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L.A. Confidential (1997)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 332,830 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 598 user | 165 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.

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Title: L.A. Confidential (1997)

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Top 250 #93 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 83 wins & 60 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Plot Keywords:

police | corruption | 1950s | violence | murder | See more »

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los Ángeles al desnudo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£112,543 (UK) (2 January 1998)

Gross:

$64,604,977 (USA) (29 May 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Curtis Hanson got a great deal of resistance to having three lead characters. At first he was told to delete Exley and Vincennes and make the film a star vehicle for the actor playing Bud White. When he explained why Exley was essential, they told him to delete White and Vincennes. When he insisted that all three were essential, he was given a budget of only $15 million, which meant he couldn't afford to hire a big-name actor to headline the film even if he wanted to; which he didn't: he wanted to hire actors who brought no audience expectations to the kind of role they would be playing. An exception to this rule was James Cromwell, whom audiences would expect to be one of the heroes after seeing him in Babe (1995). See more »

Goofs

Despite all the noise and commotion made when Bud White is dangling the D.A. out his office window, the District Attorney's conscientious secretary never once comes in to ask what's going on, nor does she call for help. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Makin' Whoopee
(1928)
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by Gerry Mulligan with Chet Baker
Courtesy of Blue Note Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
Under license from EMI-Capitol Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A fascinating look at life in the big city
19 August 2005 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Give a collection of great actors a great story to work with and you are likely to end up with something rather special. Such is the case with L.A. Confidential. The boldface names jump off the page...Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and, in his first big-time role, Guy Pearce. And none of these big names are just mailing it in, here to collect a paycheck. They're all on top of their games, undoubtedly helped to no small extent by the wonderfully nuanced and utterly intriguing story.

This story takes place in 1950s Los Angeles but this is a side of L.A. most people don't get to see. Behind all the Hollywood glamour L.A. has a seamy side which will be the focus of this tale. At the heart of the movie are three cops who ostensibly are supposed to be working together but who go about the business of dispensing justice in very different ways. Crowe plays aggressive hothead Bud White. Spacey is Jack Vincennes, who takes more pride in his work as an adviser on a popular television cop drama than he does in his actual police work. And Pearce plays Edmund Exley, a young up-and-comer in the department who plays things by the book. As we will soon see Exley is rather unique in an LAPD which believes in doing whatever is necessary to bring the guilty to justice. Even if it means becoming a little guilty themselves.

The movie really begins to move forward with a massacre at a coffee shop. It seems a pretty cut and dried case but initial appearances can be deceiving. Soon White, Vincennes and Exley will find themselves caught up in a maze of lies, deception and mystery. It will be a great test for these very different men as it appears they may well need each other's unique talents to solve this puzzle. And quite the elaborate puzzle it is. One important piece is Lynn Bracken, a high class call girl played by Basinger. Tying together many of this complex story's strands is gossip writer Sid Hudgens who is played with appropriate sleaziness by DeVito. And in the background the whole time is the somewhat mysterious Captain Dudley Smith, played by Cromwell. Here is a man who believes in bringing the guilty to justice by any means necessary. That's all well and good if you know who the guilty are but in L.A. Confidential you're never quite sure who to believe. The viewer is guessing right along with the investigators on the screen. And in the end it all comes together and pays off brilliantly.

L.A. Confidential is first and foremost a great story, with many fascinating twists and turns along the way. The film also serves as a showcase for some of this generation's finest acting talents. Each of the main characters is wonderfully unique and each of the actors involved does a terrific job in bringing those characters to life. These are complex characters in a complex tale. It's so involved that the acting had to be stellar if this film was going to work and none of the stars disappoint. Terrific storytelling brought to life by a collection of inspired performances makes L.A. Confidential an absolute winner.


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