A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writer:

Robert Towne
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1,141 ( 28)
Top Rated Movies #155 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... J.J. Gittes
Faye Dunaway ... Evelyn Mulwray
John Huston ... Noah Cross
Perry Lopez ... Escobar
John Hillerman ... Yelburton
Darrell Zwerling ... Hollis Mulwray
Diane Ladd ... Ida Sessions
Roy Jenson ... Mulvihill
Roman Polanski ... Man with Knife
Richard Bakalyan ... Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)
Joe Mantell ... Walsh
Bruce Glover ... Duffy
Nandu Hinds ... Sophie
James O'Rear James O'Rear ... Lawyer (as James O'Reare)
James Hong ... Evelyn's Butler
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Storyline

In 1937 Los Angeles, private investigator Jake 'J.J.' Gittes specializes in cheating-spouse cases. His current target is Hollis Mulwray, high-profile chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, whose wife suspects him of infidelity. In following Mulwray, Gittes witnesses some usual business dealings, such as a public meeting for construction of a new dam to create additional water supply for Los Angeles, as fresh water is vital to the growing community during the chronic drought; Mulwray opposes the dam. Eventually Gittes sees Mulwray meeting with an unknown young woman who isn't his wife. Once news of the supposed tryst between Mulwray and this woman hits the media, additional information comes to light that makes Gittes believe that Mulwray is being framed for something and that he himself is being set up. In his investigation of the issue behind Mulwray's framing and his own setup, Gittes is assisted by Mulwray's wife Evelyn, but he thinks she isn't being ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most highly acclaimed film of 1974! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the items in Ida Sessions' pocketbook, which Jake Gittes rummages through, are a two dollar bill and a Screen Actors Guild membership card. See more »

Goofs

When Jake Gittes is about to enter the orange grove, he encounters a sign that says, "Keep out, no trepassing." Instead of saying "trespassing," the sign says "trepassing." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jake Gittes: All right, Curly. Enough's enough. You can't eat the Venetian blinds. I just had them installed on Wednesday.
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Crazy Credits

The film opens with the 1940's Paramount logo. See more »

Alternate Versions

5.1 track on the Blu-ray release replaces gunshot sound effects and a few other foley effects. The 2.0 track provided as a second option is the original unaltered mono. See more »

Connections

Featured in Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Vagabond King Waltz
Brian Hooker and Rudolf Friml
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User Reviews

 
watered down noire
28 May 2005 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

A film about LA and water set in the l930's during a drought with a dark incestuous subplot and some stunning performances by Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson, and superb cinematography that seemed to capture the essence of LA. Directed by Roman Polanski, who makes a terrific cameo appearance as a switchblade wielding heavy, and using the considerable acting talents of John Huston as a ruthless and perverted landowner. Read Cadillac Desert to know about LA's water grab but see Chinatown for its brilliant allegory of water and corruption, both public and private. The direction, the screenplay, the acting, the photography, and the soundtrack combine to make a convincing and atmospheric picture. The crushing ending is just so much more icing on the cake.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese | Spanish

Release Date:

20 June 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chinatown See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$29,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,225,935
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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