L.A. Confidential (1997)



Critic Consensus: Taut pacing, brilliantly dense writing and Oscar-worthy acting combine to produce a smart, popcorn-friendly thrill ride.

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Movie Info

Based on the best-selling novel by James Ellroy and directed by Curtis Hanson, this award-winning crime drama explores both the dark side of the Los Angeles police force and Southern California's criminal underbelly in the early '50s, when Hollywood was still seen as America's capital of sophistication, glitter, and glamour. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) is the head of the LAPD and is loyal to his officers and eager to turn a blind eye to violence or corruption within his department, as long as it's the "bad guys" who are getting hurt. Bud White (Russell Crowe) is a police detective whose violent and cynical nature is often at war with his basic sense of decency and justice. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is a beat cop-turned-detective whose strict by-the-book philosophy and willingness to blow the whistle on other officers is balanced by a shrewd and opportunistic understanding of the internal politics of the department. And Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is a flashy "Hollywood" detective who serves as technical advisor for the TV series Badge of Honor. He is also in cahoots with Sid Hudgeons (Danny DeVito), publisher of the scandal sheet Hush Hush, who throws kickbacks to Vincennes in exchange for being brought along when showbiz figures get busted. White, Exley, and Vincennes find themselves drawn into a tangled and sticky web of violence and betrayal following a multiple murder at a coffee shop that is believed to be part of an effort by Mickey Cohen (Paul Guilfoyle) to consolidate his hold on organized crime in L.A. This lead appears to be connected to the discovery of a bizarre pornography and call-girl ring operated by Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn), whose women are given plastic surgery so that they more closely resemble well-known movie stars. White's role in the investigation is complicated when he falls for Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger), one of Patchett's prostitutes, who is the spitting image of Veronica Lake. L.A. Confidential was nominated for nine Academy Awards and netted two, with Brian Helgeland honored for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Kim Basinger taking home a statuette as Best Supporting Actress. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
R (for strong violence and language, and for sexuality)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Pictures

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Russell Crowe
as Bud White
Kevin Spacey
as Jack Vincennes
Guy Pearce
as Ed Exley
James Cromwell
as Dudley Smith
David Strathairn
as Pierce Patchett
Kim Basinger
as Lynn Bracken
Graham Beckel
as Dick Stensland
Simon Baker
as Matt Reynolds
Matt McCoy
as Brett Chase
John Mahon
as Police Chief
Paul Guilfoyle (II)
as Mickey Cohen
Ron Rifkin
as D.A. Ellis Loew
Paolo Seganti
as Johnny Stompanato
Amber Smith
as Susan Lefferts
Danny DeVito
as Sid Hudgeons
Elisabeth Granli
as Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
David St. James
as Detective at Hush-Hush Office
Steve Rankin
as Officer Arresting Mickey Cohen
Sandra Taylor
as Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Allan Graf
as Wife Beater
Fred Scialla
as Stand-In (Danny DeVito)
Symba Smith
as Jack's Dancing Partner
Bob Clendenin
as Reporter at Hollywood Station
Lennie Loftin
as Photographer at Hollywood Station
Will Zahrn
as Liquor Store Owner
Darrell Sandeen
as Buzz Meeks
Michael Warwick
as Sid's Assistant
Shawnee Free Jones
as Tammy Jordan
Matthew Allen Bretz
as Officer Escorting Mexicans
Thomas Rosales Jr.
as 1st Mexican
Shane Dixon
as Detective at Hollywood Station
Norman Howell Jr.
as Detective at Hollywood Station
Brian Lally
as Detective at Hollywood Station
Don Pulford
as Detective at Hollywood Station
Chris Short
as Detective at Hollywood Station
Tomas Arana
as Breuning, Dudley's Guy
Michael McCleery
as Carlisle, Dudley's Guy
George Yager
as Gangster at Victory Motel
Jack Conley
as Vice Captain
Ginger Slaughter
as Secretary in Vice
Jack Knight
as Detective at Detective Bureau
John H. Evans
as Patrolman at Nite Owl Cafe
Gene Wolande
as Forensic Chief
Brian Bossetta
as Forensic Officer
Gwenda Deacon
as Mrs. Lefferts
Mike Kennedy
as Bud's Rejected Partner
Ingo Neuhaus
as Jack's Rejected Partner
Robert Harrison
as Pierce Patchett's Bodyguard
Jim Metzler
as City Councilman
Jeremiah Birkett
as Ray Collins, Nite Owl Suspect
Salim Grant
as Louis Fontaine, Nite Owl Suspect
Karreem Washington
as Ty Jones, Nite Owl Suspect
Noel Evangelisti
as Stenographer
Marisol Padilla Sánchez
as Inez Soto--Rape Victim
Jeff Sanders
as Sylvester Fitch
Steve Lambert
as Roland Navarette
Jordan Marder
as Officer at Detective Bureau
April Breneman
as Look-Alike Dancer
Lisa Worthy
as Look-Alike Dancer
Beverly Sharpe
as Witness on `Badge of Honor'
Colin Mitchell
as Reporter at Hospital
John Slade
as Photographer at Hospital
Brenda Bakke
as Lana Turner
Kevin Maloney
as Frolic Room Bartender
Patrice Walters
as Police File Clerk
Rebecca Jane Klingler
as Police File Clerk
Irene Roseen
as District Attorney Ellis Loew's Secretary
Scott Eberlein
as West Hollywood Sheriff's Deputy
Bodie Newcomb
as Officer at `Hush-Hush' Office
Jeff Austin
as Detective
Henry Meyers
as Detective
Robert Foster
as Detective
Michael Ossman
as Detective
Kevin Kelly
as Detective
Dick Stilwell
as Detective
Henry Marder
as Detective
Jess Thomas
as Detective
Monty McKee
as Detective
Jody Wood
as Detective
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News & Interviews for L.A. Confidential

Critic Reviews for L.A. Confidential

All Critics (108) | Top Critics (32)

L.A. Confidential is a movie bull's-eye: noir with an attitude, a thriller packing punches. It gives up its evil secrets with a smile.

Full Review… | June 4, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

There are so many things to enjoy here. Director Curtis Hanson... keeps a complex story coherent and absorbing -- if bloody at the end.

Full Review… | June 4, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

At the center of the movie are three mismatched cops with separately fueled ambitions, ferociously played by Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce. Their combined charisma almost smashes through the screen.

Full Review… | June 4, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

L.A. Confidential isn't quite up there with Chinatown, but it's the closest thing to come down the Santa Monica Freeway in the last 23 years.

Full Review… | June 4, 2014
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Hanson has made the film noir setting virtually another starring character.

Full Review… | June 4, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Spicy and boiling-hot, this sensational early-'50s crime drama is a morality play disguised as pulp fiction -- a sprawling saga of corruption and redemption set against a flashy West Coast backdrop.

Full Review… | June 4, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for L.A. Confidential

Nice little crime movie, Frank from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has so much range

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer


wonderful performances, great period feeling, kim basinger's best work ever

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A great cast round out a taut script in this neo-noir crime drama. The pace is brisk and the production design transports the audience to another place altogether. Never sacrificing smarts for entertainment, 'L.A. Confidential' is a well rounded film.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

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