Considered a trend-setting film at the time, and one of the year's biggest box office hits, the film made superstars of Moore and Derek. It follows a man who in middle age becomes infatuated with a young woman he has never met, leading to a comic chase and an encounter in Mexico.
During a surprise 42nd birthday party for wealthy, well-known composer George Webber, thrown by his actress girlfriend Samantha Taylor, he finds he is coping badly with incipient middle age. From his car, George glimpses a bride-to-be and is instantly obsessed with her beauty, which he rates as "11" on a scale that goes up to 10. Following her to the church, he crashes into a police cruiser, is stung by a bee, and nearly disrupts the wedding ceremony.
George visits the priest, and learns the woman is Jenny Miles, daughter of a prominent Beverly Hills dentist. Later that night, Sam and George have an argument about George's failure to give her the attention she needs, his use of the term "broad", and the fact that he uses a telescope to watch a neighbor (a porn producer) perform carnal acts. The final straw for Sam occurs when George makes a remark subtly impugning her femininity, at which point Sam leaves in a huff.
The following day, George spies on his neighbor again, hits himself with the telescope, and falls down an embankment, causing him to miss Sam's phone call. Still obsessed with the young bride, George schedules a dental appointment with Jenny's father and learns that Jenny and her husband have gone to Mexico for their honeymoon. The examination reveals a mouthful of cavities, requiring fillings. The after-effects of the novocaine, aggravated by his heavy drinking, leave George completely incoherent. Sam finally reaches him on the phone, but mistakes him for an intruder and calls the police, who hold George at gunpoint while trying to understand his gibberish. Unnerved by the day's events, George visits his neighbor's house to take part in an orgy. Sam arrives at George's and spots him through his telescope, widening the rift between them.
While his songwriting partner Hugh consoles Sam and says she will need to decide how long to wait for George to grow up, George impulsively boards a plane and follows the newlyweds to their exclusive resort in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. In the bar, George becomes acquainted with a friendly bartender, plays the piano, and encounters an old acquaintance, Mary Lewis, who suffers from a lack of self-confidence because she blames herself for a series of failed relationships. When they attempt a fling, Mary interprets George's inadequacy in bed as confirmation of her own insecurities.
At the beach, George sees Jenny―wearing a swimsuit with her hair braided in cornrows―and is awestruck again by her beauty. He notices that David, her husband, has fallen asleep on his surfboard. George learns that beyond a certain point are powerful currents that can sweep a swimmer or surfer dangerously far from land. He rents a catamaran, clumsily but successfully rescues David, and becomes a hero. Sam sees him on a TV newscast and tries to contact him, but George (unaware that it is Sam) refuses the call. David, badly sunburned, is hospitalized, allowing Jenny and George to spend time alone together. After dinner, in her room, Jenny smokes marijuana and then seduces George to the sounds of Maurice Ravel's Boléro.
Although George is initially elated to find all of his fantasies being fulfilled, he is horrified when Jenny takes a call from her husband while in bed with him and casually informs him of George's presence. He is even more confused when David responds with a complete lack of concern (he had called to thank George for saving his life). When Jenny explains their open relationship and mutual honesty, and that they only got married due to pressure from her conservative father, George is appalled; realizing that in contrast to the complete infatuation he has had with her, Jenny sees him as nothing more than a "casual lay", so George loses interest.
After flying back home, George reconciles with Sam by apologizing and demonstrating a new maturity. Taking an idea from Jenny, he starts Boléro on the phonograph and they make love. This is in full view of the neighbor's telescope, shortly after the neighbor has walked away in disgust, complaining that he has had enough of providing erotic entertainment to George and getting nothing in return.Dudley Moore as George Webber
Julie Andrews as Samantha Taylor
Bo Derek as Jenny Hanley
Robert Webber as Hugh
Dee Wallace as Mary Lewis
Sam J. Jones as David Hanley
Brian Dennehy as Don, the bartender
Max Showalter as Reverend
Burke Byrnes as Himself
10 was released by Warner Bros. October 5, 1979, opening in 706 theaters.
10 was released on DVD through Warner Home Video May 21, 1997. A Blu-ray was later released February 1, 2011. The supplemental material, comprising the original theatrical trailer and a four-minute promotional documentary, is present on both media.
10 opened at number one in the United States, earning $3,526,692 ($11,637,598 today) its opening weekend. The film went on to make a total of $74,865,517 ($247,045,908 today) in United States, making it one of the top-grossing films of 1979.
10 received mostly positive reviews from critics and holds a 71% positive rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
In a positive review, Vincent Canby of The New York Times described the film as "frequently hilarious", praising the performances of Moore and Andrews, and concluding that 10 "is loaded with odd surprises." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a glowing four-out-of-four star review, calling it "one of the best films Blake Edwards has ever made" and stating "What we're struck with, in 10, is the uncanny way its humor gets laughs by touching on emotions and yearnings that are very real for us. We identify with the characters in this movie: Their predicaments are funny, yes – but then ours would be, too, if they weren't our own." Ebert later named 10 one of the best films of 1979, ranking it 10th place on his yearly top ten list. Meanwhile, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune called the film "a very funny comedy that couldn't be more serious about the plight of its lead character." Siskel also noted that the film "turns out to be a gentle essay on the problems of male menopause."
Bo Derek's appearance shot her to instant stardom and status as a sex symbol. Her beaded and plaited cornrow hairstyle in the film was widely copied and became eponymous. Additionally, the scene where George sees Derek's character, Jenny, running on the beach in Mexico has become iconic and often parodied.
The film also brought renewed fame to the one-movement orchestral piece Boléro by Maurice Ravel. Use of the piece during the love scene between Derek and Moore's characters, with Jenny describing it as "the most descriptive sex music ever written", resulted in massive sales of the work. Because Ravel's music was still under copyright at the time, sales generated his estate an estimated $1 million in royalties and briefly made him the best-selling classical composer—over 40 years after his death. Derek later appeared in a 1984 film named Bolero, titled to capitalize upon the piece's regenerated popularity.