5.5/10
19,687
127 user 41 critic

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Trailer
2:09 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
After his mistress runs over a young teen, a Wall Street hotshot sees his life unravel in the spotlight and attracting the interest of a down and out reporter.

Director:

Brian De Palma (as Brian DePalma)

Writers:

Michael Cristofer (screenplay), Tom Wolfe (novel)
Reviews
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Raising Cain (1992)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The oncologist wife of a prominent child psychologist suspects her husband has an unhealthy scientific obsession with their child, unaware of what - or who - is really going on inside his head.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: John Lithgow, Lolita Davidovich, Steven Bauer
Crime | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live.

Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges
Snake Eyes (1998)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, John Heard
Body Double (1984)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young actor's obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry
Femme Fatale (2002)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas, Peter Coyote
Wise Guys (1986)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Harry Valentini and Moe Dickstein are both errand boys for the Mob. When they lose two hundred fifty thousand dollars, they are set up to kill each other. But they run off to Atlantic City, and comedy follows.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Danny DeVito, Joe Piscopo, Harvey Keitel
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A man picked randomly out of a crowd is made the target of CIA survelliance and pursuit.

Director: Stan Dragoti
Stars: Tom Hanks, Lori Singer, Dabney Coleman
Dragnet (1987)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The equally-straight-laced and "by the book" nephew of Joe Friday must work with his more laid-back partner to solve a mystery.

Director: Tom Mankiewicz
Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer
Redacted (2007)
Crime | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The devastating reconstruction of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl by American soldiers in Samarra in 2006.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Patrick Carroll, Rob Devaney, Izzy Diaz
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Two detectives interrogated a hairdresser on two homicides she may or may not have been involved in.

Director: Alan Rudolph
Stars: Demi Moore, Glenne Headly, Bruce Willis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Sherman McCoy
Bruce Willis ... Peter Fallow
Melanie Griffith ... Maria Ruskin
Kim Cattrall ... Judy McCoy
Saul Rubinek ... Jed Kramer
Morgan Freeman ... Judge Leonard White
John Hancock ... Reverend Bacon
Kevin Dunn ... Tom Killian
Clifton James ... Albert Fox
Louis Giambalvo ... Ray Andruitti
Barton Heyman ... Det. Martin
Norman Parker ... Det. Goldberg
Donald Moffat ... Mr. McCoy
Alan King ... Arthur Ruskin
Beth Broderick ... Caroline Heftshank
Edit

Storyline

Financial "Master of the Universe" Sherman McCoy sees his life unravel when his mistress Maria Ruskin hits a black boy with his car. When yellow journalist Peter Fallow enflames public opinion with a series of distorted tabloid articles on the accident, the case is seized upon by opportunists like Reverend Bacon and mayoral candidate D.A. Abe Weiss. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Take one Wall Street tycoon, his Fifth Avenue mistress, a reporter hungry for fame, and make the wrong turn in The Bronx...then sit back and watch the sparks fly. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La hoguera de las vanidades See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,216,063, 21 December 1990

Gross USA:

$15,691,192
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Moffat also appeared in The Right Stuff (1983), which is also adapted from a Tom Wolfe book. Warner Bros. produced both films. See more »

Goofs

Before cuckold Arthur Ruskin dies in the restaurant, his cocktail glass alternates from between his hands to outside his hands. See more »

Quotes

Peter Fallow: Oh excuse me but what the hell? Who were these people? What were they doing here? This was my story. Sherman McCoy was my baby, my creation.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bonfire of the Panties (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Pennies From Heaven
Written by Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An excessive but funny American satire. De Palma tries to film his great masterpiece switching from Hitchcock to Kubrick. Perhaps, not wholly satisfactory but fascinating and one of the most interesting film
11 October 1999 | by ITAUSee all my reviews

After giving us two excellent films - "The Untouchables" and "Casualties of War" director and auteur Brian De Palma tried to get the masters degree on major filmmaking with the very complex best-selling novel by Tom Wolfe. Faced to the challenge of making a great satire of nowadays America, De Palma does not find his own voice as he did in his two previous films, and goes back to the copy-and-paste path. This time it is not an imaginative and talented personal version of Hitchcock obsessions, but an interesting approach to Kubrick's style in "Dr Strangelove" and even "Lolita". After confessing that the director he admires in a most intimate way is Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma uses the witty Tom Wolfe novel as the story he needs to imitate one of his most admired masters.

The result is an excessive but funny satire. It is certainly underwritten, overacted and overdirected but, still, De Palma shows once again a great visual style and a wild sense of humour which makes us laugh several times.

Perhaps, De Palma should have remembered that such a witty and complex story has to be told seriously with the apparent simplicity and hidden complexity he reached in "Casualties of War", without trying to underline with the direction that every scene is supposed to be funny. Those strange camera angles taken from Kubrick nuclear satire do not work here and the characters are too exaggerated -Jean Renoir said that each character has some reasons and here,if De Palma had tried harder not only to criticize but to understand them, it would have been a much more effective film- and being both a Kubrick and a De Palma fan, I think that Kubrick influence was not good at all here. In this satire, as in his Vietnam drama, such a talented director as De Palma could have given more importance to substance that to form, given that this was not one of his brilliant thrillers where form is essential, but an intelligent satire about people. In fact, in many moments of the film De Palma uses a not so mannered and much more effective style and shows a great talent in portraiting situations ironically, something which is not usual in films from the nineties.

Overall this work remains as one of the most aggressive portraits of America ever filmed. Perhaps this is why the film was a flop in the Box ffice -it was absurd to make it with such a expensive cast and budget, given that such an acid satire cannot be popular- and De Palma's career, which was on his best moment, did not recover completely even after the wonderful "Carlito's Way", one of his best films. If you study Film direction it is absolutely necessary to see it, because of its risks, mistakes and achievements.

In conclussion, one of those strange films which you will find fascinating both because of its values and its mistakes.Forget about the novel; the film is an excessive and wild satire which will make you both think and laugh. De Palma genius and talent are present in many scenes. Moments like the initial shot, Alan King's speech, Clifton James,Donald Moffat or Andre Gregory performances -even the Morgan Freeman final scene, which De Palma did not like and is really good, reminding me of Capra, something extremely difficult in such a cynical decade- are not easy to forget.

It is not often to find such a complex and interesting film. I strongly recommend it.


29 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 127 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed