A nude woman sits down and looks straight at the camera. Beside her is the tagline "Some people get into trouble no matter what they wear." while the film's title and credits are below her.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrew Bergman
Screenplay byAndrew Bergman
Based onStrip Tease
by Carl Hiaasen
Produced by
  • Andrew Bergman
  • Mike Lobell
CinematographyStephen Goldblatt
Edited byAnne V. Coates
Music byHoward Shore
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 23, 1996 (1996-06-23) (Premiere)
  • June 28, 1996 (1996-06-28) (United States)
Running time
117 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$113.3 million[3]

Striptease is a 1996 American black comedy film written, co-produced, and directed by Andrew Bergman,[4] and starring Demi Moore, Armand Assante, Ving Rhames, Robert Patrick and Burt Reynolds. Based on Floridian crime writer Carl Hiaasen's 1993 best-selling novel of the same name, the film centers on an FBI secretary-turned-stripper who becomes involved in both a child-custody dispute and corrupt politics.

Moore was paid a then-unprecedented $12.5 million to star in Striptease, making her the highest-paid film actress up to that time.[5] Released theatrically on June 28, 1996, by Columbia Pictures and produced by Castle Rock Entertainment, the film grossed $113 million worldwide against its $50 million budget. However, it was panned by critics, won six Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, and has come to be evaluated as one of the worst movies ever made.[6][7][8] The debacle of the film marked a downturn in Moore's career.[8]


Former FBI secretary Erin Grant loses custody of her seven-year-old daughter Angela to her ex-husband Darrell, having recently lost her job because of his arrest record, as he was a drug addict who dealt in illegal drugs. To obtain the $15,000 needed to afford an appeal to retrieve her, Erin becomes a stripper at the Eager Beaver strip club in Miami. She attempts to probe his whereabouts from his older sister Rita, as he often relocates without informing Erin and uses Angela to steal wheelchairs from hospitals before selling them on the black market.

Congressman David Lane Dilbeck, representing Florida's 5th congressional district, visits the club and becomes infatuated with Erin. Aware of Dilbeck's embarrassing indulgences, another Eager Beaver patron, Jerry Killian, approaches Erin with a plan to manipulate Dilbeck in order to settle the custody battle and help her get Angela back. However, as he is the chairman of the subcommittee on sugar, Dilbeck has powerful business connections, including lobbyist Malcolm J. Moldowsky, his right-hand man, and father-and-son sugar barons Willie and Chris Rojo, who want to ensure he remains in office, as the Rojos' price supports are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Consequently, those who could potentially humiliate him in an election are murdered.

Attorney Alan Mordecai, who has acquired photos of the night when Dilbeck became intoxicated at the club and assaulted fellow patron Paul Guber, his client, invites Shad, a bouncer and the club's head of security, to join him in a scheme to blackmail Dilbeck. Meanwhile, Jerry turns up dead in Lake Okeechobee while Miami Police Department Lieutenant Al Garcia is on vacation there with his wife Donna and son Andy, and an autopsy reveals that Jerry was drowned in tap water before being discarded in the lake. Finding photos of Erin all over Jerry's apartment, Garcia ventures to the Eager Beaver to ask Erin about Jerry. She explains her situation to him and that Jerry was trying to help her. She also asks Garcia to ensure that the Dade County police department drops Darrell as an informant for the vice squad, so that during her appeal he can be exposed as a criminal. Garcia, fully sympathetic to Erin's plight, complies. However, L.W. Fingerhut, the judge overseeing Erin's case in civil court, suffers a fatal heart attack and is pronounced dead on arrival at Don Shula Hospital, causing Erin's appeal to be delayed by six months. To protect her daughter, Erin retrieves Angela from Darrell's negligent care while the girl is staying with Darrell's sister Rita.

Alan approaches Dilbeck with the picture from the Eager Beaver, thus agitating Malcolm. After Erin takes Angela to work, Darrell ambushes her in her car outside the club at knifepoint, but Shad rescues her by breaking Darrell's arm. After Erin finishes her shift, Garcia arrives, shows Erin the photo being used to blackmail Dilbeck, who is infatuated with her, and tells her to contact him if Dilbeck threatens her. At this point Garcia realizes that Jerry was murdered for trying to blackmail Dilbeck.

