Hollis Mulwray is a chief engineer of the water department. Ida Sessions,
pretending to be his wife Evelyn (Faye Dunaway), asks P.I. JJ Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) to
investigate his adulterous ways. Jake takes photos of Hollis with a young lady. Hollis
then turns up murdered, which Jake decides to investigate. Jake finds more than he was
looking for. He discovers a plot to buy cheap, unwatered land for low prices, water the
land, and sell it for millions of dollars. The plot is masterminded by one Noah Cross
(John Huston), who is Evelyn's father and Hollis' one-time business partner. His
investigation leads him to an affair with Evelyn and a discussion with Noah Cross, both
of whom seem curiously interested in the girl Hollis was seen with.
Robert Towne and Roman Polanski (uncredited) wrote the screenplay which
received the 1974 Academy Award for best original screenplay. Received ten other Academy Award
nominations that year.
Learn more about Film Noir.
The director's filmography.
An interview with the director.
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