Watch
Chinatown

Chinatown

1974
Drama, Suspense/Thriller
2h 10m
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 of personal and political scandals that come crashing together for one, unforgettable night in Chinatown.
Directed by:
Written by:
Starring:
Country:
Languages:
Franchise:
Chinatown
Your probable score
?

Chinatown

1974
Drama, Suspense/Thriller
2h 10m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 75.45% from 8578 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(8580)
Compact view
Compact view
Rated 14 Aug 2007
98
99th
Polanski does a wonderful job, the cast does a wonderful job, but Robert Towne's script steals the show. After a thousand little pieces fall right into place at the very last scene, the sheer perfection of this story hits you, hard.
Rated 15 Jul 2020
100
98th
Huston is barely in this and he’s easily one of the most despicable evil movie monsters ever. Oh and Polsanki.
Rated 02 Mar 2007
6
98th
Setting aside its first-rate production values, its all-time great screenplay, Nicholson and Dunaway at their peaks, and Polanski's assured direction: what makes Chinatown resonate more deeply than ever in 2018 is the fact that it casts, as its villain, an amoral businessman, who, besides totally fucking over the little guy, is literally an incestuous rapist.
Rated 15 Jun 2008
10
98th
Arguably the best script ever written. The backdrop is incredibly well done, the dialogue is believable and advances the plot, the storyline is great and has one of the best protagonists ever in Nicholson. There are so many complications to Gittes and it's also witty and funny. You have to see this movie. Great ending too. "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
Rated 03 Oct 2009
75
55th
I'm sorry, but I found it to be a little underwhelming and hard to get into. The plot is well-written and the characters are well-acted, but I found it difficult to care about either. It just lacks a certain spark for me and there's little payoff in the end. On the plus side, the script is very enjoyable.
Rated 22 Dec 2009
100
99th
A neo-noir masterpiece, memorable for its style, its despair and its beauty. A complex story told in spare dialogue, it begins in political corruption and ends in family outrage. Although the mystery may be solved, the tragedy cannot be averted, and evil survives to prey upon the next generation. Nicholson and Dunaway, two unusually cold actors, display extraordinary vulnerability, and Polanski, in an unforgettable cameo, shows us what happens to "nosy fellahs."
Rated 14 Aug 2007
9
98th
A brilliantly elaborate, dark, and cynical neo-noir mystery set in a Los Angeles that's never seemed less appealing. Easily one of the best mystery screenplays ever written boosted further into masterpiece territory by Jack Nicholson's tired twist on the traditional hard-boiled noir detective. John Hutson is fantastic as Noah Cross. You just want to punch him in the face. Also, nose cut!
Rated 14 Aug 2007
5
93rd
The production design is of such detailed and authentic quality. It fills me with nostalgia for a time and place I've never even experienced outside of cinema. Its puzzle-piece mystery is methodical, paced at careful measure, and filled with revelation. Nicholson is so cool, Dunaway is classic, Huston is legendary.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
97th
Polanski's ode to noir becomes itself the shining example of what noir can be. Perhaps Nicholson's greatest preformance, simply because he doesn't play "Jack Nicholson"
Rated 23 Dec 2008
10
97th
(2nd viewing): Can't believe I gave this a 70 a couple of years ago, but it shows you just how much I appreciate and value these kinds of films today. "Chinatown" is another timeless masterpiece, a prime example of American cinema, both tense and engrossing, and undeniably attractive. The film just looks alive and beautiful. The performances and music also contribute a lot to this amazing noir. Highly recommended !!!
Rated 29 Nov 2012
95
96th
"Forget it. This is China Town". I try this line every time my girlfriend wants us to clean up the apartment, and it never works. This saddens me for many a reason; mostly because she's never seen this absolute Noir pinnacle, but also because I always indulge her, afraid she'll cut my nose. But that's because she's my s.. oh to hell with this review.
Rated 27 Mar 2007
75
90th
Somehow Chinatown seems overrated to me. It probably has the guts, the brain, icons, art noveau poster, smoke and light. Revelation pace and chaotic structure is exceptional too. But I can't get what is neo in this noir.
Rated 20 Apr 2007
7
99th
Unbelievable, really. From the entire cast [special nod going to John Huston in one of the only roles to literally make my skin crawl no matter how many times I see this], virtuoso camerawork, the methodical and careful pacing, to the gut-shattering ending that I don't think could ever be matched in impact. Just unbelievable.
Rated 11 May 2007
94
95th
Chinatown is one of the best mystery films of all time. Nicholson is at the top of his game and plays private-eye Jake Gittes with the utmost class. I didn't find this film to be much for the first little while, I can even say I hated it, but about halfway through, i realised this was pure gold, and the ending was an absolutely mindblowing experience. Polanski does wonders.
Rated 16 Jun 2007
100
97th
At one point, I listed L.A. Confidential as one of my favorite movies. And then I saw Chinatown.
Rated 18 Feb 2009
98
98th
Flawless, especially the revelation scene which feels organic and unscripted and unwanted, even as it answers our questions.
Rated 14 Feb 2010
86
92nd
A damned fine thriller, Nicholson pulls of the tough as nails, clever, and ever wisecracking private eye better than perhaps anybody has ever before. The story has a good amount of well developed twists and turns and is just an all around good movie. Too bad the sequel wasn't made in a timely manner, and too bad the third was never made.
Rated 27 Apr 2011
87
90th
It's not as genuine and personal as you'd want it to be. Some parts are clearly perfunctory, and there to facilitate a sense of completeness that wasn't necessary to begin with. It's still great though, just not the highest of the highs.
Rated 16 Feb 2007
96
94th
It took me three viewings to understand the dark brilliance behind Chinatown. Now I can see with complete clarity how beautifully handled every shot in this film is. How fantastic the cast is, breathing life into such complex characters so effortlessly. And how masterful and intricate the plot is. Undeniably, this film is a monument to cinema.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
85th
Crime thrillers don't get much better than this. Polanski does a great job immersing the viewer in the movie.
Rated 12 Sep 2007
96
97th
A classic. Jack Nicholson did a masterful job with this. John Huston was a menacingly realistic actor instead of a director. Very memorable. I've watched this movie many times.
Rated 16 Apr 2009
95
98th
An absolute masterpiece. With the revitalization of noir in the early 1970's, Chinatown came along to change it forever. Jack Nicholson gives a great performance as private eye Jake Gittes, but the greatness of this film shines not through its acting, but its sheer brutality. From the moment Jake has his nose slashed to the very end of the film, Chinatown takes everything that cliched noir stories relied on and starts from square one.
Rated 31 May 2010
94
99th
Took me forever to finally watch this, and I regretted that like many of the other classics I've seen lately. Jack Nicholson is at the top of his game here as 30s gumshoe Gettes, and you never really get a handle on who the true villain is (until about the last 20 minutes, of course). I love noir, and this is most certainly that at it's finest. It's a weaving story that takes many turns, and it never gets boring or plods along. Infinitely impressive.
Rated 20 Jun 2010
96
95th
I too like breathing with my nose.
Rated 26 Jul 2011
100
99th
Extraordinary crime/drama/mystery, which improves and deepens on repeated viewings. Nicholson gives his best 70s performance, and Huston is chilling as the oily "Mr Big". Literally so much going on that the first half is almost indecipherable on initial viewings, but familiarity reveals everything fits seamlessly together and makes sense. Polanski's mastery of cinema is on full display here, and Goldsmith's haunting, majestic and old fashioned score helps to perfectly evoke 40s film noir.
Rated 24 Feb 2013
81
73rd
Not sure where the Chinatown angle fit it, but I guess it's hard to win Oscars with a movie called "Los Angeles Water and Sewage Treatment Plant-Town".
Rated 26 Dec 2006
68
35th
Did I watch the same movie everyone else did?
Rated 18 Mar 2007
97
97th
Chinatown is probably the best film noir movie that actually isn't even film noir.
Rated 20 Feb 2008
86
94th
Wonderfully downbeat, rich and satifying fare. Seeing this has compelled me to check out more of the original noirs, a genre I had (to my shame) hitherto largely ignored...
Rated 16 May 2008
100
99th
Atmospheric like no other film; a delicious crime-flick from the always potent Polanski. Calm on top and turbulent underneath.
Rated 29 Jul 2008
99
95th
Chinatown is one of the most engrossing Noir legends ever made. Polanski, once a horror film fanatic, single-handely popularized this genre.
Rated 30 Jul 2008
81
83rd
Now I see which standards Brian de Palma was trying to overclass with The Black Dahlia. Well I can tell you: 'he failed miserably'. Chinatown shows in every possible way what the noir-genre should be: sassy girls, arrogant main character, scenery, and mainly an interesting & layered plot. ... A worthy classic.
Rated 12 Jan 2009
99
92nd
a movie with a punch-in-the-face final. A dozens of yawns during the noir-style drama are repaid with a mind-blowing last five minutes.
Rated 22 Jan 2009
74
55th
One of the most beloved films among the cineasts, I wasn't as impressed by this as I felt I should have been. For one thing, the plot was overcomplicated and confusing. Nicholson and Dunaway give excellent performances here, and the mood is properly mysterious, but I found myself observing the film from outside rather than being immersed in it. The great films noir that this is based on are ultimately better.
Rated 10 Apr 2009
100
93rd
Teasing, complex mystery that uses the conventions of detective stories to explore civic and personal corruption, in the style of Raymond Chandler, but adding a more modern perspective. It is eminently watchable, with effective individual scenes and performances and photography which is lovingly composed though tending to suggest period by use of an orange filter.
Rated 21 Jun 2009
0
3rd
Stylized, artsy soap opera.
Rated 11 Oct 2009
94
96th
One of the best mystery films I've ever seen. Polanski's directing, Towne's legendary script, and Nicholson's acting helped to make this a truly timeless classic that revitalized noir.
Rated 03 Jul 2010
100
99th
Best film about water.
Rated 28 Oct 2010
60
71st
Great direction, good performances - particularly from Nicholson - and a plot that keeps you interested throughout, but watching it for the first time 36 years after its release you can't shake the feeling of it being an overlong episode of Columbo. Entertaining but not essential, despite its obvious merits I just didn't care enough about the outcome to consider this a 'keeper'. Perhaps a second viewing is required.
Rated 25 Jan 2012
74
76th
Nicholson can and has carried movies with terrible scripts. This does not have a terrible script, but he still carries it.
Rated 10 Jan 2013
90
95th
"You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of... anything..." And thus John Huston (in a deliciously sinister performance) sums up the entire essence of film noir in one simple quote.
Rated 30 Jan 2018
39
9th
I just ... don't ... get ... this. I've tried twice now, and I least I didn't fall asleep the second time, but I really can't see the masterpiece everybody else sees in Chinatown. A reasonably good murder mystery, but it's glacially paced, Gittes frequently finds clues too conveniently, and to my mind the acting is often laughable which took me out of the scenes in question. I'd forgive that in the 40s or 50s, but this came out two years after The Godfather so it has no excuse.
Rated 15 Jun 2020
98
99th
All time great script, score, direction, and performances. "He lives at 1712 Alameda. Do you know where that is?" "Sure". The music accompanying references to Chinatown evokes a feeling of cyclical time. Something terrible made Jake leave Chinatown, but something terrible is still fated to happen there again
Rated 24 Oct 2020
95
98th
When I tell my grandkids about the days when Hollywood made films about "real" (fictitious OR true) stories, rather than relying on marvel comics, laugh a minute animation and "exciting" CGI, I will use this film as an excellent example. Chinatown is a metaphor for everything corrupt in modern society, where the little man can do practically nothing ... or "as little as possible" .... against the root of all evil. No happy endings, no "just deserts", just brutally real, sad and stunning.
Rated 11 Dec 2020
93
87th
Along with Rosemary's Baby, it makes a great double bill called Polanski's Problematic Classics. Here we see his weird psychosexual fantasies on how life would be better if a woman just learned to love the abuse, gaslighting, and trauma a man gives her. There's also an "eat your vegetables" quality to the script, which every screenwriter loves to study, but I'm not sure audiences even care about. And yet I still dig this picture, both for the message on corrupting power & the technical skill.
Rated 05 Dec 2006
97
95th
Waht's your excuse? If you love movies, you love "Chinatown".
Rated 25 Mar 2007
100
95th
Unique, wonderfully acted, and truly friggin' STRANGE detective story. Too bad Polanski is such a perv or he'd have made a lot more films like this for us
Rated 29 Jun 2007
100
98th
A perfect film.
Rated 30 Jun 2007
95
89th
Long after the advent of Noir, Polanski managed to perfect the form. Take one of the best screenplays ever written, plunk down Nicholson at the height of his skills, and you get classic. Goldsmith's music don't stink either.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
98th
Polanski's masterpiece. For years I've had the idea of making a film about the Chaffey brothers, but set in Mildura. It would be a kind of cross between this film and DAYS OF HEAVEN, and undoubtedly the greatest Australian film of all time.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
100
96th
If you ask me, this is the best noir ever made. And there are a lot of great noirs. I'll also say that the mystery in this movie is absolutely captivating. Too often, especially in film, mysteries are either too simple or in the end make no sense. Oftentimes we'll get a character at the end of the film to explain everything, and tie it all together. We don't need that here. Even though there are a lot of threads, and the story itself is complex, every thread makes complete sense.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
89
97th
Damn, this is good. Gittes is played about halfway between Marlowe and the gutter, an interesting take.
Rated 04 Sep 2007
95
98th
Doesn't insult the viewer by explaining every little detail of the case. Allows you to work it out by yourself.
Rated 04 Nov 2007
97
97th
Gorgeous and artistic with story and characters to match. An all time great.
Rated 19 Jan 2008
95
99th
A pretty much perfect classic. One of the greatest neo-noirs.
Rated 29 Feb 2008
91
96th
Deservingly a classic and the best detective story I've seen. Nicholson and Polanski are in top form.
Rated 16 Mar 2008
100
97th
If I could give it a higher score than 100 I would.
Rated 14 Jul 2008
100
96th
Absolute brilliance. Quite possibly the greatest screenplay ever and it's the most gut wrenching ending I've ever seen.
Rated 24 Jul 2008
100
95th
"FORGOT IT JAKE ITS CHINATOWN" BUT I GURANTEE IF YOU WATCH IT YOU WILL NEVER FOGET
Rated 22 Oct 2008
98
98th
Simply one of the best screenplays ever written. Nicholson is perfect. Although it's not a tear-jerker by any means, Dunaway's emotional performance brings an added layer and the ending is so powerful that it gets me every time.
Rated 23 Jan 2009
92
93rd
Extra high for screenwriting. As a viewing experience, I may go a tad lower, into the high 80's. This is writing for the screen perfected.
Rated 21 Apr 2009
15
10th
Maybe I'm missing something. I couldn't see what the point of this movie was. Unless the point was that Chinatown is a shithole.
Rated 26 Aug 2009
100
97th
It's Chinatown.
Rated 14 Oct 2009
90
96th
2nd viewing: This has to be most cruel and cold film ever made [even in Polanski's standards]. Also, this is probably the most "perfect" post noir film to be made without many of its elements. Last but not least, it has THE BEST SCRIPT EVER, which is more noticable then Nicholson's fantastic performance and Polanski's brilliant direction, and THAT IS SAYING A LOT. So why, you ask, I am not giving it a "100"...well, maybe I think that there are better films... or maybe I'm just supid :P
Rated 10 Jan 2010
99
99th
Ironically between him, the director, and the lead, John Huston was by far the least sketchiest guy in the film.
Rated 14 Feb 2010
100
99th
A stunning movie, containing an excellent performance from Nicholson. It's a slow burner, to be sure, but the story is flawlessly executed as we follow Gittes on his investigation all the way to the shocking climax. The film is beautifully shot, capturing the mood of the era perfectly, and is backed up by a wonderful score. The script is excellent with some amazing dialogue between Nicholson and Huston in particular. A brilliant mystery thriller with excellent performances and direction.
Rated 10 Mar 2010
75
76th
The pedo-grampa character gets interresting aspects if you concidere Polanskins latter adventures..
Rated 11 Apr 2010
100
93rd
A perfect film. Can't say much more than that.
Rated 25 Jul 2010
97
94th
Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are top notch on this suspenseful film that might be Polanski's masterpiece
Rated 31 Aug 2010
100
91st
Excellent crime drama. Nicholson is superb. All the intriguing elements are put in their proper place by Towne in an intricate, entertaining screenplay.
Rated 05 Sep 2010
92
89th
ahh those neo-noirs. and don't let me get going about the soundtrack. and Nicholson. a brilliant movie. don't listen to anything anyone tells you about the ending; it's part of the magic.
Rated 25 Sep 2010
90
94th
Great color noir, Nicholson is excellent and the plot is very compelling. The ending actually shocked me, which surprised the hell out of me.
Rated 23 Nov 2010
87
84th
An incredible top-tier script, New Hollywood’s most iconic two actors in their prime, and superb evocative cinematography and music blend together to create one of the most quintessential American films of the 70s or in the noir and crime genres or just ever really imo tbh
Rated 01 Jan 2011
63
28th
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.
Rated 17 Jun 2011
98
98th
Among all thrillers I've ever seen Chinatown would take one special place beyond the limits than any other movie could reach. This unbelievable balance of mystery suspense and drama play so well with your mind that you get absorbed without, actually, realizing it. Now I see how weak The Ghost Writer was in comparison to what Polanski could do when his talent was blooming. Jack Nicholson goes directly to my favorite actors and I feel sorry I haven't done it earlier.
Rated 06 Oct 2011
95
97th
"Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown"
Rated 25 Dec 2011
80
78th
Neo-noir always gets the wallpaper right, but forgets to install the plumbing. This one's good though, entirely thanks to Jack Nicholson's performance and Paedo Polanski's technical prowess. Plus, I think I'm in love with chinatown the metaphor, and have used it in day-to-day life. I didn't care about the characters or story one bit, though. Chandleresque only does it for me in Chandler, it comes off like schtick otherwise.
Rated 12 Feb 2012
100
98th
Movie 1000! This is a film that appealed to me in so many ways before I even saw it. It would be hard to match those expectations but it totally does. In the 70's Jack Nicholson was an untouchable actor. And to think, this is only his 3rd best performance from the decade! Faye Dunaway is spectacular, as is John Huston as the slimy Noah Cross. Roman Polanski is a phenomenal director who puts together a perfect vision of LA. That final line is the best final line ever, I think.
Rated 20 Feb 2012
30
13th
I didn't like it.
Rated 30 Sep 2012
70
70th
Fairly good mystery, but the script is dated. Period piece with lots of Film Noir qualities. Interesting film, but there are some potholes in the plot. John Huston and Faye Dunaway were good, and she was beautiful at that age. There are a few memorable scenes. Jack Nicholson was not as convincing as I had expected as the private detective. Worst characters were the inept police. I hated the ending, it left me wondering what the point of this movie really was, and it left the story unfinished.
Rated 22 Nov 2012
89
95th
Looks as good now as the day it was released. Nicholson is absolutely at his peak, the same can be said for Polanski, and Towne's screenplay is slick, smooth and an absolute triumph. Although "Chinatown" perhaps doesn't rank amongst my absolute personal favourites, it's an undeniable noir masterpiece.
Rated 13 Dec 2012
95
99th
The pinnacle of Neo-Noir. There's barely a flaw in this masterpiece but the script, directing and score are probably the stand-outs.
Rated 26 Apr 2013
97
99th
Fantastic crime/mystery film with brilliant script and wonderful performances led by Jack Nicholson on top of it.
Rated 05 Dec 2013
50
7th
I like Roman Polanski but could not get into this one.
Rated 14 Jul 2014
65
45th
This movie didn't do much for me. Just one of those things where I hear everyone say it's fantastic and I am completely underwhelmed when I actually see it.
Rated 26 Oct 2014
89
87th
not only is this film a remarkable homage to the best of hollywood, it is an astute, albeit bleak look at the overpowering and expansive nature of corruption. the film works so intricately. every line of dialogue, every "throw-away" moment pays off brilliantly. the film excels in every way - structurally, stylistically, thematically and in terms of performance. polanski really uses his european influence to bring nuance to the biggest american trope, the film noir. a true international classic.
Rated 12 Nov 2014
86
92nd
Gorgeous form, utterly bleak on the inside. One of the most profoundly depressed works I've seen. A beautiful expression of a harrowingly empty existence.
Rated 05 Apr 2015
71
27th
What's the fuss? There's nothing in this mostly predictable jaded private eye storyline that hasn't been done 1000 times already (does anyone not see Huston as the mastermind the minute he shows up?) It's not even a deconstruction of the genre (like the Grifters), so I can only assume all those 70's critics who grew up on pulpy noir tales simply got a profound thrill out of watching a slightly more mature & pretentious throwback to their childhood faves. There are no happy endings: yawn.
Rated 08 Sep 2015
100
95th
Chinatown never fails to disappoint; Polanski's masterful direction paired with two fantastic performances make it a timeless classic.
Rated 28 Sep 2015
88
94th
OK, what *the fuck* does Chinatown have to do with this movie? Gittes had a beat in Chinatown when he was a cop, and the the very ending of the movie takes place there. But the movie itself takes place in southern California, and Chinatown LA has like 3 minute of actual screentime. So the final line, "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown" means what, exactly? That the woman's death won't get investigated, just like the main crime in this movie that *doesn't* take place in Chinatown?
Rated 23 Oct 2015
100
99th
Never seen a more perfect film. An absolute masterpiece.
Rated 17 Dec 2015
95
97th
Oh jesus, it's fantastic. A well-crafted mystery bolstered by a timeless script, Polanski's noir masterpiece is powerful and compelling. Every actor does a damn good job, especially Jack Nicholson, however. Robert Towne's script is the best we may ever seen, and up there with it are Polanski's direction and Nicholson's performance. Truly a classic.
Rated 06 Jul 2016
85
97th
Single handedly responsible for revitalizing a long dead Hollywood staple, Chinatown spawned many imitators but no equals. Towne's oscar winning screenplay is rightly revered, but it's Polanski's deliberate pacing and handling of mood via low key lighting--aided tremendously by Goldmith's melancholy score--that brings the material to life. The slow burn trajectory obscures the importance of major plot details on first viewing, but it's wonderfully resonant. Nicholson and Dunaway are perfect.
Rated 11 Jul 2016
95
96th
Chinatown is a complex mystery that succeeds on every level, resulting in one of the finest films from both Jack Nicholson and Roman Polanski respectively.
Rated 16 Jul 2016
100
99th
Perfect
Rated 04 Jan 2019
90
70th
I didn't love trying to keep up with too many seemingly unnecessary details with which I had no real emotional attachment other than to try and not waste a movie watching experience. Otherwise I could appreciate the great acting, the fact this is a classic, and some really cool twists and turns in the plot.
Rated 06 Jun 2019
90
81st
One of the finest Neo-Noirs ever..Jack Nicholson is great as private eye J.J Gittes but the Los Angeles 30's depiction is the true star here. Don't miss it.
Rated 14 Nov 2019
95
92nd
Distills the spirit of Hammett and Chandler better than any of the movies that were actually made from their books. If we take his later performances (when he essentially devolved into a charicature of himself) into account, Nicholson seems a strange choice for the part of the detective; but outside of CUCKOO'S NEST, this may be his best performance. Huston rocks the house with his villainy. For my money, it's Polanski's best movie.
Rated 15 Apr 2020
90
91st
Forget it jake, it's Chinatown!
Rated 23 Apr 2020
98
99th
One of my favorite films of all time, and a nearly perfect film noir.

Cast & Info

Directed by:
Written by:
Starring:
Country:
Languages:

Collections

(210)
Compact view
Showing 1 - 24 of 210 results

Similar Titles

Loading ...

Statistics

Loading ...