The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  21 December 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 17,050 users  
Reviews: 112 user | 31 critic

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.


(as Brian DePalma)


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



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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 »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La hoguera de las vanidades  »

Box Office


$47,000,000 (estimated)


$15,691,192 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The making of this film was chronicled in Julie Salamon's best-selling book "The Devil's Candy." See more »


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 »


Peter Fallow: Alright, alright. Here we go. Everything's under control. Nothing to worry about. Oh. Excuse me. I haven't introduced myself, have I? My name is Peter Fallow. I'm a writer. But you know that already. Unless you haven't read a newspaper or seen the television in the last few months, you know exactly who I am. I am the man of the moment. Hero of the evening. Me and a little book I happened to write. Now, the real hero of the evening is of course not even with us tonight. But we'll come to him in ...
See more »


Referenced in Awkward.: Bonfire of the Vanities (2014) See more »


Let Jesus Fix It For You
Written by Milton Biggham
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Clever and interesting and not a little funny
2 March 2001 | by (cambridge) – See all my reviews

Too many people have slagged this film without good reason. Firstly Bruce Willis reprises the type of character we remember from moonlighting. Tom Hanks plays his part well and it's only Melanie Griffiths whiney southern accent that spoils her role.

The story has plenty of irony and twists as well. This isn't action, this isn't slapstick, this is an American soap with humour, pathos and a reasonable story.

It annoys me when you get dire twaddle like "The Blair Witch Project" being touted as genius and a decent film like this being panned. Take the time to watch this and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

40 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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racist movie ap1704
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Worst adaptation of a book I have ever seen. deadlyledley
This movie is SO underrated fbeato
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What is your favorite scene? seilcho7
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