Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights

American Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Produced by Paul Thomas Anderson
Lawrence Gordon
Lloyd Levin
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Mark Wahlberg
Burt Reynolds
Julianne Moore
John C. Reilly
Heather Graham
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Don Cheadle
William H. Macy
Thomas Jane
Music by Michael Penn
Cinematography Robert Elswit
Editing by Dylan Tichenor
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) October 10, 1997 (1997-10-10)
Running time 155 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $43,101,594

Boogie Nights is a 1997 drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Set in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley, the script focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star of pornographic films, and chronicles his rise and fall from the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s through the excess of the 1980s.



Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is a high school dropout who lives with his father and alcoholic mother in Torrance, California. He works at a San Fernando Valley nightclub owned by Maurice Rodriguez (Luis Guzmán), where he is discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), who auditions him by watching him having sex with Rollergirl (Heather Graham), a porn starlet who always wears skates. He gives himself the screen name Dirk Diggler, and becomes an instant star because of his good looks, youthful charisma, and an extraordinarily large penis. His success allows him to buy a new house, an extensive wardrobe, and his most prized possession: a "competition orange" Chevrolet Corvette. Dirk and his best friend/fellow porn star Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly) star in a series of very successful action-themed porn films.

Assistant director Little Bill (William H. Macy) is married to a porn star (Nina Hartley) who frequently embarrasses him by having sex with other men in public and off-camera. At a New Year's Eve party at Jack's house marking the year 1980, he shoots both her and her lover, then turns the gun on himself in front of the guests. Jack's porn empire flounders after his main source of funding, the Colonel (Robert Ridgely), is imprisoned for possession of child pornography. His new financier, Floyd Gondolli (Philip Baker Hall), insists on cutting costs by shooting on videotape, a format that Jack detests. He is also unhappy with the lack of scripts and character development in the projects Gondolli expects him to churn out as quickly as possible. One of these projects involves him and Rollergirl, riding in a limousine searching for random men for her to have sex with while a crew tapes it. When a man they choose recognizes Rollergirl as a former high school classmate and subsequently insults both her and Jack, they beat him and leave him bleeding and half-conscious on the street.

Leading lady Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), who took Eddie under her wing when he joined Jack's stable of actors, finds herself in a custody battle with her former husband (John Doe). The court determines she is an unfit mother due to her involvement in the porn industry, prior criminal record, and cocaine addiction. Buck Swope (Don Cheadle) marries fellow porn star Jessie St. Vincent (Melora Walters), who shortly thereafter becomes pregnant. Because of his past, Buck is denied a bank loan to open a stereo equipment store. He stops at a donut shop and finds himself in the middle of a hold up, in which the clerk, the thief and an armed customer are killed in the crossfire. Buck escapes with the money the thief was trying to steal and uses it to finance his store.

Dirk becomes addicted to cocaine and methamphetamines, and as a result, he finds it increasingly difficult to achieve an erection, and falls into violent mood swings. After he has a falling out with Jack during a film shoot, he and Reed decide to pursue their dream of rock and roll stardom, a move supported by Scotty (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a gay boom operator who is in love with Dirk. However, they squander their money, leaving them unable to pay the recording studio for the demo tapes. Desperate for money, Dirk resorts back to prostitution, but he is assaulted and robbed by a gang of thugs. Dirk, Reed, and their friend Todd (Thomas Jane) attempt to scam drug dealer Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina) by selling him a half-kilo of baking soda disguised as cocaine for $5,000. The sale seems to have been executed smoothly, but Todd unexpectedly tries to rob Rahad, and is killed in the ensuing gunfight. Frightened by his brush with death, and weary of his wasteful existence, Dirk tearfully reconciles with Jack. The film ends with Amber, Rollergirl, and Dirk now living in Jack's house preparing to shoot a film.



Originally, the film was titled Pushing 13, but Anderson eventually titled it after the Heatwave song "Boogie Nights".

Before Wahlberg was cast as Dirk Diggler, Joaquin Phoenix[1] and Leonardo DiCaprio were considered.

The role of Maurice was initially considered by John Travolta and Matt Dillon. However, during pre-production, Anderson decided that the character should be played by a Hispanic, and Luis Guzmán was eventually cast. Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and Al Pacino were approached to play Jack Horner before Reynolds signed on to the project.

Patricia Arquette, Ellen Barkin, Bridget Fonda, Melanie Griffith, Heather Locklear, Virginia Madsen, Rene Russo, Meg Ryan, Brooke Shields, and Marisa Tomei were considered for the role of Amber Waves. Jennifer Jason Leigh was also considered for the role, but she didn't want to be typecast in roles as drug addicts or prostitutes. Moore eventually took the part. Graham was also considered for the role, but was ultimately offered the part of Roller Girl. Kate Beckinsale, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Uma Thurman, and Renée Zellweger were also considered for the role of Roller Girl.

Release and reception

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was shown at the New York Film Festival, before opening on two screens in the U.S. on October 10, 1997. It grossed $50,168 on its opening weekend. Three weeks later it expanded to 907 theaters and grossed $4,681,934, ranking #4 for the week. It eventually earned $26,400,640 in the U.S. and $16,700,954 in foreign markets for a worldwide box office total of $43,101,594.[2]

Boogie Nights was met with critical acclaim. It currently has 92% positive reviews on film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with 59 of 64 counted reviews giving it a "fresh" rating and an average rating of 8.1 out of 10.[3] On Metacritic, the film holds an average score of 85 out of 100, based on 28 reviews.[4]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times said, "Everything about Boogie Nights is interestingly unexpected," although "the film's extravagant 2-hour 32-minute length amounts to a slight tactical mistake ... [it] has no trouble holding interest ... but the length promises larger ideas than the film finally delivers." She praised Burt Reynolds for "his best and most suavely funny performance in many years" and added, "The movie's special gift happens to be Mark Wahlberg, who gives a terrifically appealing performance."[5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times observed, "Few films have been more matter-of-fact, even disenchanted, about sexuality. Adult films are a business here, not a dalliance or a pastime, and one of the charms of Boogie Nights is the way it shows the everyday backstage humdrum life of porno filmmaking ... The sweep and variety of the characters have brought the movie comparisons to Robert Altman's Nashville and The Player. There is also some of the same appeal as Pulp Fiction in scenes that balance precariously between comedy and violence ... Through all the characters and all the action, Anderson's screenplay centers on the human qualities of the players ... Boogie Nights has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive."[6]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle stated, "Boogie Nights is the first great film about the 1970s to come out since the '70s ... It gets all the details right, nailing down the styles and the music. More impressive, it captures the decade's distinct, decadent glamour ... [It] also succeeds at something very difficult: re-creating the ethos and mentality of an era ... Paul Thomas Anderson ... has pulled off a wonderful, sprawling, sophisticated film ... 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."[7]

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called it "a startling film, but not for the obvious reasons. Yes, its decision to focus on the pornography business in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s and 1980s is nerviness itself, but more impressive is the film's sureness of touch, its ability to be empathetic, nonjudgmental and gently satirical, to understand what is going on beneath the surface of this raunchy Nashville-esque universe and to deftly relate it to our own ... Perhaps the most exciting thing about Boogie Nights is the ease with which writer-director Anderson ... spins out this complex web. A true storyteller, able to easily mix and match moods in a playful and audacious manner, he is a filmmaker definitely worth watching, both now and in the future."[dead link][8]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "[T]his chunk of movie dynamite is detonated by Mark Wahlberg ... who grabs a breakout role and runs with it ... Even when Boogie Nights flies off course as it tracks its bizarrely idealistic characters into the '80s ... you can sense the passionate commitment at the core of this hilarious and harrowing spectacle. For this, credit Paul Thomas Anderson ... who ... scores a personal triumph by finding glints of rude life in the ashes that remained after Watergate. For all the unbridled sex, what is significant, timely and, finally, hopeful about Boogie Nights is the way Anderson proves that a movie can be mercilessly honest and mercifully humane at the same time."[9]


Two Boogie Nights soundtracks were released, the first at the time of the film's initial release and the second the following year. Although the two albums encompass nearly every major song featured in the film, they did not include "99 Luftballons" by Nena, "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold, "Compared to What" by Roberta Flack, "Fat Man" by Jethro Tull, "Sunny" by Boney M., and "The Sage," a cello piece by Chico Hamilton.

Awards and nominations

Organization Category Recipients and nominees Result
70th Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
55th Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture Burt Reynolds Won
Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Julianne Moore Nominated
51st British Academy Film Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Burt Reynolds Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards 1997 Best New Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson Won
British Independent Film Awards Best Foreign Independent Film – English Language Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 1997 Best Cast Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
New Generation Award Paul Thomas Anderson Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
1997 New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Golden Satellite Awards 1997 Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture Burt Reynolds Won
Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Julianne Moore Won
Best Cast - Motion Picture Won
Best Film - Drama Nominated
Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Original Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama Mark Wahlberg Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
4th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture Burt Reynolds Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture Julianne Moore Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards 1997 Best Original Screenplay Nominated


External links

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