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Chinatown (1974)

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A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writer:

Robert Towne
Reviews
Popularity
1,571 ( 594)

'Chinatown': Our 45th Anniversary Supercut

Chinatown premiered 45 years ago today. We look at Roman Polanski's classic, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, with an IMDb Supercut.

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Top Rated Movies #148 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... J.J. Gittes
Faye Dunaway ... Evelyn Mulwray
John Huston ... Noah Cross
Perry Lopez ... Escobar
John Hillerman ... Yelburton
Darrell Zwerling ... Hollis Mulwray
Diane Ladd ... Ida Sessions
Roy Jenson ... Mulvihill
Roman Polanski ... Man with Knife
Richard Bakalyan ... Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)
Joe Mantell ... Walsh
Bruce Glover ... Duffy
Nandu Hinds ... Sophie
James O'Rear James O'Rear ... Lawyer (as James O'Reare)
James Hong ... Evelyn's Butler
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Storyline

In 1937 Los Angeles, private investigator Jake 'J.J.' Gittes specializes in cheating-spouse cases. His current target is Hollis Mulwray, high-profile chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, whose wife suspects him of infidelity. In following Mulwray, Gittes witnesses some usual business dealings, such as a public meeting for construction of a new dam to create additional water supply for Los Angeles, as fresh water is vital to the growing community during the chronic drought; Mulwray opposes the dam. Eventually Gittes sees Mulwray meeting with an unknown young woman who isn't his wife. Once news of the supposed tryst between Mulwray and this woman hits the media, additional information comes to light that makes Gittes believe that Mulwray is being framed for something and that he himself is being set up. In his investigation of the issue behind Mulwray's framing and his own setup, Gittes is assisted by Mulwray's wife Evelyn, but he thinks she isn't being ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You get tough. You get tender. You get close to each other. Maybe you even get close to the truth. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese | Spanish

Release Date:

20 June 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barrio Chino See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$29,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,225,935
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite lobbying Robert Evans and Jack Nicholson for the chance to direct the film, when he finally landed the gig Roman Polanski started having second thoughts. The thought of returning to Los Angeles, where his wife Sharon Tate had been brutally murdered four years earlier, was too overwhelming for him. See more »

Goofs

As Jake is rifling through Ida Sessions' purse at her apartment, a glimpse of her Social Security card shows a date of 9-23-1915. That would make Ida 22 years old in 1937, far younger than the character portrayed by Diane Ladd. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jake Gittes: All right, Curly. Enough's enough. You can't eat the Venetian blinds. I just had them installed on Wednesday.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film opens with the 1940's Paramount logo. See more »

Alternate Versions

5.1 track on the Blu-ray release replaces gunshot sound effects and a few other foley effects. The 2.0 track provided as a second option is the original unaltered mono. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Filmselskabet: Episode #1.4 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Get Started
Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke
As Recorded by Bunny Berigan and His Orchestra
(Courtesy of RCA Records)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Great 'modern' film noir
15 November 2018 | by TweekumsSee all my reviews

Set in late '30s Los Angeles this 1974 film opens with a woman, identifying herself as Evelyn Mulwray, asking private detective Jake Gettes to find out whether her husband, chief engineer of the LA Water and Power Company, is having an affair. He follows him and ultimately photographs him with another woman. Somehow these pictures end up in the papers and he is approached by another woman who it turns out is the real wife of Mulwray... and she intends to sue. He continues to investigate Mulwray and suspects some odd goings on at Water and Power... then Mulwray turns up dead; drowned during a severe drought. His continued investigation brings him closer to the real Evelyn as well as into real danger as he learns the truth about Water and Power's activities which could make some people very rich at the expense of other, poorer, people.

This film may have been made about a quarter of a century after the classic era for film noir but it perfectly captures the feel of those films. It has morally ambiguous characters inhabiting a murky world that contrasts with the bright Los Angeles sunshine. The story has many twists and turns without feeling unnecessarily complex or confusing. The cast does a great job; especially Jack Nicholson who is in every scene so that the viewer doesn't know anything Gettes doesn't know. Faye Dunaway is solid as Evelyn Mulwray and John Huston is suitably menacing as her father; a man standing to make a lot of money with many dark secrets. Overall I'd definitely recommend this to anybody wanting a good mystery or fans of film noir.


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