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American Beauty (1999)

R | | Drama | 1 October 1999 (USA)
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A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

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376 ( 27)
Top Rated Movies #65 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 104 wins & 100 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Lester Burnham
... Carolyn Burnham
... Jane Burnham
... Ricky Fitts
... Angela Hayes
... Buddy Kane
... Barbara Fitts
... Colonel Fitts
... Jim Olmeyer
... Jim Berkley
... Brad
... Sale House Woman #1
... Sale House Man #1
Fort Atkinson ... Sale House Man #2
Sue Casey ... Sale House Woman #2
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Storyline

After his death sometime in his forty-third year, suburbanite Lester Burnham tells of the last few weeks of his life, during which he had no idea of his imminent passing. He is a husband to real estate agent Carolyn Burnham and father to high school student Janie Burnham. Although Lester and Carolyn once loved each other, they now merely tolerate each other. Typical wallflower Janie too hates both her parents, the three who suffer individually in silence in their home life. Janie tries to steer clear of both her parents. Carolyn, relatively new to the real estate business, wants to create the persona of success to further her career, she aspiring to the professional life of Buddy Kane, the king of the real estate business in their neighborhood. Lester merely walks mindlessly through life, including at his job in advertising. His company is downsizing, and he, like all the other employees, has to justify his position to the newly hired efficiency expert to keep his job. Things change ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

DreamWorks | Official Facebook

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Language:

Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belleza americana  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$861,531, 19 September 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$130,096,601

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$226,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Conrad L. Hall was not the first choice for director of photography; Sam Mendes believed he was "too old and too experienced" to want the job, and he had been told that Hall was difficult to work with. Instead, Mendes asked Frederick Elmes, who turned the job down because he did not like the script. Hall was recommended to Mendes by Tom Cruise, because of Hall's work on Without Limits (1998), which Cruise had executive produced. Mendes was directing Cruise's then-wife Nicole Kidman in the play The Blue Room during pre-production on the film, had already storyboarded the whole film. See more »

Goofs

When Carolyn (with squeegee) is outside cleaning the sliding glass patio doors opening out on to the pool for the open house a sheer curtain panel is visible inside, when she throws open the front doors to the open house and welcomes prospective buyers we see in the background the sheers are flanked by heavy plaid curtains drawn open to either side. After she fails to sell the house and closes up the patio door at the end of the (same) day the curtains and sheers have disappeared and she draws textured vertical blinds closed across the same glass doors. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jane Burnham: I need a father who's a role model, not some horny geek-boy who's gonna spray his shorts whenever I bring a girlfriend home from school. What a lame-o. Someone really should just put him out of his misery.
Ricky Fitts: Want me to kill him for you?
Jane Burnham: Yeah. Would you?
See more »

Crazy Credits

thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse in London and Dr. Bill and Alice See more »

Connections

Referenced in 100 Greatest Sexy Moments (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

As Long As I'm Singing
Written and Performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

 
Far and away the best film of the year
14 December 1999 | by See all my reviews

What can I say, except that this film really knocked me on my keaster. I went in to the theater not knowing what to expect, but was pretty sure it would be worth the ticket price. Boy was I happy when I left. Not only was it worth the ticket, I paid to see this film two more times. This film is virtually perfect. The acting is superb, the story is magnificent, the narrative is brilliant, and the structure of the film is truly groundbreaking (absolutely loved the last 20 minutes). What really surprised me about this film was how well the cinematography was done. In a small, character driven film such as this, it is very unusual to have such great cinematography. With this film, there is something interesting going on in every scene, not many films you can say that about. In a year where first time directors have made some of the best films, Three Kings, Being John Malkovich, etc... Sam Mendes seems to have out-done them all. Though I have yet to see The Green Mile or Magnolia, I find it hard to believe that either film will out-shine American Beauty. This film should easily win a substantial amount of the Oscars this year. What's up with all the cirtics awards snubbing it so far?


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