Certain Sacrifice, A (1985)

Certain Sacrifice, A (1985)

“Do you think for once that any lover of mine could be tame?”

When his new girlfriend (Madonna) is raped by a sleazy stranger (Charles Kurtz), a former college student (Jeremy Pattnosh) and his friends seek revenge.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Rape
  • Revenge

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is far too generous in his review of this infamous student film, which he argues is “not the best but certainly not worthless”, and has some “bright ideas and wit floating around”. Made in 1979 (when Madonna was just 20 years old), it was strategically released by director Stephen Jon Lewicki as a quick money-maker six years later, when her fame was beginning to skyrocket. Apparently Madonna insisted on being paid $100 for her work in the film, resulting in a signed contract which later prevented her from legally removing the movie from circulation — but there’s not much here for her to be especially ashamed of, other than some tame nudity and her typically amateurish performance in a crude independent film.

As many have noted, she made so many awful films later in her career that this one doesn’t stand out as particularly egregious — it simply has the lowest production values and makes the least sense.

Indeed, it’s often difficult to tell exactly what’s happening in this pretentious and unbearably artsy movie, which focuses on a college drop-out (Jeremy Pattnosh) who roams the streets of New York and falls for a young girl (Madonna) who’s secretly involved with a “family of lovers”. Meanwhile, Pattnosh encounters a boorish pig (Charles Kurtz, who Peary argues “steals the film” in his role — not much of a stretch) at a coffee shop, then later rapes Madonna simply because she’s Pattnosh’s girl. A final orgy revenge scene caps everything off. The soundtrack, unfortunately, is by Pattnosh rather than Madonna herself. Ultimately, A Certain Sacrifice is the type of movie that was probably must-see during its moment of notoriety (as Peary notes, “initial reports claimed it was an S&M porno film”), but is now required viewing simply for those who are morbidly curious or genuinely hung up on Madonna.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Not much.

Must See?
No; unless you can’t contain your curiosity, feel free to skip this one-hour clunker.


One thought on “Certain Sacrifice, A (1985)

  1. First and last viewing. “One-hour clunker” says it all.

    …except…what is it that Grumpy Cat is often quoted as saying in a meme on facebook? …”This is bullshit.”

    Yep. It is. It’s true that, as Madonna began her, um…rise to fame…this film gained some kind of notoriety as something naughty. Gee, if only it really were! 😉

    It’s beyond bad and, alas, not fun-bad. But it should be noted that Madonna, in particular, is especially, incredibly bad. But, alas, still not fun-bad.

    All told: just ewwwww…

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