American Beauty (1999)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 2 mins

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Dark and disturbing, this contemporary satire insightfully depicts the fluctuating fortunes in the life of Lester Burnham, an advertising executive working for a magazine. Seemingly, Lester leads a perfect life with his successful wife, Carolyn, and their beautiful teenage daughter, Jane. However, the reality is that Lester despises his job, his ambitious wife is having an affair, and their daughter hates them with a vengeance. Lester finds his life slipping deeper and deeper into depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends, Angela Hayes, and starts having sexual fantasies about her, during which red rose petals are a recurring motif. Angela seems to be a sexually promiscuous teenager and leads Lester on. While Lester's neighbours and family members also go through their own struggles, this thought-provoking tale traces his experiences and emotions as his mid-life crisis sends him careening deeper and deeper into a dark abyss from which there may be no way out.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Annette Bening, Kevin Spacey, Thora Birch

Crew: Sam Mendes (Director), Conrad L Hall (Director of Photography), Thomas Newman (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Oct 1999 (India)

Tagline: ... look closer

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Did you know? According to Alan Ball's Oscar speech, he was sitting at the World Trade Center plaza when he saw a paper bag floating in the wind and was inspired by it to write the film, which was originally conceived as a stage play. Read More
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as Carolyn Burnham
as Lester Burnham
as Jane Burnham
as Barbara Fitts
Supporting Actress
as Colonel Fitts
Supporting Actor
as Angela Hayes
as Buddy Kane
as Jim Berkley
as Jim Olmeyer
as Ricky Fitts


First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director


Production Company




Screenplay Writer
Story Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Key Grip


Music Director


Sound Re-recording Mixer
Sound Effects Editor
Boom Operator


Art Director
Production Designer
Set Decorator
Prop Master
Set Dresser
Storyboard Artist


Casting Director
Casting Assistant

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer


Assistant Editor

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Film Type:
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
... look closer
Movie Connection(s):
Referenced in: Raanjhanaa (Hindi)
Referenced in: Armaan (Hindi)
Crew/Equipment Visible
When Lester is driving in his car after leaving his advertising job, the trailing motorcycle cop escorting the vehicle being towed on the process trailer behind the camera car, can be seen going in and out of the shot in the rear window.

Crew/Equipment Visible
After he is beaten by his father for looking at the Nazi plate, when Ricky Fitts looks in the mirror to examine his wounds. The edge of the camera is visible in the mirror for about a second, then the frame is rearranged so it is no longer visible.

Crew/Equipment Visible
At the start of the movie, when Lester is in the shower, you can see a reflection/silhouette on the shower door.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Toward the end of Ricky's and Jane's first kiss in his bedroom scene the moving shadow of a crew member or piece of equipment can be seen at the bottom of window and blinds projected on the wall.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Ricky start to recording Jane, the camera makes the sound of ejecting the tape.

Audio/Video Mismatch
In the scene where Carolyn slaps Jane in the face, Carolyn can be seen yelling at Jane, from behind, even though the soundtrack is silent.

When Colonel Fitts breaks into Ricky's room in a rage and punches him, we can see the blood is already on Ricky's nose before the fist makes contact.

When Ricky gets the frozen urine sample out of the freezer, it's obviously half a cup. When he is ready to hand it over to his father, the cup is completely filled.
Since Thora Birch was only 17 at the time when she made the film and thus classified as a minor in the United States, her parents had to approve her brief topless scene in the movie and they and child labor representatives were on the set for the shooting of it.

The shot in which Annette Bening screams after her failure to sell the house was actually done in one take.

According to Alan Ball's Oscar speech, he was sitting at the World Trade Center plaza when he saw a paper bag floating in the wind and was inspired by it to write the film, which was originally conceived as a stage play.

The tagline and important theme of the film is "...look closer" this can be seen in Lester's cubicle at work. It was simply something a set dresser had put in, and director Sam Mendes noticed it while editing and suggested it be used for the poster.

The iconic body and hand in the poster for the movie actually belongs to actress/model Chloe Hunter, not Mena Suvari.