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

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Top Rated Movies #121 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barrio Chino  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The riverbed that's referred to in the movie is now where the Burbank and Pasadena freeway sit, leading into the more original neighborhoods of the town of Burbank. See more »

Goofs

Among the items in Ida Sessions' pocketbook, which Gittes rummages through is a social security card which is 1970s style with blue and red ink, not the 1937 style which had only one color, and a different look. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in Married: Koreatown (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Vagabond King Waltz
Brian Hooker and Rudolf Friml
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
watered down noire
28 May 2005 | by (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) – See all my reviews

A film about LA and water set in the l930's during a drought with a dark incestuous subplot and some stunning performances by Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson, and superb cinematography that seemed to capture the essence of LA. Directed by Roman Polanski, who makes a terrific cameo appearance as a switchblade wielding heavy, and using the considerable acting talents of John Huston as a ruthless and perverted landowner. Read Cadillac Desert to know about LA's water grab but see Chinatown for its brilliant allegory of water and corruption, both public and private. The direction, the screenplay, the acting, the photography, and the soundtrack combine to make a convincing and atmospheric picture. The crushing ending is just so much more icing on the cake.


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