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Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 160 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Jack Nicholson is private-eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite to investigate her husband's extramarital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web ofJack Nicholson is private-eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite to investigate her husband's extramarital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together for one, unforgettable night in Chinatown. (Paramount) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    A nearly flawless example of movie composition, with close examination revealing how carefully it was put together. For those who take a less studious and more visceral approach to movie viewing, it's also worth noting that Chinatown is a superior thriller - one that will keep viewers involved and "in the moment" until the final, mournful scene has come to a conclusion.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    A wonderfully brooding, suspenseful revisitation of the land of film noir, Chinatown is not only one of the greatest detective films, but one of the most perfectly constructed of all films.
  3. 100
    But the greatness of Chinatown, unappreciated by my adolescent self, lies not in its cynical view of the California dream (that's too easy) but in its fatalistic, even tragic conception of America and indeed of human nature.
  4. 100
    [Nicholson's] performance is key in keeping Chinatown from becoming just a genre crime picture--that, and a Robert Towne screenplay that evokes an older Los Angeles, a small city in a large desert.
  5. 80
    In 1974 a director, a screenwriter, and a producer (Robert Evans, who for once deserves a few of the plaudits he's apportioned himself) could decide to beat a genre senseless and then dump it in the wilds of Greek tragedy. [Review of August 8, 2003 re-release]
  6. Reviewed by: Don Druker
    80
    A bit abstract, though gorgeously shot (by John Alonzo) and cleverly plotted (by Robert Towne), Polanski's film suggests that the rules of the game are written in some strange, untranslatable language, and that everyone's an alien and, ultimately, a victim.
  7. 63
    As much as I admire the work of both (Roman) Polanski and (Jack) Nicholson, I found Chinatown tedious from beginning to just before the end. [15 July 1974]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 31
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 31
  3. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. DaveC.
    Jan 7, 2006
    10
    How Polanksi went from this to mediocrity like the Pianist I'll never know I can't pick fault with this film, a genius script and How Polanksi went from this to mediocrity like the Pianist I'll never know I can't pick fault with this film, a genius script and skillful direction blend seamlessly into one of the greatest films of the 70s. There has seldom been a film of such incredible depth. Expand
  2. Jul 14, 2013
    10
    I hate Roman Polinski but sometimes criminals can be masters. "Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last longI hate Roman Polinski but sometimes criminals can be masters. "Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough," says John Huston's crooked construction magnate Noah Cross in this remarkable neo-noir by Roman Polanski, now nationally rereleased in cinemas (like Repulsion) in connection with a retrospective at London's BFI Southbank. What the passage of time has done for this superlative 1974 film is progressively lessen our sense of its being simply a modern pastiche of the classic 30s gumshoe thrillers. The time-gap has narrowed, and it now looks like a classic in a direct line of succession to those earlier pictures.
    As bruised and cynical as the decade that produced it, this noir classic benefits from Robert Towne's brilliant screenplay, director Roman Polanski's steady hand, and wonderful performances from Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.
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  3. j30
    Jan 26, 2012
    10
    This neo-noir, old school movie rocks. The masterful Roman Polanski directs this powerhouse of a movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye DunawayThis neo-noir, old school movie rocks. The masterful Roman Polanski directs this powerhouse of a movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are at their best. I can't recommend this movie enough. Expand
  4. Jan 11, 2015
    10
    As watchable today as it was when it was made, Polanski and writer Towne's ode to LA noir is one of the last great films to come out of theAs watchable today as it was when it was made, Polanski and writer Towne's ode to LA noir is one of the last great films to come out of the final years of the studios. Nicholson's private eye being played by everybody is the reminder of how well Polanski works with actors and how much he could have achieved if fate had not dealt him a different hand. A must see for anybody serious about film. Expand
  5. May 4, 2015
    10
    Ida Sessions: "Are you alone?"

    J.J. Gittes: "Isn't everybody?" The story to Chinatown is about a private detective, Jake Gittes, hired
    Ida Sessions: "Are you alone?"

    J.J. Gittes: "Isn't everybody?"

    The story to Chinatown is about a private detective, Jake Gittes, hired to investigate an adultery case, stumbles on the plot of a murder involving incest and the privatization of water through state and municipal corruption, land use and real estate. If he doesn't drop the case at once he faces threats of legal action, but he pursues it anyway, slowly uncovering a vast conspiracy.

    Some people may not know but I got a lot of things to do and those things are reviewing 8 Movies, three TV shows and two video games so basically that's why I'm a bit behind of the new releases. Then and now I have to take a little break or a day off from doing this because well I can be a bit tried of doing this, but I still have fun reviewing and I'm extremely proud to be talking about the great classics and the new films, TV shows and games that come out. Speaking of cult classics, Chinatown was on top of my list to watch next, because I heard nothing but amazing things about this movie and after watching it I can agree that this movie was outstanding.

    Jack Nicholson is now known as the single best actor of all time just like Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, and in this movie his talent dose shine in this movie. He played his so well that I actually didn't fully hate him because in the movie his character is kind of a A-hole but I didn't hate him, if a different director took the director chair and directed the movie differently then maybe I would have dislike him. Jack Nicholson did probably his 4th best performance that I've seen from him.

    The movie is filled with lines that I won't lie but the lines have stuck with me after the movie was over and I got to give the writers credit for that. The music in this movie has that smooth jazzy beat to it and that totally fitted the movie so well. The cinematography in this movie was shot beautifully and just perfection with it's open and normal shots.

    For problems I don't really have any problems to be honest. I didn't find a single thing that I dislike or bothered me, no wonder it's classic.
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  6. Jun 19, 2014
    9
    This one was great, even if I did not love the ending. Jack Nicholson's performance here is awesome as if Faye Dunaway's. Both really commandThis one was great, even if I did not love the ending. Jack Nicholson's performance here is awesome as if Faye Dunaway's. Both really command attention when on sceen and truly kill their roles. In addition, despite what you may think of the man, Roman Polanski directs this one perfectly. The cinematography is also great as it really manages to perfectly capture the look and feel of old Los Angeles and, most impressively, makes this film look timeless. Honestly, it fits in perfectly with the films that came before, but could be passed off as a newer film at the same time. The story is great as well, thanks not just to the acting, but to a great script as well. The revealing of the facts from the lies in this mystery thriller is perfectly executed and makes the film extremely to watch as you try to figure out exactly what happened here. However, the only drawback here for me is the ending. I am ok with the mood they were going for, but really, the way the events transpired left me feeling unsatisfied to a degree. Now, it does not outweigh the greatness before, but I just wish the ending was a bit better for my liking. In spite of that, Chinatown is a great, near perfect neo-noir film that does not feel aged in the least. Expand
  7. Aug 19, 2010
    7
    Private Investigator, woman hires him to catch her cheating husband, husband's real wife turns up, husband drowns, corruption, twists &Private Investigator, woman hires him to catch her cheating husband, husband's real wife turns up, husband drowns, corruption, twists & turns.
    Film noir with Jack Nicholson doing what he does best before he started grunting his way through films. It has a great atmosphere with it set in 1930s Los Angeles & helped by good dialogue, music & locations.
    Definitely an influence for later films with LA Confidential & Basic Instinct taking from this..
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See all 31 User Reviews

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