Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston. The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century by which Los Angeles interests secured water rights in the Owens Valley. The Robert Evans production, a Paramount Pictures release, was the director's last film in the United States, and features many elements of film noir, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama.
In 1991, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for films that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," and it is frequently listed among the greatest in world cinema. The 1975 Academy Awards saw it nominated eleven times, with an Oscar going to Robert Towne for Best Original Screenplay. The Golden Globe Awards honored it for Best Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. The American Film Institute placed it second among mystery films.