7.3/10
76,184
130 user 71 critic

The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

A partially idealized and fictionalized film of the controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech for all people.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
4,887 ( 771)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Arlo
...
...
...
...
Burt Neuborne ...
...
...
10-Year-Old Larry
Ryan Post ...
8-Year-Old Jimmy
Edit

Storyline

Larry Flynt is the hedonistically obnoxious, but indomitable, publisher of Hustler magazine. The film recounts his struggle to make an honest living publishing his porn magazine and how it changes into a battle to protect the freedom of speech for all people. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You may not like what he does, but are you prepared to give up his right to do it?

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual material, nudity, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Larry Flynt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$607,652 (USA) (29 December 1996)

Gross:

$20,191,312 (USA) (27 April 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Milos Forman was interviewed on Charlie Rose to promote The People Vs. Larry Flynt, he said that he felt that this was his best film. See more »

Goofs

Flynts mother, Edith died in 1982, 5 years before Flynts wife Althea died in 1987. In the movie she is present at Althea's funeral. See more »

Quotes

Isaacman: At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas, freedom to speak one's mind is not only an aspect of an individual liberty but is essential to the quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole, in the world of debate about public affairs many things done with motives that are less than admirable are none of the less protected by the first amendment.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.155 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Selections from 'Stabat Mater'
Written by Antonín Dvorák (as Antonin Dvorak)
Performed by The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Libor Pesek and Kühn's Mixed Chorus
Chorus Master, Pavel Kuehn (as Pavel Kühn)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Shocking Expose
2 June 2000 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Anyone familiar with Milos Forman's work will know how much he likes to discuss and examine controversial real-life characters and make them the focal point of his films. Amadeus for one was a powerful expose of the legendary composer; Forman was able to extraordinarily add so much spice to the script that the end result was a harrowing documentation that genuinely moved us. We didn't need to know anything about the composer or even like his work or personality; Forman craves on these sorts of challenges. He likes to make films about characters that the audience may not identify with because it heightens the overall achivement if the film is a hit. With Larry Flynt he's done it again.

Flynt is the story of Porn magazine chairman larry Flynt who amidst an era of overwhelming decadance launched Hustler magazine, a porn magazine that broke all taboos and crossed all boundaries. The magazine was a huge hit that transformed Flynt into a powerful figure in the American Community. Needless to say though, Flynt (superbly played by Harrelson) faces insurmountable odds from everyone to keep the business running. Politicians, reverends, mass public opposition et.al.. Flynt is accompanied along the way by his junkie wife (played with real panache by Courtney Love) and a reluctant lawyer (dependable performance from Edward Norton Jr.). At the midway point of the film Flynt is shot and paralyzed and consequently the fight to stay on top is made even more challenging.

This story is intriguing because is dares to break universal taboo's. It shows Flynt disassociating himself from the norms and traditions of society and really willing to take genuine risks that could blow up in his face. Before Hustler was formed, Playboy was the porno pioneer. Playboy was subtle in it's nudity, preferring to call itself a REAL magazine rather than something trashy. We notice that Playboy was afraid to overstep the barrier. Playboy was a magazine that was restricted in it's disclosure of barenaked ladies because of the shape of society at the time and the values the society had come to embrace. To call yourself a porno magazine was unthinkable with unthinkable consequences! Hustler dared to step over those lines and bear all the consequences. Flynt was not necessarily a likeable man but he cannot not be admired. He was a risk taker, an enterpeneur, a man with a vision, and a man who believed that oe should act on one's desires and ambitions.

The mass hysteria the swamps the society as a consequence mainfests how powerful yet dangerous a little "acting on ambition" can bring. Flynt's idea is impossible to resist; the public cannot stay away from the controversial impact of the magazine. As the fan base grows, so does Flynt's empire, and so do the forces determined to suppress him. Flynt's meteoric rise is unprecedented, and made all the more shocking by the fact that the evnets are real. His opposition ranges from hypocritical politicians to dubious religious figures, all of whom are hell-bent on the abolition of Flynt and his tremendous reach.

The film earns huge plaudits on the entertainment level. This is undisputed!! The acting demonstartes tremendous range from all involved and Flynt is an offensive yet endearing, and very funny figure. We grow to really love and root for him as the film develops. The points that necessitate discussion however are the legal and moral issues that are debated by Flynt, his lawyer, and the opposition. The freedom of press, of speech, and the freedom to exercise your FREEDOM are all fiercely debated. Flynt vehemently defends his position because he feels that the world is afraid to agree with him, that the world is afraid to speak out. The world is polluted by hypocrits; he's the only pure seed. This presents tremendous irony because Flynt is a low-class pervert up against scholars, and politicians, and bureaucrats, and yet he's claiming that he's the real deal and they are all phonies. He has a point; what's the point in looking presentable and being well-educated if you are banal, hollow, and insipid and cannot open your mind to new ideas?? The film asks that question; we see how closed off the men in power are to Flynt's ideas and we grow to hate them. Then we are torn because we are reluctant to accept the values of a porn fiend. The fact that we cannot resist Flynt's pulling power is the sign of the film's success. We start off opposing Flynt, unable to identify. Then we try and take a neutral stand as we discover the ugliness of Flynt's opponents. Finally, after Flynt is paralyzed and yet continues to defend his honour, we can no longer resist the seduction.

The film has Flynt giving amazing speeches about why he is doing justice to himself and the people. He's giving them what they want,they are taking it,and yet they are determined to censor him. He debates this point to manifest the outstanding hypocrisy that lies at the heart of society. Flynt is such an important character because he speaks for all of us. On countless occasions, we all seek to expose the two-faced ugliness of those around us. We just can't because not enough people are listening. Flynt however gets eveyone's attention and defends his honour, preserves his integrity, and succeeds in winning over the justice system. The final speech given by Issacman, his lawyer is very insightful and very powerful for it argues this very point: 'We don't need to like what Larry Flynt does, but we should like and appreciate the fact that we have the right to make that decision on our own, and that's what makes our society great. We have the right to accept or reject the offer on hand. We may well reject it but we and we alone need to have the choice made available to us. If that right is taken away, then we wither away as a people and our individuality is nullified' The speech is amazing because it demonstrates how the right to accept a porn fiend and his work preserves the democracy of the Western World. Truly Shocking but brilliant!!!

I haven't discussed the other characters all that much and I'm not going to except say this: All the characters are multi-dimensional because what we see on the outside is never what we get on the inside. Flynt for all his crude, perverted behaviour is an admirable, likeable, highly identifiable personality. His wife, for all her vulgarity and drug addiction is an endearing, loyal,intelligent personality. Issacman, the lawyer, for all his traditional, stiff boring work ethic, is an idealistic, shrewd, and deeply committed man....The list goes on and on

I loved this movie because our hero is not perfect; he's anything but!!! Movies that depict the hero as a flawed individual stand a better chance of being embraced by critics and audiences alike. Flynt thrives on this! And exposing hypocrits for their true selves is every cynics (and I happen to be a huge one) dream. Flynt's journey is whopping emotional tour de force!!!! You don't have to like Larry Flynt as a film, but I love the fact that I had the right to make up my own mind!! Society, you ignore that at your peril!!!


28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?