2,944 user 199 critic

American Beauty (1999)

R | | Drama | 1 October 1999 (USA)
3:01 | Trailer
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.


Sam Mendes


Alan Ball
303 ( 10)
Top Rated Movies #77 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 106 wins & 102 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Lester Burnham
Annette Bening ... Carolyn Burnham
Thora Birch ... Jane Burnham
Wes Bentley ... Ricky Fitts
Mena Suvari ... Angela Hayes
Peter Gallagher ... Buddy Kane
Allison Janney ... Barbara Fitts
Chris Cooper ... Colonel Fitts
Scott Bakula ... Jim Olmeyer
Sam Robards ... Jim Berkley
Barry Del Sherman ... Brad
Ara Celi ... Sale House Woman #1
John Cho ... Sale House Man #1
Fort Atkinson Fort Atkinson ... Sale House Man #2
Sue Casey Sue Casey ... Sale House Woman #2


After his death sometime in his forty-third year, suburbanite Lester Burnham tells of the last few weeks of his life, during which he had no idea of his imminent passing. He is a husband to real estate agent Carolyn Burnham and father to high school student Janie Burnham. Although Lester and Carolyn once loved each other, they now merely tolerate each other. Typical wallflower Janie too hates both her parents, the three who suffer individually in silence in their home life. Janie tries to steer clear of both her parents. Carolyn, relatively new to the real estate business, wants to create the persona of success to further her career, she aspiring to the professional life of Buddy Kane, the king of the real estate business in their neighborhood. Lester merely walks mindlessly through life, including at his job in advertising. His company is downsizing, and he, like all the other employees, has to justify his position to the newly hired efficiency expert to keep his job. Things change ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


... look closer



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Former child star Thora Birch, who was 17, had her first nude scene in this film. In an interview, Birch said her parents weren't jumping with joy at the scene, but gave her permission anyway. She said Shooting the scene itself was definitely a nerve-wracking moment, but to make things even more awkward, her dad was on set when she exposed her breasts. But he was familiar with being nude onscreen himself. Jack Birch was a adult film star in the '70s. But Thora said that didn't make it any less awkward. The scene was tough enough without her own father watching her get naked. See more »


When Lester is driving his Toyota Camry while smoking pot, it can clearly be seen that there is a stuntman driving the car as it passes during the beginning of the scene. See more »


[first lines]
Jane Burnham: I need a father who's a role model, not some horny geek-boy who's gonna spray his shorts whenever I bring a girlfriend home from school. What a lame-o. Someone really should just put him out of his misery.
Ricky Fitts: Want me to kill him for you?
Jane Burnham: Yeah. Would you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse in London and Dr. Bill and Alice See more »


Referenced in De slimste mens ter wereld: Episode #12.25 (2018) See more »


As Long As I'm Singing
Written and Performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

User Reviews

Pure Gold
21 August 2020 | by kir-toye-kosetSee all my reviews

American Beauty is possibly the most entertaining film I have seen. It has high quality eye candy, great comedy and a very very good story line for once. Unlike be other older man younger woman this one accords the lovers respect, this one is absolutely fantastic! I cannot praise this movie enough! I was in awe for most of the film, as was the rest of the film including the meat head jarhead next door wow. The character of the drug dealer was pathetic but he finally wakes up.

Truly a great movie with excellent content, and overshadows any others. I'd you don't see this movie, you will really be missing out!

Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much content the nubile chick and skanky wife had. They were not just side characters for this movie which I expected

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Beauty See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$861,531, 19 September 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS | Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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