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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 388,464 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 614 user | 173 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

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 Rated Movies #98 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 80 wins & 77 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 <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

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 √Āngeles 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?


In preparation, Curtis Hanson showed his cast and crew Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Bad Influence (1990), The Killing (1956), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), In a Lonely Place (1950), Private Hell 36 (1954) and The Lineup (1958). See more »


In one shot, when Bud White is dangling the D.A. out the window, the actor's safety cable is visible. 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 Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »


The Lady Is a Tramp
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Gerry Mulligan Quartet
Courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great Detective Movie
15 April 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

L.A. Confidential is the most classy, intriguing, thought provoking and sexiest detective movie ever to be made in the history of detective films.

When you look back at it and see that Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and Guy Pearce actually appeared in the same film back in 97 then you wouldn't have believed it since they have all gone on to better things but before that we had L.A. Confidential which was Crowe's and Pearce's ticket into Hollywood. Spacey had already made it with his Best Supporting Actor nod for The Usual Suspects but what puzzles me is how everybody apart from Kim Basinger didn't get any acting nominations at the Oscars. James Cromwell is the most chilled out villain you'll ever going to see in a film like this and has been criminally ignored by the Academy. Curtis Hanson was also someone who had made some good films but no masterpieces till this came along.

They all must have sold their souls to make this because when you get big cast get together to make a Hollywood film then you become a bit intrigued by it because if the cast is big then is the story any good? In L.A. Confidential's case it had both and a lot more to say the least.

I still think that this is Spacey's, Crowe's and Pearce's best film of there career. Russell Crowe as tough guy but sentimental towards women Bud White is flawless and is quite like the real Russell Crowe which is scary. Guy Pearce as the quick witted but dumb looking Ed Exley is someone one you either love or you hate as the annoying rookie. Kevin Spacey is just as cool as anything that Bogart and Mitchium could have pulled off as Jack Vincennes and there is the movie along with a great script by Brain Heagland of Mystic River fame and Curtis Hanson himself who put together a great script from James Elroy's novel.

Kim Basinger is as sexy as she is going to get and her acting is very good and well deserving of her Oscar if the boys were robbed. I liked how we had three different stories and one case that all had something to do with another but were all separate anyway till the end. It was like watching a movie with three stories based on a trio of detectives. L.A. Confidential was a treat as far as storytelling goes because it enthrals you into the film straight away as well as it being more exciting than a night out in Vegas.

We don't see Detective films like this so we should be grateful that this came along when it did.

123 of 147 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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