"He did more for us in a few hours... than our children ever did."
- Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing)
"I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation."
- Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing)
"Your father means a great deal in South Africa."
- Geoffrey (Ian McKellen) to Paul (Will Smith), who claims to be Sidney Poitier's son
"Are these all rich people'" "No. Hand to mouth on a higher plateau."
- Exchange between Paul (Will Smith) and Trent Conway (Anthony Michael Hall)
"I hope your muggers read every word!"
- Flan Kittredge (Donald Sutherland) to Paul (Will Smith) upon hearing that muggers stole his thesis on "Catcher in the Rye"
New York Times - 12/08/1993
"...[Schepisi shows] directorial vigor....[Channing gives] a reprise of her fine performance as [the] hilariously brittle heroine..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/17/1994
"...An urbane Manhattan tragicomedy....[Channing] surefootedly diagrams the breakdown of a soul..." -- Rating: B+
Variety - 12/13/1993
"...It is a choice, elegant production, pristine in its craft and attention to detail....SIX DEGREES is magical when addressing the preposterous..."
Sight and Sound - 07/01/1995
"...A brilliantly observed, precious little comedy....[It] crackles with ideas and witty dialogue....It's a wonderful piece of storytelling..."
Total Film - 11/01/2003
"...John Guare's adapted screenplay is consistently witty and literate, giving Smith and Channing plenty of scope to shine..."
Fifth Avenue socialite Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing) and her purveyor of high-art husband Flan (Donald Sutherland), are pedigree parents of "two at Harvard and one at Groton." But the privileged insular world inhabited by the Kittredge family, as well as their public status as distinguished arbiters of culture, makes them easy prey for a consummate con-artist like Paul (Will Smith). One night, he mysteriously shows up at their front door - injured and bleeding- claiming to be Sidney Poitier's son and a close college crony of the Kittredges' Ivy League progeny. Impressing Ouisa and Flan with his articulate literary expositions, Paul proves to be a sharp-witted, learned young man with epicurean taste and surprising culinary skill. His highbrow facade is so charmingly persuasive, Paul soon has the Kittredges loaning him money, putting him up for the night and taking satisfaction in his appraisal of their posh lifestyle. Much to the Kittredge's shock Paul is revealed to be a highly persuasive con-man, who has charmed his way into many upper-crust homes along the upper East side with his wit and insider knowledge. As Paul's plot unravels he becomes an urban legend of the upper crust, a witty anecdote to banter about at cocktail parties. However, he has a profound effect on the many individuals who encounter him, linking them in their shared experience. This film version of John Guare's highly successful stage play features remarkable ensemble acting and incredibly witty dialogue with an insider's ear for the excesses and delights of upper crust Manhattan.
Big City |
Character Study |
Race Relations |
Social Issues |
Stage Play |
The screenplay for "Six Degrees of Separation" was taken from John Guare's 1990 hit play based on true-life incidents involving a high-class con-artist who manages to captivate New York's wealthy upper East Side families.
Stockard Channing, who plays the part of Ouisa Kittredge, performed the same role in the stage play. John Cunningham originally played Flan Kittredge on stage; Donald Sutherland won that role in the film.
The MPAA refused to approve one of the trailers for "Six Degrees of Separation," claiming that the glimpse of male genitals from Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco "Creation Adam" was inappropriate.
Will Smith is attempting to break more ground in his acting career. He hopes a role like the one he plays in "Six Degrees of Separation," will enable him to get more work because it will give him a chance to prove his acting skills to Black filmmakers Spike Lee and John Singleton. "I needed to do a film like 'Six Degrees' in order for those people to consider me. Spike Lee would never consider me for a role because 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' is all he's ever seen."
Smith began rapping at the tender age of 12 in his hometown of West Philadelphia, which ultimately led to his successful partnership with musician Jeff Towsend. As D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Towsend and Smith recorded rap hits "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble," and later, on their second album, "Parents Just Don't Understand." In 1988 they won two Grammy Awards, one for best rap performance and another Grammy for their album "Summertime." The dynamic duo received the NAACP Image Award for being outstanding rap artists.
Shot in DeLuxe color and Anamorphic; in Panavision widescreen.
In Dolby stereo.
Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Classification.