MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 380 this week

Chinatown (1974)

 -  Drama | Mystery | Thriller  -  20 June 1974 (USA)
8.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 167,320 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 421 user | 204 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

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

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 12 May 2012
 
a list of 46 titles
created 15 Jun 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 40 titles
created 5 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Chinatown" on Amazon.com

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 #111 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand
Insomnia (2002)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Mystic River (2003)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one loses a daughter.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally. Based on the Dennis Lehane novel.

Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Casey Affleck
Memento (2000)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An intellectually nonconformist monk investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger
Se7en (1995)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
Primal Fear (1996)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton
Edit

Cast

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

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 »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 June 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kineska ńćetvrt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the original script, no scenes took place in Chinatown at all. See more »

Goofs

When Jake gets home after following Mrs. Mulwray and his phone rings, it is clearly not the sound of a 1937 telephone. The sound of his placing the receiver on the cradle is authentic, but the ringer is no earlier than the sixties. 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

The Way You Look Tonight
from the film "Swing Time"
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Yes, this really is the best movie ever...
28 June 2004 | by (Orange County, California) – See all my reviews

From the first 10 minutes of the first time I saw this movie in the theatre, I've truly loved it, more any other movie I've ever seen. Why? Well, that easy, it's just so... PERFECT!

Obviously there are many other great movies, and many other movies I personally also love, but Chinatown has a real spell over me. Other fans have commented here on the story and the spellbinding way that the forlorn and utterly mysterious story unfolds. I certainly agree.

Chinatown's cinematography and editing? Yes, I agree again! IMO, it's breathtaking, with pacing so tight that I sit straight up thru the whole movie and my nerves become completely raw every time I watch, listen and FEEL it again.

I don't think anybody has commented yet on the great choice of the many supporting actors. Each one so well cast and very believable in their roles! You've got the entire cast credits list (thank you IMDb) so I won't list them here but there are so many memorable performances here! It would be unfair to highlight one, two or three! Good cops, bad cops, ugly rich, up-and-coming, downtrodden poor, the very honest and very crooked with all shades in between! Each and every role a character study in and of itself and together they make a living "time capsule" of the forties that we can revisit for generations to come.

And then there's that sound track which hooked me on great trumpet players and the Est Coast Jazz sound of the era. I just love that music and way it interweaves with the ongoing theme - it's perfectly united with the faithful and compelling use of the film-noir style.

I saw this movie first in Chicago and heck, back then I knew nothing about LA, though I've since moved to and lived in the area for years. Once relocated, I quickly discovered the historically interesting side to the story and then appreciated the movie from yet another compelling angle. No question, the plot is fundamentally sound with many totally unexpected and yet quite plausible turns. But I later understood that it's within the realm of believability from factual standpoint, as well as intellectually/emotionally.

Geez, I'll never forget that first confrontational scene at the Albacore Club! The study in absolute raw and evil power as masterly portrayed by John Huston. In the very same scene Jack Nicholson skillfully paints the subtleties of his cautious, cynical, small-time hustler character. The air crackles! I must have played this scene in my mind a thousand times. When I visited Catalina Island for the first time in about 1985, not knowing its significance to the movie, I walked by the Albacore Club (The Tuna Club in real life) and froze transfixed. I recognized it instantly of course, and I must have stood there gawking for 20 minutes not saying a word. I could literally HEAR the Chinatown theme - the memories were that clear and fresh!

In closing, I guess then what does it about Chinatown for me (why I feel so strongly that it is the very best movie of all) is that every facet of the movie construction, from the opening scene to the ending credits, somehow fits together in a homogeneous, complete and absolutely flawless way.

I find it fascinating to analyze the characters and their makeup. To imagine the reasons they did what they did. But there is NOTHING I would change. Nothing.


185 of 290 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Worst ending ever. that_kiwi_fella
Who hired Ida Sessions? Vame
'I don't see anyone for very long, it's difficult for me' ashl_777
Faye Dunaway EmTV83
The Water Plot xpvista
What is the 'Apple Core'? mah11
Discuss Chinatown (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?