Before They Were Stars: Madonna in “A Certain Sacrifice”

In 1979, a New York filmmaker named Stephen Jon Lewicki decided to make an ultra-low budget, artsy independent movie called A Certain Sacrifice, which he gradually shot over the course of the next two years until the final cut came in at a scant 60 minutes. The lead actress in the film was a desperate young woman named Madonna Ciccone, who agreed to do the role in exchange for $100 to pay her rent. Of course, six years later, Madonna had dropped her last name and was one of the famous celebrities in the world, so Lewicki decided to capitalize on this and release A Certain Sacrifice on home video and to be shown at midnight screenings. Of course, given that Madonna had appeared topless in the film and has victimized in a rape sequence, she never wanted A Certain Sacrifice to see the light of day, so she attempted to pay off Lewicki to bury the film and then filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to prevent its release. Today, A Certain Sacrifice is available for viewing in its entirety on Youtube, but is so amateurishly bad that its 60-minute runtime feels like an eternity. Hell, you’ll probably have a hard time even getting through the incoherent, horribly shot three-minute clip I’ve included of Madonna frolicking around in a fountain.

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