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Boogie Nights (1997)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 65
Fresh: 60 | Rotten: 5

Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0

Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 185,179

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in 1977, back when sex was safe, pleasure was a business and business was booming, idealistic porn producer Jack Horner aspires to elevate his craft to an art form. Horner discovers Eddie Adams, a hot young talent working as a busboy in a nightclub, and welcomes him into the extended family of movie-makers, misfits and hangers-on that are always around. Adams' rise from nobody to a celebrity adult entertainer is meteoric, and soon the whole world seems to know his porn alter ego, "Dirk

R,

Drama, Comedy

Paul Thomas Anderson

Apr 7, 1998

New Line Cinema

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Cast

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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (5) | DVD (38)

Boogie Nights, an epic tale of porn, pleasure, and excess, offers a purer hit of exhilaration than any movie this year.

February 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not since the mysteriously reclusive Terrence Malick has there been such an explosion of sheer talent on the American movie scene.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Considering the potentially explosive nature of the yarn, set in the porn world, Anderson's strategy is remarkably nonjudgmental and nonsensationalistic, largely due to his love and respect for all the characters and his impressive storytelling skills.

May 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In terms of sweep, ambition and precocious cinematic competence, it heralds the arrival of a new talent.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With Boogie Nights we know we're not just watching episodes from disparate lives but a panorama of recent social history, rendered in bold, exuberant colors.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is bemused and entertained, as we are, by this pack of sexual extremists, and the eye it casts on them is both benevolent and wry.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unflinching look at porn industry; lots of sex, drugs.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

An epic story of self-delusion with a skill and grace that many more experienced filmmakers would be hard put to match.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Comparisons are invidious, but inescapable: Boogie Nights is the most stunningly accomplished, attention-grabbing movie by a sophomore director since Pulp Fiction.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

...loud, gaudy, profane, thoughtful, and risqué; you can't say it isn't fun in its own exuberant way.

January 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Call it the consummate example of director-as-DJ, at least for now.

August 20, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul | Comments (4)

The flashy style cannot hide the slight story.

January 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (4)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...Paul Thomas Anderson cements his reputation as one of the most gifted filmmakers of his generation...

December 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Probably the most enjoyable complete overrated swipe ever made.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Aaaaw man, P.T. sure loves to move that camera around, and as a MAJOR fan of the general look and feel of movies, I totally got into his groove.

August 25, 2006 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Anderson eloquently blends these characters together for a tantalizing seriocomic medley. He keeps his proceedings glossy and tantalizing, while steady and harshly real.

December 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

This film will hit a huge chord with those who weren't in diapers in the 70's, but people who missed the era should find penty to enjoy as well.

August 14, 2005 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (2)
Oz
eFilmCritic.com

An original film about a little-done subject, providing good acting and an interesting story.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

I would be lying if I said that Boogie Nights is anything but a perfect movie; at the very least, it is a film that delivers everything I am looking for in a film.

March 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Anderson creates a strong ensemble piece that explores the reasons and motivations people got into making porn.

May 30, 2003 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Boogie Nights never exactly recovers the tightness of its first hour, but it certainly doesn't descend into permanent disorganization as some critics have charged.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

...scrupulous about presenting these guileless, sad creatures to the point that they seem less than interesting.

