Exit to Eden (film)

Exit to Eden is a 1994 American comedy-thriller film directed by Garry Marshall and adapted to the screen by Deborah Amelon and Bob Brunner from Anne Rampling's novel of the same name. The original music score was composed by Patrick Doyle.

Exit To Eden
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGarry Marshall
Produced byGarry Marshall
Edward K. Milkis
Written byDeborah Amelon
Bob Brunner
Based onExit to Eden
by Anne Rampling
Music byPatrick Doyle
CinematographyTheo van de Sande
Edited byDavid Finfer
Distributed bySavoy Pictures
Release date
  • October 14, 1994 (1994-10-14)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25-30 million[2]
Box office$6,841,570[3]

Dana Delany stars as Lisa Emerson (named Lisa Kelly in the book) and Paul Mercurio plays Elliot Slater. Half of the film consists of a new comedic detective story line written by the director. Several new characters were also created, including Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell as police officers pursuing diamond thieves to the Eden resort.


Elliot Slater is a young, attractive, Australian professional photographer living in Southern California. Having always been uncomfortable with his sexual proclivities, which tend toward the BDSM realm, he signs up for a dominatrix-themed vacation on a private tropical island known as "Eden" in the hopes of working through his discomfort.

Unbeknownst to him, before embarking on his journey of sexual discovery, he has unwittingly photographed an international jewel thief of whom no other photos exist. The jewel thief Omar and his criminal partner Nina are intent on recovering the film in order to retain Omar's anonymity.

They follow the photographer to the island resort run by the dominatrix, Mistress Lisa Emerson, posing as vacationers. Following a tip that Omar is on the island, undercover police officers Fred Lavery and Sheila Kingston also arrive, Sheila in the guise of a vacationer and Fred as a handyman.

Comedic antics ensue amid the activities of scantily clad guests and employees, acting out their dominant and submissive fantasies.

In the course of Elliot's experiences as Mistress Lisa's personal submissive, including a scene where she ties him up and fondles his naked body (especially, his bare buttocks), the two begin to fall in love. The action comes to a climax on a quick trip to New Orleans, where Lisa reluctantly admits her feelings for Elliot, all the while tailed by Omar, who attempts to kill them.

Fred and Sheila save the day, sending Omar and Nina to jail, and receive commendations for solving the case. Elliot returns to Eden and proposes to Lisa, who says yes.



The whips used and shown in detail were created by Janette Heartwood.[4] This was the last film produced by Edward K. Milkis before his death in 1996.


The film garnered attention during its release because of the BDSM themes, full frontal female nudity (including Delany), and because of the high profiles of the director, cast members, and the author. Promotional materials for the film included photos of Delany in dominatrix attire.

It was generally panned by critics, who expressed disappointment and confusion about the combination of the original story and the comedic elements.[5][6][7][8] The film maintains a 6% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 17 reviews, with an average score of 2.29/10.[9] Roger Ebert gave the film 1/2 star out of four possible stars.[10]

One controversy occurred when it was initially banned by the Saskatchewan Film and Video Classification Board. Critics were puzzled by the banning, as Saskatchewan was the only jurisdiction known to have kept the film out of theaters. After a brief media flurry, the Board lifted the ban a week later.[11][12]

Awards and nominations

O'Donnell won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress for this film (also for The Flintstones and Car 54 Where Are You?)[13] and Aykroyd earned nominations for Worst Supporting Actor (also for North)[13] and both O'Donnell and Aykroyd as Worst Screen Couple.[13] At the 1994 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, O'Donnell was nominated for Worst Actress under the same films.

Home media

The film was released on VHS tape (NTSC) in May 1995, on DVD (NTSC Region 1, 4:3 Full Frame) in April 2002 and on (PAL Region 2) in 2003 (German Version "Undercover Cop" with German and English language sound).[14]


  1. "EXIT TO EDEN (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 1995-04-03. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  2. Weinraub, Bernard (13 November 1995). "After Loud Opening, a Studio Is in Retreat" via NYTimes.com.
  3. Exit to Eden at Box Office Mojo
  4. see Phillip Miller, Molly Devon, William A. Granzig: Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism. Mystic Rose Books 1995, ISBN 0-9645960-0-8
  5. "Exit to Eden". Time Out London. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  6. "Exit to Eden". www.rottentomatoes.com. 1994-10-14. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  7. "Related Pages". Movie-reviews.colossus.net. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  8. "Movie Review - Smuggling as Afterthought to S-and-M". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  9. "Exit to Eden (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  10. "Exit To Eden :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1994-10-14. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  11. Salem, Rob (16 October 1994). "Maybe Saskatchewan had it right first time: Exit To Eden is painful". Toronto Star. p. B3.
  12. (CP) (14 October 1994). "Exit to Eden ban reversed". Toronto Star. p. 88.
  13. "Razzie Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. "Undercover Cops". wunschliste.de. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
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