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The Black Dahlia (2006)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  15 September 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 61,452 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 641 user | 239 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Two policemen see their personal and professional lives fall apart in the wake of the "Black Dahlia" murder investigation.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Det. Russ Millard
Dolph Bleichert
Emmett Linscott
Chief Ted Green
Morrie Friedman
Tomas Dos Santos
Capt. John Tierney (as Angus MacInnis)


In 1946, the former boxers Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert and Lee Blanchard are policemen in Los Angeles. Lee has a good relationship with his chief and uses a box fight between them to promote the department and get a raise to the police force. They succeed and are promoted to homicide detectives, working together. Bucky becomes a close friend of Lee and his girlfriend Kay Lake, forming a triangle of love. When the corpse of the aspirant actress 'Elizabeth Short (I)' is found mutilated, Lee becomes obsessed to solve the case called by the press Black Dahlia. Meanwhile, Bucky's investigation leads him to a Madeleine Linscott, the daughter of a powerful and wealthy constructor that resembles the Black Dahlia. In an environment of corruption and lies, Bucky discloses hidden truths. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Inspired by the most notorious unsolved murder in California history.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

15 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La dalia negra  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£566,874 (UK) (15 September 2006)


$22,518,325 (USA) (20 October 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although credited as an Executive Producer, James B. Harris had little to do with the production, other than being the first person to option the material. See more »


When carrying a box out of Bleichert's father's home, you can see a UPC barcode on the bottom of the box. Barcodes weren't commercially used until 1966. See more »


[first lines]
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Mr. Fire versus Mr. Ice. For everything people were making it out to be, you'd think it was our first fight. It wasn't. And it wouldn't be our last.
See more »


References The Blue Dahlia (1946) See more »


In the Mood
Written by Joe Garland (as Joseph C. Garland)
Used by Permission of Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc. (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

over-the-top mess
16 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anybody expecting to get a great account of the Black Dahlia case, even fictional, will be disappointed going in to this movie. Of course, I knew that it was a fictionalization of the case, but I had no idea the movie would present its own evidence and draw its own conclusions.

But the main problem here is not the lack of factual detail, so much as the confusion of plot that surrounds and overwhelms the Black Dahlia case itself. So much plot and character and sideplots and backstory are built around the central characters that the case itself seems like a distraction. A key plot point and character motivator is the fascination of the two detectives with the murder, but this is never elaborated enough in the film, and we're left to half-heartedly guess at the character motivations.

The tone is never consistently campy, but when the camp arrives it overwhelms the story. A dinner scene between a suspect and her family had the crowd in stitches (the only scene during which the audience laughed). The problem is that the scene is valuable to the plot and should never have been played for laughs. Hitchcock or even Lynch could have shot the same scene, with the same events and dialogue, and made it menacing and creepy, which it needed to be to function in the mystery.

Other problems: De Palma uses the lesbian angle of the movie (never a part of the case) to full exploitative advantage, and the actresses seem unable to master to the expressive 1940s style acting that would have come naturally to even a marginal 40s star.

Although the film brings a clearcut finale rather than a vague puzzle, too many loose threads come together too neatly and rather than bringing the film to a satisfactory conclusion, it leaves you scratching your head, is this what I spent the last 2 hours waiting to hear? Overall, there is too much plot, too little character development and a wildly uneven tone. The movie has its moments but it's a blinding mess all together.

344 of 425 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Let's Start the 'Release 3-Hour Version of 'The Black Dahlia' Petition? IndianaBat
PLEASE HELP!! I understand NOTHING about this movie shmeevil
I guess I'm the only one... MarieGL
incomprehensible torture porn - DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS FILM squirmy_monkey
how does this warrant a 5.5? jimmytango75
the most badass boxing match! aciago
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