From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Chinatown is a 1974 film directed by Roman Polanski featuring many elements of the film noir genre, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama. It stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston. Also appearing in the film are John Hillerman, Diane Ladd, Perry Lopez, James Hong, Joe Mantell, Bruce Glover, Burt Young, and Noble Willingham.
The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, winning in the category of Best Original Screenplay for Robert Towne. In 1991, Chinatown was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The film was recognized by the American Film Institute as the 19th greatest film of all time in 1998, and as the 21st in 2007. In June 2008, the AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Chinatown was acknowledged as the second best film in the mystery genre.