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Chinatown
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Chinatown (1974) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 74 | slideshow) Videos (see all 7)
Chinatown -- A private detective investigating an adultery case stumbles on to a scheme of murder that has something to do with water.
Chinatown -- Clip: Your husband was murdered
Chinatown -- Clip: Of course I'm respectable, I'm old
Chinatown -- Clip: In Chinatown
Chinatown -- Clip: I don't know what you are talking about

Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   172,451 votes »
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Director:
Writer:
Robert Towne (written by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Chinatown on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 June 1974 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 21 wins & 22 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A very classy, consistently engaging and dark detective story See more (426 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jack Nicholson ... J.J. Gittes

Faye Dunaway ... Evelyn Mulwray

John Huston ... Noah Cross

Perry Lopez ... Escobar

John Hillerman ... Yelburton
Darrell Zwerling ... Hollis Mulwray

Diane Ladd ... Ida Sessions

Roy Jenson ... Mulvihill

Roman Polanski ... Man with Knife
Richard Bakalyan ... Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)

Joe Mantell ... Walsh

Bruce Glover ... Duffy
Nandu Hinds ... Sophie
James O'Rear ... Lawyer (as James O'Reare)

James Hong ... Evelyn's Butler
Beulah Quo ... Maid

Jerry Fujikawa ... Gardener
Belinda Palmer ... Katherine

Roy Roberts ... Mayor Bagby

Noble Willingham ... Councilman
Elliott Montgomery ... Councilman

Rance Howard ... Irate Farmer
George Justin ... Barber
C.O. Erickson ... Customer (as Doc Erickson)
Fritzi Burr ... Mulwray's Secretary
Charles Knapp ... Mortician
Claudio Martínez ... Boy on Horseback (as Claudio Martinez)
Federico Roberto ... Cross' Butler

Allan Warnick ... Clerk
John Holland ... Farmer in the Valley

Jesse Vint ... Farmer in the Valley
Jim Burk ... Farmer in the Valley (as Jim Burke)
Denny Arnold ... Farmer in the Valley

Burt Young ... Curly
Elizabeth Harding ... Curly's Wife
John Rogers ... Mr. Palmer
Cecil Elliott ... Emma Dill
Paul Jenkins ... Policeman

Lee de Broux ... Policeman (as Lee De Broux)
Bob Golden ... Policeman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Warren ... Driver (uncredited)

Directed by
Roman Polanski 
 
Writing credits
Robert Towne (written by)

Roman Polanski  uncredited

Produced by
C.O. Erickson .... associate producer
Robert Evans .... producer
 
Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith 
 
Cinematography by
John A. Alonzo (director of photography)
Stanley Cortez (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Sam O'Steen (film editor)
 
Casting by
Jane Feinberg 
Mike Fenton 
 
Production Design by
Richard Sylbert 
 
Art Direction by
W. Stewart Campbell 
 
Set Decoration by
Ruby R. Levitt  (as Ruby Levitt)
 
Costume Design by
Anthea Sylbert 
 
Makeup Department
Hank Edds .... makeup
Susan Germaine .... hairstylist
Lee Harman .... makeup (as Lee Harmon)
Vivienne Walker .... hairstylist
 
Production Management
C.O. Erickson .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael Ader .... second assistant director
Hawk Koch .... assistant director (as Howard W. Koch Jr.)
Lee Rafner .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Bill MacSems .... property master (as Bill Mac Sems)
Gabe Resh .... set designer
Robert Resh .... set designer
Tom Bartholomew .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
L. David Gordon .... draper (uncredited)
Joseph Hurley .... production illustrator (uncredited)
Terry E. Lewis .... property assistant (uncredited)
Bill Parks .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Jim Pearsall .... creative film services graphic artist (uncredited)
Mike Reedy .... property maker (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Clint Althouse .... boom man (as Clint Althaus)
Bob Cornett .... sound editor (as Robert Cornett)
Charles Grenzbach .... re-recording (as Bud Grenzbach)
Larry Jost .... sound mixer
Howard Beals .... sound editor (uncredited)
David Dockendorf .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
James Pilcher .... cable man (uncredited)
Fred Stafford .... adr editor (uncredited)
Roger Sword .... sound editor (uncredited)
John Wilkinson .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Logan Frazee .... special effects
 
Stunts
Jim Burk .... stunts (uncredited)
Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Alan Gibbs .... stunts (uncredited)
Hal Needham .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Hugh K. Gagnier .... camera operator (as Hugh Gagnier)
Earl Gilbert .... gaffer
Bernie Schwartz .... key grip
Bob Barber .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Sol Berlin .... generator operator (uncredited)
Edward Borland .... grip (uncredited)
Ken John Borland .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Richard Borland .... key grip (uncredited)
Richard Debolt .... camera operator (uncredited)
Kenneth Johnston .... best boy grip (uncredited)
Cecil Lupton .... best boy (uncredited)
Arnold L. Rich .... camera operator (uncredited)
Orlando Suero .... still photographer (uncredited)
Lance Williams .... first assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Richard Bruno .... wardrobe
Jean Merrick .... wardrobe
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Florence Williamson .... assistant editor (as Flo Williamson)
John Stagnitta .... apprentice editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
John C. Hammell .... music editor
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Uan Rasey .... musician: trumpet solo (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Robert Clarke .... transportation co-captain (uncredited)
Ribello Mastroianni .... transportation captain (uncredited)
 
Other crew
May Wale Brown .... script supervisor
Gary Chazan .... assistant to the producer
Wayne Fitzgerald .... titles
Justin Buehrlen .... auditor (uncredited)
Rosalyn Catania .... production secretary (uncredited)
Ellen Garvey .... production assistant (uncredited)
Barbara Kalish .... secretary to producer (uncredited)
Ralph McCutcheon .... wrangler (uncredited)
Linda Richman .... secretary to producer (uncredited)
Thelma Roberts .... secretary to director (uncredited)
Lee Sollenberger .... animal trainer (uncredited)
Ron Weber .... craft service (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Paramount Pictures (as A Paramount-Penthouse Presentation) (as Paramount A Gulf+Western Company) (A Roman Polanski Film) (A Robert Evans Production)
  • Penthouse (as A Paramount-Penthouse Presentation)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
130 min
Country:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Manitoba) | Canada:A (Nova Scotia) | Canada:R (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | France:-12 | Iceland:16 | Japan:PG12 (2014) | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:15 | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:18 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (tv rating) | UK:15 (re-release) (re-rating) (2007) (2012) | UK:15 (video rating) (1987) (1992) | USA:R (Approved No. 23916) | USA:TV-14 (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
For the first screening, Roman Polanski took his old friend, composer Bronislau Kaper. Producer Robert Evans afterwards asked Kaper what he thought of the picture to which Kaper replied "It's a great film, but you have to change the music."See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: Police cars use the higher-pitched style of siren commonly heard from the 1960s onward, not the lower-pitched style characteristic of the 1930s.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in In the Picture (2012)See more »
Soundtrack:
Easy LivingSee more »

FAQ

How could Cross have an incestuous relationship with Evelyn? Wouldn't she have known it was wrong?
What is the meaning of "Chinatown" and the last line of the movie?
What is Noah Cross' ultimate plan?
See more »
163 out of 223 people found the following review useful.
A very classy, consistently engaging and dark detective story, 3 January 2005
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Jake Gittes is a former cop turned private detective. When he is contracted by a Mrs Mulwray to find out if her husband is having an affair, he takes to trailing Water Company Executive Hollis Mulwray. Mulwray appears to only have water and a dry riverbed on his mind but eventually they catch him with a young woman, although almost immediately the news gets leaked to the papers and Mulwray goes missing, only to turn up dead. At this point the real Mrs Mulwray comes to Gittes threatening to sue him for his involvement and Jake realises that he had been set up to set up the Mulwrays. He continues his investigation into the murder only to find a conspiracy involving thousands of gallons of water being wasted during a drought and the mysterious presence of Mrs Mulwray's father, Noah Cross.

As a fan of film noir and tough detective movies, I am too often put off by modern entries into the genre that try to replace atmosphere and intelligence by just having nudity and swearing; the genre managed atmosphere without these in the forties and fifties but yet modern films seem to rely on them. With Chinatown however, everything works well as a homage to the best years of the genre and, as such, is very well set in the period and is of suitable presentation even if the material and tone is darker and harder than would have been allowed years ago. This is not to say it is just a copy and paste from better films because it isn't and indeed stands out as one of the best detective noirs I have seen in ages. The plot is always going to be the most important thing and it gets it spot on throughout, doing the proper thing of starting with a simple story and continually building it more and more complex as it goes. Unlike some other "classics" of the genre, Chinatown manages to do this without ever losing the audience and I found the plot to be both rewardingly complex but yet still very easy to follow.

Needless to say, things are very dark and the script is convincingly dark and miserable, leading to an ending that is as depressing as I've seen – not so much in what actually happens but also in the wider implications for the characters that the credits prevent us from seeing. Director Polanski does a great job of putting this story in a lush setting that produces a real strong sense of period but also manages to always be showing us the darkness coming through subtly throughout the movie. Of course it helps that he also has a great cast to work with. Jack Nicholson is iconic in this role and, if I had to pick one film to act as an introduction to Nicholson then it would be this one. He is tough yet damaged, upright but seedy and he brings out his complex character well. Dunaway has less screen time but is just as impressive with a similarly dark role. Huston adds class and manages to ooze menace while also coming across as a harmless old man. The support cast are all fine but really the film belongs to these three, with Nicholson being the stand out role.

Overall this is a very classy film that has stood up very well to become a well-deserved classic. The story is complex, mysterious yet simple to follow; it is dark and seedy without relying on swearing or nudity to set the atmosphere. The direction is great, with a real atmosphere and sense of time and place that is matched by a great collection of performances delivering a great script.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (426 total) »

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Jake's previous mess up in Chinatown eyeforbeauty
Brawl at the Orange Groves rsr26
Faye Dunaway EmTV83
Two points I don't understand lewis-51
Why Were They Diverting the Water? jtb01
Worst ending ever. that_kiwi_fella
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