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71 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

Venue is Perfect for an Ideological Drop of 2000 Feet!!!

Author: dataconflossmoor from United States
30 October 2005

From the offset, I knew this was going to be a terrific movie, the pace, the cinematography, personalities indigenous to the Dallas area, the diversification of characters, not to mention the director Oliver Stone and of course Eric Bogasian...The film starts out on a Friday (suggestively occult in the first place) and begins with a radio station in Dallas that is hosting their number one talk show, The Barry Champlain Show (Based on the Talk Radio Host Alan Berg)...Barry (Eric Bogasian) is the abrasive radio talk show host and his job is such whereby it is compulsory to pontificate all of the sensationalistic nuances of the radio audience feeding into his show...He attempts to commiserate with a bunch of societal deviates turned lonely, vulnerable, obscene phone callers who have the masochistic craving to be publicly vilified, Barry Champlain is effective in coping with this precarious ilk, by socially debasing them rather than simply subjugating them to mere admonishment...New technologies serve a stigmatic purpose for the Dallas radio audience, and paramount concepts take a backseat to perversion, talk about "Baseball Scores, Orgasms and People's Pets!!"

The whole thing is a cacophony of drug-induced diatribes and a potpourri for psychopathic paranoia!! This high profile cannon fodder is something that Barry Champlain thrives on!!! The convoluted pathos, the deranged proclivities deeriving from inaneities and puveyors of pornography and the overall pop culture afflictions serve as volatile ammunition for Barry Champlain's stilted battleground!!

The setting for this movie is perfect in that there is a two thousand foot drop in terms of ideology.. In the the center of Dallas there is an overbearing sense of cosmopolitan awareness, whereby 20 miles away resides a significant chapter of the Ku Klux Klan!!...The play is based in Denver,that is where the actual story takes place, other small theater plays depict the cities of Louisville, Atlanta and Cleveland. Dallas is the city where the film takes place, I thought it was an excellent choice!!...This movie illustrates how people have a horrid and erroneous and deadly misconceptualization of the Jewish people in America, whereby they control the banks, their agenda is different than everybody else's and their intellectual literature leads to perversion!! These preconceived notions compound Barry Champlain's overall dilemma!!! Barry Champlain's personal undoing is whereby he is irascible and non-responsive to his alcoholism, and his abrasive and politically controversial nature is his ultimate undoing, this is what makes the film so believable!!

The characters in the movie were well portrayed, Dan, the tailor made for middle management hatchet man (played by Alec Baldwin) who was constantly monitoring Barry Champlain's every move!!..Laura, his girlfriend, also his producer, will constantly feel Barry is someone who is always misunderstood!! Ellen, his ex-wife, is a recipient of Barry's anguish and selfishness, but cannot quite relinquish her feelings for Barry regardless of the path of personal destruction he winds up resorting to!! The Dallas radio audience is a melting pot of socially misplaced retro-bates who are dementedly amused by their own real shortcomings!!!...In part, everybody's hang-ups including Barry Champlain's own hang-ups are what do Barry Champlain in!! His audience ogles depravity, solicits amelioration and ultimately becomes Barry Champlain's pet project for prescribed sinners!! Social culture conflicts become Barry Champlain's downfall!!

This movie is superb!! In my opinion Oliver Stone's best picture, including Platoon and Natural Born Killers..That statement in of itself tells you how magnificent a film Talk Radio is...The story consulting and acting and co-producing of Eric Bogosian is simply compelling!! The camera angles, the dialogue, the haunting character portrayals, all top notch..The cinematography of the Dallas skyline at the end of the movie is terrific!! Dallas has the dubious distinction of being deemed a mega metropolis...So now, just like Los Angeles and New York, there are crack baby cases too numerous to count, low cost housing neighborhoods from Hell and budgets cuts that will mean there will be a significant number of people who will be dead by this time next year!!!!...Dallas asserts it's status as a major metropolitan area in the precarious manner by which human debauchery prevails!! The city has it's lynching radio listeners who have given a pejorative spin to the marvel of nationwide air wave communication!! These are the culprits in the movie!! The ghoulish tabloid derelicts who want to meet the big bad wolf, and their decadent curiosity has morally obliterated "The last neighborhood in America"

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44 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

The best movie you've never seen

Author: Derek237 from Canada
1 February 2003

When you think 'Oliver Stone' the movies that come to mind would be his biggest and most controversial ones like Platoon, JFK, Born On The Fourth Of July, or Natural Born Killers. Talk Radio usually doesn't. It's a pretty small movie, actually. More than half the movie takes place with Barry Champlain at his radio station talking into his mike. But believe me, this is one of Oliver Stone's greatest movies and should NOT be missed.

