5.4/10
17,263
112 user 32 critic

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Trailer
2:09 | Trailer

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
After his mistress runs over a young teen, a Wall Street hotshot sees his life unravel in the spotlight, and attracting the interest of a down and out reporter.

Director:

(as Brian DePalma)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Punchline (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Steven Gold is a stand-up comedian who is flat broke and has recently dropped out of medical school. He and several others work regularly at the Gas Station, a New York comedy club. The ... See full summary »

Director: David Seltzer
Stars: Sally Field, Tom Hanks, John Goodman
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A successful ad man (Hanks) must juggle his ever-demanding career while his parents' marriage breaks up.

Director: Garry Marshall
Stars: Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason, Eva Marie Saint
Raising Cain (1992)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Jenny Nix, wife of eminent child psychologist Carter Nix, becomes increasingly concerned about her husband's seemingly obsessive concern over the upbringing of their daughter. Her own ... See full summary »

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: John Lithgow, Lolita Davidovich, Steven Bauer
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An American flyer who joined the RAF before his country was in the war is recovering from a leg injury in Jerusalem. Through an English friend he meets a quiet Jewish girl whose close-knit ... See full summary »

Director: Moshé Mizrahi
Stars: Tom Hanks, Cristina Marsillach, Benedict Taylor
Body Double (1984)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young actor's obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.

Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges
Wise Guys (1986)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Harry Valentini and Moe Dickstein are both errand boys for the Mob. When they lose $250,000, they are set up to kill each other. But they run off to Atlantic City and comedy follows.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Danny DeVito, Joe Piscopo, Harvey Keitel
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A man picked randomly out of a crowd is made the target of CIA survelliance and pursuit.

Director: Stan Dragoti
Stars: Tom Hanks, Lori Singer, Dabney Coleman
Dragnet (1987)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The equally-straight-laced and "by the book" nephew of Joe Friday must work with his more laid-back partner to solve a mystery.

Director: Tom Mankiewicz
Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson
Redacted (2007)
Crime | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The devastating reconstruction of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl by American soldiers in Samarra in 2006.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Patrick Carroll, Rob Devaney, Izzy Diaz
Crime | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Jed Kramer
...
...
Reverend Bacon
...
Tom Killian
...
Albert Fox
Louis Giambalvo ...
Ray Andruitti
Barton Heyman ...
Det. Martin
Norman Parker ...
Det. Goldberg
...
Mr. McCoy
...
Arthur Ruskin
...
Edit

Storyline

Financial "Master of the Universe" Sherman McCoy sees his life unravel when his mistress Maria Ruskin hits a black boy with his car. When yellow journalist Peter Fallow enflames public opinion with a series of distorted tabloid articles on the accident, the case is seized upon by opportunists like Reverend Bacon and mayoral candidate D.A. Abe Weiss. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Take one Wall Street tycoon, his Fifth Avenue mistress, a reporter hungry for fame, and make the wrong turn in The Bronx...then sit back and watch the sparks fly. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La hoguera de las vanidades  »

Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$15,691,192 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A swordfight between Sherman McCoy and Peter Fallow was shot for the end of the film, but was never used. See more »

Goofs

When McCoy gets off the subway, we see he is riding the number 1 train and he gets off at 77th Street station. First of all, the number 1 train runs on the west side of Manhattan, no where near his Park Avenue residence on the east side, and second, there are no 77th Street stops on the number 1 line. See more »

Quotes

Sherman McCoy: I understand you went to Yale.
Tom Killian: Yeah. You, too. Huh?
Sherman McCoy: What did you think of it?
Tom Killian: It was okay. As law schools go. They give you the scholarly view. You know. It's terrific for anything you want to do - as long as it doesn't involve real people.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Backfire! (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Pennies From Heaven
Written by Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Misfire full of inanities
20 February 2004 | by (St. Louis, Missouri) – See all my reviews

Bonfires of the Vanities is a film drenched in flop sweat. I can recall no film that has tried so hard to be so unrelentingly outrageous, provocative and important, yet failed so consistently across the board. It is like a stand up comic who's not getting laughs, but can't leave the stage. The harder the film tries, the louder each attempt at a laugh results in a resounding thud. The desperation the film displays is so glaring it almost rouses pity for all those involved.

The film achieves laugh-out-loud status only twice. Once is in the sight of Geraldo Rivera playing an obnoxious, arrogant and amoral TV tabloid journalist -- which is funny only because he apparently doesn't realize he is playing himself. The other scene that deserves to be laughed at is the film's final "big moment," wherein the judge played by Morgan Freeman delivers the sanctimonious lecture about what morality is ("it's what your mama taught ya!"). The pomposity of the moment is insulting to the point of being absurd.

Yet, one must admit it is a noble effort. It does have a good, if poorly cast, band of actors, who try to make characters out of cardboard thin caricatures. The film looks professionally made and the little cinematic flourishes that director Brian DePalma just loves are apparent, if not particularly effective. But the film, which apparently wishes to be a commentary on modern morals and ethics, never arises above the level of cartoon. Satire requires style. Farce requires energy. Even sitcom requires timing. But the best Bonfires can muster is desperation. In the end, you don't want to laugh, you just want to turn away.


46 of 80 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
racist movie ap1704
Bruce Willis ashamed of 'Bonfire of the Vanities' chrish2
Worst adaptation of a book I have ever seen. deadlyledley
This movie is SO underrated fbeato
One of the three most underrated films of all time prognathous
What is your favorite scene? seilcho7
Discuss The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?