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The Two Jakes (1990)

2:59 | Trailer
The sequel to Chinatown (1974) finds J.J. "Jake" Gittes investigating adultery and murder, and the money that comes from oil.


Jack Nicholson


Robert Towne (characters), Robert Towne
3,150 ( 226)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... Jake Gittes
Harvey Keitel ... Jake Berman
Meg Tilly ... Kitty Berman
Madeleine Stowe ... Lillian Bodine
Eli Wallach ... Cotton Weinberger
Rubén Blades ... Mickey Nice
Frederic Forrest ... Newty
David Keith ... Loach
Richard Farnsworth ... Earl Rawley
Tracey Walter ... Tyrone Otley
Joe Mantell ... Walsh
James Hong ... Kahn
Perry Lopez ... Captain Escobar
Jeff Morris Jeff Morris ... Tilton
Rebecca Broussard ... Gladys


After the war, L.A. private eye Jake Gittes is hired by realtor Jake Berman. He proves the infidelity of Berman's wife Kitty and sets up a way for her to be caught in the act. At the rendezvous, Berman shoots the co-respondent who turns out to be his business partner. Gittes finds himself in the middle of a complicated web, under pressure from all sides for a wire recording of the fatal encounter. He then realises that the land the partners were developing was once an orange grove connected with a case that he has never quite gotten over. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They say money makes the world go round. But sex was invented before money.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film's failure meant that Robert Towne's third film never got made. However, the premise (public transportation and the freeway system) had already been used for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)." See more »


On the homes under construction in the B&B subdivision, the mottled texture of the sheathing indicates it to be Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and not plywood. OSB did not appear in construction until the Late 1970s and early 1980s. See more »


[first lines]
Jake Gittes: I suppose it's fair to say infidelity made me what I am today.
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the 2007 DVD release, Jack Nicholson had some of the narration and the music cues removed. He also supervised a color correction. See more »


References Gentleman's Agreement (1947) See more »


Haunted Heart
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Words by Howard Dietz
Sung by Jo Stafford
See more »

User Reviews

The Raymond Chandler Effect
22 September 2003 | by B24See all my reviews

Because Los Angeles (say it with a hard "g" and you'll get the exact way most "Anglos" said it before 1950) is where desert meets ocean, there lingers over the place a constant aura of the primordial. It can be by turns a tropical paradise or a dusty wasteland. Raymond Chandler captured the feeling as no other writer before or after.

It is his heritage at work in both "Chinatown" (1974) and "The Two Jakes" (1990). Not only the place as shown but the style of writing is a derivative composite. With that kind of material as an inchoate element in every scene and every nuance, the literate viewer is on familiar ground, always ready to settle comfortably into the plot and characters no matter how lacking they are in their own right.

Those of us old enough to remember when L.A. traffic lights had little "Stop" and "Go" flags on them and pedestrians were always given the right of way will recognize this movie as Chandler redux. Jack Nicholson is possibly the best actor around -- now that Robert Mitchum is no longer here -- to play the Philip Marlowe role. And the old plot is still good: hard-bitten detective with heart of gold overbalancing many flaws gets some rough treatment and goes through several femmes fatales on his way to solving the crime.

It is precisely the lack of novelty at this point, together with an odd filter on the lens and some vaguely wrong visual settings, that deter me from giving high marks on this one. That and the melodramatic conclusion which, as in "Chinatown," relies on an odd turn of events exposing the secret. True Chandler fans would look more for a purely logical and organic climax, with a whiff of Lucky Strikes rather than oil fumes in the air.

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Release Date:

10 August 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Two Jakes See more »


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,729,149, 12 August 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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