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L.A. Confidential (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

L.A. Confidential
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCurtis Hanson
Screenplay by
Based onL.A. Confidential
by James Ellroy
Produced by
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited byPeter Honess
Music byJerry Goldsmith
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dates
  • May 14, 1997 (1997-05-14) (Cannes)
  • September 19, 1997 (1997-09-19) (United States)
Running time
138 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[1]
Box office$126.2 million[2]

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 American neo-noir crime film directed, produced, and co-written by Curtis Hanson. The screenplay by Hanson and Brian Helgeland is based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same name, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. The film tells the story of a group of LAPD officers in 1953, and the intersection of police corruption and Hollywood celebrity. The title refers to the 1950s scandal magazine Confidential, portrayed in the film as Hush-Hush.

At the time, actors Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe were relatively unknown in North America. One of the film's backers, Peter Dennett, was worried about the lack of established stars in the lead roles, but supported Hanson's casting decisions, and the director had the confidence also to recruit Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, and Danny DeVito.

L.A. Confidential was a critical and commercial success. It grossed $126 million against a $35 million budget and received critical acclaim for the acting, writing, directing, editing, and Jerry Goldsmith's musical score.[3][4] It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning two: Best Supporting Actress (Basinger) and Best Adapted Screenplay; Titanic won in every other category for which L.A. Confidential was nominated. In 2015, the Library of Congress selected L.A. Confidential for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[5][6][7]

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In 1953 Los Angeles, the LAPD is trying to positively redefine its public image following decades of corruption. Career-focused sergeant Edmund Exley lives in the shadow of his legendary detective father whose murderer was never identified; Exley names the suspect "Rollo Tomasi", representing any criminal who escapes justice. Fame-seeking narcotics sergeant Jack Vincennes collaborates with tabloid journalist Sid Hudgens to perform high-profile celebrity arrests, and volatile officer Wendell White uses violence to interrogate and intimidate suspects, particularly women-abusers, because his father murdered his mother.

On Christmas Eve, White encounters high-class prostitutes Lynn Bracken and Susan Lefferts, and former officer Leland Meeks. They work for Pierce Patchett, a millionaire businessman operating Fleur-de-Lis, a clandestine prostitution ring hosting women surgically altered to resemble film stars. White begins a relationship with Bracken. After the "Bloody Christmas" scandal, involving drunken officers beating inmates, Exley convinces the police chief, district attorney Ellis Loew, and police captain Dudley Smith to prosecute securely-pensioned officers to save the department's reputation and earn himself a promotion to detective lieutenant. He helps coerce Vincennes to testify, while White refuses to comply and is suspended. White's partner Dick Stensland is fired for his involvement, turning White and other officers against Exley. Following the imprisonment of powerful gangster Mickey Cohen, Smith recruits White to frighten off criminals attempting to take Cohen's place. A spate of murders targeting Cohen's underlings leads to the disappearance of 25 lb (11 kg) of his heroin.

Exley investigates a massacre at the Nite Owl coffee house, with Stensland and Lefferts among the victims. The evidence leads Exley and Vincennes to arrest three African-American felons. Interrogation by Exley and White reveals the men have been raping a captive woman. White rushes to free the woman and executes her captor, planting evidence to imply the act was self-defense. The African-Americans escape the station and are killed by Exley in the ensuing shootout, closing the case and earning him a medal for bravery. However, unable to ignore inconsistencies in the case, Exley and White continue the investigation independently. White interviews Lefferts' mother and discovers Meeks' body beneath her house. He interrogates Cohen's ex-bodyguard Johnny Stompanato who reveals Meeks was trying to sell the stolen heroin.

Hudgens and Vincennes orchestrate a homosexual tryst between struggling actor Matt Reynolds and Loew to create a scandal, but after Reynolds is found murdered, a guilt-ridden Vincennes joins Exley's investigation. Vincennes learns that Meeks and Stensland formerly worked together under Smith's command and had dropped an investigation into Patchett and Hudgens blackmailing prominent businessmen with photos of them with prostitutes. He confronts Smith who shoots Vincennes dead; his final words are "Rollo Tomasi."

Exley becomes suspicious of Smith when he later enquires about "Rollo Tomasi," a name Exley disclosed only to Vincennes. Smith arranges for White to find photos taken by Hudgens of Bracken having sex with Exley. Enraged, White confronts and fights Exley until they realize that their investigation implicates Smith. They deduce that Stensland killed Meeks for the heroin, and Smith planned the Nite Owl massacre to kill Stensland before planting evidence to implicate the African-Americans. Exley and White interrogate Loew, discovering Smith and Patchett are taking over Cohen's empire and coerced Loew's cooperation using photos of his affair with Reynolds. Exley and White later find Hudgens and Patchett murdered.

Smith lures Exley and White into a remote ambush. Though badly wounded, the pair kill Smith's men and Exley holds Smith at gunpoint. Smith offers to mislead the approaching police and further promote Exley, but Exley executes him to prevent him avoiding punishment. Despite Exley's evidence, LAPD officials decide to protect the department's image by claiming Smith died a hero; Exley agrees to cooperate as a second "hero". Outside city hall, Exley says goodbye to Bracken and White before they leave for Arizona.




Curtis Hanson had read half a dozen of James Ellroy's books before L.A. Confidential and was drawn to its characters, not the plot. He said, "What hooked me on them was that, as I met them, one after the other, I didn't like them—but as I continued reading, I started to care about them."[8] Ellroy's novel also made Hanson think about Los Angeles and provided him with an opportunity to "set a movie at a point in time when the whole dream of Los Angeles, from that apparently golden era of the '20s and '30s, was being bulldozed."[8]

Screenwriter Brian Helgeland was originally signed to Warner Bros. to write a Viking film with director Uli Edel and then worked on an unproduced modern-day King Arthur story. Helgeland was a longtime fan of Ellroy's novels. When he heard that Warner Bros. had acquired the rights to L.A. Confidential in 1990, he lobbied to script the film,[8] but the studio was then talking only to well-known screenwriters. When he finally got a meeting, it was canceled two days before it was to occur.[8]

Helgeland found that Hanson had been hired to direct and met with him while the filmmaker was making The River Wild. They found that they not only shared a love for Ellroy's fiction but also agreed on how to adapt Confidential into a film. According to Helgeland, they had to "remove every scene from the book that didn't have the three main cops in it, and then to work from those scenes out."[8] According to Hanson, he "wanted the audience to be challenged but at the same time I didn't want them to get lost."[9] They worked on the script together for two years, with Hanson turning down jobs and Helgeland writing seven drafts for free.[8]

The two men also got Ellroy's approval. He had seen Hanson's films The Bedroom Window and Bad Influence, and found him "a competent and interesting storyteller", but was not convinced that his book would be made into a film until he talked to the eventual director.[8] He later said, "They preserved the basic integrity of the book and its main theme. Brian and Curtis took a work of fiction that had eight plotlines, reduced those to three, and retained the dramatic force of three men working out their destiny."[8]

Warner executive Bill Gerber showed the script to Michael Nathanson, CEO of New Regency Productions, which had a deal with the studio. Nathanson loved it, but they had to get the approval of New Regency's owner, Arnon Milchan. Hanson prepared a presentation that consisted of 15 vintage postcards and pictures of L.A. mounted on posterboards, and made his pitch to Milchan. The pictures consisted of orange groves, beaches, tract homes in the San Fernando Valley, and the opening of the Hollywood Freeway to symbolize the image of prosperity sold to the public.[8]

Building used for movie premiere scene in L.A. Confidential

In the pitch, Hanson showed the darker side of Ellroy's novel by presenting the cover of scandal rag Confidential and the famous shot of Robert Mitchum coming out of jail after his marijuana bust. He also had photographs of jazz musicians Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, and Chet Baker to represent the popular music of the time.[8] Hanson emphasized that the period detail would be in the background and the characters in the foreground.[10] Milchan was impressed with his presentation and agreed to finance it.


Hanson had seen Russell Crowe in Romper Stomper and found him "repulsive and scary, but captivating".[8] The actor had read Ellroy's The Black Dahlia but not L.A. Confidential. When he read the script, Crowe was drawn to Bud White's "self-righteous moral crusade".[11] Crowe fit the visual preconception of Bud. Hanson put the actor on tape doing a few scenes from the script and showed it to the film's producers, who agreed to cast him as Bud.[12]

Guy Pearce auditioned, and Hanson felt that he "was very much what I had in mind for Ed Exley."[8] The director purposely did not watch the actor in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, afraid that it might influence his decision.[12] As he did with Crowe, Hanson taped Pearce and showed it to the producers, who agreed he should be cast as Ed. Pearce did not like Ed when he first read the screenplay and remarked, "I was pretty quick to judge him and dislike him for being so self-righteous ... But I liked how honest he became about himself. I knew I could grow to respect and understand him."[13]

Milchan was against casting "two Australians" in the American period piece (Pearce wryly noted in a later interview that while he and Crowe grew up in Australia, he was born in England to a New Zealand father, while the Māori Crowe is a New Zealander too). Crowe and Pearce were also relative unknowns in North America, and Milchan was equally worried about the lack of film stars in the lead roles.[8] But he supported Hanson's casting decisions and this gave the director the confidence to approach Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito and Kevin Spacey. Hanson cast Crowe and Pearce because he wanted to "replicate my experience of the book. You don't like any of these characters at first, but the deeper you get into their story, the more you begin to sympathize with them. I didn't want actors audiences knew and already liked."[14]

A third Australian actor unknown to American audiences at the time, Simon Baker, later to star in the TV series The Mentalist, was cast in the smaller but noteworthy role of Matt Reynolds, a doomed young bisexual actor. He was billed as Simon Baker Denny in the film's credits.

Hanson felt that the character of Jack Vincennes was "a movie star among cops", and thought of Spacey, with his "movie-star charisma," casting him specifically against type.[12] The director was confident that the actor "could play the man behind that veneer, the man who also lost his soul," and when he gave him the script, he told him to think of Dean Martin while in the role.[12] Hanson cast Basinger because he felt that she "was the character to me. What beauty today could project the glamor of Hollywood's golden age?"[14]


To give his cast and crew points and counterpoints to capture Los Angeles in the 1950s, Hanson held a "mini-film festival", showing one film a week: The Bad and the Beautiful, because it epitomized the glamorous Hollywood look; In a Lonely Place, because it revealed the ugly underbelly of Hollywood glamor; Don Siegel's The Lineup and Private Hell 36, "for their lean and efficient style";[12] and Kiss Me Deadly, because it was "so rooted in the futuristic '50s: the atomic age."[8][12] Hanson and the film's cinematographer Dante Spinotti studied Robert Frank's 1958 photographic book The Americans and felt that the influence of his work was in every aspect of the film's visuals. Spinotti wanted to compose the shots of the film as if he was using a still camera and suggested Hanson shoot the film in the Super 35 widescreen format with spherical lenses, which in Spinotti's opinion conveyed the feel of a still photo.[15]

Before filming took place, Hanson brought Crowe and Pearce to Los Angeles for two months to immerse them in the city and the time period.[14] He also got them dialect coaches, showed them vintage police training films, and introduced them to real-life cops.[14] Pearce found the contemporary police force had changed too much to be useful for research and disliked the police officer he rode along with because Pearce felt he was racist.[16] He found the police films more valuable because "there was a real sort of stiffness, a woodenness about these people" that he felt Exley had as well.[14] For six weeks, Crowe, Pearce, Hanson and Helgeland conducted rehearsals, which consisted of their discussing each scene in the script.[17] As other actors were cast they would join in the rehearsals.[12]

Principal photography

Lynn Bracken's house. 501 N. Wilcox Ave., Los Angeles

Hanson did not want the film to be an exercise in nostalgia, and so had Spinotti shoot it like a contemporary film, and used more naturalistic lighting than in a classic film noir.[18] He told Spinotti and the film's production designer Jeannine Oppewall to pay great attention to period detail, but to then "put it all in the background".[12] L.A. Confidential was shot at the Linda Vista Community Hospital in the Los Angeles area.[19][20] Several famous Hollywood landmarks appropriate to the 1950s were used, including the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, the Frolic Room on Hollywood Boulevard, and the Crossroads of the World, an outdoor shopping mall dressed as a movie theatre where the premiere of When Worlds Collide takes place at the beginning of the film.[21]

