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Magnolia (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  7 January 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 231,969 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 1,429 user | 222 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 27 wins & 48 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sir Edmund William Godfrey / Young Pharmacy Kid
Genevieve Zweig ...
Mrs. Godfrey
Mark Flannagan ...
Joseph Green
Stanley Berry
Rod McLachlan ...
Daniel Hill
Delmer Darion
Raymond 'Big Guy' Gonzales ...
Reno Security Guard
Craig Hansen
Forensic Scientist
Sydney Barringer
Arthur Barringer
1958 Detective
John Kraft Seitz ...
1958 Policeman
Cory Buck ...
Young Boy


24 hours in L.A.; it's raining cats and dogs. Two parallel and intercut stories dramatize men about to die: both are estranged from a grown child, both want to make contact, and neither child wants anything to do with dad. Earl Partridge's son is a charismatic misogynist; Jimmy Gator's daughter is a cokehead and waif. A mild and caring nurse intercedes for Earl, reaching the son; a prayerful and upright beat cop meets the daughter, is attracted to her, and leads her toward a new calm. Meanwhile, guilt consumes Earl's young wife, while two whiz kids, one grown and a loser and the other young and pressured, face their situations. The weather, too, is quirky. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Things fall down. People look up. And when it rains, it pours.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

7 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mag·no'li·a  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$193,604 (USA) (17 December 1999)


$22,450,975 (USA) (12 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Paul Thomas Anderson made a visit to the set of Eyes Wide Shut (1999), where he offered the role of Frank T.J. Mackey to Tom Cruise. See more »


After Stanley breaks into the library, a wireless mic pack can be seen on his belt when he sits down to read. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: In the New York Herald, November 26, year 1911, there is an account of the hanging of three men. They died for the murder of Sir Edmund William Godfrey; Husband, Father, Pharmacist and all around gentle-man resident of: Greenberry Hill, London. He was murdered by three vagrants whose motive was simple robbery. They were identified as: Joseph Green, Stanley Berry, and Daniel Hill. Green, Berry, Hill. And I Would Like To Think This was Only A Matter Of Chance. As reported in the Reno...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Underneath the title at the end a line reads "for fa and ea". fa is Fiona Apple (Paul Thomas Anderson's girlfriend) ea is Ernie Anderson (Paul Thomas Anderson's father) See more »


Referenced in South Park: It Hits the Fan (2001) See more »


Also Sprach Zarathustra
Written by Richard Strauss
Performed by Herbert von Karajan & Wiener Philharmoniker (as The Vienna Philharmonic)
Courtesy of Decca Records Company Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The best film I've seen this year!!!
19 December 1999 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

The first encounter that I ever had with Paul Thomas Anderson was through "Boogie Nights." I admit, I first saw it because of I heard that it was about the porn industry. However, I was surprised to discover an intimate look into the damaged lives of several very interesting, well-developed characters. I also was delighted to have found a new and exciting director whose career and films I will be sure to follow. Anderson's cinematic flamboyance, technical bravura, and inspired storytelling ability make him a talent who is emblematic of the resurrgence in creative and dynamic filmmaking that has occured in this past year. Like Fincher(Fight Club), Mendes(American Beauty), Jonze(Being John Malkovich), and the Wachowski Brothers(The Matrix), Anderson has created a truly unique film that stretches the boundaries of cinema.

Many who I saw the movie with grumbled repeatedly about it's length. Clocking in at about three hours and ten minutes, "Magnolia" is long. Even if you are as strong an advocate of the film as I am, you will think that it is long. I really had to go to the bathroom the whole time. But I did not want to miss a single second of Mr. Anderson's fascinating opus. The prologue is very well done, doing a good job of drawing in the viewer. It makes an interesting commentary on coincidence, wjich segues nicely into the rest of the film. The first half hour of the film is the most wonderfully done I have ever seen. Just as Anderson does in "Boogie Nights," the prodigy weaves a fast-paced web of intrigue, flashing tidbits of the many characters' lives that leave the viewer thirsty for more. The rhythm of the film slows down for the bulk of it, as we learn more and more and become more intimately involved in the lives of the wonderfully flawed characters. The film seems to build and build into something bigger than itself. In a way, that is the main flaw of it, but also the beauty of it. Anderson's ambitiousness is huge, but I wouldn't call him an overreacher.

This film is so full of great performances. It is probably the best ensemble piece that I have witnessed. There has been much Oscar buzz on Tom Cruise's behalf, but I honestly believe that there are so many Oscar worthy performances in this film that it is a futile effort to mention them all.

Particularly strong in the movie is the editing, which allows for the interconnected stories of the various characters to be placed parallel to each other very smoothly. The cinematography is wonderful, obviously influenced by Scorcese. I really don't believe that this film could have been as good as it was if it were any shorter. Seeing it is truly an experience. I was almost sad to see it end.

104 of 176 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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