• R, 2 hr. 6 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Brian DePalma
    In Theaters:
    Dec 21, 1990 Wide
    On DVD:
    Nov 6, 2001
  • Warner Home Video


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The Bonfire of the Vanities Reviews

Page 1 of 13
Ken S

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2007
Bonfire of the Vanities is not the tumbling shit-fest you've been told it is. In fact the film is pretty funny and shot really nicely. It's not without it's flaws, Hanks is a bit mis cast and Kim Cattrall is downright terrible. It's no American Psycho, but if you're in the mood for a bit of 80's satire, I'd say check it out.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

March 30, 2010
In no way is it the disaster that most people claim it to be. In fact, itā??s actually a very well done criticism of the 80s yuppie lifestyle as well as racism, sex and politics. You have to feel sorrow for Tom Hanksā?? Sherman McCoy, who accidentally gets himself into the biggest scandal of the time. While he might be prejudiced, in no way does he deserve to be put through all the anguish that he is subjected to. I love the idea of the Jewish District Attorney trying to win the minority vote by charging an innocent man as well as his assistant who has no shame in getting all the false evidence he can gather. Melanie Griffith was amazing as an incredibly over the top seductress and Bruce Willis plays a great drunk. Brian De Palma does a great job creating a captivating set of shots that are both original and fun to watch.

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2006
Tom Wolfe's novel has been shaped into a trivial, cartoon-style movie by director Brian De Palma. This savage comedy is ridiculous and worst film with Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith I ever saw as well as their characters aren't very interesting.
Dann M

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2013
From Brian De Palma comes the satirical comedy The Bonfire of the Vanities. Based on an acclaimed novel, the story follows a Wall Street bond trader who's involved in a hit and run accident that becomes sensationalizes by a muckraker journalist. The cast includes Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, and Morgan Freeman, who all give solid performances. However, the tone of the film is inconsistent, as is the humor; it's not dark enough to be a dark comedy and it's not goofy enough to be a screwball comedy. Yet The Bonfire of the Vanities delivers some good laughs and is an enjoyable film overall.
September 14, 2013
The narrative stays faithful to Tom Wolfe's novel, even if the dialog isn't quite up to the standards of the man in the white suit. "Bonfire of teh Vanities" still delivers an unflinching look at how people's prejudices shape their views on news events, and how politicians use race to manipulate the people. It's not Tom Hanks's best role, and Melanie Griffith seems totally miscast. The absurd tragicomedy of the novel still lives in the movie, with the added redemption of McCoy after his fall.
April 3, 2012
I am not understanding the harsh criticisms that Bonfire of the Vanities receives from critics and viewers alike. The acting is stellar and the story just interesting enough to make for an enjoyable experience. Having never read the book (which the movie appears to be based rather loosely off of) The Bonfire of the Vanities was able to entertain while also causing a chuckle or two. While it will never be considered their finest moments Willis, Hanks, Freeman, Griffith and Cattrall all give admirable performances and bring the movie to life. Definitely one of those movies that is better than the credit it is given.
May 19, 2012
Melanie Griffith was amazing as an incredibly over the top seductress and Bruce Willis plays a great drunk. Brian De Palma does a great job creating a captivating set of shots that are both original and fun to watch. Hanks is a bit mis cast and Kim Cattrall is downright terrible. It's no American Psycho, but if you're in the mood for a bit of 80's satire, I'd say check it out.
November 21, 2011
Terrible satiric movie, perhaps the brothers Coen could have made something of it, I don't know. Extra star given for Melanie Griffith's body and tits, goddamn.
August 30, 2011
tom, bruce and morgan at their finest in more of a story then a movie by this I mean don't expect some crazy action or bizarre twist it's a story with great acting nothing more nothing less
November 4, 2008
I'm amazed that this movie received such a high number of downer reviews. It is very funny! Something of a dark comedy, but not really. A completely realistic story about a large number of amoral, smarmy, and apathetic characters, ignorant and arrogant as all hell, all in their own ways & idiosyncrasies so much that it makes you want to choke them!

