Del Deming

Written by Del Deming

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Eyes Wide Shut is a provocative and enigmatic film directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick. Released in 1999, it stands as one of his final creations before his untimely death. This psychological drama, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, delves into the secrets and desires that lie beneath the surface of a seemingly perfect marriage.

With its controversial themes and meticulously crafted visuals, Eyes Wide Shut has left a lasting impact on both critics and audiences. Exploring the dark underbelly of human desires and the struggle between societal expectations and personal freedom, this film offers a thought-provoking journey into the psyche of its characters.

In this article, we will delve deep into the world of Eyes Wide Shut, uncovering 48 fascinating facts about the making of the film, its reception, and its enduring legacy. From production anecdotes to hidden meanings behind key scenes, this comprehensive analysis will give you a newfound appreciation for this cinematic masterpiece.

Key Takeaways:

  • Eyes Wide Shut, directed by Stanley Kubrick, holds the record for the longest film shoot in history, featuring mysterious orgies and intricate symbolism, making it a thought-provoking and enigmatic piece of cinema.
  • The film explores themes of sexuality, desire, and the complexities of marital relationships, with Kubrick’s meticulous attention to detail and symbolism adding to its lasting cultural impact.
Table of Contents

Setting a record

Did you know that Eyes Wide Shut holds the record for the longest continual film shoot in history? Director Stanley Kubrick spent over 400 days shooting the movie.

Adapted from a novella

Eyes Wide Shut was adapted from the novella “Traumnovelle” by Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler.

Real-life couple on screen

The film starred real-life couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as Dr. Bill Harford and his wife Alice. It was their last film together before their divorce.

Independent production

Eyes Wide Shut was independently financed by Stanley Kubrick after Warner Bros. pulled out of the project due to concerns about its explicit content.

Mysterious orgies

The movie features a number of mysterious and elaborate orgies, which caused controversy upon its release due to their explicit nature.

Hitchcock inspiration

Kubrick drew inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s films, particularly Vertigo, while creating the suspenseful atmosphere of Eyes Wide Shut.

Packed with symbolism

The film is filled with symbolism, including recurring motifs of masks, mirrors, and duality, reflecting the hidden desires and secrets of the characters.

Soundtrack mysteries

Eyes Wide Shut features an eerie and haunting soundtrack composed by Jocelyn Pook, adding to the film’s mysterious atmosphere.

Kubrick’s final film

Eyes Wide Shut was Stanley Kubrick’s final film. He passed away just days after submitting the final cut to Warner Bros.

Censorship controversy

The film faced censorship challenges in several countries, with some scenes being edited or removed due to their explicit content.

Improvised dialogue

Kubrick allowed the actors to improvise their dialogue in certain scenes to make the conversations feel more natural and spontaneous.

Impressive set design

The film’s elaborate and meticulously designed sets, including the opulent mansion and secret society meeting area, contribute to the movie’s visual impact.

Kubrick’s attention to detail

Known for his perfectionism, Kubrick paid meticulous attention to every detail in the film, from costume design to lighting and framing.

Hidden messages in paintings

Throughout the movie, there are numerous paintings with hidden messages and symbols that hint at the secretive nature of the characters.

Multiple endings

Kubrick shot multiple endings for the film, leaving it open to interpretation and allowing viewers to decide the ultimate fate of the characters.

Delayed release

The release of Eyes Wide Shut was delayed by several months due to Kubrick’s meticulous editing and his desire to perfect every aspect of the film.

Controversial casting choices

Kubrick considered several actors for the lead role, including Harvey Keitel and Alec Baldwin, before ultimately casting Tom Cruise.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics upon its release, but has since gained a cult following and is regarded as one of Kubrick’s masterpieces.

Hidden meanings in the title

The title “Eyes Wide Shut” implies the idea of willful ignorance or choosing not to see the truth, which reflects the themes explored in the movie.

Satirical elements

Kubrick infused the film with elements of satire, criticizing the society’s obsession with wealth, power, and sexual desire.

Famous masks

The film features various iconic masks, including the Venetian Carnival masks, which symbolize the masks people wear in their daily lives.

Inspired by real-life events

The story was inspired by a real-life case of a secret society that involves the powerful elite, which fascinated Kubrick and served as inspiration for the film.

Voyeuristic perspective

The camera often takes a voyeuristic perspective, creating a sense of unease and discomfort as it observes the characters’ hidden desires and actions.

Themes of sexuality and desire

Eyes Wide Shut delves into the themes of sexuality, desire, and the boundaries between reality and fantasy, exploring the darker aspects of human nature.

Legendary director and cast

The combination of Stanley Kubrick, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman created huge anticipation for the film, attracting audiences eager to see their collaboration.

