Maribel Sorrell

Written by Maribel Sorrell

Modified & Updated: 05 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Six Degrees of Separation, released in 1993, is a thought-provoking drama that delves into the concept of interconnectedness and the unpredictable nature of human relationships. Based on a play by John Guare, the film follows the story of Paul, played by Will Smith, a charismatic con artist who weaves a web of deceit among affluent New York City residents.

In this article, we will explore 47 fascinating facts about Six Degrees of Separation, shedding light on the film’s production, cast, themes, and its impact on audiences. From the star-studded ensemble cast to the real-life inspirations behind the characters, we will delve into both the on-screen and behind-the-scenes aspects of this cult classic.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Six Degrees of Separation” is a captivating movie that explores the complexities of human relationships, identity, and the blurred lines between truth and fiction. It features a talented cast and thought-provoking themes that resonate with audiences.
  • The film raises important questions about perception, trust, and the universal desire for meaningful connections. It seamlessly blends drama and comedy, offering a compelling and emotionally resonant viewing experience.
Table of Contents

John Guare’s Play Inspired the Movie

The movie “Six Degrees of Separation” is based on the play of the same name written by John Guare. It premiered on Broadway in 1990 and was later adapted into a film in 1993.

Will Smith’s Breakthrough Role

The role of Paul, the charming con artist, was Will Smith’s breakthrough role in film. This role showcased his versatility as an actor and earned him critical acclaim.

The Concept of Six Degrees of Separation

The movie explores the concept of “six degrees of separation,” which suggests that everyone is connected to each other through a chain of no more than six acquaintances.

A Star-Studded Cast

“Six Degrees of Separation” features a star-studded cast including Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, Ian McKellen, and Mary Beth Hurt.

Rich Cultural References

The film references various artworks and cultural icons, such as J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and the famous painting “The Red Studio” by Henri Matisse.

Filmed in New York City

The movie was primarily filmed on location in New York City, capturing the vibrant energy and distinct atmosphere of the city.

Inspired by a Real-Life Incident

The story of “Six Degrees of Separation” was inspired by the real-life case of David Hampton, a con artist who posed as a wealthy college student and deceived several people.

Academy Award Nominations

The movie received two Academy Award nominations – Best Supporting Actress for Stockard Channing and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Guare.

Theatrical and Cinematic Elements

The film incorporates both theatrical elements, such as direct addresses to the audience, as well as cinematic techniques to enhance the storytelling.

Explores Themes of Identity and Deception

“Six Degrees of Separation” delves into complex themes of identity, deception, and the blurring of truth and fiction in interpersonal relationships.

A Critically Acclaimed Film

The movie received positive reviews from critics, who praised the captivating performances, intriguing plot, and thought-provoking themes.

Successful Stage Adaptation

After its initial success on Broadway, the play “Six Degrees of Separation” has been continuously performed in theaters around the world.

Exploration of Socioeconomic Dynamics

The film explores the dynamics between different socioeconomic classes and the impact of privilege and wealth on human connections.

Memorable Quotes

The movie features several memorable quotes, including “I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation” and “You’re playing with my life, you made it into a game.”

Social Commentary

“Six Degrees of Separation” provides social commentary on topics such as class inequality, perception, and the quest for validation.

Opening Night at Cannes

The film premiered at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, where it received positive feedback and garnered attention from international audiences and critics.

Introspective Monologues

The character of Paul delivers introspective monologues in the film, reflecting on the nature of truth and the masks people wear.

The Role of Art in Society

“Six Degrees of Separation” examines the role of art in society, touching on themes of creativity, self-expression, and the value of artistic works.

Funny and Poignant Moments

The film strikes a balance between humor and poignant moments, creating a captivating and emotionally resonant viewing experience.

Exploration of Sexual Identity

The movie explores themes of sexual identity and fluidity, challenging societal norms and expectations.

Seamless Blend of Drama and Comedy

“Six Degrees of Separation” seamlessly blends elements of drama and comedy, offering a unique and engaging narrative.

Captivating Soundtrack

The film features a captivating soundtrack that enhances the storytelling and sets the mood for each scene.

A Thought-Provoking Ending

The movie’s ending leaves audiences with lingering questions, encouraging them to reflect on the complexities of human relationships.

Adapting a Stage Play for the Screen

The film successfully translates the intimate and dialogue-driven nature of the stage play into a captivating cinematic experience.

