Parents' Guide to

L.A. Confidential

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Dense, tangled period cop drama for adults.

Movie R 1997 156 minutes
L.A. Confidential Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Goddamn this movie is great.

You can't trust anything about “The City of Angels”. Anyone can be bribed, or blackmailed… or killed. L.A. Confidential is an exciting homage to pulp noire and it was just as entertaining upon rewatch as the first time I saw it. All the archetypes are there, the femme fatale, the bad cop, the corrupt politician, but the amazing cast brings so much life into these characters. The setting of the police station allows for great interactions, as I love watching characters who can’t stand each other, have to work together. One minute detectives are fist fighting, the next they are cracking the case. Then to cap it all off you get a banger shootout.
age 16+

A Modern Noir Masterpiece

The plot adaptation is brilliant, the acting is on point, and the cinematography and production design make it a classic.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (4):

Though it comes highly praised by critics, L.A. Confidential makes a lot of the same questionable moves as a lot of lesser police actioners. Heroes who take beatings that would put anyone else in ICU, then heal up instantly; LAPD so criminal they make the mafia look wimpy; and the paternal chief who turns out to be the worst villain. Plus, after all the sinister twists and turns, an ending where everybody shoots everybody and lives happily ever after.

So why all the Academy Award nominations? The terrific 1950s California mood, dialog, and performances (winning an Oscar for Kim Basinger) are what make L.A. Confidential a standout adult drama. Plus there's the complex and fascinating relationship between cops Exley and White, who confront the worst aspects of themselves and nearly kill each other, only to end up allies.

Movie Details

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