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American Beauty (1999)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  1 October 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 750,984 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 2,690 user | 268 critic | 33 from

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.



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Top 250 Movies #62 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 115 wins & 82 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sale House Woman #1
Sale House Man #1
Fort Atkinson ...
Sale House Man #2
Sue Casey ...
Sale House Woman #2


Lester and Carolyn Burnham are, on the outside, a perfect husband and wife in a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends. Meanwhile, his daughter Jane is developing a happy friendship with a shy boy-next-door named Ricky, who lives with an abusive father. Written by Jessie Skinner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


... look closer


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, language, violence and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belleza americana  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$861,531 (USA) (17 September 1999)


AUD 11,029,726 (Australia) (15 December 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Terry Gilliam turned down the chance to direct the film. See more »


When Jane and Angela are outside talking to Ricky at school, Angela's cigarette keeps growing and shrinking throughout the conversation. See more »


[first lines]
Jane Burnham: I need a father who's a role model, not some horny geek-boy who's gonna spray his shorts whenever I bring a girlfriend home from school. What a lame-o. Someone really should just put him out of his misery.
Ricky Fitts: Want me to kill him for you?
Jane Burnham: Yeah. Would you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse in London and Dr. Bill and Alice See more »


Referenced in About Schmidt (2002) See more »


Something Grand
Written by Hilton Ruiz
Performed by Hilton Ruiz Ensemble
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

Far and away the best film of the year
14 December 1999 | by (greenville, NC) – See all my reviews

What can I say, except that this film really knocked me on my keaster. I went in to the theater not knowing what to expect, but was pretty sure it would be worth the ticket price. Boy was I happy when I left. Not only was it worth the ticket, I paid to see this film two more times. This film is virtually perfect. The acting is superb, the story is magnificent, the narrative is brilliant, and the structure of the film is truly groundbreaking (absolutely loved the last 20 minutes). What really surprised me about this film was how well the cinematography was done. In a small, character driven film such as this, it is very unusual to have such great cinematography. With this film, there is something interesting going on in every scene, not many films you can say that about. In a year where first time directors have made some of the best films, Three Kings, Being John Malkovich, etc... Sam Mendes seems to have out-done them all. Though I have yet to see The Green Mile or Magnolia, I find it hard to believe that either film will out-shine American Beauty. This film should easily win a substantial amount of the Oscars this year. What's up with all the cirtics awards snubbing it so far?

88 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I changed my mind about this movie. I actually like it. christopher-townsend44
Films like this? blytheoakman
Why Colonel Fitts kissed Lester? chris610
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Great film but completely sexist. Here's why. MelancholyPonyAndTheCircusBoy
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