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Boogie Nights Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Mark Wahlberg, in a star-making performance, has the kind of electric ingenuousness that John Travolta did in "Saturday Night Fever."

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Staff [Not Credited]

    With its ceaseless music, large canvas, shrewd casting and flawless ensemble acting and the dexterity of its whiplashing mood switches, the movie recalls Robert Altman's "Nashville" more than any subsequent movie has.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    A hard-core movie with a soft, light-hearted center and an edge like a knife.

  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Isn't just an expose of the porn industry -- it's a provocative and involving character study, as well.

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  • See all Boogie Nights reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Unflinching look at porn industry; lots of sex, drugs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Boogie Nights is a movie for adults with extensive sexuality, drug use, violence, and vulgar language. Sexual acts (some with full nudity) occur throughout with startling realism. Vivid depictions of drug use and addiction are intense and purposefully wrenching. Characters suffer brutal beatings and are killed both by gunfire and drug overdose (there's no skimping on the bloody aftermath in either instance). Language is harsh and unrelentingly obscene.

  • Families can talk about the nature of tragedy in this film. Discuss some examples of internal (self-generated) and external forces working together to bring a character to the edge of destruction. Why do you think some characters survive and others don't?
  • This movie can be described as a cautionary tale. Does the characters' shocking behavior make you think about the consequences of risky lifestyle choices?
  • How much realistic violence, sex, language, etc. do you think is necessary to make a point? Where would you draw the line?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: A cautionary tale. Attempts to put a human face on the desperation and narcissism driving the explosive expansion of the pornography industry in the 1970s and early '80s. The film graphically shows the consequences of self-delusion, frequent drug use, and pleasure-seeking at the expense of decency and morality.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: In spite of their behavior, most of the tragic characters in this film are looking for love and a family to belong to. Some of the most pathetic in this subculture try to fill the role of mother figure or father figure, with dismal results. A few, including the very young man who makes the central journey, learn valuable lessons and are "saved," at least to a degree. Vulnerable women (and men) are exploited; a variety of ethnicities are represented.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Intermittent very violent sequences in which multiple deaths occur: a murder-suicide with the perpetrator shooting himself in the mouth and blood spraying the wall behind him; lots of gunplay and on-camera bullet hits, including one lengthy scene in which a drugged-out man threatens and shoots point-blank at three young men, killing one of them; severe brutal beatings that include head-stomping, kicking, roller skates as weapons, gang attacks. In addition, there are several drug overdoses, with lots of blood pouring from the mouth and nose of the victims.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Nudity (including full frontal, male and female) and sexual activity are frequent. The film shows intercourse, oral sex, group sex, masturbation, voyeurism, a long take on a porn star's giant penis (a prosthetic was used for the filming) and references to child pornography. Sexual sequences are either intimate or performed in the process of shooting the porn films. A violent episode occurs when a young man is perceived as homosexual. In a great many scenes, women (and men) are portrayed as sexual objects.

  • language false5

    Language: Nonstop obscene language, swearing, and slurs. Countless uses of "f--k" and "s--t" in multiple forms. Vulgar language is used for body parts, bodily functions, women, and homosexuals (i.e., "d--k," "c--k," "c--t," "piss," "tits," "whore").

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Fresca, Polaroid, Vince's Gym.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Many scenes of pot, pills, and graphic cocaine use (including more than one bloody coke overdose). A very long scene shows a drug-crazed addict turning very violent. Alcohol flows, drunkenness is rampant. Cigars and cigarettes accompany most scenes.