6.4/10
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161 user 39 critic

Less Than Zero (1987)

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A college freshman returns to L.A. for the holidays at his ex-girlfriend's request, but discovers that his former best friend has an out-of-control drug habit.

Director:

Marek Kanievska

Writers:

Bret Easton Ellis (novel), Harley Peyton (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,637 ( 72)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrew McCarthy ... Clay
Jami Gertz ... Blair
Robert Downey Jr. ... Julian
James Spader ... Rip
Tony Bill ... Bradford Easton
Nicholas Pryor ... Benjamin Wells
Donna Mitchell ... Elaine Easton
Michael Bowen ... Hop
Sarah Buxton ... Markie
Lisanne Falk ... Patti
Michael Greene ... Robert Wells
Neith Hunter Neith Hunter ... Alana
Afton Smith ... Kim
Brian Wimmer ... Trent
Kelly Wolf Kelly Wolf ... Lile
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Storyline

Clay, an eighteen-year-old freshman, comes back from his first term at Princeton to spend his Christmas vacation with his broken-up wealthy family in Los Angeles. His former girlfriend, Blair, is now involved with his ex-best-friend, Julian. She warns Clay that Julian needs help: he is using a lot of cocaine and has huge debts. What follows is a look at the youth culture of wealthy post adolescents in Beverly Hills with a strong anti-drug message. Apart from the setting and the names, the film has very little to do with Bret Easton Ellis's book by the same title on which it was based. Written by Jeroen van Bree <J.vBree@kub.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In Beverly Hills, you can have anything your heart desires. You just can't have it the way it used to be. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Corrupción en Beverly Hills See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,008,987, 8 November 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$12,396,383
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the rough experience of the shoot, Robert Downey Jr. considers this movie to be one of his all time favorite movies of his own, citing his performance of Julian Wells as "the ghost of Christmas Future," to his personal life. See more »

Goofs

In the overhead shot of the Corvette skidding through the intersection, several other sets of tire marks are clearly left from previous takes. See more »

Quotes

Rip: I'm not the problem here. Julian is the problem.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Wired (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Psychotic Reaction
Words & Music by Ken Ellner (as Ellena), Roy Chaney (as Chaney), Craig Atkinson (as Atkinson), Sean Byrne (as Byrne) and John Michalski (as Michalski)
Performed by Count Five
Courtesy of Hot Shot Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Less Than Zero; An excellent look at an age.
18 August 2007 | by bbey2See all my reviews

I first viewed this movie in 1988 not long after it's release. Less Than Zero encapsulates the nations obsession with the runaway "greed is good", "voodoo economics" era of the 1980's. The move is highly stylized, and slick. It's Maimi Vice meets "The Breakfast Club". I state this because it has elements of the now (unfortuneatly) defunct "Brat Pack" However, the depiction of Julian (played by Robert Downey Jr.)seems to be the embodiment of the age as it relates to cocaine, and crack-cocaine use, and the effect it had and in many cases still has on the lives of families friends, and love ones. For this reason as a baby boomer who lived through that era. I find the movie disturbing for its sheer view into the reality of lifestyle crashing into reality. I always try not to watch this movie. Sadly, I'm drawn into it like a moth to a flame. I think its a "scared straight" movie for the rich; or really any one that thinks that drugs are cool, glamorous, and harmless. From a directing, and acting standpoint its excellent. Marek Kaniveska did an excellent job setting the scene and style of Los Angeles high-life. Cars, money and clothes was what it was all about. Within that vein Kaniveska has put that portion of L.A. 80's lifestyle in the history books in this writers opinion Its really too bad the main characters are not as exposed as they once were in the industry. I think that anyone that sees this movie will enjoy it.


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