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 197,392 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


The 25 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 31 titles
created 7 months ago
a list of 32 titles
created 5 months ago
a list of 33 titles
created 3 months ago
a list of 33 titles
created 2 weeks 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 20 wins & 23 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen
    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


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 haunting trumpet solos are by respected Hollywood studio musician, Uan Rasey. See more »


When Gittes takes Evelyn's letter from his pocket in the restaurant, the envelope has ECM in the corner. He asks her what the C stands for. However, in the sequel The Two Jakes, he looks at the letter again and at the top of the letter is printed "Evelyn Cross Mulwray". This means he would have already known when C stood for and there was no need to ask. 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 »


Referenced in NCIS: Corporal Punishment (2007) See more »


Easy Living
Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

As coolly intense and exceptionally-staged as any detective story/film-noir of the 40's & 50's
17 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Chinatown is a tremendous collaborative effort that produced one of the most memorable Hollywood pictures of the 1970's. Director Roman Polanski (his last film in America, and the first he made in America after the murder of Sharon Tate), stars Jack Nicholson & Faye Dunaway, and writer Robert Towne, all come together to create a detective story classic. At times it slows its pace down so the viewer can think along with Nicholson's character, to take in the environment as well as the situation he's in (i.e. when he goes to the empty reservoir, when he visits Noah Crosses house the first time). And the script has the perfect sense of drawing us into a story, fueled by curiosity, grit, and cynicism, and engages the viewer by its realistic dialog between the characters.

J.J. Gittes (Nicholson, in one of his best 70's performances) is in Los Angeles circa 1933 in the line of private investigator, usually dealing with people who may or may not believe that their significant other is having an affair. Evelyn Mulwray feels this may be the case with her husband Hollis, and Gittes decides to take the case. However, this draws him into a deeper case involving the city's loss of water once Hollis- a major player in the water supply controversy in the city- is found murdered. This eventually leads him to Noah Cross (John Huston), a big businessman and who also happens to be Evelyn's father. Intrigue starts to develop, as Jake's own life begins to be at risk.

As a intricate, detailed detective story the film is an above-average work, with Towne's script containing the maturity, and wicked sense of humor, of a James M. Cain or Raymond Chandler novel. When the thrills come they come as being striking. And when humanity and compassion get thrown into the mix, the film reaches a whole other plane of intelligence. The last third of the film could turn off some of the audience (depending on one's own level of belief), but it holds strong thanks to the performances. Nicholson doesn't over-step his bounds in any scene, finding the right notes in suggestive conversations. Dunaway is better than expected (though I'm not sure if it's an great performance). And Huston's Noah Cross is one of the more disturbing villains of that period in movies. Add to it some good cameos (Burt Young as a driver, Polanski playing the little guy in the infamous 'knife' scene), and a smooth soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith, Chinatown comes out as strong piece of movie-making, and arguably one of the greatest in the crime/mystery genre.

116 of 159 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: