Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 100
    Has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive.
  2. A hard-core movie with a soft, light-hearted center and an edge like a knife.
  3. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has perfectly wedded form to function by filming Boogie Nights in a style suggesting the grainy texture of porn and the ambivalence of the era.
  4. 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.
  5. 100
    With its ceaseless music, large canvas, shrewd casting and flawless ensemble acting and the dexterity of its whiplashing mood switches, the movie recalls Robert Altman's "Nashville" more than any subsequent movie has.
  6. Mark Wahlberg, in a star-making performance, has the kind of electric ingenuousness that John Travolta did in "Saturday Night Fever."
  7. 100
    While it's very funny, Boogie Nights taps into something much deeper with its on-target depiction of the shifting political and social tides of the '70s and '80s and thoughtful relationships between characters. It's a deeply satisfying movie.
  8. If Boogie Nights were poorly made and acted, its materials would make it intolerably tawdry. But its so well done that we keep watching. [Nov. 10, 1997]
  9. 90
    That rarest of independent films -- it's risky and exciting.
  10. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    90
    He (Anderson) simply doesn't allow for dull moments, and his gifts for irony and showmanship are clearly appreciated by a collection of actors who have rarely been better.
  11. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    90
    Darkly comic, vastly entertaining and utterly original.
  12. Reviewed by: Andy Jones
    90
    As lensed brillantly by 26-year-old Anderson, the movie is at once tasteful and raunchy.
  13. From the second it begins, Boogie Nights seizes your senses and pulls you right in: no turning back, no time for debate, no regrets.
  14. I'm not sure all of this works out as convincingly as Anderson intends in the movie's somewhat unsatisfying ending, but getting there is a wickedly enjoyable journey.
  15. 88
    Isn't just an expose of the porn industry -- it's a provocative and involving character study, as well.
  16. 88
    A grand, sweeping nostalgia trip that evokes the sickness of an era even as it tries to find its essential humanity.
  17. A true storyteller, able to easily mix and match moods in a playful and audacious manner, he (Anderson) is a filmmaker definitely worth watching, both now and in the future.
  18. The movie's special gift happens to be Mark Wahlberg, who gives a terrifically appealing performance in this tricky role.
  19. Reviewed by: B.J. Sigesmund
    80
    A stunning glimpse at acting -- and life -- in the raw.
  20. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    So here's a tip for those attending this handsomely acted, epic-length little film. Ease into the sleaze, stare at the party animals, look but don't touch, and, oh, boogie all night. [October 6, 1997]
  21. Notwithstanding its occasional grotesque nods to postmodernist convention, this is highly entertaining Hollywood filmmaking, full of spark and vigor.
  22. 70
    He (Anderson) manages to guide his cast of characters through an epic story of self-delusion with a skill and grace that many more experienced filmmakers would be hard put to match.
  23. 70
    Moore, who may be the most unpredictably talented actress in movies right now, plays Amber with an inseparable mixture of maternal feeling and lust that's flabbergasting.
  24. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    70
    It's a deeply divided film--hugely ambitious and uneven, with sequences that seem to point to a new, comically flagrant movie sexuality and others that drag one into the funky muddle of the dreariest dopehead downers from the '70s.
  25. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    70
    A film so driven by pure style that a script barely seems necessary in its first half, Boogie Nights becomes bogged down in a predictable aftermath of drug deals, post-stardom decay, cocaine-fueled nuttiness, and self-loathing.
  26. Reviewed by: Sarah Kerr
    60
    These late scenes are over the top, as mean and reductive as editorials in a tabloid, and they nearly extinguish the moral subtlety of what's gone before.
  27. Heavily influenced by Quentin Tarantino's brand of quirky sensationalism, this high-energy saga by Paul Thomas Anderson goes a long way toward exposing the greed and stupidity of the pornography trade, then loses its moral compass and steers toward a sadly superficial ending.
  28. 50
    It's possible to be dazzled by a movie and still not like it very much.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 140 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 30
  2. Negative: 6 out of 30
  1. OLuc
    Jul 27, 2006
    10
    Sometimes, I come back to this movie and I think about it, and I wonder, "Why isn't this movie being praised as well as othe movies of it's era, like Fargo, or Titanic?" More and more I wonder why people look more towards Quentin Tarantino then P.T. Anderson when it comes to directing, because this movie is just one of those movies that really is brought togethor by the film's atomesphere and screenplay, which were both done by Anderson. This movie is better than what many grade it to be, so if you like Robert Altman, than see Boogie Nights, the modern-day Nashville! Full Review »
  2. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    Everything about "Boggie Nights" is sincere and straightforward, and with an wide array of unforgettable characters, it is one of the most distinctive American films made in the late 1990's. Everyone's born with one special thing, and Eddie Adams (Marc Wahlberg) uses his "special gift" and is poised to take the world of porn by storm. Eddie Adams, (also known as Dirk Diggler), is discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and soars to the top of the pornography industry. After achieving great success in the industry during the 1970's, the 80's did not fair so well for Dirk. A change of culture coupled with a drug addiction, he quickly hits rock bottom not knowing anything else to turn to. At the heart of the story is a group of eccentric, outlandish group of characters, an unorthodox "family" if you will. An incredible collection of actors and performances keep this lengthy film completely engaging throughout the 155 minutes. Despite of what you may think of these people and their profession, you can't help but be drawn into their lives and personal stories. Paul Anderson's attention to the fine details; decor, style, culture, and social attitudes of the era are spot on. It is heart-rendering and darkly humorous with an message of redemption and forgiveness. Full Review »
  3. Nov 8, 2012
    10
    I was blown away by Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Boogie Nights.' Never have I seen a film so alive. The writing, directing, acting, editing, cinematography, and epic soundtrack are all key elements in the construction of this nearly flawless film. Full Review »