancer. One of her shows in New York is dedicated to her close friend, Keith Haring, a well-known artist who died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). That night, Madonna calls Oliver Crumes to her dressing room and tells him she does not suspect him of leaking the false story to the tabloids. She apologizes for the other dancers’ nasty behavior, and forbids them from ostracizing Oliver. As she leads everyone in a group prayer, Madonna sheds tears at the mention of Keith Haring. Meanwhile, make-up artist Sharon Gault suspects she was drugged at a nightclub the night before. She woke up in her hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton to discover she had been robbed and her anus was bleeding. Madonna laughs when someone tells her the story, and guesses that Sharon enticed the thieves by bragging about her fancy accommodations. The tour moves to Europe, where the dancers appear to get along better. At a birthday party for her assistant, Melissa Crow, Madonna recites a poem she wrote for her, and they embrace. Madonna and her team remain in high spirits until the Vatican announces plans to cancel her concert dates in Italy. Madonna gives a speech in praise of the United States’ freedom of speech protections. She compares her show to theater, which takes the audience on an emotional journey that does not endorse a way of life but describes one. The controversy leads to the cancellation of two shows. At a hotel, Madonna spends time with her friend, actress Sandra Bernhard. They discuss Sandra’s relationship woes, and Sandra asks who Madonna longs to meet. Madonna answers that she would like to meet the Spanish actor, Antonio Banderas. In Spain, film director Pedro Almodovar hosts a dinner party for Madonna, and Antonio Banderas attends. However, she is annoyed to discover the actor is married. Other people on the tour discuss Madonna’s relentless work ethic, and the distancing effect of stardom. In a game of “Truth or Dare,” Donna Delory asks Madonna who the love of her life is, and Madonna names ex-boyfriend Sean Penn. Niki Harris dares her to fellate a water bottle, and everyone cheers as Madonna complies. Later, Madonna lies in bed with Donna and Niki. She acknowledges that she is not the best singer or dancer, but says she feels strongly about being “provocative and political.” On the last night of the tour, she ends the show with Sly & The Family Stone’s “It’s A Family Affair,” which leads into her song, “Keep It Together.” Afterward, the dancers and singers cry and embrace each other, and say tearful goodbyes to Madonna. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.