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


An Outrageous Story of Greed, Lust and Vanity in America 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?


Michelle Pfeiffer was reportedly the original choice to play the female lead by the studio and director Brian De Palma (who had directed several years before in Scarface (1983)). However she turned the role down. See more »


While Reverend Bacon is accusing District Attorney Abe Weiss, the TV remote control that Weiss is using switches hands between shots. See more »


D.A. Abe Weiss: Yesterday I was a respected Jewish liberal. Ten minutes of news like this and all of sudden I'm a hymie racist pig? The Italians are gonna love this. The Irish too. And the WASPS. They love this shit more than anybody. They love laughing at me! All the riches sons of bitches.
See more »


Referenced in Bonfire of the Panties (1991) See more »


Don Giovanni
Serenade in G (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

This movie surely offended people but, forgetting PCness, is excellent and very funny.
5 February 2000 | by (Hackettstown, NJ) – See all my reviews

This is a funny film that digs at people who do take advantage of race to further their own agenda. It is not PC at all. Frankly, it is every bit as good as the book. See it with honest friends of more than one race and they will all be laughing out loud and naming one or more persons who might be portrayed. The acting is generally outstanding and the cast is first rate.


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Message Boards

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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
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