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
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 27
  2. Negative: 3 out of 27
  1. 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 »
  2. Jul 7, 2011
    10
    The moment you start watching "Boogie Nights", written and directed by the artist Paul Thomas Anderson, it is quite visible that the movie isn't just very bold and distinct from all the other films of the 90's but that it represents a matter that hasn't been approached almost at all. It is in the 70's and the 80's that the film is set, around the pornography-film-industry. Filled with astonishing performances (from practically every supporting actor and Mark Wahlberg in the leading role) and a great script, "Boogie Nights" is one of the year's must-see. Full Review »
  3. Jun 28, 2014
    10
    A Masterpiece! A very nostalgic look at late 1970's and early 1980's San Fernando Valley and the porn industry. Mark Wahlberg and John C. Riley are hilariously serious in their roles which take them from top-tier porn actors to junkie rock-star wannabes. YOU GOT THE TOUCH! YOU GOT THE POWERRR! Full Review »