The Bonfire of the Vanities 1990

The Bonfire of the Vanities

Critics Consensus

The Bonfire of the Vanities is a vapid adaptation of a thoughtful book, fatally miscast and shorn of the source material's crucial sense of irony. Add it to the pyre of Hollywood's ambitious failures.

16%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

26%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,141

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Movie Info

In this adaptation of the Tom Wolfe novel, powerful Wall Street executive Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is riding with his greedy girlfriend, Maria (Melanie Griffith), when she makes a wrong turn and winds up in the Bronx. There, she runs over a black boy and drives off without reporting it. When alcoholic tabloid reporter Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis) discovers the story, he knows it will be scandalous and riles up New Yorkers with his coverage of the case, which soon goes to trial.

Cast & Crew

Tom Hanks
Sherman McCoy
Bruce Willis
Peter Fallow
Kim Cattrall
Judy McCoy
Saul Rubinek
Jed Kramer
Morgan Freeman
Judge Leonard White
F. Murray Abraham
D.A. Abe Weiss (uncredited)
John Hancock
Reverend Bacon
Kevin Dunn
Tom Killian
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Critic Reviews for The Bonfire of the Vanities

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (43)

  • If you're interested in a faithful visual adaptation of Wolfe's novel, be assured that this isn't it.

    June 28, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • What a mess.

    June 28, 2013 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • On film, Bonfire achieves a consistency of ineptitude rare even in this era of over-inflated cinematic air bags.

    June 28, 2013 | Full Review…
  • If you loved Wolfe's book, you may very well hate the movie. If you simply liked the novel, you may be simultaneously entertained and disappointed by what De Palma and Cristofer have done to it.

    June 28, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Certainly Wolfe's canvas might lend itself to a broad approach, but broad like Dr. Strangelove, not broad like the Three Stooges.

    June 28, 2013 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • The film was cast wrong and written shallowly.

    June 28, 2013 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Bonfire of the Vanities

  • Mar 01, 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.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 30, 2010
    In no way is it the disaster that most people claim it to be. In fact, it’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 Hanks’ 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.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2007
    Very funny and clever!
    Alexander C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Ken S Super Reviewer

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