Talk Radio (1988)

R  |   |  Drama  |  13 January 1989 (USA)
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Reviews: 75 user | 37 critic

A rude, contemptuous talk show host becomes overwhelmed by the hatred that surrounds his program just before it goes national.



(book), (play), 4 more credits »
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3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Atkinson ...
Sheila Fleming
Jeffrey Fisher / Francine
Sid Greenberg
Tony Frank ...
Harlan Jordan ...
Bill Johnson ...
Fan #1
Kevin Howard ...
Fan #2
Woman at Basketball Game / Denise


An acerbic radio talk show host based in Dallas starts what could be an important few days when he discovers that his controversial late night show is about to be "picked up" by a nationwide network of radio stations. However, all is not perfect for him, because on top of troubles with his love life and fears that the management of the network will try to alter the content of his show he has to cope with a neo-nazi group who have been angered by his forthright opinions. Written by Mark Thompson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Words can kill... See more »




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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

As Vozes da Ira  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)


$3,468,572 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Eric Bogosian's play, on which the film is based, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. See more »


Early in the film, Barry expresses anger that his producer isn't putting through more interesting callers. He's supposed to be reading examples from the computer screen that displays a list of callers on hold and the subjects they're calling about, but when we see the screen, some of the callers he says he'd like to talk to aren't listed. See more »


Barry: Who's the schlub?
See more »


References The Blob (1958) See more »


Disco Inferno
Written by Ron Kersey (as Ron "Have Mercy" Kersey) & Leroy Green
Performed by The Trammps
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Talked to Death
14 June 2005 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** For some strange reason Oliver Stone's "Talk Radio" based on the Stephen Singular book "Talked to Death" and the films star Eric Bogosian's play, about the 1984 murder of Denver talk show host Alan Berg, has never gotten the recognition that it so rightfully deserved. The 1988 movie was prophetic enough to recognize the underground movement that was developing in the farm and hinterland of America. A movement that spawned, some seven years later, the likes of an angry and disgruntled Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh who's hatred for the US governments actions in Wacco Texas lead to his and friend,Terry Nichols, detonation of the US Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 that took the lives of 168 people, the worst act of terrorism on US soil up to that time.

The movie is, as far as I know, the first time that any major branch of the entertainment media mentioned and elaborated on the rural militia novel "The Turner Diaries" by the late William L. Pierce, that has since become a chilling underground classic. "The Turner Diaries" forecast a domestic and utterly disastrous terrorist attack, like the Oklahoma City bombing, on a US Government Federal facility which was the FBI Building in Washington D.C.

Dallas radio station KGAB talk show host Barry Champlain, Eric Bogosian, is the top rated show in the Dallas listening area and is now about to go national. Barry get's his high rating by his razor sharp wit and abusive behavior when he's on the air. Taking on all comers and ducking no issues, no matter how unpopular or taboo they are, has gotten Barry to be the most listened to as well as hated man on radio. Barry being a showman at heart and not thinking that his talk can lead to violence keeps up his abrasiveness to his call-in listeners as his rating go up to the celling. But there are those in the listening audience, mostly ultra right wing types, that don't take too kindly to his in your face attitude. One of them decides to take matters into his on hand at Barry's expense.

Powerhouse performance by Eric Bogosian as the tragic Barry Champlain who crossed the line from entertainment to hard reality in his actions on the radio. Thinking that he's not that important to be sought out and murdered for his on the air opinions which is enemies dislike he found out only too late that there are those out there who are crazy enough to do to him on the outside. Also in the movie "Talk Radio" is a very young Alic Baldwin as Barry's boss Dan who tries to have him soften his tone but in the end goes along with his talk show style since he's killing the competition not realizing that in the end it's him that he'll end up getting killed.

Both Ellen Green and Leslie Hope are the two women in Barry's life his ex-wife Ellen and now lover and talk show producer Laura whom Barry uses to his advantage and almost ends up losing both of them at the same time. The 1988 film "Talk Radio" is so far ahead of it's time that even if you watch it now in 2005 you still think that it's too disturbing to be shown to an over sensitive and delicate American public.

25 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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