American Psycho
American Psycho poster
Directed by Mary Harron
Produced by Christian Solomon
Chris Hanley
Edward R. Pressman

Christian Bale
Willem Dafoe
Jared Leto
Josh Lucas
Samantha Mathis
Bill Sage
Chloë Sevigny
Cara Seymour
Justin Theroux
Reese Witherspoon

Music by John Cale
Cinematography Andrzej Sekuła
Editing by Andrew Marcus
Distributed by Lions Gate Films
Release April 14, 2000
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Gross revenue $34,266,564
Followed by American Psycho 2

American Psycho is a 2000 American satirical psychological thriller black comedy film directed by Mary Harron based on Bret Easton Ellis's novel of the same name. It stars Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Bill Sage, Chloë Sevigny, Cara Seymour, Justin Theroux, and Reese Witherspoon. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on April 14, 2000.


Patrick Bateman is a wealthy investment banker living in Manhattan in the late-1980s. His life revolves around dining at trendy restaurants while keeping up appearances for his fiancée, Evelyn, and his circle of equally wealthy, shallow friends, most of whom he dislikes. However, he also leads a secret life as a serial killer. Throughout the film, Bateman describes the material accoutrements of his lifestyle: his daily morning exercise and beautification routine; his music collection, including performers such as Huey Lewis and the News and Whitney Houston; his taste for expensive designer clothes; and the lavish couture of his apartment. In one scene, Bateman and his associates flaunt their business cards in a display of utter vanity. After becoming embarrassed by the superiority of coworker Paul Allen's card, he murders a homeless man and his dog in an alleyway in a fit of frustrated rage. At a Christmas party, Bateman makes plans to have dinner with Paul, who had earlier mistaken him for a comparable associate named Marcus. Bateman gets Paul drunk and lures him back to his apartment.

While playing "Hip to Be Square", Bateman ambushes Paul and murders him with an axe. Bateman disposes of Paul's body, then goes to Paul's apartment to stage the situation so that others believe Paul has run off to London. After Paul's family becomes suspicious of his disappearance, Bateman is met by Donald Kimball, a detective searching for the truth regarding his whereabouts. Bateman then has a violent threesome with two prostitutes, whom he names "Christie" and "Sabrina". The two women leave his apartment bruised and bloodied. The next day, his colleague Luis Carruthers reveals his new business card, sending Bateman over the edge. Bateman tries to kill Luis in the restroom of an expensive restaurant, but cannot bring himself to strangle him. Luis mistakes the attempted murder for a sexual advance and declares his love for Bateman, who flees in a panic. After murdering a model, Bateman invites his secretary, Jean, to dinner, suggesting she meet him at his apartment for drinks beforehand. When Jean arrives, Bateman, unbeknownst to Jean, holds a nail gun to the back of her head while the two converse.

However, upon receiving an answering machine message from his fiancée, he decides not to kill Jean and asks her to leave before she gets "hurt". Following another luncheon with Kimball, Patrick has a threesome with his old friend Elizabeth and Christie at Paul's apartment. Bateman kills Elizabeth during sex, and Christie runs out of the apartment in horror, along the way discovering multiple female corpses and words such as "Die Yuppie Scum" scrawled on the walls in blood. Bateman then murders her with a chainsaw by dropping it down a flight of stairs onto her as she attempts to run. A few months later, Bateman abruptly breaks off his engagement with Evelyn. That night, he finds a kitten as he uses an ATM, then imagines that the display reads "Feed me a stray cat." Bateman is stopped by a woman, whom he murders instead. A police chase ensues, but Bateman destroys the police cars by shooting their gas tanks, causing explosions that kill the pursuing officers. He then attempts to flee to his office, but he accidentally enters the wrong office building, murdering a security guard and a janitor in the process.

Upon reaching his office he calls his lawyer, Harold, and leaves a lengthy answering machine message, confessing most of his murders in detail. The following morning, Bateman visits Paul's apartment, finding it completely vacant and being offered for sale. The real estate broker views him as an intruder and tells him to leave immediately. As Bateman goes to meet with his colleagues and lawyer, Jean finds detailed drawings of murder and rape in Bateman's office journal. At the same time, Bateman sees Harold at a restaurant with his friends, and tries to convince him that he is Patrick Bateman and a serial killer. However, Harold mistakes him for another colleague named Davis and laughs off the confession as a joke. He also denies that Paul was murdered, claiming to have had dinner with him in London only 10 days before. Bateman realizes that he will continue to escape the punishment he deserves. He laments that there has been no catharsis and that he still remains a mystery to himself. Although he regrets that nothing has been gained, he still wants his pain to be inflicted on others. He finishes his inner monologue by stating, "This confession has meant nothing."


  • Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman
  • Willem Dafoe as Detective Donald Kimball
  • Jared Leto as Paul Allen
  • Josh Lucas as Craig McDermott
  • Samantha Mathis as Courtney Rawlinson
  • Chloë Sevigny as Jean
  • Cara Seymour as Christie
  • Justin Theroux as Timothy Bryce
  • Reese Witherspoon as Evelyn Williams
  • Guinevere Turner as Elizabeth
  • Bill Sage as David Van Patten
  • Matt Ross as Luis Carruthers
  • Reg E. Cathey as Al
  • Krista Sutton as Sabrina
  • Catherine Black as Vanden
  • Anthony Lemke as Marcus Halberstram


A direct-to-video sequel, American Psycho 2, directed by Morgan J. Freeman and starring Mila Kunis was released in 2002. The sequel's only connection with the original is the death of Patrick Bateman (played by Michael Kremko wearing a face mask), briefly shown in a flashback. However, the sequel continues the pattern in the first film of featuring a series of graphic deaths of colleagues and friends of the main character. The film received a majority of negative reviews and holds an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

External links

American Psycho films

American PsychoAmerican Psycho 2

Christian Bale films

American Psycho (2000)  · Batman Begins (2005)  · Terminator Salvation (2009)  · Out of the Furnace (2013)  · The Dark Knight (2008)  · The Dark Knight Rises (2012)  · American Hustle (2013)  ·

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