Dilbeck's personal interest in Erin persists, and she is invited to perform privately for him. He asks her to become his lover and later his wife, despite his staff becoming increasingly concerned. Malcolm threatens Erin with putting Angela in state care if Erin talks about Dilbeck to anyone. Eventually, Alan turns up dead, increasing Garcia's concern for Erin. Dilbeck and Malcolm then debate whether to kill Erin or simply keep her quiet by threatening to take away her daughter. However, Erin and Garcia begin to suspect the congressman's complicity in the murders, and she concocts a plan to trap Dilbeck. Malcolm, aware of Erin's contact with Garcia and her background with the FBI, asks Dilbeck to invite Erin for another private show, planning to kill her afterwards. Erin goes for the private dance by herself, but an intoxicated Darrell intervenes and hits Malcolm. Darrell then interrupts Erin and Dilbeck, which gives Erin a chance to get a gun and force both Darrell and Dilbeck to a nearby sugar refinery where she has arranged for TV crews to arrive for a news conference. En route to the refinery, she forces Darrell to write a note releasing custody of Angela to her and once there, she tricks Dilbeck into confessing to the murders on tape. As Malcolm arrives, Garcia serendipitously appears, the news crew arrives, and Dilbeck is soon after arrested. Erin, having regained full custody of Angela, thanks Garcia and Shad for assisting her and jokingly says to Garcia that she may run for Congress as Dilbeck's replacement.


Gianni Russo and José Zúñiga play father-and-son sugar barons Willie & Chris Rojo, while Eduardo Yáñez and Antoni Corone appear as bodyguards Chico & Nico. Frances Fisher also makes a small appearance as Lieutenant Garcia's wife, Donna, while writer/director and co-producer Andrew Bergman's son Teddy appears as the couple's son Andy and co-producer Mike Lobell's daughter Anna appears as a clerk at Porpoise Video. Assante's cousin Marco, in addition to serving as his personal assistant on the film, appears as a patron at the Eager Beaver, and Keone Young appears as Ling, owner and manager of the Flesh Farm.


The screenplay itself was written by Andrew Bergman, who also directed. According to one critic, the novel's plot is "quite faithfully followed" by the screenplay, but in bringing the complicated story to the screen, "Bergman forgets to explain persuasively what a nice girl like Erin – smart, spunky and a former FBI employee – is doing in a dump called the Eager Beaver."[9]

"Striptease was hard because the tone was so crazy," explained Bergman. "How do you stay true to the tone? You have to be true to those strip clubs. There's always some woman with like 50 triple-Ds, they always advertise, and you have to have someone like that. To actually see it, you’re walking this fine line. I didn't want to sanitize it, and I didn't, and I got my ass kicked for it." He also admitted, "I loved the book, and the funny thing was, [author Carl] Hiaasen loved the movie. He thought it was really, really true to the book, which I wanted to do! I don't regret it. I was treated like a freakin’ child molester for making that movie, but so be it."[10]


Demi Moore played Erin Grant in the film.

When asked about casting Demi Moore in the film, Bergman described, "Is Demi the funniest person in the world? No. Would the movie have been made without her? Probably not. No other major star was willing to take her clothes off, and I was not going to do a TNT version of Striptease with people running around in swimsuits."[10]

To prepare for her role as the main female character Erin Grant, Moore visited strip clubs in New York City, California and Florida, and she met with strippers. She also read the novel, exercised, and practiced yoga.[11] Moore was cast before other important parts were cast, creating some interest in the project.[12] In the first attempt at filming Moore stripping, two hundred extras were used to portray the audience. Although their salaries were small, many accepted the role to see Moore nude. After waiting for a while, when Moore finally appeared and started dancing the crowd turned so loud and wild that the shooting had to temporarily cease. As Moore said, "After my experience, I felt very confident."[11]

The filmmakers, in trying actors out for the part of Shad, sought someone "at least 6'2" and physically massive...any ethnicity",[12] eventually casting Ving Rhames. Burt Reynolds based his performance as Congressman Dilbeck on politicians he knew in his early life, through his father, a police chief.[13] When the filmmakers' first choice Gene Hackman turned the role down, Reynolds contacted Castle Rock head Rob Reiner and traveled to Miami to audition, despite not being whom they originally envisioned for the part. "To be honest," said producer Lobell, "we were not enthusiastic at first. There was the hair and his reputation, but we were curious... At the first audition, on the first day, Burt had to take off his toupee in front of six or seven people. It was tough for him, but he did it. It was a very, very humbling thing to do. But by the end of the audition, it was really clear that Burt was the guy."[14] "I knew I could play him," said Reynolds. "I could make him likable and dangerous. There are very few people who can do that. I always played likable and dangerous. I had a persona. Unfortunately, my persona became bigger than my acting."[14] Reynolds accepted a salary of $350,000;[15] lower than what he had been paid earlier in his career.[16]