November 1, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Boogie Nights

This film is huge, in every way possible. There really hadn't been a film so explicit and yet so humane to the porn industry, and though this film is a fictionalized portrayal of the seventies porn industry, many characters are actually based on a lot of accounts of past porn actors and actresses of that time period. This film is long in runtime, covers seven years in the life of a porn star, and does not coddle the audience into thinking it's about anything else but the true lives of those involved. There is very little on the actual screen that shows sex scenes, nudity, or remains explicit. Instead we watch the varied and extremely depressing lives of the performers in the "Golden Age of Porn". New to the scene, kid Eddie (Wahlberg) is discovered by legendary producer Jack Horner (Reynolds) at a club, where he works, while doing some dastardly deeds in the back room for a couple bucks here and there. Eddie is newly christened Dirk Diggler, and after meeting a slew of other performers of the time, he begins his reign as the king of porn thanks to an enormous conciliatory prize he gained at birth. He gains fame in the small scope of the porn industry, and finds himself spiraling out of control thanks to a newfound addiction to cocaine in the early eighties. Other characters find their allusions of grandeur to be unclean, including Amber Waves (Moore) as a mother trying to reconnect with her son after her divorce, though she is barred thanks to her profession and addiction. Rollergirl (Graham) finds that her new identity does not necessarily negate her past, Buck Swope (Cheadle) can't escape porn's indelible mark, and Little Bill (Macy) is too jealous and grieved to look past his wife's incomparable promiscuity. Jack is the head of this strange family of pornographers, and as their father, and Amber their mother, keeps them in check and looks after them as they break down time and again. Dirk leaves the fold briefly but remains the prodigal son by the end, commoditized thanks to the seediness of their business and dehumanization that occurs in their work. Director and screenwriter Anderson weaves together these narratives easily enough, and doesn't give away that the opulence that the performers experience won't last long, and doesn't speak negatively about them as people. Anderson only wants to relate the hardships and desensitization of performers and the lasting horror many of them go through after their careers end. The fact that many of their stories are taken from the real accounts of Veronica Hart, John Holmes, and John Dough makes it authentic, but doesn't make the film itself any less legitimate and telling of the industry. Every performance lends to that as well, especially Julianne Moore, who mothers the group of actors but herself is not allowed to mother her own son. Her story as well as everyone else's spans a long period of time, and includes scenes that tell even more about the characters: Buck is involved in an accidental three way murder during a robbery, Dirk Diggler is involved in a botched cocaine deal gone bad, and Rollergirl beats down a former high school classmate on the streets of Los Angeles. This tapestry is so complex and yet understandable, and even in the end, it becomes clear that sex is not love, and onscreen it's diluted of feeling even further. This film does not condemn, only looks to understand and appreciate those afflicted with the judgment of those who don't give any chances after you're tainted by pornography, and in doing so gives understanding to its audience.
May 1, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

"Boogie Nights" is a film that you can very easily become invested in, and I was enthralled for, most of the film. The story of Dirk Diggler going from a bus boy/dish washer to a famous porn star was a great story to watch, and it was written wonderfully well, but there are some portions of the film when I felt like they were trying too hard, because it started to drag on a bit, showing too much porn scenes, and I know that was the point of the film, but the end of the film suggests otherwise. I just wish the contrast of porn and drugs was a little more balanced out. The film is impeccably shot and the acting is terrific. I highly enjoyed watching "Boogie Nights," and even though it is definitely not a film for everyone, a film fan will be drooling over the images and how well it is shot. Great film!
October 14, 2012
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Boogie Nights presents a criative screenplay with a powerful representation of Golden Years of Porn in the 70's. P.T. Anderson's direction, just like the actings make this classic in a interesting study of the other side of movie pictures, the stories of the people behind and in front the camera. With a mix of Pulp Fiction, Boogie Nights is one of the best films of the 90's.
September 5, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Director P.T. Anderson's close, unaltered look at late 70s porn industry is a cinematic grab bag: a terrific cast, flawless direction, great and fitting soundtrack and costumes take you right back to the early stages of an industry that took itself a little too seriously. While the first half of the film is mostly amusing in a showing a couple of character's attempts to become super stars, the second part of the film follows them further down the spiral as their dreams get shattered and, like so often, drugs ruin everything. The result is ugly, naughty, funny, realistic and violent. Even though the film is two and a half hours long, consists of several long party sequences and combines a lot of characters, it never fails in its attempt to portray their miserable lives realistically. Even though we laugh and shake our heads at some of their lousy decisions, we still wish them well. And the very last scene is so surprising and blunt, the film leaves you with your jaw on the floor.
July 18, 2012
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

    1. Jack Horner: Heaven sent you here to this place, Dirk Diggler. You've been blessed.
    – Submitted by Victor M (12 months ago)
    1. Jack Horner: It seems to me, beneath those jeans, there's something wonderful just waiting to get out.
    – Submitted by Victor M (12 months ago)
    1. Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler: I'm seventeen
    2. Jack Horner: You're a seventeen year old piece of gold.
    3. Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler: Yeah, right.
    – Submitted by Victor M (12 months ago)
    1. Maurice T. Rodriguez: You are the foxiest bitch in ten countries.
    2. Amber Waves: You're such a charmer.
    – Submitted by Victor M (12 months ago)
    1. Rollergirl: [about Dirk] He can fuck really hard or he can fuck really gently. He's the best.
    – Submitted by Ángel Raúl G (15 months ago)
    1. Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler: [standing in the kitchen at work with Jack] So, you want five or ten?
    2. Jack Horner: What?
    3. Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler: Well, if you just wanna see me jack off, it's ten. But if you just wanna look at it, it's only five.
    – Submitted by Lucas M (18 months ago)
View all quotes (15)

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