The plot of the film was inspired by the real-life story of David Hampton, a con man and robber who managed to convince a number of people in the 1980s that he was the son of actor Sidney Poitier. The writer John Guare was a friend of Inger McCabe Elliott and her husband Osborn Elliott. In October 1983, Hampton came to the Elliott's New York apartment and they allowed him to spend the night. The next morning, Inger found Hampton in bed with another man and later called the police. The Elliotts told Guare about the story and it inspired him to write the play years later.
Six degrees of separation hd trailer
Fifth Avenue socialite Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing) and her art dealer husband Flan (Donald Sutherland) are parents of "two at Harvard and one at Groton". But the narrow world inhabited by the Kittredges and their public status as people interested in the arts make them easy prey for Paul (Will Smith). Paul, a skillful con-artist, mysteriously appears at their door one night, injured and bleeding, claiming to be a close college friend of their Ivy League kids, as well as the son of Sidney Poitier. Ouisa and Flan are much impressed by Paul's fine taste, keen wit, articulate literary expositions and surprising culinary skill. His appealing facade soon has the Kittredges putting him up, lending him money and taking satisfaction in his praise for their posh lifestyle. Paul's scheme continues until, after he brings home a hustler, his actual indigence is revealed. The shocked Kittredges kick him out when it is revealed that they are but the most recent victims of the duplicity with which Paul has charmed his way into many upper-crust homes along the Upper East Side. Paul's schemes become highbrow-legend, anecdotal accounts which are bantered about at their cocktail parties. In the end, Paul has a profound effect on the many individuals who encounter him, linking them in their shared experience.
Stockard Channing as Louisa "Ouisa" Kittredge
Will Smith as Paul
Donald Sutherland as Flan Kittredge
Ian McKellen as Geoffrey Miller
Mary Beth Hurt as Kitty
Heather Graham as Elizabeth
Bruce Davison as Larkin
Richard Masur as Dr. Fine
Anthony Michael Hall as Trent Conway
Eric Thal as Rick
Anthony Rapp as Ben
Oz Perkins as Woodrow ("Woody") Kittredge (as Osgood Perkins II)
Catherine Kellner as Talbot ("Tess") Kittredge
J. J. Abrams as Doug (as Jeffrey Abrams)
Kitty Carlisle as Mrs. Bannister
The film has an approval rating of 88% at Rotten Tomatoes based on 32 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Though it betrays its theatrical roots, Six Degrees of Separation largely succeeds thanks to astute direction and fine performances–particularly from an against-type Will Smith."
It was also the actress Stockard Channing's most successful film since 1978's Grease.
1994 Academy Award for Best Actress Nomination – Stockard Channing
1994 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nomination – Stockard Channing