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True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere, Charlton Heston, and Art Malik. Eliza Dushku makes an early appearance in her acting career. True Lies is an extended remake of the 1991 French movie La Totale!, which was directed by Claude Zidi and starred Thierry Lhermitte and Miou-Miou. The movie "True Lies" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and it won a Golden Globe for Jamie Lee Curtis's comedic portrayal of "Helen Tasker".

True Lies was the first Lightstorm Entertainment project to be distributed under Cameron's multimillion dollar production deal with 20th Century Fox, as well as the first major production for the visual effects company Digital Domain, which was co-founded by Cameron. True Lies was the only feature movie outside of The Terminator series to be directed by James Cameron, music scored by Brad Fiedel and feature Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Harry Tasker leads a double life, performing dangerous covert missions for the United States Government's counter-terrorism agency Omega Sector with his support team of Albert "Gib" Gibson and Faisil. His wife Helen, and daughter Dana, believe him to be a boring computer salesman who does a lot of corporate travel. Harry is unable to spend quality time with his family due to his secret identity, causing Helen to believe that he doesn't appreciate her, and Dana to disrespect him.

One of Harry's missions leads him to the trail of the terrorist group, Crimson Jihad, led by Salim Abu Aziz. Harry suspects the antiques dealer Juno Skinner has ties to Aziz, and after visiting her, finds himself on a chase through the Georgetown Parkmarker shopping mall and the Westin Bonaventure Hotelmarker from Aziz' men on the night of his birthday party, making Helen believe he is having an affair. When Harry tries to surprise her the next day at her office to take her to lunch, he overhears a conversation she has with another man, and worries about her infidelity. Using the Omega Sector's resources, he tracks down the other man, a car salesman posing as a spy to lure Helen, and then, masking his identity, convinces Helen to perform a spy mission, by dropping a tracking bug on a man staying in a posh suite at a nearby hotel after seducing him. Harry then sets himself up as that person, and plans to reveal the surprise romantically to Helen. However, the two are interrupted by Aziz and his men, who break into the room capture them both.

They are taken to the terrorist's hideout in the Florida Keysmarker. Aziz reveals he possess nuclear warheads hidden inside antique statues shipped by Juno, and plans to detonate one to demonstrate his force to the United Stats. Harry is forced, under the effects of a truth serum, to reveal his covert identity much to Helen's shock. Harry uses the opportunity to free both of them. Harry, while fighting Aziz' troops, appears to be killed in a gas tanker explosion, and Helen is captured and taken with Aziz, Juno, and the rest of his forces as they leave the island, the warhead soon to go off. Thanks to the tracking bug Helen was to place, Gib is able to help locate and rescue Harry. Harry arranges for the help of two Marine AV-8B Harrier jets to attack Aziz' convoy as they cross the Overseas Highwaymarker bridges, and Harry is able to make a daring rescue of Helen from Juno's limo into a helicopter before the limo falls over part of the damaged bridge. Regrouping on the mainland out of the blast radius, Harry and Helen fall into a deep kiss as the nuclear explosion goes off in the distance.

Harry soon learns that Aziz, having arrived much earlier, has taken his daughter Dana hostage and are holed up in an office building in downtown Miami with one of the warheads. Harry borrows one the Harriers to go to his daughter's rescue. Faisil sneaks into the building as part of the requested news crew, and is able to provide a distraction to allow Dana to steal the ignition key and escape up to cranes on top of the building, Aziz following her. Harry arrives in time to catch Dana as she falls from the cranes, as well as Aziz, who eventually gets hung up by his clothes on one of the Harrier's AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. Harry fires the missile, sending it through the building and into the terrorists' helicopter on the opposite side, killing them all. A year later, the Tasker family have strengthened their bonds after the events in Florida, though now Harry and Helen are partners in Omega Sector.



Upon its release in 1994, the film garnered mostly positive reviews. Based on 37 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, True Lies has a 68% fresh rating and a weighted average of 6.3/10. James Berardinelli from Reelviews gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, saying "I have yet to decide whether True Lies is a better comedy or action film. It contains heavy elements of both, and plays them equally well. Unlike such failed attempts as Hudson Hawk and Last Action Hero, however, True Lies is a big, grandiose movie that has an immense amount of fun while never taking itself too seriously... Speed (which was released in the same year) and True Lies deliver a summer one-two punch that will leave viewers squirming with excitement and gasping for breath." The film relies heavily on stunts, often performed by Schwarzenegger and Curtis themselves. The film earned $146 million domestically and $232.6 million abroad, making it third best-grossing movie of 1994, and also a comeback for Schwarzenegger following the disastrous Last Action Hero of the previous summer. For her performance, Jamie Lee Curtis received a 1994 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy.

The film was criticized as sexist, or even misogynistic, for its treatment of female characters, such as the hero using his agency's resources to stalk and frighten his wife. Others perceived it as conveying a strong anti-Arab or anti-Muslim prejudice.

Possible sequel

Online news reports in 2002 quoted the actress Eliza Dushku as saying there was going to be a sequel reuniting the original cast with the writer/director James Cameron. Cameron originally planned upon making a sequel sometime in 2002, but he put his plans on hold once the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred in New York Citymarker, citing that "in this day and age, terrorism isn't funny." The film is referenced throughout The Kid & I where Tom Arnold appears as a character based on himself, but given a fictitious name, who starred in True Lies and is pursued to make a sequel by a fan, Schwarzenegger and Curtis cameo as themselves. James Cameron himself told in an interview that there were no plans for a new True Lies that he knew of but that he and Arnold had spoken about possibly working in a new project together when Arnold leaves office.


Songs appearing in the film not included with the release of the soundtrack


  1. - La Totale!
  7. John Simon, "True Lies," National Review, August 29, 1994,
  8. Charles Glass, "A prejudice as American as apple pie," New Statesman, November 20, 1998,

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