Boogie Nights

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Thomas Anderson
Written byPaul Thomas Anderson
Produced by
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byDylan Tichenor
Music byMichael Penn
  • Lawrence Gordon Productions
  • Ghoulardi Film Company
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release dates
  • September 11, 1997 (1997-09-11) (TIFF)
  • October 10, 1997 (1997-10-10) (United States)
Running time
155 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[2]
Box office$43.1 million[2]

Boogie Nights is a 1997 American period comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It is set in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley and focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star of pornographic films, chronicling his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s through to his fall during the excesses of the 1980s. The film is an expansion of Anderson's mockumentary short film The Dirk Diggler Story (1988),[3][4][5][6] and stars Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 1997 and was theatrically released on October 10, 1997, garnering critical praise. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Anderson, Best Supporting Actress for Moore and Best Supporting Actor for Reynolds. The film's soundtrack has also received acclaim.


In 1977, high-school dropout Eddie Adams is living with his father and emotionally abusive mother in Torrance, California. He works at a Reseda nightclub owned by Maurice Rodriguez, where he meets porn filmmaker Jack Horner. Interested in bringing Eddie into porn, Jack auditions him by watching him have sex with Rollergirl, a porn starlet who always wears skates. After arguing with his mother about his girlfriend and sex life, Adams moves in with Horner at his San Fernando Valley home. Adams gives himself the screen name "Dirk Diggler" and becomes a star because of his good looks, youthful charisma, and unusually large penis. His success allows him to buy a new house, an extensive wardrobe, and a "competition orange" 1977 Chevrolet Corvette. With his friend and co-star Reed Rothchild, Dirk pitches a series of successful action-themed porn films. Dirk works and socializes with others from the porn industry, and they live carefree lifestyles in the late 1970s disco era. While attending a New Year's Eve party at Horner's house marking the year 1980, assistant director Little Bill Thompson discovers his wife having sex with another man. Bill, tired of being repeatedly cuckolded by his wife, shoots them both dead, and kills himself.

Dirk and Reed begin using cocaine on a regular basis. Due to his drug use, Dirk finds it increasingly difficult to achieve an erection, falls into violent mood swings, and becomes irritated with Johnny Doe, a new leading man Jack has recruited. In 1983, after arguing with Jack, Dirk is fired and takes off with Reed to start a music career along with Scotty, a boom operator who is in love with Dirk. Jack rejects business overtures from Floyd Gondolli, a theater magnate in San Diego and San Francisco, who insists on cutting costs by shooting on videotape because Jack believes that video will diminish the quality of his films. After his friend and financier, Colonel James, is incarcerated for being responsible of a 15 year old girl overdosing on cocaine, along with possession of child pornography, Jack cooperates with Gondolli, becoming disillusioned with the projects he expects him to churn out. One of these projects involves Jack and Rollergirl riding in a limousine, searching for random men for her to have sex with while being taped by a crew. After they pick up a man, he recognizes Rollergirl as a former high-school classmate. After a failed attempt at intercourse, he insults her and Jack. Jack throws him out of the limousine. Jack and Rollergirl both attack the man, leaving him bloodied on the sidewalk. They return to the car and drive away from the scene.

Leading lady Amber Waves finds herself in a custody battle with her ex-husband. The court determines that she is an unfit mother due to her involvement in the porn industry, prior criminal record, and cocaine addiction. Buck Swope marries fellow porn star Jessie St. Vincent, who becomes pregnant. Because of his past, Buck is disqualified from a bank loan and cannot open his own stereo-equipment store. That night, he finds himself in the middle of a holdup at a donut shop in which the clerk, the robber, and an armed customer are killed. Buck is the sole survivor and escapes with the money.

Having wasted their money on drugs, Dirk and Reed cannot pay a recording studio for demo tapes they believe will enable them to become music stars. Desperate for money, Dirk resorts to prostitution but is assaulted and robbed by three men. Dirk, Reed, and their friend Todd Parker attempt to scam local drug dealer Rahad Jackson by selling him a half-kilo of baking soda disguised as cocaine. Dirk and Reed want to leave quickly before Rahad's bodyguard inspects it, but Todd attempts to steal additional drugs and money from Rahad. In the ensuing gunfight, Todd shoots Rahad's bodyguard and is killed by Rahad. Dirk and Reed barely escape and Dirk reconciles with Jack.

In 1984, Buck and Jessie give birth to their son, Amber shoots the television commercial for the opening of Buck's store, Reed performs a magic act at a strip club, Colonel James remains in prison, Maurice opens a night club and Rollergirl takes a GED class. Dirk and Amber prepare to start filming again.




Boogie Nights is based on a mockumentary short film that Anderson wrote and directed while he was still in high school called The Dirk Diggler Story.[3] The short itself was based on the 1981 documentary Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Real Story, a documentary about the life of legendary porn actor John Holmes, on whom Dirk Diggler is based.[7]

Boogie Nights helped establish Wahlberg as a film actor; he was previously only known as the frontman of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch

Anderson originally wanted the role of Eddie to be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, after seeing him in The Basketball Diaries. DiCaprio enjoyed the screenplay, but had to turn it down because he signed on to star in Titanic. He recommended Mark Wahlberg for the role.[7] Joaquin Phoenix was also offered the role of Eddie, but turned it down due to concerns about playing a porn star. Phoenix later collaborated with Anderson on the films The Master and Inherent Vice.[8] Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks and Sydney Pollack declined or were passed up on the role of Jack Horner, which went to Burt Reynolds.[9] After starring in Hard Eight, Samuel L. Jackson declined the role of Buck Swope, which went to Don Cheadle.[7] Anderson initially did not consider Heather Graham for Rollergirl, because he had never seen her do nudity in a film. However, Graham's agent called Anderson asking if she could read for the part, which she won.[7] Drew Barrymore and Tatum O'Neal were also up for the role.[9]

After having a very difficult time getting his previous film, Hard Eight, released, Anderson laid down a hard law when making Boogie Nights. He initially wanted the film to be over three hours long and be rated NC-17. The film's producers, particularly Michael De Luca, said that the film had to be either under three hours or rated R. Anderson fought with them, saying that the film would not have a mainstream appeal no matter what. They did not change their minds, and Anderson chose the R rating as a challenge. Despite this, the film was still 20 minutes shorter than promised.[7]

Reynolds did not get along with Anderson while filming. After seeing a rough cut of the film, Reynolds fired his agent for recommending it.[10][better source needed] Despite this, Reynolds won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Later, Anderson wanted Reynolds to star in his next film, Magnolia, but Reynolds declined.[11] In 2012, Reynolds denied rumors that he disliked the film, calling it "extraordinary" and saying that his opinion of it has nothing to do with his relationship with Anderson.[12]


Box office[edit]

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 during its opening weekend. Three weeks later, it expanded to 907 theaters and grossed $4.7 million, ranking number four for the week. It eventually earned $26.4 million in the U.S. and $16.7 million in foreign markets for a worldwide box office total of $43.1 million.[13]

Critical response[edit]

Moore received nominations for an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The site's critical consensus states, "Grounded in strong characters, bold themes, and subtle storytelling, Boogie Nights is a groundbreaking film both for director P.T. Anderson and star Mark Wahlberg."[14] On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 85 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "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."[17]

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."[18]

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."[19]

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][20] In Time Out New York, Andrew Johnston concluded, "The porn milieu may scare some folks off, but Boogie Nights offers laughs, tenderness, terror and redemption--everything you could ask for in a movie. It's an impressive and satisfying film, one the Academy really ought to have the balls to recognize."[21]

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."[22]

Gene Siskel of Chicago Tribune called it, "beautifully made" and praised the performances, calling Reynolds, "absolutely centered and in control of his emotions" and saying Wahlberg, "couldn't be better". However, he moderated his praise by saying, "The early rave reviews accorded this film suggest a significance that I, however, did not encounter. Show-biz stories are all pretty much the same: ambition, stardom, drugs, disillusionment. Add the home video revolution to this mix and curiosity about the size of the boy wonder's equipment; throw in a few topical references like the soft drink Fresca, and you have the bare bones of the story." He gave the film three and a half stars out of a possible four.[23]


Reynolds received over ten accolades, including his only Academy Award nomination and a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award. In addition, he won the Golden Globe Award for his performance.

Reynolds' depiction of Jack Horner garnered him twelve awards and three nominations, and Moore's depiction of Amber Waves garnered her six awards and nominations.

Organization Category Nominee(s) 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
4th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Luis Guzmán, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Thomas Jane, Ricky Jay, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, Nicole Ari Parker, John C. Reilly, Burt Reynolds, Robert Ridgely, Mark Wahlberg and Melora Walters Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Burt Reynolds Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Julianne Moore Nominated
2nd Golden Satellite Awards Outstanding Motion Picture Ensemble Won
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Drama Burt Reynolds Won
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Drama Julianne Moore Won
Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Director of a Motion Picture Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated
Best Motion Picture Screenplay – Original Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Mark Wahlberg Nominated
Outstanding Film Editing Dylan Tichenor Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best New Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson Won
British Independent Film Awards Best Foreign Independent Film – English Language Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Cast Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
New Generation Award Paul Thomas Anderson Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Best Supporting Actress Julianne Moore Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actor Burt Reynolds Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Original Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson Nominated


Boogie Nights: Music from the Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack album
ReleasedOctober 7, 1997
GenreDisco, pop, soul
Boogie Nights 2: More Music from the Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack album
ReleasedJanuary 13, 1998
GenreDisco, pop, soul

Two Boogie Nights soundtracks were released, the first at the time of the film's initial release and the second the following year. AllMusic rated the first soundtrack four and a half stars out of five[24] and the second soundtrack four.[25]

Boogie Nights [Original Soundtrack] track listing
1."Intro (Feel the Heat)"Paul Thomas Anderson, John C. ReillyReilly, Mark Wahlberg1:11
2."Best of My Love"Al McKay, Maurice WhiteThe Emotions3:39
3."Jungle Fever"Bill AdorChakachas4:20
4."Brand New Key"Melanie SafkaMelanie2:23
5."Spill the Wine"Eric Burdon and WarEric Burdon and War4:02
6."Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1"Marvin GayeGaye4:07
7."Machine Gun"Milan WilliamsCommodores2:38
8."Magnet and Steel"Walter EganEgan3:23
9."Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"Jerry Cohen, Gene McFadden, John WhiteheadMcFadden & Whitehead3:40
10."Sister Christian"Kelly KeagyNight Ranger5:00
11."Livin' Thing"Jeff LynneElectric Light Orchestra3:30
12."God Only Knows"Tony Asher, Brian WilsonThe Beach Boys2:48
13."The Big Top (Theme from "Boogie Nights")"Michael PennPenn, Patrick Warren9:58
Total length:50:39
Boogie Nights, Vol. 2 track listing
1."Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"Randy NewmanThree Dog Night3:16
2."Fooled Around and Fell in Love"Elvin BishopBishop4:34
3."You Sexy Thing"Errol Brown, Tony WilsonHot Chocolate4:02
4."Boogie Shoes"Harry Wayne Casey, Richard FinchKC & the Sunshine Band2:09
5."Do Your Thing"Charles WrightCharles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band3:29
6."Driver's Seat"Paul RobertsSniff 'n' the Tears4:00
7."Feel Too Good"Roy WoodThe Move9:30
8."Jessie's Girl"Rick SpringfieldSpringfield3:13
9."J.P. Walk"Anton ScottSound Experience7:05
10."I Want to Be Free"Marshall "Rock" Jones, Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks, James "Diamond" WilliamsOhio Players6:50
11."Joy"Johann Sebastian BachApollo 1005:15
Total length:53:23

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boggie Nights (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 28, 1997. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Box Office Mojo: Boogie Nights". Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  3. ^ a b McKenna, Kristine (October 12, 1997). "Knows It When He Sees It". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  4. ^ Waxman, Sharon R. (2005). Rebels on the backlot: six maverick directors and how they conquered the Hollywood studio system. HarperCollins. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-06-054017-3. Archived from the original on August 26, 2021. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Hirshberg, Lynn (December 19, 1999). "His Way". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  6. ^ Mottram, James (2006). The Sundance Kids: how the mavericks took back Hollywood. NY: Faber & Faber, Inc. p. 129. ISBN 9780865479678. cigarettes & coffee.
  7. ^ a b c d e Kirk, Jeremy (September 13, 2012). "37 Things We Learned From the 'Boogie Nights' Commentary". Film School Rejects. Archived from the original on October 29, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  8. ^ Brooks, Xan (January 25, 2013). "Joaquin Phoenix set to star in Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice". The Guardian. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Zakarin, Jordan (December 10, 2014). "5 Things We Just Learned About 'Boogie Nights'". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  10. ^ Brew, Simon (March 1, 2010). "10 actors who turned against their own films". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  11. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (December 3, 2015). ""He Was Young And Full Of Himself": Burt Reynolds On Why He "Hated" Paul Thomas Anderson During 'Boogie Nights'". Indiewire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Archived from the original on November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  12. ^ Mandatory (July 11, 2012), Deliverance Interviews (Ronny Cox, Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds & Ned Beatty), archived from the original on November 3, 2021, retrieved March 1, 2018
  13. ^ "Box Office Mojo". IMDb. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  14. ^ "Boogie Nights". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  15. ^ "Boogie Nights". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on October 5, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  16. ^ Matt Singer (August 13, 2015). "25 Films With Completely Baffling CinemaScores". ScreenCrush. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  17. ^ "New York Times review". October 8, 1997. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  18. ^ " review". October 17, 1997. Archived from the original on March 30, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  19. ^ LaSalle, Mick (October 17, 1997). "San Francisco Chronicle review". Archived from the original on December 28, 2007. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  20. ^ Boucher, Geoff. "Los Angeles Times review". Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  21. ^ Johnston, Andrew (October 2–16, 1997). "Boogie Nights". Time Out New York: 77.
  22. ^ "Rolling Stone review" Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  23. ^ Siskel, Gene (October 17, 1997). "'Boggie' Grooves to an Off Beat". Archived from the original on August 9, 2020. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  24. ^ Allmusic review for the first soundtrack
  25. ^ Allmusic review for the second soundtrack
  26. ^ "Discogs – Liz Heller credit Boogie Nights #2 1997 Capitol Records (CDP 7243 4 93076 2 9) US". Archived from the original on December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.

External links[edit]