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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 61,043 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 641 user | 238 critic | 35 from

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 & 8 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?


Josh Hartnett trained for the boxing scenes for 7 months in 4 hour sessions See more »


Everyone, including characters who have lived in the city for a long time, pronounces Los Angeles with a soft g, the way it is pronounced in modern times. In the early and mid 20th century, locals preferred the hard g (closer to the original Spanish name) so it sounded like Los Angle Iss. Although the original pronunciation was losing out by the 1940s (due to an immigration of Easterners such as Elizabeth Short who were unfamiliar with the name), it was still in use and can even be heard in a few movies and radio programs made as late as the 1950s. 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 »


Referenced in The Black Dahlia Haunting (2012) 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

visually dazzling but ultimately disappointing
28 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Brian De Palma's so called "film noir" has all the aspects of a great film: detectives, guns, murder, a beautiful blonde, an Oscar winning brunette, and a boxing match. It involves violence, money, pimps, porn, and "the most notorious murder in California history". Sadly though, the movie just doesn't cut it.

The Black Dahlia isn't about murder, or guns, or pimps or porn. The Black Dahlia is about the new American dream: to sleep with Scarlett Johansson. The Dahlia isn't even introduced until a third of the movie is over, the longest 45 minutes I've ever experienced in cinema. A good hour of the movie doesn't have anything to do with the plot, and watching it is just like watching paint dry. Much of this wasted screen time is attributed to the relationship between Sgt. Leland "Lee" Blanchard (Aaron Eckert) and Officer. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), where we see their transformation from enemies to partners to friends unrealistically fast, which is unrealistically cliché.

But the biggest downside of the movie is Josh Hartnett. What Hartnett is doing as a serious actor is beyond me, but his performance is a wooden as they come. It is unbelievable that he was considered for the role of Bleichert, and the fact that he was cast really makes me lose faith in Hollywood's mainstream actors. His noir-ish voice-over was like reading words off the script, making it feel less and less like the artsy film De Palma intended it to be.

The only redeeming feature of the flick was Mia Kirshner who had about one minute of screen time as the Dahlia, but was the most memorable character. Oh, yeah, and we do get to see Hilary Swank's ass.

But overall, The Black Dahlia is just another bad film to cap off the summer. It is extremely confusing with all its pointless sub-plots, and just gets annoying at the end. It's one of those movies you consider walking out of, and I counted down the minutes to what I thought would be a climactic finale, but was just a series of long monologues and unclear speaking. In the end, we learned little about the Dahlia, and were pretty much back where we started, except for a few missing comrades.

190 of 251 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
Where's the hook? lanlguy
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