->''"If you're going to live in a whorehouse, there's only one thing you can do: be the best damn whore around."''
-->-- '''Peter Fallow'''

''The Bonfire of the Vanities'', written by Tom Wolfe, was originally serialized in ''Magazine/RollingStone'' in 27 installments starting in 1984. It was published in novel form in 1987.

Sherman [=McCoy=] is a married Wall Street investment banker and self-proclaimed "Master of the Universe" who carries on an affair with socialite Maria Ruskin. One night, they take a wrong turn in the Bronx and encounter two (supposedly) threatening black youths. In their panic and confusion Ruskin, who is driving, accidentally runs over one of them; he is left in a coma. When word of this breaks out, all hell breaks loose for [=McCoy=]. Meanwhile, an AmoralAttorney, a boozy tabloid reporter, a [[StrawCharacter Strawman Political]] religious leader from the Bronx, an ambitious district attorney, and... well, the bulk of characters that the book follows decide to use the racially- and socially-charged case to further their own agendas.

In 1990 TheFilmOfTheBook was released. Directed by Creator/BrianDePalma and starring Creator/TomHanks, Creator/BruceWillis, and Creator/MelanieGriffith, it was a critical and commercial disaster. Film critic Julie Salamon was granted full access during the TroubledProduction and her 1991 nonfiction book, ''The Devil's Candy'', explains what went wrong.

!!The novel and film feature examples of:

* AdaptationalUgliness: In the novel, Assistant District Attorney Larry Kramer is described as a vain bodybuilder obsessed with his physique. In the film, his name is [[AdaptationNameChange changed]] to Jed Kramer, and he's played by the rather schlubby-looking [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0007210/?ref_=tt_cl_t5 Saul Rubinek]].
* BigApplesauce
* TheBigRottenApple: 1980s New York at its most dysfunctional on ''every'' level of society.
* CaughtInTheBadPartOfTown: Bond trader Sherman [=McCoy=] and his mistress Maria Ruskin accidentally enter the Bronx while driving to Manhattan from Kennedy airport. Finding the ramp back to the highway blocked by trash cans and a tire, [=McCoy=] exits the car to clear the way. Approached by two black men whom they perceive - uncertainly, in Sherman's case - as predators, [=McCoy=] and Ruskin flee. Having taken the wheel of the car, which fishtails as they race away, Ruskin apparently strikes one of the two.
* ClusterFBomb: The way Kramer and his fellow prosecutors talk in the novel, which Wolfe allows to infect the narrative after one run of salty dialogue after he gets to work one morning: "''Another fucking day at the Bronix Fucking District Attorney's Office was off to a fucking start.''"
* CreatorCameo: In the opening tracking shot, when Peter Fallow gets in the elevator, Creator/BrianDePalma can be seen, dressed up as a waiter. It was technically impossible for the camera crew and the director to stay off camera in that shot, so De Palma chose to do a cameo there. To be unrecognizable, he shaved off his trademark beard.
* DoorStopper
* TheEighties
* EpicMovie: The movie was intended as this -- huge budget, A-list cast and director, based on a bestselling ''and'' award-winning book, lots of characters, some posh settings.
* ForWantOfANail: A missed turn sets the entire plot in motion.
* HiddenWire: Sherman wears one and tries to get Maria to admit that she was actually driving the hit-and-run vehicle. Things don't go as planned in the book.
* IrishmanAndAJew: Detective Martin and his partner Detective Goldberg; like most of the homicide bureau, Goldberg has assimilated to the prevailing Irish-American cultural ethos.
* ItTastesLikeFeet: A character says that Chinese wine tastes like "Dead Feet," which is the nickname for his boss.
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Most of the characters in the book aren't supposed to be likable.
** They're [[AdaptationalVillainy even less likable in the movie]] where the few sympathetic characters such as Sherman [=McCoy's=] wife and the victim's mother are presented as completely self-serving.
* TheMistress: Maria to Sherman, and the juror with brown lipstick to Assistant District Attorney Kramer.
* {{Narrator}}: Fallow in the film adaptation.
* NiceToTheWaiter: Averted with Sherman [=McCoy=] who snubs the parking garage attendant the night of the accident and comes to regret it when the police start asking questions.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed:
** "Reverend" Reginald Bacon was modeled after Al Sharpton.
** Peter Fallow is partly based on Creator/ChristopherHitchens.
* TheOner: The opening sequence of the film, tracking Peter Fallow as he arrives for an awards presentation, takes the viewer from a parking garage to a hotel ballroom in one long shot. It lasts four minutes and fifty seconds.
* PrettyInMink: Maria in the movie wears a long sable coat.
* QuoteMine: Fallow successfully paints the victim of the accident as an honor student based on an interview with one of his teachers, who explains that anyone who shows up to classes and doesn't cause trouble at that particular school might as well be one.
* RaceLift:
** Creator/AlanArkin was originally cast as the Judge, but when the producers decided to change the character from Jewish to African-American, he was replaced by Creator/MorganFreeman. The change was due to complaints led by Creator/SpikeLee that, as it was, the story was racist.
** Peter Fallow was changed from English to American.
* RevisedEnding: The original script ended cynically with the supposed victim of the hit-and-run walking out of the hospital, suggesting that the whole scenario was concocted. That ending did not test well with audiences and was dropped.
* ScaryBlackMan: Played with. This is how Sherman and Maria see the victim and his friend when they approach them after they have car trouble. The friend had merely asked them if they needed helped but later admits that he and the victim were going to rob them.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney!: Very much Sherman [=McCoy's=] attitude until he's arrested.
* ShaggyDogStory: The film version attempts this by changing the ending.
* TabloidMelodrama: What the hit-and-run becomes.
* UpperClassTwit: Most of the [=McCoys'=] friends and acquaintances.
* WritingAroundTrademarks: In the novel, while the characters ride in real car brands like Mercedes and [=BMW=], they also eat at "Texas Fried Chicken" and use their "Global Express" card to buy things.
* YourCheatingHeart: Sherman [=McCoy=] and ADA Kramer. It is more or less taken for granted that a man will stray once his wife gains weight or ages.