In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.


Paul Thomas Anderson (written for the screen by), Thomas Pynchon (based on the novel by)
2,009 ( 272)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanna Newsom ... Sortilège
Katherine Waterston ... Shasta Fay Hepworth
Joaquin Phoenix ... Larry "Doc" Sportello
Jordan Christian Hearn ... Denis
Taylor Bonin Taylor Bonin ... Ensenada Slim
Jeannie Berlin ... Aunt Reet
Josh Brolin ... Lt. Det. Christian F. "Bigfoot" Bjornsen
Eric Roberts ... Michael Z. Wolfmann
Serena Scott Thomas ... Sloane Wolfmann
Maya Rudolph ... Petunia Leeway
Martin Dew ... Dr. Buddy Tubeside
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Tariq Khalil
Hong Chau ... Jade
Shannon Collis ... Bambi
Christopher Allen Nelson ... Glenn Charlock


During the psychedelic 60s and 70s Larry "Doc" Sportello is surprised by his former girlfriend and her plot for her billionaire boyfriend, his wife, and her boyfriend. A plan for kidnapping gets shaken up by the oddball characters entangled in this groovy kidnapping romp based upon the novel by Thomas Pynchon. Written by bignicknasty97

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love usually leads to trouble.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This marks the first time that Paul Thomas Anderson has made a feature film distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures since Columbia Pictures distributed his film, Punch-Drunk Love (2002). See more »


There are five doors that slam when the crew is leaving Dr. Rudy's office to drive to the beach into Japonica's Mercedes; Denis slams his door twice. See more »


Sortilège: [Narrating, after Bigfoot drops Sportello off and leaves in a hurry] Pssst. Doper's ESP, Doc... doper's ESP... ohhhhh, no, Bigfoot, you motherfucker! Okay, Doc, you have what looks to be a 20-kilo inconvenience in your trunk.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits roll, the end caption is the opening inscription from Pynchon's novel, Inherent Vice: "Under the Paving-Stones, the Beach!" - Graffito, Paris, May 1968 See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Josh Brolin Performances (2018) See more »


Written by Cliff Adams
See more »

User Reviews

trippy and surreal, but not for everybody
13 February 2015 | by peterfaureSee all my reviews

Inherent Vice is an excellent movie, but it's not for everybody.

It's based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon, a surreal American writer mainly inspired by the transition from the 60s to the 70s, and its repercussions throughout American society.

As a result, it's a rather artsy movie, filled with interesting characters and driven by a pot-smoking PI played, wonderfully, by Joaquim Phoenix. There is a lot to like about it, from its interesting meditations on life to its cast of quirky, oddball characters, but it's not a Hollywood movie and it will disappoint anybody looking for glitzier productions filled with special effects or cheap drama.

The plot itself, rather meandering and confusing, is rather irrelevant, but the movie as a whole is original and, if you can read between the lines, thought-provoking. Normally I would give it a higher score, but when I think of the novel it was based on I can't help thinking that the pace was a little too slow, and too many amazing moments in the novel were just trash-canned to keep the budget down.

Still, very original and interesting, but be prepared for quite a trip (especially if you smoke a joint first, which would really help getting into the main character's shoes)


20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 319 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | Japanese

Release Date:

9 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Inherent Vice See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$328,184, 14 December 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed