In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.


Paul Thomas Anderson (written for the screen by), Thomas Pynchon (based on the novel by)
1,931 ( 801)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanna Newsom ... Sortilège
Katherine Waterston ... Shasta Fay Hepworth
Joaquin Phoenix ... Larry "Doc" Sportello
Jordan Christian Hearn ... Denis
Taylor Bonin Taylor Bonin ... Ensenada Slim
Jeannie Berlin ... Aunt Reet
Josh Brolin ... Lt. Det. Christian F. "Bigfoot" Bjornsen
Eric Roberts ... Michael Z. Wolfmann
Serena Scott Thomas ... Sloane Wolfmann
Maya Rudolph ... Petunia Leeway
Martin Dew ... Dr. Buddy Tubeside
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Tariq Khalil
Hong Chau ... Jade
Shannon Collis ... Bambi
Christopher Allen Nelson ... Glenn Charlock


During the psychedelic 60s and 70s Larry "Doc" Sportello is surprised by his former girlfriend and her plot for her billionaire boyfriend, his wife, and her boyfriend. A plan for kidnapping gets shaken up by the oddball characters entangled in this groovy kidnapping romp based upon the novel by Thomas Pynchon. Written by bignicknasty97

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love usually leads to trouble.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Reese Witherspoon filmed all of her scenes in four days. Writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson loved working with her so much that he and Joaquin Phoenix, who famously worked with Reese in Walk the Line (2005), began talking with Witherspoon about possibly changing the story so that her character would be around more. However, ultimately the actress convinced the two that it wouldn't be a good idea, something that in retrospect Anderson agrees with. See more »


In the same café scene with Doc and Bigfoot, Doc takes a drag off of a cigarette and clearly stubs it out in the ashtray with his right hand. Bigfoot then tells him to pick a card, which he does. Doc looks at the "card", taking a deep drag off another cigarette with his left hand. There was no time in between cuts for Doc to have lit another cigarette. See more »


Hope Harlingen: I had just run into this bathroom stall without checking first, and I already had my finger down my throat to vomit up this big balloon of dope I had just scored, and there Coy sat, gringo digestion, about to take this giant shit. And we both let go at the same time, and there's just vomit and shit all over the place, and- put my head in his lap, and to complicate things, he had this hard-on.
Doc Sportello: Sure.
Hope Harlingen: One thing leads to another, and we pretty much started shooting up together on a regular basis.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits roll, the end caption is the opening inscription from Pynchon's novel, Inherent Vice: "Under the Paving-Stones, the Beach!" - Graffito, Paris, May 1968 See more »


Featured in 2016 Canadian Screen Awards (2016) See more »


The Throwaway Age
Written by Bob Irwin
Performed by Bob Irwin & the Pluto Walkers
Courtesy of Sundazed Music, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

Better than people say
18 March 2018 | by johnfg-83353See all my reviews

I loved this film. A lot of people don't like this film because the plot is very confusing and hard to follow but the whole message of the film is that sometimes life doesn't wrap things up in a nice little bow and sometimes everything doesn't come together in the end. I've seen this film a few times now and I like it more everytime I see it. The first time I didn't really like it because I was trying to keep up and get my head around the plot but after I became enlightened to the theme, then I was just able to sit back and experience the journey. It is a great character study. Joaquín pheonix is fantastic and his character is great, all the characters and performances in this film are great and fun, Josh Brolin works really well and had great chemistry with Pheonix, and Martin Short was hilarious when he came into the film he was amazing. There were so many great moments and great lines scattered about like when he visits the golden fang institute. The dialogue on the whole is inconsistent as a lot of it is exposition for the plot but when it isn't that it was fantastic. This is one of the most enjoyable films because you don't need to worry about understanding the plot because you're not supposed to understand it and instead just sit back and relax. The directing is great as always from PTA, the film is really well made. My only criticisms are the film gets weaker in the last 20 mins or so and probably should've ended earlier and that some of the dialogue is just exposition. However I love this film on the whole, I love the soundtrack and the unsatisfying ending reflects the whole film, it reflects the character and how really he gets nothing done in the whole film. And it also reflects life, and how in life often things don't have satisfying endings.

81 of 89 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 314 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | Japanese

Release Date:

9 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Inherent Vice See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$328,184, 14 December 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed