L.A. Confidential is the 1997 crime noir film co-written and directed by Curtis Hanson and was an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by James Ellroy (the crime novelist whose stories have been adapted for such films as The Black Dahlia, Cop, and Dark Blue). Set in the early 1950s, the film follows three LAPD detectives whose paths cross during an investigation into a multiple homicide that involved a former officer. The film's cast includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell and Kim Basinger, who received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lynn Bracken. L.A. Confidential was later adapted for television twice, in a 1999 unsold pilot for FOX that starred Kiefer Sutherland as Det. Jack Vincennes (see below) and then in an unsold 2018 television pilot for CBS that starred Walton Goggins as Det. Jack Vincennes. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected L.A. Confidential for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
The following weapons were used in the film L.A. Confidential:
Colt Detective Special
The Colt Detective Special snubnose revolver is most commonly seen gun in the film. This revolver is carried by both Officer Bud White (Russell Crowe) and Lt. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce). Det. Richard Stensland (Graham Beckel) also carries one of these, seen only when he hands it over to his superiors.
Colt Police Positive
Exley tells Capt. Smith that the cook grabbed a .38 caliber revolver, but was murdered before he could use it. It appears to be a Colt Police Positive as the frame size and grips are too small to be a Colt Official Police. White disarms Leland "Buzz" Meeks (Darrell Sandeen) of this revolver near the start of the film as well.
Smith & Wesson Military & Police
Smith & Wesson .32 Hand Ejector Third Model
Officer White plants a Smith & Wesson .32 Hand Ejector Third Model in the hand of rapist Sylvester Fitch (Jeff Sanders). It is identifiable as the .32 Third Model by the ejector rod and the S&W trademark on the left side of the frame. This particular model was the "I" frame. Predecessor to the "J" frame.
Smith & Wesson Combat Masterpiece
Capt. Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) appears to be using a Smith & Wesson Combat Masterpiece with a 4" barrel during the climactic shootout at the Victory Motel. The story takes place before 1957 when Smith & Wesson began numbering its models.
Sgt. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) carries what appears to be a Colt Government with customized grips as his duty sidearm, carrying it during the "Movie Premiere Pot Bust" and while arresting the Nite Owl suspects.
Roland Navarette (Steven Lambert) is seen using an M1911A1 when Exley and Carlisle bust in a hideout. White gets one from his car, giving the pistol and an extra magazine to Exley to use during the final gunfight at the Victory Motel.
Colt M1903 Hammerless
Almost as commonly seen as the Colt Detective Special, the 12-gauge Ithaca 37 is the main shotgun seen in the film. Michael Breuning (Tomas Arana), William Carlisle, Exley, and White are among the officers seen using this shotgun throughout the film. Carlisle and Exley carry these during the Bunker Hill apartment raid, leading to Exley's "Shotgun Ed" moniker. At the Victory Motel shootout finale, Bud White uses the shotgun with great effect.
Winchester Model 1912
Several Winchester Model 1912 shotguns are seen in the back seat of the '49 Mercury when Vincennes and Exley search for the Nite Owl suspects. The Nite Owl shooters were said to have used 12-gauge pump shotguns with a five-shell capacity.
Winchester Model 1897
A Winchester Model 1897 is another shotgun seen in the back seat of the '49 Mercury when Vincennes and Exley search for the Nite Owl suspects. The Nite Owl shooters were said to have used 12-gauge pump shotguns with a five-shell capacity.
L.A. Confidential (unsold pilot)
L.A. Confidential was also adapted as an 2003 unsold pilot written to be a prequel to the film starring Kiefer Sutherland as Det. Jack Vincennes, David Conrad as Det. Ed Exley, Josh Hopkins as Officer Bud White, Melissa George as Lynn Bracken, and Tom Nowicki as Captain Dudley Smith. Originally planned for a 13 episode run on HBO, the premium channel eventually passed on the project. The FOX network then ordered a pilot, but declined to pick it up as a series. Filmed in 1999 and intended to air in 2000, the pilot did not air on television until the fall of 2003. Though intended to be a prequel, the pilot differs from the film on a few facts, like Bud White's first meeting with Lynn Bracken and Ed Exley already working for Internal Affairs. The episode ends in a cliffhanger, one which will never be resolved. The entire episode is available as a special feature on home video copies of L.A. Confidential the film.
Note: The episode lacks opening and closing titles, not even a title card, and the IMDB page is sparse, thus many of the actors cannot be properly credited.
The following firearms were used in the film L.A. Confidential (2003):
Colt Official Police
An assailant (uncredited) opens fire on Det. Jack Vincennes (Kiefer Sutherland) during a botched undercover drug buy with a Colt Official Police Heavy Barrel. Uniformed officers, including Officer Bud White (Josh Hopkins) are armed with Colt Official Police revolvers as well.
Smith & Wesson Model 36
Det. Jack Vincennes uses a nickel-plated Smith & Wesson Model 36 during the botched undercover drug buy. It's not known if this is intended to be his service weapon, or whether he's just using it as part of his disguise. (He carried a Colt Government in the film).
Iver Johnson Revolver
Colt Detective Special
Winchester Model 1912
The other bank robber (also uncredited) is armed with a Winchester Model 1912.
Jack's partner (Jack McGee) fires an unidentifiable revolver during the botched undercover drug buy. It's only seen once in a quick over-the-shoulder shot.