Patchett's home is the Lovell House, a famous International Style mansion designed by Richard Neutra. Bracken's house is at 501 Wilcox Avenue in the affluent Hancock Park neighborhood, overlooking the Wilshire Country Club.[22] The house required a $75,000 renovation to transform it into the Spanish-style home described in the script.[21] Historic Central Los Angeles neighborhoods were used for the scenes in which the police hunt down the Nite Owl suspects, including Angelino Heights, Lincoln Heights, and Koreatown.[21] The Victory Motel was one of the only purpose-built sets, constructed on a flat stretch of the Inglewood Oil Field in Culver City.[21]


Jerry Goldsmith's score for the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score, but lost to James Horner's score for Titanic.[23]


The film was screened at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.[24] According to Hanson, Warner did not want it shown at Cannes because they felt there was an "anti-studio bias ... So why go and come home a loser?"[12] But Hanson wanted to debut the film at a high-profile international venue. He and other producers bypassed the studio and sent a print directly to the festival's selection committee, which loved it.[18] Ellroy saw the film and said, "I understood in 40 minutes or so that it is a work of art on its own level. It was amazing to see the physical incarnation of the characters."[8]

Box office

L.A. Confidential grossed $64.6 million in the United States, and $61.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $126.2 million.[2]

The film was released on September 19, 1997, in 769 theaters, grossing $5.2 million in its opening weekend and finishing fourth behind In & Out, The Game and Wishmaster.[25] It made $4.4 million in its second weekend then expanded to 1,625 theaters and grossed $4.7 million in its third.[26]

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, L.A. Confidential holds an approval rating of 99% and an average rating of 9/10, with 162 out of 163 reviews being positive. The site's critical consensus reads: "Taut pacing, brilliantly dense writing and Oscar-worthy acting combine to produce a smart, popcorn-friendly thrill ride."[3] The film later appeared on top of the site's list of the "300 Best Movies of All Time", a synthesis of critic and user reviews.[27] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 90 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[28]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and described it as "seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted, and one of the best films of the year."[29] He later included it as one of his "Great Movies" and described it as "film noir, and so it is, but it is more: Unusually for a crime film, it deals with the psychology of the characters ... It contains all the elements of police action, but in a sharply clipped, more economical style; the action exists not for itself but to provide an arena for the personalities".[30]

In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Mr. Spacey is at his insinuating best, languid and debonair, in a much more offbeat performance than this film could have drawn from a more conventional star. And the two Australian actors, tightly wound Mr. Pearce and fiery, brawny Mr. Crowe, qualify as revelations."[31] Desson Howe's review for The Washington Post praised the cast: "Pearce makes a wonderful prude who gets progressively tougher and more jaded. New Zealand-born Crowe has a unique and sexy toughness; imagine Mickey Rourke without the attitude. Although she's playing a stock character, Basinger exudes a sort of chaste sultriness. Spacey is always enjoyable."[32]

In his review for The Globe and Mail, Liam Lacey wrote, "The big star is Los Angeles itself. Like Roman Polanski's depiction of Los Angeles in the '30s in Chinatown, the atmosphere and detailed production design are a rich gel where the strands of narrative form."[33] USA Today gave the film three and a half stars out of four, writing, "It appears as if screenwriters Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson have pulled off a miracle in keeping multiple stories straight. Have they ever. Ellroy's novel has four extra layers of plot and three times as many characters ... the writers have trimmed unwieldy muscle, not just fat, and gotten away with it."[34]

In his review for Newsweek, David Ansen wrote, "L.A. Confidential asks the audience to raise its level a bit, too—you actually have to pay attention to follow the double-crossing intricacies of the plot. The reward for your work is dark and dirty fun."[35] Richard Schickel, in his review for Time, wrote, "It's a movie of shadows and half lights, the best approximation of the old black-and-white noir look anyone has yet managed on color stock. But it's no idle exercise in style. The film's look suggests how deep the tradition of police corruption runs."[36] Writing in Time Out New York, Andrew Johnston observed: "Large chunks of Ellroy's brilliant (and often hilarious) dialogue are preserved, and the actors clearly relish the meaty lines. Dante Spinotti's lush cinematography and Jeanne Oppewall's crisp, meticulous production design produce an eye-popping tableau of '50s glamour and sleaze."[37]

