Chinatown (1974)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1974
DVD Release Date: November 23, 1999
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Critic Score: 98% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: 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.

Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune

As much as I admire the work of both Polanski and Nicholson, I found Chinatown tedious from beginning to just before the end.

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Time Out

The hard-boiled private eye coolly strolls a few steps ahead of the audience.

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Alastair Sooke
Daily Telegraph (UK)

As private investigator Jake Gittes, hired to dig up some dirt on Hollis Mulwray, chief engineer of Los Angeles's water department, Nicholson saunters round the city delivering one-liners with offhand brilliance.

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A.D. Murphy

Roman Polanski's American made film, first since Rosemary's Baby shows him again in total command of talent and physical filmmaking elements.

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Jessica Winter
Village Voice

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.

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Odie Henderson
Movie Mezzanine

Chinatown is deliciously, intolerably cruel as it toys with us.

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Don Druker
Chicago Reader

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.

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

A new private-eye melodrama that celebrates not only a time and a place (Los Angeles) but also a kind of criminality that to us jaded souls today appears to be nothing worse than an eccentric form of legitimate private enterprise.

Philip French
Observer (UK)

This film is flawless.

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More reviews for Chinatown

Flixster Audience Score: 93% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalh„es
An extremely complex film noir full of mystery and intelligent twists that keep us always guessing and trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, while… More
Spencer S.
One of the best late century detective noirs, Roman Polanski helms a stunning vehicle for star Jack Nicholson while weaving a web of intrigue, murder, and… More
Matthew Samuel Mirliani
An excellent, classic film that is suspenseful, well-filmed, and features enjoyable twists and turns. Jack Nicholson is terrific--as usual.
Kevin Cookman
Remarkable noir: as much a crafty subversion as it is a traditional mystery. But I'm very open to someone explaining to me in detail why this is SO highly… More
Directors Cat
c0up †
'Chinatown'. An intricate, tragedy-drenched, noir screenplay revealing layers throughout, a resourceful J.J. Gittes played well by Jack Nicholson, and… More