Top 5000
Down 56 this week

Chinatown (1974)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  20 June 1974 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 197,265 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 446 user | 216 critic | 10 from

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 18 Oct 2011
a list of 29 titles
created 15 Jan 2012
a list of 35 titles
created 22 May 2012
a list of 44 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 35 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Chinatown" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown (1974) on IMDb 8.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Chinatown.

User Polls

Top 250 Movies #118 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Raging Bull (1980)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring, destroys his life outside it.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Vertigo (1958)
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Psycho (1960)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Network (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Upon admittance to a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients to take on the oppressive head nurse.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall


Cast overview, first billed only:
Darrell Zwerling ...
Richard Bakalyan ...
Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)
Nandu Hinds ...
James O'Rear ...
Lawyer (as James O'Reare)


JJ 'Jake' Gittes is a private detective who seems to specialize in matrimonial cases. He is hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she suspects her husband Hollis, builder of the city's water supply system, of having an affair. Gittes does what he does best and photographs him with a young girl but in the ensuing scandal, it seems he was hired by an impersonator and not the real Mrs. Mulwray. When Mr. Mulwray is found dead, Jake is plunged into a complex web of deceit involving murder, incest and municipal corruption all related to the city's water supply. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

20 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barrio Chino  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Chinatown (1974) screenplay is now regarded as being one of the most perfect screenplays and is now a main teaching point in screen writing seminars and classes everywhere. See more »


Early during Jake and Evelyn's post coital cigarette, a mechanical noise is heard in the room - presumably the result of an incautious crew member. See more »


[first lines]
Jake Gittes: All right, Curly. Enough's enough. You can't eat the Venetian blinds. I just had them installed on Wednesday.
See more »


Spoofed in Six Feet Under: An Open Book (2001) See more »


The Way You Look Tonight
from the film "Swing Time" (uncredited)
Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A noir masterpiece, possibly even a timeless classic...
23 December 2004 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

While I don't care too much for Roman Polanski's style of direction(maybe I'll grow to like it eventually, maybe not), I can't deny that this is a truly great film. Jack Nicholson really shines through in his role, and his acting in this film perfectly fits the character... his shark smile, his voice, his tone... all of it, perfect. I always thought, when watching films with Nicholson, that he'd make a great lead in a noir film, so when I found this film and discovered that it was indeed noir, I naturally saw it as soon as possible. I found the film to have a slightly slower pace than what I would have preferred or expected, but apart from that minor detail, it was flawless. The plot is great, and thoroughly interesting and involving. The pacing, while not fast all the time, is more than acceptable. There are sequences that are really intense and exciting. The acting is great... like I said earlier, Nicholson shines through and really takes this character and makes him his own. The characters are well-written and credible. The special effects are well-done and still hold up pretty well. The dialog is very well-written and memorable. There are quite a few quotable lines, as well. The cinematography is good, and even when the plot doesn't move a lot, Polanski keeps our interest through interesting angles and sequences. I liked that there was often something subtle going on in the background, while we're focusing on what's directly in front of us. While Polanski certainly doesn't possess the attention to detail that Kubrick does, he manages to put a good bit of detail into many of the shots, and there is fairly little left to coincidence or chance, much like Kubrick. The film has a few twists that are quite good, and they come as surprises... I don't think I really saw them coming, and I doubt anyone would be able to. Of course, some might not find the twists to be that impressive, but the story stands on it's own nicely as well. This is a great movie, which should be seen by just about anyone who can take it(it's more than just casually adult in nature, even though there's not that much violence or sex in it). I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys film noir, watching Jack Nicholson in perfect shape in a role that was tailor-made for him, a good mystery, Roman Polanski's direction and just a good movie with a more adult tone that many others. 10/10

102 of 155 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question about the glasses EugeneAxe
Robert Evans' autobiography karimmmm
Inbred kids seem to turn out fine according to this movie... miljenko
Worst ending ever. that_kiwi_fella
Who hired Ida Sessions? Vame
Classic Jack Nicholson: Gittes here to see Mr. Yelburton kag2
Discuss Chinatown (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: