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L.A. Confidential (1997)

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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 »
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Popularity
1,274 ( 99)
Top Rated Movies #117 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 86 wins & 83 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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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 »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Ellroy described Kevin Spacey's performance of Jack Vincennes as "Some of the best self-loathing I've ever seen on-screen." See more »

Goofs

Susan Lefferts is dead, yet her eyelids move as she is being shown for identification by her mother. 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

At the end of all the credits, there is a brief scene from "Badge of Honor" featuring a onscreen dedication in honor of Sgt. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), who within the film had served as the "Hollywood cop" and advisor to the film. The scene shows a black-and-white closing moment of "Badge of Honor" with the credits inscribed as "Dedicated to Sgt. Jack Vincennes," as Badge of Honor actor (Matt McCoy) closes the door on the HOMICIDE office and walks sorrowfully away. 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

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.202 (2012) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Simply a wonderful film that respects it's audience
23 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In the gritty LA of the 1950's, stardom is the boom industry and all is about appearance and visual image. However under the surface drug use is rife, prostitution is rampant and the police officers are violent thugs. In the middle of this are three officers with different aims. Ed Exley is an ambitious young officer who will do anything to climb the ranks, Bud White is a muscle man and gets the job done while Jack Vincennes is only concerned with celebrity busts and getting his face in the paper. When the three come together on a coffee shop killing that brings in elements of cases they are following they solve it together. However each has suspicions that something is not right.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't pick up on this at the cinema and it wasn't until the Oscars brought it to my attention that I first saw it. Since then I have seen it several times and have enjoyed it every time. The plot is slightly complex (although maybe not by the genre's standards) and it isn't simplified for the audiences sake – it respects the audience enough to trust us to keep up with it's pace. The film is split into three strands dictated by the characters, they are not quite distinct but are mostly intertwined the whole way through – coming together in the final hour to great effect.

The pace of the telling is great; it has moments of drama, of tension and great action. Hanson has done a great job with the direction, he has a great sense of place and time to his 50's Hollywood – whether it be the stars' lives or the black suburbs – but he directs each scene with a sense of tension and urgency that the material deserves. The final twist is OK if not great but it is more the telling of the story that is enjoyable, not just the denouncement.

The casting did a great job of getting growth names and established qualities but no one huge star who could dominate the film. It is the Australian stars that stand out here. Pearce is excellent with a subtly changing character but it is Crowe that sticks in the memory with a very strong character and a performance to match. Spacey is as quality as he ever is (or at least, was for a few years either side of this film) and the support cast is as good with De Vito, Basinger, Cromwell, Rifkin, Strathairn and Guilfoyle.

There is nothing I really dislike about this film. The longer than average running time is not a problem as it easily fills it without dragging at any point. The film oozes class and has a great tough plot from Ellroy where nothing is as simple as right/wrong and everything comes together at the end. A real classy film with brains and brawn which continues to be one of my favourites of recent years.


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