Intimate and intense scenes

The movie contains several intense and intimate scenes between the characters, pushing the boundaries of on-screen sexuality.

Analysis of power dynamics

Eyes Wide Shut explores power dynamics within relationships, with the characters grappling with their own desires and the balance of power between them.

Culturally significant film

Over the years, Eyes Wide Shut has become a culturally significant film, often referenced and analyzed for its themes and interpretations.

Psychological thriller

The movie can be categorized as a psychological thriller, as it delves into the psychological states of the characters and their innermost desires.

Kubrick’s obsession with perfection

Stanley Kubrick was known for his obsession with perfection, spending months on post-production to ensure the film met his exacting standards.

Exploration of marital relationships

Eyes Wide Shut delves into the complexities of marital relationships and the vulnerabilities that come with them.

Award nominations

The film received several award nominations, including Golden Globe nominations for Best Director and Best Original Score.

Slow pacing

The deliberate slow pacing of the film adds to the suspense and tension, allowing viewers to immerse themselves in the characters’ world.

Kubrick’s artistic style

Kubrick’s distinct artistic style is evident throughout the film, with his use of long takes, tracking shots, and meticulous framing.

Contemplation of mortality

The movie deals with the contemplation of mortality, with characters exploring their own mortality and the fleeting nature of life.

Iconic cinematography

The film’s cinematography by Larry Smith is iconic, capturing the dark and mysterious atmosphere with its rich color palette and striking visuals.

Exploration of fantasies

Eyes Wide Shut delves into the exploration of sexual fantasies and the allure of forbidden desires, challenging societal norms and conventions.

Controversial content

The explicit content and depiction of sexuality in the film caused controversy upon its release, with some criticizing its graphic nature.

Cultural impact

Eyes Wide Shut has had a lasting cultural impact, influencing various films and art forms with its unique blend of mystery, sexuality, and psychological depth.

Kubrick’s attention to color

Kubrick paid meticulous attention to color symbolism in the film, using specific hues to enhance the psychological aspects of the story.

Exploration of identity

The characters in Eyes Wide Shut grapple with questions of identity, as they confront their own desires, fears, and hidden selves.

Symbolism in costume design

The costume design in the film is rich in symbolism, with characters often wearing masks, costumes, and revealing attire to hide their true selves.

Kubrick’s meticulous research

Kubrick conducted extensive research and consulted with psychologists and experts in the field of sexual psychology to ensure the film’s authenticity.

Exploration of wealth and privilege

The film explores the theme of wealth and privilege, depicting the extravagant lifestyles of the elite and the hidden secrets that accompany it.

Complex character development

Eyes Wide Shut delves into complex character development, as the characters navigate the blurred lines between their public personas and their hidden desires.

Indulgence in fantasy and desire

The characters in the film indulge in fantasies and desires within the secretive world they enter, blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination.

Exploration of jealousy and insecurity

The film explores the themes of jealousy and insecurity within relationships, as the characters’ desires and sexual encounters bring their own insecurities to the surface.

Legacy of Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut continues to be analyzed and discussed by film enthusiasts and scholars alike, cementing its legacy as a thought-provoking and enigmatic piece of cinema.


In conclusion, Eyes Wide Shut is a captivating and thought-provoking film that delves into the themes of sexual obsession, secrecy, and the exploration of one’s inner desires. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this movie pushes boundaries and challenges societal norms, leaving viewers with plenty to ponder long after the credits roll. With its mesmerizing cinematography, haunting soundtrack, and outstanding performances by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut has secured its place as a cinematic masterpiece. Whether you’re a fan of Kubrick’s work or simply enjoy thought-provoking films, this is a must-watch for any movie enthusiast.


Q: Who directed Eyes Wide Shut?

A: Eyes Wide Shut was directed by Stanley Kubrick, a legendary filmmaker known for his distinctive style and innovative storytelling techniques.

Q: Is the movie based on a true story?

A: No, Eyes Wide Shut is not based on a true story. It is an adaptation of the novella “Dream Story” by Arthur Schnitzler.

Q: Was the movie a critical and commercial success?

A: While the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it was a moderate commercial success, grossing over $162 million worldwide.

Q: What is the significance of the title “Eyes Wide Shut”?

A: The title refers to the idea of individuals choosing to ignore or suppress their desires and secrets, choosing to live their lives with their eyes closed to certain aspects of reality.

Q: Are there any hidden meanings in the film?

A: Eyes Wide Shut is a film packed with symbolism and hidden meanings, leading to various interpretations by viewers. It explores themes of sexuality, marriage, and societal facades.

Q: When was the movie released?

A: Eyes Wide Shut was released in 1999, a few months after Stanley Kubrick’s death.

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