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L.A. Confidential (1997)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  19 September 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 383,567 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 614 user | 172 critic | 28 from

As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Top 250 Movies #97 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 95 wins & 62 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Officer Arresting Mickey Cohen


1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime. Written by Greg Bole <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush... See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language, and for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los Ángeles al desnudo  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,211,198 (USA) (19 September 1997)


$64,604,977 (USA) (29 May 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Several of the actors in the movie have also starred in superhero movies. Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey both starred in Superman films (Spacey, Superman Returns (2006) and Crowe, Man of Steel (2013)). Danny DeVito and Kim Basinger both starred in the same Batman franchise (Basinger, Batman (1989) and Devito, Batman Returns (1992)). Guy Pearce starred in Iron Man 3 (2013). And finally, James Cromwell was in Spider-Man 3 (2007). See more »


In the Nite Owl café murder scene, as the camera pans over the café, the mustard and ketchup are seen to be in plastic containers. In the 1950s, mustard and ketchup always came in glass bottles. See more »


[first lines]
Sid Hudgens: [voiceover] Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth." Ha ha ha ha. That's what they ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Characters from the movie were incorporated into period stock footage shown during the credits See more »


Referenced in The 71st Annual Academy Awards (1999) See more »


Hit the Road to Dreamland
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Betty Hutton
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Will stand the test of time.........
3 August 1998 | by (Providence, RI) – See all my reviews

When a film evokes an era as well as L.A. Confidential does, people take notice. It could be argued that it is easier to replicate the recent past than the distant on film, and in a sense this is true. Costumes, language, and the necessary absence of the modern in "period pieces" make them expensive and difficult to film. But couldn't it be argued that it is just as difficult to make a film about more recent periods? I have no knowledge of how a Victorian era table was set, or what a knight really spoke like; we are subject to the directors view of reality. But what if a good deal of your audience lived through the time you are portraying, as in the case of the 1950's? I can even envision my grandfather coming back from WW2 to a booming economy, and living in the world Curtis Hanson created.

The real genus of this film is that it creates not only a physical world, but one with all the politics, corruption, racism and inequity of the time. As a result we feel the characters motivations and understand their faults all the better; Bud White, Ed Exley, Lynn Bracken and Lana Turner all live here.

This film, like others that make us believe we are there for two hours (and $7.50), will endure. I was thinking a perfect double feature would be with Chinatown, another film that will stand the test of time.

135 of 169 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
3 plot issues which rely on pure coincidence edlear-83867
How could Bud survive three close-range shots?! li-beinan
Did not understand this movie fanslayer
Which is the best film ever made in which LA is the star? fnj2002
something I dont understand Hawkeye25
Why did Exely and Lynn sleep together? nestag
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