IMDb > Lenny (1974)
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Lenny (1974) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Julian Barry (play)
Julian Barry (screenplay)
View company contact information for Lenny on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 November 1974 (USA) See more »
Lenny's Time Has Finally Come!
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 9 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A brilliant - if imperfect - biopic of a tragically misunderstood man See more (56 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Dustin Hoffman ... Lenny Bruce

Valerie Perrine ... Honey Bruce
Jan Miner ... Sally Marr
Stanley Beck ... Artie Silver
Frankie Man ... Baltimore Comic
Rashel Novikoff ... Aunt Mema
Gary Morton ... Sherman Hart
Guy Rennie ... Jack Goldstein
Michele Yonge ... Nurse
Kathryn Witt ... Girl (as Kathie Witt)
Monroe Myers ... Hawaiin Judge
John DiSanti ... John Santi
Mickey Gatlin ... San Francisco Policeman
Martin Begley ... San Francisco Judge
Mark Harris ... Defense Attorney
Richard Friedman ... San Francisco Prosecutor
Lee Sandman ... 2nd San Francisco Judge
Jack Nagle ... Reverend Mooney
Phil Philbin ... New York Plainclothesman
Bruce McLaughlin ... New York Judge

Ted Sorel ... New York Attorney (as Theodore Sorel)
Clarence Thomas ... New York Attorney
Mike Murphy ... New York Prosecutor
Susan Malnik ... Kitty (age twelve)
George DeWitt ... Comic (as George de Witt)
Judy LaScala ... Chorus Girl
Don Newsome ... Connection
Allison Goldstein ... Kitty (age one)
Winston Lee ... Chinese Waiter
Bridghid Glass ... Kitty (age two)
Joe Mencel ... Court Reporter

Richard O'Barry ... Court Clerk (as Ric O'Feldman)
Beth Challis ... Club Owner
Robert Parsons ... Chicago Plainclothesman
Cecil Seay ... Chicago Plainclothesman
Bob Collins ... New York Assistant DA
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Ardell ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Bud Atchison ... New York Plainclothesman (uncredited)
Molly Bandes ... Lady in Los Angeles Audience (uncredited)
Alfred Barney ... (uncredited)
Lynette Bernay ... Girl in Dressing Room (uncredited)
William Boone ... (uncredited)
Buddy Boylan ... Marty (uncredited)
Daniel Burger ... First Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
Anthony Caruso ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Tom Chamberlain ... San Francisco Policeman (uncredited)
Rufus Cleare Jr. ... Second Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
Jimmy Crawford ... Second Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
Edward Crocetti ... (uncredited)
Joey Dano ... Baltimore Strip Club Band Member (uncredited)
Lewis DiMartino ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Cindy Embers ... Opening Stripper (uncredited)
Andy William Fischer ... Duffy's Strip Club Band (uncredited)
William Flannigan ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Belle Flower ... Babysitter (uncredited)

Bob Fosse ... The Interviewer (voice) (uncredited)
Turnip Green ... (uncredited)
Sherry Greene ... Girl in Dressing Room (uncredited)
Gerald Guidice ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Jeffrey Holck ... (uncredited)
Phyllis Hyman ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Diego Iborra ... Baltimore Strip Club Band Member (uncredited)
Jay W. Jensen ... Nightclub Customer (uncredited)
Mal Jones ... New York Court Clerk (uncredited)
Myrtle Jones ... Second Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
David Light ... Duffy's Strip Club Band (uncredited)
Sonny Mange ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Larry Mark ... Humiliated Customer (uncredited)
Ben Marks ... Duffy's Strip Club Band (uncredited)
Lee Martin ... Duffy's Strip Club Band (uncredited)

David Joseph Martinez ... Marine Private (uncredited)
John Henry McCarthy ... Man in Cellar Club (uncredited)
Norbert Mogwitz ... Club Charles Band Member (uncredited)
Eugene Monahan ... Los Angeles Plainclothesman (uncredited)
Paul Martino Musenga ... First Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
Onyx ... Stripper (uncredited)
Alan Ormsby ... Man in Audience of Cellar Club (uncredited)
Frank Orsatti ... Hunter (uncredited)

Christine Page ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
Jeannie Parker ... Lady in Los Angeles Audience (uncredited)
Leonard Perna ... First Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
Paula Plyler ... Truth Girl (uncredited)
William Richko ... Catskills Orchestra Member (uncredited)
Richard F. Rose ... Second Cellar Club Band (uncredited)
Ted Rosen ... Club Charles Band Member (uncredited)
Joseph Santaniello ... (uncredited)
Jack Savage ... Man in Chicago Audience (uncredited)
Lonnie Sintow ... Woman in Chicago Audience (uncredited)
Kim St. Leon ... Girl in Dressing Room (uncredited)
Rita Turner ... Stripper (uncredited)
Charles Victor ... Club Charles Band Member (uncredited)
Glenn R. Wilder ... Hunter (uncredited)
Zorita ... Nightclub Owner (uncredited)
Lillian Zuckerman ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