The acting was superb and the story was excellent. If I could find the book I would definitely pick it up!
August 13, 2007
it was a good story badly executed, and also im surprised because this movie had really good actors in it.
April 5, 2007
It's not that great of a movie (I hear the book is amazing... but I'm not much of a "reader"--that's why God invented movies). However, I enjoyed the hell out of this film. Even with Melanie Griffith, I still managed to enjoy it.
January 6, 2007
this should of been a miniseries. the people who made this movie didnt get the book and so the movie isnt good. there aer moments wher its okay but not the whole thing. there could be a movie from this book. david mamet could do it. he could direct toob ut probably not as much.
October 3, 2006
A misfire but not an uninteresting misfire. The cast tries quite hard but it's just not pulled off very well.
July 31, 2006
DePalma is the king, but he badly misfired here. His bungling of this book adaptation makes me suspicious of his upcoming "The Black Dahlia".
April 8, 2014
A boring, forgettable, and pointless 2 hr. 6 min. This is probably the worst film I have seen Tom Hanks in. He is one of my favorite actors in the business, but here he is under a script that has both bland dialogue and bland characters. I was bored so many times throughout I almost fell asleep. This is labeled as a comedy? This movie completely fails as a comedy because there is hardly any comedic moments and it also fails to be an effective drama. I did feel that Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman tried with the sloppy material they were given, because there were some scenes where they were trying to bring life to a lifeless film. Bruce Willis's character to me was pointless throughout and the movie tries too hard to convince you that he is important to the story when he actually wasn't. Even though Morgan Freeman did good in the final scene, it felt too much like your sappy Hollywood ending. When the film ends, you wish to yourself that you should have watched Scarface instead, Brian DePalma's much more superior movie.
February 1, 2014
1983's Scarface Is One Of My Favorite Films.
December 6, 2013
Wow -
I was expecting a horrible movie, like Charles Dickens turned into Dr. Suess or Ernest Hemingway rewritten as a Teletubbies' episode.
It was movie that I now have seen 23-years after it was released & deserves very little scathing insipid remarks that have been libelously espoused.
Never heard of the book, no one born after 1980 cares about it.
But the movie should have had Morgan Freeman narrating it, than the approval rating would be elevated by 60+% at least.
Maybe I'll watch it again in a year, but in 1990, Home Alone, TMNT, Dick Tracy, Days of Thunder, these combined for over 500+ million USD but The Bonfire of the Vanities was better.
April 9, 2013
"Bonfire of the Vanities" is an interesting little movie that doesn't really warrant a viewing 23 years after it was released. I've heard that the book is fantastic, and I can definitely see the story working in some form or another. But as this film is, I feel like it just doesn't work. It wants to be a comedy, but it just isn't very funny. I found its odd tone and messy narrative to be off-putting, with Tom Hanks unfortunately mis-cast and the message muddled and confusing. Every character in this film is despicable, cartoonish, and uninteresting. Morgan Freeman is at his most unsmiley, and he's one of the high points of the movie. But his screen time is limited; we instead spend most of our time with characters like Bruce Willis's reporter character, who drinks a lot and has absolutely no arc as a character. In fact, what are we supposed to take away from this movie? Hit-and-runs are ok if you weren't the one driving? Especially if it was the guy was a scary black man? Before I forget to mention it, I thought that the film was kind of racist. It makes racial jokes with a wink and a nod, and I found them obnoxious and unfunny. Offensive jokes can be very funny, but I didn't find any here. I hated the score, which is broad and cartoonish, completely clashing with the tone of certain scenes. Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. There's a fantastic opening tracking shot that's in league with "The Player" and "Touch of Evil" without a doubt. There's some clever social commentary buried deep underneath all of the unfunny antics, but frankly, I was too bored to go searching for them. Brian DePalma has a reputable career, so I was definitely disappointed in this one.
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