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Less Than Zero (1987)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  6 November 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 13,521 users  
Reviews: 146 user | 31 critic

A college freshman returns to L.A. for the holidays at his ex-girlfriend's request, but discovers that his former best friend has an out-of-control drug habit.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bradford Easton
Benjamin Wells
Donna Mitchell ...
Elaine Easton
Lisanne Falk ...
Michael Greene ...
Robert Wells
Neith Hunter ...
Brian Wimmer ...


Clay, an eighteen-year-old freshman, comes back from his first term at a college in New Hampshire to spend his Christmas vacation with his broken-up wealthy family in Los Angeles. His former girlfriend, Blair, is now involved with his ex-best-friend, Julian. She warns Clay that Julian needs help: he is using a lot of cocaine and has huge debts. What follows is a look at the youth culture of wealthy post adolescents in Beverly Hills with a strong anti-drug message. Apart from the setting and the names, the film has very little to do with Bret Easton Ellis's book by the same title on which it was based. Written by Jeroen van Bree <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In Beverly Hills, you can have anything your heart desires. You just can't have it the way it used to be. See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Corrupción en Beverly Hills  »

Box Office


$12,396,383 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Keanu Reeves was originally to play the character of Clay Easton. The part was in the end cast with Andrew McCarthy. See more »


When Blair stops dancing and sits down next to Clay on the couch, he is just starting to take a bite of a lemon. When the camera angle changes, his hand is nowhere near his mouth. See more »


Julian: I mean, come on. Can't you tell when I'm telling the truth?
Benjamin Wells: No. Trust was the first thing you ruined.
See more »


Referenced in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Lesson Zero (2011) See more »


How To Love Again
Performed by Oran 'Juice' Jones and Alyson Williams (as Allyson Williams)
Written by Vinnie Bell and Frederick Gordon
Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings/Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Hip, Slick and Dead
7 September 2002 | by (Moss Landing, CA) – See all my reviews

I lived in L.A. in the Eighties and remember the club scene with a chill. From Eddie Nash's joint on Hollywood Blvd[The Seven Seas] to Club Lingerie to the small venues in Long Beach and Orange County, this movie catches the ennui like a manic firefly in a jar. From the 'powder' in the ladies' room to casual sex, it shows it as it was--callow and shallow and a line/hit away from degradation and death.

It's heart-breaking to watch Robert Downey Jr.'s character surrender his dignity to a free base pipe. Other posts complain about the James Spader's performance, but he was dead on. Pushers are not nice people. This is an early cinematic example of truth about the nature of drug addiction. Are you frightened? NOT FRIGHTENED ENOUGH!

Scare yourself straight tonight. Watch 'Drugstore Cowboy', 'Less than Zero', and 'Rush'.

Here's hoping that Robert Downey Jr.'s talent will not be eclipsed by his addiction. He's an amazing actor. ['Chaplin' & 'Restoration' alone earned him a place in cinematic history.]

32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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