In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "Mr. Crowe strikes the deepest registers with the tortured character of Bud White, a part that has had less cut out of it from the book than either Mr. Spacey's or Mr. Pearce's ... but Mr. Crowe at moments reminded me of James Cagney's poignant performance in Charles Vidor's Love Me or Leave Me (1955), and I can think of no higher praise."[38] Kenneth Turan, in his review for Los Angeles Times, wrote, "The only potential audience drawback L.A. Confidential has is its reliance on unsettling bursts of violence, both bloody shootings and intense physical beatings that give the picture a palpable air of menace. Overriding that, finally, is the film's complete command of its material."[39] In his review for The Independent, Ryan Gilbey wrote, "In fact, it's a very well made and intelligent picture, assembled with an attention to detail, both in plot and characterisation, that you might have feared was all but extinct in mainstream American cinema."[40][41] Richard Williams, in his review for The Guardian, wrote, "L.A. Confidential gets just about everything right. The light, the architecture, the slang, the music ... a wonderful Lana Turner joke. A sense, above all, of damaged people arriving to make new lives and getting seduced by the scent of night-blooming jasmine, the perfume of corruption."[42]

Some authors have described L.A. Confidential as a neo-noir film.[43][44]


TIME magazine ranked L.A. Confidential the best film of 1997.[45] The National Society of Film Critics also ranked it the year's best film and Curtis Hanson was voted Best Director.[46] The New York Film Critics Circle also voted L.A. Confidential the year's best film in addition to ranking Hanson best director, and his and Brian Helgeland's best screenplay.[47] The Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review also voted L.A. Confidential the year's best film. As a result, it is one of three films in history to sweep the "Big Four" critics' awards, alongside Schindler's List (1993) and The Social Network (2010).[46]

It was also voted the best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list."[48] In 2009, the London Film Critics' Circle voted L.A. Confidential one of the best films of the past 30 years.[49]

