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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 383,586 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?


Mickey Cohen, the mobster who gets locked up which causes the war for control of the drug trade in the story, was a real-life Los Angeles mobster from the late '30s until his death in 1976 after two imprisonments for tax evasion. He was a small-time hood who joined forces with New York gangster Bugsy Siegel when Siegel came to L.A. to run the rackets (see the film Bugsy (1991)). After Siegel's murder in 1947, Cohen took over the rackets that Bugsy had built up, including labor union shakedowns at the studios, drug trafficking, gambling and prostitution. He was so hated by the police that he was constantly arrested for any crime, big or small (he was once arrested for using foul language on the street). As shown in the movie, he was eventually imprisoned for income tax evasion and spent nearly ten years in prison. After his release, he was semi-retired from the rackets and lived off his wealth, remaining a colorful character in Los Angeles until his death in 1976. See more »


In the scenes showing the pot bust the marijuana is shown in a plastic baggie which did not exist in 1953. 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 »


Featured in L.A. Confidential: Off the Record... (1998) See more »


Looking at You
Written by Cole Porter
Performed by Lee Wiley
Courtesy of Audiophile Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Everything in this film is fantastic.
11 January 2000 | by (Anaheim, CA) – See all my reviews

L.A. Confidential is, without a doubt, the best film of the 1990s, and quite possibly one of the best films ever made.

As with any great film, it all starts with the writing. The story is riveting, the dialogue is smart and quite funny, and the characters are written in three dimensions.

The acting is phenomenal. Perhaps a bigger tragedy than L.A. Confidential's loss to Titanic in the Best Picture race is that none of the three lead actors even garnered nominations. Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey are absolutely phenomenal; it is their characters that drive this fascinating story about police corruption in 1950s Los Angeles. We get to know these people, to understand who they are and why they do what they do, and to root for them to overcome their imperfections.

The directing is fantastic. Curtis Hanson doesn't shove anything in the audience's face; instead, he allows the audience to discover the film's nuances on their own. (That makes this an excellent film for repeat viewings, you truly catch something new every time). 1950s Los Angeles is reproduced beautifully. The editing is quick and seamless, the music is perfect for the film (Hanson should teach other directors how to do a montage effectively), and the cinematography is great.

I can't find a negative thing to say about this film. It's truly a masterpiece.

331 of 385 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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