As corruption grows in 1950s Los Angeles, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.

Director:

Curtis Hanson

Writers:

James Ellroy (novel), Brian Helgeland (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
676 ( 65)
Top Rated Movies #124 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 89 wins & 85 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Jack Vincennes
Russell Crowe ... Bud White
Guy Pearce ... Ed Exley
James Cromwell ... Dudley Smith
Kim Basinger ... Lynn Bracken
Danny DeVito ... Sid Hudgens
David Strathairn ... Pierce Patchett
Ron Rifkin ... D.A. Ellis Loew
Matt McCoy ... 'Badge of Honor' Star Brett Chase
Paul Guilfoyle ... Mickey Cohen
Paolo Seganti ... Johnny Stompanato
Elisabeth Granli ... Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Sandra Taylor ... Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Steve Rankin ... Officer Arresting Mickey Cohen
Graham Beckel ... Dick Stensland
Edit

Storyline

1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language, and for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The cop that congratulates Exley at the end is Daryl Gates, famously of the real-life LAPD, in an uncredited role. See more »

Goofs

When Bud White finds out his ex-partner Dick Stensland was killed, he goes to the morgue, when Bud lifts the sheet, uncovering Stensland's dead body, his eye is seen moving briefly under his eyelid. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sid Hudgens: [voiceover] Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth." Ha ha ha ha. That's what they ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Characters from the movie were incorporated into period stock footage shown during the credits See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Hong Kong television version, during the scene where Bud breaks into the interrogation room, the part where he removes all the bullets from the gun but one is removed for some reason. So it cuts straight from his coming into the room and then sticking the gun into the rapist's mouth without giving it a Russian roulette feel. See more »

Connections

Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lady Is a Tramp
(1937)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Gerry Mulligan Quartet
Courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

 
A fascinating look at life in the big city
19 August 2005 | by hall895See all my reviews

Give a collection of great actors a great story to work with and you are likely to end up with something rather special. Such is the case with L.A. Confidential. The boldface names jump off the page...Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and, in his first big-time role, Guy Pearce. And none of these big names are just mailing it in, here to collect a paycheck. They're all on top of their games, undoubtedly helped to no small extent by the wonderfully nuanced and utterly intriguing story.

This story takes place in 1950s Los Angeles but this is a side of L.A. most people don't get to see. Behind all the Hollywood glamour L.A. has a seamy side which will be the focus of this tale. At the heart of the movie are three cops who ostensibly are supposed to be working together but who go about the business of dispensing justice in very different ways. Crowe plays aggressive hothead Bud White. Spacey is Jack Vincennes, who takes more pride in his work as an adviser on a popular television cop drama than he does in his actual police work. And Pearce plays Edmund Exley, a young up-and-comer in the department who plays things by the book. As we will soon see Exley is rather unique in an LAPD which believes in doing whatever is necessary to bring the guilty to justice. Even if it means becoming a little guilty themselves.

The movie really begins to move forward with a massacre at a coffee shop. It seems a pretty cut and dried case but initial appearances can be deceiving. Soon White, Vincennes and Exley will find themselves caught up in a maze of lies, deception and mystery. It will be a great test for these very different men as it appears they may well need each other's unique talents to solve this puzzle. And quite the elaborate puzzle it is. One important piece is Lynn Bracken, a high class call girl played by Basinger. Tying together many of this complex story's strands is gossip writer Sid Hudgens who is played with appropriate sleaziness by DeVito. And in the background the whole time is the somewhat mysterious Captain Dudley Smith, played by Cromwell. Here is a man who believes in bringing the guilty to justice by any means necessary. That's all well and good if you know who the guilty are but in L.A. Confidential you're never quite sure who to believe. The viewer is guessing right along with the investigators on the screen. And in the end it all comes together and pays off brilliantly.

L.A. Confidential is first and foremost a great story, with many fascinating twists and turns along the way. The film also serves as a showcase for some of this generation's finest acting talents. Each of the main characters is wonderfully unique and each of the actors involved does a terrific job in bringing those characters to life. These are complex characters in a complex tale. It's so involved that the acting had to be stellar if this film was going to work and none of the stars disappoint. Terrific storytelling brought to life by a collection of inspired performances makes L.A. Confidential an absolute winner.


108 of 124 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 747 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L.A. Confidential See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,211,198, 21 September 1997

Gross USA:

$64,616,940

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$126,216,940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed