173 user 41 critic

Less Than Zero (1987)

1:31 | Trailer
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.


Marek Kanievska


Bret Easton Ellis (novel), Harley Peyton (screenplay)
1,958 ( 3,966)
1 nomination. See more awards »





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 Michael Greene ... Robert Wells
Neith Hunter Neith Hunter ... Alana
Afton Smith ... Kim
Brian Wimmer ... Trent
Kelly Wolf Kelly Wolf ... Lile


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


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


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Third of three movies featuring James Spader and Andrew McCarthy. The first movie was Pretty in Pink (1986) and the second movie was Mannequin (1987). All three titles were first released during 1986-1987. See more »


When Julian is dead, and his head is leaning back, his eyelids move can be seen moving slightly when Blair is holding him. See more »


Clay: Do you know that you girls have televisions between your legs?
See more »


Features Blue Denim (1959) See more »


Moonlight Drive
Performed by The Doors
Words & Music by Ray Manzarek, Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Robby Krieger
Courtesy of Elektra Records by special arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

27 December 2003 | by jcappy5See all my reviews

As I write this, about 1700 voters here have given this movie a 5.5 rating. That's hard to fathom. And yet, in some way I'm glad, because yes this is a truly different kind of movie--praise be. And maybe slipped past people unnoticed.

I think this movie is like a small volume of honest postcards. The first thing you note about it is its honesty (it never shows it off) and at no turn of the page does this volume let you down. One source for this honest texture is the trio of main characters. One is as original (in cinema terms) real, non-sentimental, and truly likable and unpretentious as the other--and yes they are like comrades (no jealousy, no violence, no loud star-type sex, almost no "f" word). Perhaps the other source is that among the accumulation of scenes none is invasive or exploitative or stereotypical--all are kind of flat and equal and old postcardy in color and never drawing attention to themselves.

So, you may think this must be one of those artsy films--and this reviewer is into this sort of thing. Well, if it is, it has less than zero pretense to such and, therefore, no one would call it that. I guess the real irony here is that such an honest little gem of a film takes place in Beverley Hills and is about cocaine.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 173 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 November 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Less Than Zero See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,008,987, 8 November 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (flashbacks)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed