Follow TV Tropes


Film / Star 80

Go To

Star 80 is a 1983 biographical drama about the life and death of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, who is murdered by her controlling husband Paul Snider, who later kills himself. The film was the last to be directed by Bob Fosse and stars Mariel Hemingway as Stratten and Eric Roberts as Snider.

The story begins with Paul, a small-time hustler, wooing 18-year-old Dorothy after meeting her working at a Dairy Queen. Seeing her as a meal ticket as well as a lover, he has a professional photographer take nudes of her and sends them to Playboy. After getting a positive response the couple moves to Los Angeles, where Hugh Hefner (Cliff Robertson) gives Dorothy a job as a bunny and eventually names her Playmate of the Year for 1980.

Paul convinces Dorothy to marry him, but before long she's fallen in love with a film director who casts her in one of his movies. Dorothy's attempt to divorce him finally leads to the confrontation that ends in both their deaths.


Tropes seen in the film:

  • Adult Fear: Dorothy's mother is about as enthusiastic as you'd expect when her 18-year-old daughter is seduced by a 26-year-old con artist/pimp. Unfortunately, her worries turn out to be more than justified.
  • Author Avatar: Bob Fosse made Paul Snider the main character in the film because he identified with his character the most. Fosse even told Eric Roberts that when he played Snider, he was really playing himself if Fosse had not been successful in show business.
  • Based on a True Story: Fosse adapted the screenplay directly from a Village Voice article investigating Dorothy's life and death.
  • Downer Ending: The murder mentioned up above.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The murder/suicide was still recent news in 1983, so most viewers knew how it would end.
  • I Love the Dead: Paul molests Dorothy's body after killing her. (He also did it before killing her.)
  • Advertisement:
  • If I Can't Have You...: One of the better-known real-life examples.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The director for whom Dorothy left Paul was actually Peter Bogdanovich, but for legal reasons he's called Aram Nicholas in the film. The names of Dorothy's siblings are also changed.
  • Pity Sex: Dorothy offers this to Paul at their final meeting, but this just enrages him.
  • Playboy Bunny: Justified, as Dorothy actually was a Playboy bunny.
  • Private Detective: Paul hires one when he suspects Dorothy of cheating on him with Nicholas.
  • Stage Name: A mild example, as Playboy shortens Dorothy's surname from the unwieldy Hoogstraten.
  • Vanity License Plate: The film's title comes from a vanity plate that Paul gets in honor of Dorothy's being named 1980 Playmate of the Year.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Dorothy.
  • Yandere: Paul at the end, of course, but the warning signs start to come earlier, such as when he stabs Dorothy's ex-boyfriend with a pocket knife.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Dorothy's affair with Nicholas sends Paul around the bend.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: