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Magnolia (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  7 January 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 231,852 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 1,429 user | 221 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
See  »

Did You Know?


In an interview with Marc Maron in January of 2015, Paul Thomas Anderson was asked if he would change anything in the film. He replied, "Absolutely! I'd cut that sh*t down! It's waaayyyy too long." 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

Pedestrian #2 is incorrectly spelled Pedistrian #2. See more »


Featured in That Moment: Magnolia Diary (2000) 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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Spellbinding ride through one day
8 November 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A dazzling epic of coincidence and fate during one day in the San Fernando Valley. This opens with a short story about some "true-life" examples of coincidence designed to show us that these things can't "just happen" and that there must be more to it than that. It then flies into the lives of a handful of different characters in a exhilarating introduction to a game show host, a sex guru, a police officer, a dying father, a male nurse, a drug addict to name a few. After this the speed slows down slightly and the characters are given time to develop and the stories begin to interlink.

Paul Thomas Anderson continues to get better and better with Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and now this. Here he gives a human touch to the director where someone like Altman would have been colder and more clinical. He seems to care about these characters and encourages us to do likewise. The direction is astonishing - it moves at a fast pace when it needs to, it is still and watching when appropriate and, at times, it is downright beautiful in a visionary way. Anderson's tries some audacious tricks and manages to pull them off - a scan round all the main characters singing an Aimee Mann track while they contemplate what's become of their lives is not only daring but works as one of the most moving moments in the film.

The acting is flawless - Cruise deserved the Oscar for this performance, but he is only one of an amazing range of actors including Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Jason Robards, Philip Baker Hall etc. They are all excellent in their roles and make you care for all their characters - no matter how terrible they seem or how bad their crimes.

Direction is faultless, performances border on the brilliant, the script is totally convincing and moving. The only weak link is the biblical ending which may annoy some but I think fits in well with the tone of the film, after all, like the film says, "but it did happen".

If only all films could meet the standards achieved by this beautiful piece of work.

54 of 75 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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