A Tale of Charisma and Deception

“Six Degrees of Separation” tells a tale of charisma and deception, blurring the lines between reality and fiction in the pursuit of connection.

Awards and Recognitions

Aside from the Academy Award nominations, the movie received numerous accolades and nominations from various film festivals and award ceremonies.

Exploration of the Human Condition

The film delves into the intricacies of the human condition, exploring the complexities of identity, vulnerability, and the desire for meaningful connections.

A Story That Resonates

“Six Degrees of Separation” tells a story that resonates with audiences on a deeply personal level, provoking introspection and empathy.

Cultural Impact

The movie’s exploration of interconnectedness and the fluidity of identity has had a lasting cultural impact, inspiring discussions and further exploration of these themes.

The Power of Persuasion

“Six Degrees of Separation” highlights the power of persuasion and the willingness of individuals to believe in something that aligns with their desires and aspirations.

Themes of Isolation and Connection

The film delves into the conflicting emotions of isolation and the longing for meaningful connections, showcasing the universal need for human interaction.

Theatrical Performances

The theatrical performances in the movie add depth and authenticity to the narrative, capturing the essence of the characters and their struggles.

A Quote that Resonates

“Do you know what I dreamed about last night? Nothing. You know what that means? It means that I am whole. It means that I am complete.”

The Intrigue of Paul’s Stories

Paul’s ability to captivate others with his elaborate stories highlights the power of storytelling and its ability to shape perception.

A-List Filmmakers

The movie brought together a team of A-list filmmakers, including director Fred Schepisi and producer Arnon Milchan.

A Reflection of Society

“Six Degrees of Separation” serves as a reflection of society, tackling issues and societal dynamics that are still relevant today.

The Influence of Class and Status

The film explores the influence of class and status on social interactions, shedding light on the intricacies of power dynamics.

Exploring Personal Integrity

“Six Degrees of Separation” challenges the notion of personal integrity and the choices individuals make in pursuit of their desires.

Themes of Authenticity and Self-Discovery

The movie explores themes of authenticity and self-discovery, prompting the characters to question their own identities and motivations.

Complex and Multidimensional Characters

The characters in “Six Degrees of Separation” are portrayed with depth and nuance, showcasing the complexities of human nature.

The Role of Perception

The film highlights the role of perception in shaping relationships, challenging the notion of absolute truth.

The Power of Language

The movie emphasizes the power of language and communication in forming connections and influencing others.

Influence on Pop Culture

“Six Degrees of Separation” has permeated popular culture, with references and adaptations appearing in various forms of media.

An Unforgettable Performance by Will Smith

Will Smith’s portrayal of Paul is unforgettable, showcasing the actor’s range and talent.

The Complexity of Trust

The movie examines the complexity of trust and the fragility of interpersonal relationships.

The Role of Socioeconomic Gaps

“Six Degrees of Separation” sheds light on the consequences of socioeconomic gaps and the challenges faced by those on the margins of society.

A Reminder of our Interconnectedness

“Six Degrees of Separation” serves as a reminder of our interconnectedness, highlighting the potential for unexpected connections and shared experiences.


In conclusion, the movie Six Degrees of Separation is a thought-provoking and captivating film that explores themes of identity, deception, and human connection. With its talented cast, compelling storyline, and powerful performances, the movie continues to be a favorite among cinephiles. Whether you’re a fan of drama, mystery, or thought-provoking cinema, Six Degrees of Separation is a must-watch film that will leave you pondering the complexities of human relationships and the blurred lines that separate truth from fiction.


Q: Who directed Six Degrees of Separation?

A: The movie was directed by Fred Schepisi, an Australian film director known for his work in both Hollywood and Australian cinema.

Q: Is Six Degrees of Separation based on a true story?

A: Yes, the movie is based on the play of the same name by John Guare, which was inspired by a real-life incident involving a man named David Hampton who deceived multiple affluent individuals in New York City by posing as Sidney Poitier’s son.

Q: When was Six Degrees of Separation released?

A: The movie was released in 1993.

Q: Who are some of the main cast members in Six Degrees of Separation?

A: The film stars Will Smith, Stockard Channing, and Donald Sutherland in lead roles, delivering stellar performances that garnered critical acclaim.

Q: What awards did Six Degrees of Separation receive?

A: The film received several awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Stockard Channing for Best Actress and a Golden Globe nomination for Will Smith for Best Supporting Actor.

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