Moore's own daughter Rumer Willis, who was 7 years old when the film was released, played Erin's daughter Angela. As Moore explained, "she [Willis] wanted it so badly" that Moore asked that Willis be considered for the part. In reality, this required Willis to see Moore dancing topless, for a scene in which Angela sees Erin performing. However, Moore said that this was acceptable, as "[W]e don't shame the body, we encourage the body as something beautiful and natural, and my children bathe with me, and I walk around naked."[17]

The cast included some notable real-world strippers such as Pandora Peaks. "Talk about a happy set", said Bergman. "We were shooting in Miami for six months. It was a gas".[10]

Reshot ending

During test screenings, audiences objected to a scene at the end where Dilbeck becomes violent and attempts to rape Grant, holding a knife to her throat.[15] The scene was reshot five months later to make it funnier, causing a one-month delay in the release,[15][18] but test screenings also turned up less than favorable reactions.[11]


Striptease: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by
Various Artists
ReleasedJune 25, 1996 (1996-06-25)
LabelCapitol Records

Striptease: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on June 25, 1996. While the soundtrack did not include every song heard in the film, a notable exclusion were most tracks Erin (Demi Moore's character) danced to in the film, which, aside from "If I Was Your Girlfriend" by Prince, were all sung by Annie Lennox (whether as part of the Eurythmics or solo). While "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" was featured on the disc, "Money Can't Buy It", "Cold" and "Little Bird" were left off, as was "Missionary Man", which was played during the end credits. Furthermore, it excluded the song "(Pussy, Pussy, Pussy) Whose Kitty Cat Are You?" by the Light Crust Doughboys which won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song.

Striptease: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack[19]
1."Gimme Some Lovin'"The Spencer Davis Group2:58
2."Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car"Billy Ocean5:33
3."The Tide Is High"Blondie4:42
4."Expressway to Your Heart"The Soul Survivors2:16
5."Green Onions"Booker T. & the M.G.'s2:51
6."Love Child (Halaila)"Laladin3:18
7."I Live for You"Chynna Phillips3:45
8."You've Really Got a Hold on Me"The Miracles2:59
9."Mony Mony"Billy Idol5:03
10."If I Was Your Girlfriend"Prince3:46
11."I Hate Myself for Loving You"Joan Jett and the Blackhearts4:12
12."Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"Eurythmics3:36
13."Return to Me"Dean Martin2:24


Striptease premiered on June 23, 1996 in New York City and was released in the United States five days later. It opened in Australia, France and Germany in August, and Argentina, Italy, Bolivia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Japan in September.[3]

Nudity was heavily emphasized in advertisements.[20] The Motion Picture Association of America raised concerns regarding a poster that it felt revealed too much of Moore's naked body. A Castle Rock employee disagreed, saying "there are racier perfume ads."[18]

The previous year's film about nude dancers, Showgirls, was generally disliked, so filmmakers feared audiences would pre-judge Striptease on this basis. To avoid any association, advertisements were designed to make Striptease look more comedic than Showgirls, which was a drama.[18] Besides the subject matter, Striptease and Showgirls did have two notable connections. The choreography in these films was by the same person, Marguerite Derricks.[21] Both also featured performances by Rena Riffel, who plays a dancer in each. To promote the film, Moore appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and a Barbara Walters special. In both cases, she danced or otherwise exhibited her body.[18]


Critical response

Striptease holds a 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 71 reviews, with an average score of 3.9/10. The critical consensus reads, "Striptease can't decide whether it is a lurid thriller or a sexy satire - which becomes a moot point as it proves disastrously incapable of pulling either off."[22] In the Carl Hiaasen book of the same name, upon which the movie was based, every character was premised upon being a source of amusement. In the movie, however, there was a major departure, as the main character, played by Moore, was meant to be portrayed differently. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times complimented some of the characters, but ultimately concluded the film failed because "all of the characters are hilarious except for Demi Moore's." He felt the drama surrounding the main character "throws a wet blanket over the rest of the party." Ebert also found the nudity not too sexy.[20] Gene Siskel heavily panned the film on Siskel and Ebert criticizing Bergman's screenplay as well as Moore's character and performance finding her "deadly boring".[23] Leonard Maltin was harsher, writing in his book that the film was too depressing, and "Not funny enough, or dramatic enough, or sexy enough, or bad enough, to qualify as entertainment in any category."[24] Barbara Cramer concurred with Ebert that Moore's character was written too dramatically, compared to other characters. She said the film was predictable and would appeal mostly to "post-pubescent schoolboys or closet voyeurs." However, Cramer also cited Reynolds' "best role in years," and said Rhames was "worth the price of admission."[13]