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Picture Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, and Michael Nathanson Nominated [50]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger Won
Best Screenplay – Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Art Direction Art Direction: Jeannine Oppewall;
Set Decoration: Jay Hart
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Nominated
Best Film Editing Peter Honess Nominated
Best Original Dramatic Score Jerry Goldsmith Nominated
Best Sound Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, and Kirk Francis Nominated
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Feature Film Peter Honess Nominated
American Society of Cinematographers Awards Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases Dante Spinotti Nominated [53]
Argentine Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Film Curtis Hanson Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards Excellence in Production Design – Feature Film Jeannine Oppewall and Bill Arnold Nominated [54]
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Casting – Drama Mali Finn Won [55]
Australian Film Institute Awards Best Foreign Film Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, and Michael Nathanson Won [56]
Blue Ribbon Awards Best Foreign Film Curtis Hanson Won
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Film Music Award Jerry Goldsmith Won
Bodil Awards Best Non-European Film Curtis Hanson Won [57]
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Film John Seale Won [58]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey Won
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, and Michael Nathanson Nominated [59]
Best Direction Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Kevin Spacey Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Kim Basinger Nominated
Best Screenplay – Adapted Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Nominated
Best Costume Design Ruth Myers Nominated
Best Editing Peter Honess Won
Best Make Up/Hair John M. Elliott, Scott H. Eddo, and Janis Clark Nominated
Best Original Music Jerry Goldsmith Nominated
Best Production Design Jeannine Oppewall Nominated
Best Sound Terry Rodman, Roland N. Thai, Kirk Francis,
Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, and John Leveque
British Society of Cinematographers Awards Best Cinematography in a Theatrical Feature Film Dante Spinotti Won [60]
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Curtis Hanson Nominated [61]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Won [62]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey Nominated
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Nominated
Best Original Score Jerry Goldsmith Nominated
Most Promising Actor Guy Pearce Nominated
Chlotrudis Awards Best Movie Won [63]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Actor Russell Crowe Won
Guy Pearce Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey Won
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Won
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, and Kirk Francis Nominated
Cinema Writers Circle Awards Best Foreign Film Won
Critics' Choice Awards Best Picture Won [64]
Best Screenplay – Adapted Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Won
Best Director Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger Won
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Curtis Hanson Nominated [65]
Edgar Allan Poe Awards Best Motion Picture Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won [66]
Empire Awards Best Actor Kevin Spacey Won
Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Best Foreign Film Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Director Curtis Hanson Won [67]
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Won
Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Film Curtis Hanson Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated [68]
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Kim Basinger Won
Best Director – Motion Picture Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Original Score – Motion Picture Jerry Goldsmith Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Dialogue & ADR Becky Sullivan, Robert Ulrich, Mildred Iatrou,
Catherine M. Speakman, Donald L. Warner Jr.,
Andrea Horta, Denise Horta, Diane Linn, and Tami Treadwell
Best Sound Editing – Music (Foreign & Domestic) Kenneth Hall Nominated
Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects & Foley Nominated
Japan Academy Film Prize Outstanding Foreign Language Film Won
Kinema Junpo Awards Best Foreign Language Film Curtis Hanson Won
Best Foreign Language Film (Readers' Choice Award) Won
Best Foreign Language Film Director Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won [69]
London Film Critics Circle Awards Film of the Year Won
Director of the Year Curtis Hanson Won
Screenwriter of the Year Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Won [70]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey Runner-up
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Won
Best Production Design Jeannine Oppewall Runner-up
Mainichi Film Awards Best Foreign Language Film Curtis Hanson Won
Nastro d'Argento Best Foreign Director Nominated
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films Won [71]
Best Film Won
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
National Film Preservation Board National Film Registry Inducted [5]
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Film Won [73]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey 2nd Place
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti 2nd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Won [74]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Nikkan Sports Film Awards Best Foreign Film Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Picture Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, and Michael Nathanson Nominated [75]
Best Drama Picture Nominated
Best Director Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Nominated
Best Costume Design Ruth Myers Nominated
Best Film Editing Peter Honess Nominated
Best Production Design Jeannine Oppewall and Jay Hart Nominated
Best Drama Score Jerry Goldsmith Nominated
Best Ensemble Won
Best Sound Nominated
Best Titles Sequence Nominated
Hall of Fame – Motion Picture Inducted [76]
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Picture Won [77]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, and Michael Nathanson Nominated [78]
Political Film Society Awards Human Rights Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Picture Won
Best Director Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Screenplay – Adapted Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Sant Jordi Awards Best Foreign Film Curtis Hanson Won
Best Foreign Film (Audience Award) Won
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated [79]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Nominated
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Russell Crowe Nominated
Best Screenplay – Adapted Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Best Art Direction Jeannine Oppewall Nominated
Best Cinematography Dante Spinotti Nominated
Best Film Editing Peter Honess Nominated
Best Original Score Jerry Goldsmith Nominated
Saturn Awards (1998) Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film Won [80]
Saturn Awards (2009) Best DVD Special Edition Release Nominated [80]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Kim Basinger, James Cromwell, Russell Crowe, Danny DeVito,
Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, and David Strathairn
Nominated [81]
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Kim Basinger Won[a]
Society of Texas Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Kevin Spacey (Also for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) Won
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger Nominated
Best Screenplay – Adapted Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Won [83]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Won
Best Supporting Actress Kim Basinger Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Runner-up [84]
Best Director Curtis Hanson Runner-up
Toronto International Film Festival Metro Media Award Won[b]
Turkish Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Film 2nd Place
USC Scripter Awards Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson (screenwriters);
James Ellroy (author)
Won [85]
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson Won [86]

Home media

A VHS and DVD were released on April 14, 1998.[87] In addition to the film, the latter release included two featurettes, an interactive map of Los Angeles, a music-only track, a theatrical trailer, and three TV spots.[88]

The movie was released again as a two-disc Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray on September 23, 2008.[89] Both sets have the same bonus content. In addition to the features from the original DVD, there are four new featurettes, the 1999 pilot of the proposed TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland, and film commentary by writer (novel) James Ellroy, writer (screenplay)/co-producer Brian Helgeland, actors Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito & David Strathairn, production designer Jeannine Oppewall, director of photography Dante Spinotti, costume designer Ruth Myers and American film critic Andrew Sarris. Some sets included a six-song sampler from the film's soundtrack.[88]

On September 26, 2017, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, the distributor and part owner of New Regency, rereleased the film on Blu-ray as part of its 20th anniversary with new cover artwork. The disc has the same technical specifications and bonus features as the previous Blu-ray.[90]


In October 2020, Brian Helgeland confirmed a sequel to L.A. Confidential had been in development before the death of Chadwick Boseman, who would have played a young cop working for L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley named James Muncie. Crowe and Pearce would have reprised their roles, and the film was to have been set in 1974.[91]

The planned sequel failed to attract interest from studios, with Ellroy and Helgeland revealing that executives from Netflix fell asleep during their pitch.[92]



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Further reading

External links

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