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The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

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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 »

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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
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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:

An Outrageous Story of Greed, Lust and Vanity in America See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La hoguera de las vanidades See more »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the opening tracking shot, when Bruce Willis gets in the elevator, Brian De Palma can be seen, dressed up as a security guard. It was technically impossible for the camera crew and Brian to stay off camera in that shot, so De Palma chose to do a cameo there. To be unrecognizable, he shaved off his trademark beard. See more »

Goofs

While Reverend Bacon is accusing District Attorney Abe Weiss, the TV remote control that Weiss is using switches hands between shots. See more »

Quotes

Sir Gerald Moore: I was at dinner last evening, and halfway through the pudding, this four-year-old child came alone, dragging a little toy cart. And on the cart was a fresh turd. Her own, I suppose. The parents just shook their heads and smiled. I've made a big investment in you, Peter. Time and money, and it's not working. Now, I could just shake my head and smile. But in my house, when a turd appears, we throw it out. We dispose of it. We flush it away. We don't put it on the table and call it caviar.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scene by Scene: Brian De Palma (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Storm Is Passing Over
Written by Herbert Robinson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

splendid cartoon
14 October 2001 | by MovieMusingsSee all my reviews

Before I talk about the movie itself, I'd like to get ugly for a quick sec..

I am sick and tired of people whining that a movie isn't as good as a book. First of all, we all already know that 99% of the time a book is not equally rendered in film. How can it? The physiological experience of reading is totally different from that of taking in audio-video. Hello? A book often can't fit into a 90 minute movie anyway, and we all complain when a director tries to stretch our minute-rice attention span more than 2 hours, which would allow the space to capture more of the subtle nuances that we love in a book.

If you want to read the book, do us all a favour, don't watch a movie, go read the #@%$ book. Does anyone think that a painting could represent each facet of a poem? They are two separate and distinct mediums. Sheesh.

Now, book aside, this movie is trying to talk about an issue. And it does so quite fine. If you need the book to get the message, that's your business.

Each character was a caricature, a spoof, hyperbolized to help drive home the message that truth is often irrelevant to the socio-political motives behind people's actions. From the "assistant DA" looking for recognition to the "hymie racist" angling for the office of mayor to the "good reverend" looking for sympathy for his people (and a payday) to Fallow trying to save his career to McCoy's lawyer who has to patiently deal with his naive client who doesn't grasp that his life is insignificant to all those who somehow have generated a vested interest in his demise...

I got the message, it didn't take me the 6 hours or two days (or however long it would take me to make time to read the book), and I had some fun.


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