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L.A. Confidential (1997)

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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 »
1,210 ( 184)
Top Rated Movies #106 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 85 wins & 80 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


It's a crime saga that will shock you. It's a mystery that will keep you guessing. It's a thriller that will keep you riveted. 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 USA:

$5,211,198, 21 September 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Curtis Hanson and Dante Spinotti shot the film in 2.35:1 widescreen. They studied Douglas Sirk's The Tarnished Angels (1957) and Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running (1958), two CinemaScope films of the period. See more »


At the start, just after Ed Exley is interviewed, Edmund Exley and Dudley Smith walk down the stairs of the police station where Dudley picks up two drinks. He hands one to Ed and the other for himself. When Dudley walks away, his has disappeared. 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

At the end of all the credits, there is a brief scene from "Badge of Honor" featuring a onscreen dedication in honor of Sgt. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), who within the film had served as the "Hollywood cop" and advisor to the film. The scene shows a black-and-white closing moment of "Badge of Honor" with the credits inscribed as "Dedicated to Sgt. Jack Vincennes," as Badge of Honor actor (Matt McCoy) closes the door on the HOMICIDE office and walks sorrowfully away. See more »


References When Worlds Collide (1951) See more »


Wheel of Fortune
Written by George David Weiss (as George Weiss) and Bennie Benjamin
Performed by Kay Starr
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Special Markets
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

***** Best Film of the 90s
17 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

Hands-down my favourite American film of the nineties. Curtis Hanson shocked the world by proving to be not only a great director but an auteur with this unbeatable adaptation of James Ellroy's terrifying novel about corruption and crime among members of the LAPD in the 1950s. The hard-boiled detective story angle is brought to life so beautifully, mostly because Jeannine Claudia Oppewall's production design recreates the dark underside of the 50s to such perfection that not even a Coke bottle label is missed. Add to that Dante Spinotti's stunning lighting that rides the fine line between artistic and believable comfortably (as all period camerawork should), Ruth Myers' costume designing and a script by Hanson and The Postman scribe Brian Helgeland (I know, I don't get it either) that pares down Ellroy's mammoth plot about a multiple murder in a local diner involving a policeman with suspicious ties without sacrificing the density of the story or the spiderweb of events involved with it, and you have the best movie of 1997, not to mention the most fascinating detective film ever made since Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. The cast is all brilliant, most notably Kim Basinger as a wordly prostitute who has not only a heart of gold but a mind of steel--Basinger is so strong in her character's every nuance you'll find yourself forgetting she's even acting--and Kevin Spacey as a Dean Martin-esque detective who not only solves an important part of the puzzle, he even discovers he possesses a soul beneath his flashy suits. I just can't get enough of this film.

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