MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,627 this week

Lenny (1974)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  10 November 1974 (USA)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 10,234 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 55 critic

The story of acerbic 1960s comic Lenny Bruce, whose groundbreaking, no-holds-barred style and social commentary was often deemed by the Establishment as too obscene for the public.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 23 Jan 2012
 
a list of 49 titles
created 01 Jan 2013
 
a list of 42 titles
created 04 Feb 2014
 
a list of 33 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 26 titles
created 9 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Lenny" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Lenny (1974)

Lenny (1974) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Lenny.

User Polls

Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Alfredo, a timid young Italian, lusts after and woos the beautiful Maria Rosa. But when he manages to marry her, he discovers life is not nearly so blissful as he expected.

Director: Pietro Germi
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Stefania Sandrelli, Carla Gravina
All That Jazz (1979)
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), a womanizing, drug-using dancer.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer
Straight Time (1978)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After being released on parole, a burglar attempts to go straight, get a regular job, and just go by the rules. He soon finds himself back in jail at the hands of a power-hungry parole ... See full summary »

Directors: Ulu Grosbard, Dustin Hoffman
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell, Gary Busey
Star 80 (1983)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A successful young model finds trouble when her obsessive manager-turned-husband becomes dangerously jealous. Based on the true story of 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Eric Roberts, Cliff Robertson
Cabaret (1972)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

Director: Bob Fosse
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Michael York, Helmut Griem
Comedy | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Jack Crabb, looking back from extreme old age, tells of his life being raised by Indians and fighting with General Custer.

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George
John and Mary (1969)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

John and Mary meet in a singles bar, sleep together, and spend the next day getting to know each other.

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Mia Farrow, Michael Tolan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A naive prostitute and his sickly friend struggle to survive on the streets of New York City.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

When a deported gangster dies in Italy, the U.S. treasury dept. is very interested in the $1,000,000.00 Madigan owed the government, but managed to take to Italy with him. They send agent ... See full summary »

Director: Giorgio Gentili
Stars: Elsa Martinelli, Cesar Romero, Dustin Hoffman
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Georgie Soloway, a pop hit love song writer who cannot love, himself, or others. He spends his days with various women flying his plane, and dropping in to the world around him.

Director: Ulu Grosbard
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Harris, Jack Warden
Tootsie (1982)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr
Marathon Man (1976)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A graduate history student is unwittingly caught in the middle of an international conspiracy involving stolen diamonds, an exiled Nazi war criminal, and a rogue government agent.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jan Miner ...
Stanley Beck ...
Frankie Man ...
Rashel Novikoff ...
Gary Morton ...
Guy Rennie ...
Michele Yonge ...
Kathryn Witt ...
Girl (as Kathie Witt)
Monroe Myers ...
John DiSanti ...
Mickey Gatlin ...
Martin Begley ...
Mark Harris ...
Edit

Storyline

Interview-style biography of controversial and pioneering stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. The film traces Bruce from his beginnings as a Catskills comic to his later underground popularity based on his anti-establishment politics and his scatological humor. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Lenny's Time Has Finally Come!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lenny Bruce  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross:

SEK 1,021,233 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Sherman Hart is based on Milton Berle; the real name wasn't used because Berle was still alive and there were fears he might sue for libel. But the character uses all of Berle's mannerisms and trademark shtick, including sticking the cigar under his top lip. See more »

Goofs

During the movie's opening monologue, Lenny says that it's 1964 and then references the MDA Telethon, which debuted in 1966. See more »

Quotes

Lenny Bruce: "Fuck you." Never understood that insult, because fucking someone is actually really pleasant. If we're trying to be mean, we should say "unfuck you!"
See more »

Connections

Featured in Constantine's Sword (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

It Never Entered My Mind
Music by Richard Rodgers
Performed by Miles Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A brilliant - if imperfect - biopic of a tragically misunderstood man
11 August 2006 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Lenny Bruce loved words. The most common misconception is that he did not. Today, Bruce is best known for revolutionizing the face of stand-up – paving the way for such future talents as George Carlin and Bill Hicks – but not many people are actually familiar with his comedy, and that's a shame, because there was a lot more to it than just swearing.

He was infamously arrested over a dozen or so times for speaking offensively in comedy clubs, and eventually began to represent himself in court. He never gained respect when he was alive, and so he died a frustrated, misunderstood soul who was simply far too ahead of his time.

The masses didn't get him. His racial jokes and political satire was misinterpreted and taken at face value. His sermons ridiculing religion drew hate from conservative Americans.

But Bruce enjoyed toying with words, and bending the typical perception of what they symbolized – he cherished the impact they had on people. When Bruce said a certain four-letter expletive, it wasn't to purposely offend people – it was to help liberate their ways of thinking. Words were an entryway - once he could knock people off-balance, he was free to go for the throat. He used foul language in the same way as he used words dealing with religion, homosexuals, politics and the world – he used them to make a point. And it's a shame his point didn't resonate until after his death.

The makers of "Lenny" understood Bruce, though. They also understood his flaws as a human being, and the result is an unflinchingly honest biopic that paints a dark, staunch portrait of a troubled man. Dustin Hoffman presents Lenny as an alternately despicable and heroic figure, and there is a spark in his eyes throughout the early scenes of the movie that eventually gives way to desperation later in the picture. Hoffman is so convincing we forget we are watching an actor. He entirely embodies himself within Lenny Bruce, adapting all of the comic's tics and habits.

The movie is told from the perspective of those who knew Bruce – his wife, Honey (Valerie Perrine), his aunt, and his manager. The narrative cuts back and forth between scenes with Lenny and interview segments, which we see through the eyes of an off-screen interviewer (whose voice is none other than the movie's director, Bob Fosse).

"Lenny" is an uncomfortable film, and it is not by any means perfect. The matter-of-fact narrative is a bit alienating and prevents us from getting entirely close to Bruce – but that may very well have been the point. A more heartfelt biography of the performer perhaps would have restricted Fosse and screenwriter Julian Barry from divulging into Lenny's more seedy character traits – such as when he coerces his unwilling wife into a threesome with another woman, later ridiculing her for doing so; or when he goes on stage completely drugged out of his mind and makes a fool of himself. If they had allowed audiences to empathize with Bruce to a greater degree, truth may have been sacrificed along the way. And although the narrative is rather cold, it's also unique – sometimes refreshingly so.

Despite imperfections, "Lenny" is one of the better motion pictures of the 1970s – and perhaps one of the movies that best capture the essence of cinema from a time when the mainstream and art-house were coexistent.

It is a typical 1970s production insofar as that it is grim, bleak and more depressing than any production you would have seen on the screen a decade earlier – but it's an admirable feat. Fosse has a close grip on the direction and Hoffman and Perrine are both absolutely superb, bringing to life two very tortured souls who temporarily found solace in each other, before finding their relationship put to the test by drug abuse and self-loathing.

Lenny died from a heroin overdose in 1966. In 2003 he was granted a posthumous pardon by New York State for his most notable arrest in 1964, for an "obscene performance." It's a nice gesture, although one can't help but think it would have only really made a difference 40 years ago.


18 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
R? Seanniek
Cinematography IForgotMyMantra
Why did i not know about this movie?! edacthemonster
the picture at the end? mr_pink999899
Sherman Hart utfilmmike
first gig DBrown1627
Discuss Lenny (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?