Directed by
Bob Fosse 
Writing credits
Julian Barry (play)

Julian Barry (screenplay)

Produced by
Robert Greenhut .... associate producer
David V. Picker .... executive producer (as David Picker)
Marvin Worth .... producer
Original Music by
Ralph Burns 
Cinematography by
Bruce Surtees 
Film Editing by
Alan Heim 
Casting by
Marion Dougherty 
Beverly McDermott 
Production Design by
Joel Schiller 
Set Decoration by
Nicholas J. Romanac  (as Nicholas Romanak)
Costume Design by
Albert Wolsky 
Makeup Department
William A. Farley .... hair stylist
Romaine Greene .... hair stylist
Robert Laden .... makeup artist (as Bob Laden)
Production Management
Neil A. Machlis .... unit manager
Robert Greenhut .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Douglas Green .... first assistant director
Thomas Lofaro .... second assistant director (as Tommy Lofaro)
Ted Zachary .... first assistant director
Art Department
Dennis J. Parrish .... property master
Larry Goodwin Sr. .... set dresser (uncredited)
Charles Guanci .... props (uncredited)
Paul Schwendel .... set dresser (uncredited)
Sound Department
Dennis Maitland .... sound
Ed Rothkowitz .... sound assistant
Dick Vorisek .... sound re-recordist (as Richard Vorisek)
Katherine Wenning .... sound editing supervisor
Norman Hollyn .... apprentice sound editor (uncredited)
William Johnson .... boom operator (uncredited)
Mel Zelniker .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Charles Holmes .... gaffer
Michael McGowan .... assistant camera
Billy Simpson .... key grip
Roland 'Ozzie' Smith .... camera operator (as Roland Ozzie Smith)
John Winner .... assistant camera
Guy Del Russo .... electrician (uncredited)
Vinnie Gerardo .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Tony Gulliver .... still photographer (uncredited)
Perry A. Jones .... grip (uncredited)
Dick LaViolette .... grip (uncredited)
John McGowan .... assistant camera (uncredited)
James Pergola .... camera operator (uncredited)
Bill Swan .... best boy (uncredited)
Casting Department
Lynette Bernay .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Diana Bernay .... costumer
Michael J. Harte .... costumer
Editorial Department
Jonathan Pontell .... assistant editor
Irving Rathner .... negative cutter
Trudy Ship .... assistant editor
Music Department
Ralph Burns .... music supervisor
Transportation Department
Fred Toledo .... transportation captain
Don Howell .... teamster (uncredited)
Allan McGovern .... teamster (uncredited)
Other crew
Selma Brown .... location auditor
Honey Bruce Friedman .... advisor to producer (as Honey Bruce)
Kitty Bruce .... advisor to producer
Michael Butler .... producer: original stage production
Gail Geibel .... production secretary
Neil R. Lipes .... production assistant
Frank Majerski .... cinemobile technician
Sally Marr .... advisor to producer
Lawrence Schiller .... material supplier
Nicholas Sgarro .... script supervisor
Peter J. Silbermann .... unit publicist
G.C. Brown .... representative: U.A. (uncredited)
Karen Gilbert .... personal assistant: Bob Fosse, pre-production (uncredited)
Patti James .... secretary (uncredited)
Larry Mark .... production assistant (uncredited)
Douglas E. Stoll .... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
111 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:R | Australia:MA (Cable TV rating) | Canada:18A | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 (1987) | Finland:K-18 (1975) | Iceland:L | Netherlands:18 | New Zealand:R18 | Norway:18 | Portugal:M/16 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (video re-rating) (2003) | UK:18 (video rating) (1987) | USA:R | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Cliff Gorman, who'd won the 1972 Tony Award for his portrayal of Bruce on Broadway, was considered for the film adaptation but wasn't deemed as bankable an actor as Hoffman. Years later, Gorman would play a Lenny Bruce type of character in All That Jazz (1979), also directed by Bob Fosse.See more »
Anachronisms: During the movie's opening monologue, Lenny says that it's 1964 and then references the MDA Telethon, which debuted in 1966.See more »
Lenny Bruce:The problem is we always expect women to be a combination sunday school teacher, and $500-a-night hooker!See more »
Movie Connections:
Tempus FugitSee more »


How does it end?
See more »
20 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
A brilliant - if imperfect - biopic of a tragically misunderstood man, 11 August 2006
Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK

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.

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