Los Angeles Plays Itself Synopsis
Filmmaker Thom Andersen examines the city's identity and its relationship to movies.

Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


San Francisco Chronicle

By John McMurtrie
Ambitious and brilliant.
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Christian Science Monitor

By David Sterritt
Smart, funny, stimulating.
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Time Out New York

By Joshua Rothkopf
Andersen makes humorous hay out of the stark home designs of Richard Neutra — only suitable, it seems, for drug dealers.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
Gliding from the physical to the metaphysical, Andersen reveals how films like ''Chinatown'' effectively remade the reality of Los Angeles,...
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TV Guide

By Ken Fox
Thom Andersen's idiosyncratic, three-hour masterpiece is both a dazzling work of film criticism and a fascinating piece of urban...
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New York Post

By Lou Lumenick
So terrifically entertaining, it would be a shame if it didn't inspire a companion piece on New York.
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The Hollywood Reporter

By Frank Scheck
A terrific cinematic essay that will have a very, very long shelf life.
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New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
What Andersen does best is capture the sense of growing up and living among the landmarks of Hollywood's authentic back lot.
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By William Arnold
The commentary alternates between witty insight and opinionated bunk, but it's always fun -- and a must-see for movie buffs.
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Portland Oregonian

By Shawn Levy
Gives us a fresh way to think not only about movies but about the town in which so many of them are made, and in that regard it's kind of...
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More Los Angeles and Political Agenda Would Help

By MisterSpock
The parts of this documentary showing Los Angeles as it appeared in numerous movies offering details and, where appropriate, a look at the same locations today were great, which is what I thought the...

Los Angeles Plays Itself

By gpattison691
If you are a life-long Angeleno like me, you will appreciate this look at the Los Angeles of the movies. Sometimes you'll agree with the film maker and sometimes you won't, but it will be...

Five Word Review

By cultfilms
Only an Angeleno could love...

worth sitting through

By cheh
Yes it's long and you might not agree with all of Andersen's highly personal opinions. But where else are you going to see this many cinematic views of Los Angeles in one sitting, lovingly put...

Los Angeles Plays Itself

By glorialinda
Since I love the movies and since I love Los Angeles, I could not wait to see this movie. And I was not disappointed. Only problem was that in the last 1/2 hour, he lost sight of the subject...

L A Plays Itself

By chocolatedog
Excellent movie. Great clips from all types of films with Los Angeles as the locale. Excellent commentary on the various screen "uses" of the city. A must see if you love LA and you love old...

Los Angeles Plays Itself

By Innovator
The first two reels feature a lot of cutting from one movie set in LA to another with a lot of dialogue, which is hard to follow. The third reel is very illuminating about the history of LA with its...

A must-see for any Angeleno

By buddha1098
A riveting and often hilarious look at how Los Angeles has been depicted in movies throughout cinema. From the famous buildings to the gross inaccuracies to the legends that have made Hollywood...


By tofuesque9
Such a stunning and impressive piece of research and narration! Funny, sarcastic, and poignant....

Los Angeles Plays Itself

By JKramer11
Very interesting movie - lots of cool info but a little bit long and not always clear on where it was going....