6.4/10
16,386
161 user 39 critic

Less Than Zero (1987)

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1:31 | Trailer

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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
4,809 ( 275)
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:

It only looks like the good life. 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

Bret Easton Ellis hated the film initially. He admits that the film bears no resemblance to his novel but that it captured, "a certain youth culture during that decade that no other movie caught", and felt that it was miscast with the exceptions of Robert Downey Jr. and James Spader. Furthermore, he has said, "I think that movie is gorgeous, and the performances that I thought were shaky seem much better now. Like, Jami Gertz seems much better to me now than she did 20 years ago. It's something I can watch". See more »

Goofs

A camera man is seen when Blaire is in the broken in loft. The camera man is in bottom left corner of the window. See more »

Quotes

Clay: You OK?
Blair: It's the cocaine... too much speed or something.
Clay: That's a relief.
Blair: What?
Clay: Well, you're fucked up, you look like shit, but hey no problem, all you need is a better cut of cocaine.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Rocking Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu
Performed by Aerosmith
Written by Huey P. Smith
Courtesy of The David Geffen Company
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User Reviews

 
A complete disaster...
4 June 1999 | by chas77See all my reviews

"Less Than Zero" was one of my favorite novels of all time, combining a "Catcher in the Rye" for the excessive L.A. in the '80's sorta mentality. Unfortunately this film was in production during the very height of the "just say no to drugs" Nancy Reagan campaign. I remember reading in the L.A. Times how the producers were stating that they changed the character Clay to an avid anti-drug crusading hero instead of the bisexual, morally confused coked-out protagonist Ellis' novel made him out to be.

What a waste. This movie is ridiculous, containing absolutely none of the ambience of the novel. Instead we get stupid visuals (a party with 20 TVs all stacked up on one another, an idiotic fight at a party in Palm Springs with beautiful coked-out people looking on), that lend little to promote the plot. Essential characters from the novel (like Trent) that could have helped explain the relationships are missing. It's almost as if the screenwriters intentionally tried to make this movie as illogical as possible.

I met Ellis' sister once. She told me that Bret was so embarrassed by what they did to his film that he refused to go to the premiere. Can anyone blame him?


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