Film: Body Double

"I like to watch."

1984 film directed by Brian De Palma, starring Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton and Dennis Franz.

An actor named Jake Scully (Wilson) is struggling with claustrophobia (which cost him his most recent job in a horror flick)—and has found out his girlfriend is cheating on him. Left without a place to stay, Scully accepts a job as a house-sitter for a futuristic house with a 360 view of the high-class area of Hollywood. The best of it: a neighbor has a tendency to striptease in her room, visible for an eager voyeur. All well and good...until Scully notices that he isn't the only one watching.

His investigations leads to a murder mystery, which brings him smack-dab into the adult-film industry, encountering a porn star (Griffith) who may or may not provide a key clue as to what's going on.

Famous for 1) its constant homage to Alfred Hitchcock (particularly Rear Window and Vertigo); 2) its show-stopping sequence featuring "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (which would go on to become one of the quintessential hits of The '80s); and 3) its intense invocation of Fanservice.

Needs Wiki Magic Love.


This film contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: Scully often comes across as this.
  • Bookends: In the beginning of the movie, Scully finds himself unable to act in a horror flick due to his claustrophobia. In the end, he's back in the film, and performs beautifully.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Poor Gloria.
  • Fanservice: Gloria, especially when she and Scully make out. Holly is most definitely a Ms. Fanservice—but then, being a porn star, it comes with the job description.
  • Hypocrite: Okay, Jake...so you get your nightly kicks by ogling a girl in her room—and when you notice some other guy's watching her, too...you assume he's a bad guy with malicious intent towards her?
    • Jake also takes up stalking Gloria for a bit, to make sure she's safe...from the guy he suspects is stalking her.
  • Police Are Useless: But then, Jake's a bit of a hypocrite, which completely ruins the credibility of his account to them....
  • The Reveal: Holly was the "body double" of Gloria—and she was the one dancing every night.
  • Spiritual Successor: Arguably even more so than any other film of De Palma's (even Dressed to Kill), this film is a blatant Homage to the style and subject matter of Alfred Hitchcock. In particular, this film borrows heavily from Rear Window (Scully's voyeuristic activities while house-sitting) and Vertigo (his phobia getting him in trouble, and his obsessive-yet-protective desire for Gloria—and guilt over her death—leading him to investigate another woman, Holly, to find a possible connection).
  • Spoiler Title: If you know what "body double" means in Hollywood-speak, it's a pretty good tipoff to the fact that, at some point, a woman we think is Gloria is a double for her.
  • This Is a Drill: This is how Gloria Revelle is done in.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Scully's girlfriend cheating on him leads to his looking for a place to stay, which kicks off the main plot.