5.6/10
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131 user 43 critic

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)

Trailer
2:08 | Trailer
After his mistress runs over a young teen, a Wall Street hotshot sees his life unravel in the spotlight and attracting the interest of a down and out reporter.

Director:

Brian De Palma (as Brian DePalma)

Writers:

Michael Cristofer (screenplay), Tom Wolfe (novel)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Sherman McCoy
Bruce Willis ... Peter Fallow
Melanie Griffith ... Maria Ruskin
Kim Cattrall ... Judy McCoy
Saul Rubinek ... Jed Kramer
Morgan Freeman ... Judge Leonard White
John Hancock ... Reverend Bacon
Kevin Dunn ... Tom Killian
Clifton James ... Albert Fox
Louis Giambalvo ... Ray Andruitti
Barton Heyman ... Det. Martin
Norman Parker ... Det. Goldberg
Donald Moffat ... Mr. McCoy
Alan King ... Arthur Ruskin
Beth Broderick ... Caroline Heftshank
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Storyline

Financial "Master of the Universe" Sherman McCoy sees his life unravel when his mistress Maria Ruskin hits a black boy with his car. When yellow journalist Peter Fallow enflames public opinion with a series of distorted tabloid articles on the accident, the case is seized upon by opportunists like Reverend Bacon and mayoral candidate D.A. Abe Weiss. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An Outrageous Story of Greed, Lust and Vanity in America See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La hoguera de las vanidades See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$47,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,216,063, 25 December 1990

Gross USA:

$15,691,192

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,691,192
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Andre Gregory and Melanie Griffith also appeared in Celebrity (1998). See more »

Goofs

Before cuckold Arthur Ruskin dies in the restaurant, his cocktail glass alternates from between his hands to outside his hands. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Peter Fallow: [narrating] Yes see, Sherman, who started with so much, lost everything. But he gained his soul. Whereas I, you see, who started with so little, gained everything. "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses..." Ah well. There are compensations.
See more »


Soundtracks

That's Life
Written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The casting is all wrong, the nuances all missed
19 November 2016 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

It's been a long time since I read the book or saw the movie, but the casting in this film was all wrong. I saw the trailer on TV, saw the disaster the film might be, but I went to see it anyways and I was very disappointed. Tom Hanks, even before Philadelphia or Forrest Gump or Sleepless in Seattle, played the likable every-man. Hanks' character, Sherman McCoy, is a wall street tycoon, aged 38, with a wife two years older, a daughter he adores, and a young mistress that he insists he deserves all because he is a "master of the universe". In the book, Judy McCoy, Sherman's wife, is described as handsome but matronly at aged 40. Sherman remembers his mother telling him a wife two years older would not make a difference when he was 24 and she was 26, but 20 years later it would, and actually it took only ten years.

But then one night when he is with his mistress, Sherman takes a wrong turn off the freeway into the South Bronx and ends up hitting a black youth with his car because he perceives his life is in danger, and decides to not report the accident to police, to "hit and run". However, he is tracked down and arrested and soon realizes he is not the master of anything compared to the grifters, community leaders, ambulance chasers, and prosecutors who finally have a completely unlikable rich white perp and a poor black victim.

The novel was wonderful and nuanced. The movie is obvious and almost farcical. Hanks is too likable to play any of the characters in this film, I had Bruce Willis pictured as Sherman McCoy more than the drunken yellow journalist, and Kim Cattrell, who plays Sherman's wife, doesn't look like the matronly 40 year old and barely tolerated wife of anybody in 1990. Only Morgan Freeman as the judge rings remotely true. I'd pass on this one if I were you, but for sure read the book. After the 2008 crash and the banksters walking away without a scratch, Sherman McCoy seems more real than ever.


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