Brian D. Johnson of Maclean's, who thought Moore's acting was terrible, predicted that despite Moore's financial success, her career depended on the success of this film and the film was "tacky, pretentious-and boring." This critic described Striptease as displaying Moore's vanity.[25] David Ansen of Newsweek, sharing Ebert's view on Moore's character, also claimed Striptease failed as a drama because it had no mystery, revealing the identity of its villains early. Moreover, the "damsel-in-distress angle generates zero tension."[26] Daniel P. Franklin, in his book Politics and Film: The Political Culture of Film in the United States went so far as to call Striptease "the worst film ever made" and stated "The film pays homage to Moore's surgical breast enhancement".[6] Nathan Rabin, reviewing the film for his series "My Year of Flops", described the film thus: "Moore's dour lead performance sabotages the film from the get-go. It's as if director Andrew Bergman told Moore she was acting in a serious drama about a struggling single mother...and then told everyone else in the cast that they were making a zany crime comedy filled with kooky characters, sleazy hustlers, dumbass opportunists, and outsized caricatures."[27]

On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B−" on scale of A+ to F.[28]

Box office

Striptease made $12,322,069 in its first weekend, behind The Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy, Eraser starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which Moore voiced one of the main characters.[29][30] Ultimately, Striptease made $33,109,743 in the United States, and domestically it was the 47th highest-grossing film of 1996. It made $113,309,743 internationally,[3] having grossed £2,294,568 in the UK.[31]

"That movie did better than almost anything I've been involved with," said Bergman. "All the subsidiary stuff was gigantic. People said, 'I wouldn't be caught dead seeing it,'’ and suddenly when it's available in a rental store, it's 'I'll get Schindler's List and Striptease. [laughs] It's like when you're a kid and you're buying condoms at a drug store, but you buy 12 tubes of toothpaste, too."[10]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Worst Film Won
Golden Raspberry Awards (1996) Worst Picture Mike Lobell Won [32]
Worst Director Andrew Bergman Won
Worst Actress Demi Moore (also for The Juror) Won
Worst Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Nominated
Worst Screenplay Screenplay by Andrew Bergman;
Based on the book by Carl Hiaasen
Worst Screen Couple Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds Won
Worst Original Song "Pussy, Pussy, Pussy (Whose Kitty Cat Are You?)"
Music and Lyrics by Marvin "Smokey" Montgomery
Golden Raspberry Awards (1999) Worst Picture of the Decade Nominated
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Picture Mike Lobell Won [35]
Worst Actress Demi Moore (also for The Juror) Nominated
Worst Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Nominated
Yoga Awards Worst Foreign Actress Demi Moore Won

Home media

Striptease was released on VHS on November 19, 1996, and on DVD on July 27, 1999.[36] It found success in the video rental market, placing amongst the top 25 video rentals of 1997 in the United States.[37]


In 1997, Striptease made news again when it was shown in a fourth-grade class in Chicago, Illinois. The teacher claimed the students chose the film but drew criticism since the film was risqué. The violent 1996 film Scream was shown in the same school on the same day, causing further controversy.[38] In 2000 in Ireland, some viewers criticized the Raidió Teilifís Éireann for running Striptease. These viewers questioned the film's appropriateness and some considered it demeaning to women. The station felt it was not pornography and it was aired at night.[39][better source needed]

In 2003, Radioactive Films used a scene from Striptease featuring Moore nude in a video called Hollywood's Hottest. This raised a dispute as to whether the use of the scene qualified as fair use. A lawsuit was launched as a consequence.[40]


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Awards Preceded byShowgirls Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture 17th Golden Raspberry Awards Succeeded byThe Postman Preceded byShowgirls Stinker Award for Worst Picture 1996 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Succeeded byBatman & Robin