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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 388,510 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


Everything is suspect...everyone is for sale...and nothing is what it seems. 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?


The role of Bud White was supposedly offered to Michael Madsen. See more »


In the middle of the climactic shootout scene, Exley fires at least 7 shots from the snub-nosed revolver without reloading. The gun shown holds only 6. 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 »


Spoofs Dragnet (1951) See more »


How Important Can It Be
Written by George David Weiss (as George Weiss) and Bennie Benjamin
Performed by Joni James on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall (1948)
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.

333 of 387 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
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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