Above all things it's a character study. Barry Champlain is a rude, self-destructive, risk-taking talk radio show host who says one too many things and starts to get in trouble with his boss, his lover(s), his fans, and even some Nazis. He doesn't like his audience and callers and a lot of them don't like him (eithor that or do like him, but have no idea why). But, at the end he says on his show: "I guess we're stuck with each other."

See Talk Radio, even if you don't like Oliver Stone movies. You might be surprised. I sure was.

My Rating: 10/10

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32 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Still one of Oliver Stone's directorial triumphs; Bogosian is captivating

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
10 August 2005

In one of the more under-seen films of the late 1980's, at a time when Oliver Stone was riding high with Platoon and Wall Street (and before his opus Born on the Fourth of July), he co-scripted and directed this look at the world of radio, specifically one radio host in the middle of Texas. This man is Barry Champlain, in a once-in-a-career turn from Eric Bogosian, who wrote the original play and also co-wrote the script. Barry is like a mix of Howard Stern and one of those pundits you hear on the radio stations many of us might turn off. He's got ideas on his mind, opinions, and he's not only un-afraid to speak them, but also to stand up against the phone callers. The callers, indeed, are the driving force in the film, as Barry has to combat against the mindless, the obscene, the racist, and the purely absent-minded. As this goes on, he also has to contend with his boss (Alec Baldwin) and a hit or miss deal to go nationwide, outside the confines of the Southern way station he's in.

While after seeing the film I felt curious as to see how it would've been done on stage (I'd imagine it was a one-man show, as Bogosian has had several on the side), the direction of the film is phenomenal. Stone has been known, almost typecast, as a director who loves quick cuts, the limitless effects of montage, and effects with the styles of camera-work and other little tricks, that give his films in the 90's a distinctive, almost auteur look. But in the 80's he had this energy and feverish quality to the look of the film, and wasn't as frenzied as the other films. In order to add the proper intensity that is within the studio and head-space of Barry Champlain, he and DP Robert Richardson make the space seem claustrophobic at times, gritty, un-sure, and definitely on edge. The scenes in the middle of the film, when Barry isn't in the studio, are fairly standard, but the style along with the substance in the radio scenes is among the best I've seen from the Stone/Richardson combination.

And one cannot miscalculate the performance of Bogosian, who can be obnoxious, offensive, angered, passive, and everything that we love and hate in radio show hosts. There is also a funny, near distracting supporting role for Michael Wincott as Kent/Michael/Joe, who prank calls him one night, and the next gets invited to the studio. These scenes are a little uncomfortable for a viewer, but it does get very much into the subculture head-space of the 80's that Barry is as intrigued as he is critical of. The stoner may not 'get it', but as he says to him "it's your show". Indeed, it's hard to cover everything that goes on within the talk, and there is a lot of it. But it's never boring, and like Champlain himself, it's not easy to ignore. And when Bogosian goes into his climactic tirade on air, with the background panning around in a continuous 360 spin, it becomes intoxicating, and a reason why freedom of speech is so powerful.

Stone has been synonymous as a filmmaker of hot-button issues, who takes on subjects that were or still are controversial, and gives them a life-force that isn't always great, but is all his own. Here his skills and ambitions don't get in the way of Bogosian's- it's boosted, if anything, making an extremely skilled vision of what is essentially a near one-man show, which in and of itself is already well-written.

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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Talked to Death

Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA
14 June 2005

***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.

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Hugely ignored classic

Author: kingprobert from Canada
8 January 2005

I have seen it a few times and get completely glued to it every time. It is very suspenseful and intense. To describe it sounds boring but it is amazing. It is the kind of movie where you need can't miss a thing, but if you soak it in it sticks with you long after it ends. Now thinking about it I don't even know what Stone was trying to make us see. Just the story of Alan Green? I don't think so. It was a look at ignorance, stupidity, self-absorption, and a guy just loosing his grip. Maybe he had more grip than the listeners though. I didn't like Barry but still seemed worried about him for some reason. I was perplexed at why I couldn't get him out of my mind when the movie ended. I wish I could see inside Olive Stone's mind for this one.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Stone's Cruelly Underrated Satire On The Media Remains Masterfully Amusing, Bold, Exhilarating, Fearless, Fascinating and Stark. Possibly Stone's Most Honest Film To Date

Author: Det_McNulty from London
11 March 2007

I have never been a great fan of Oliver Stone, often because I have found his films to be forced, preachy and generally flawed. The two Stone films I truly like are JFK and Talk Radio, yet Talk Radio takes the cake for being Stone's finest achievement. Stone is a director whereby you are either a fan or you are not, it is safe to say that before watching Talk Radio I was not fond of the guy and considered one of the most overrated directors in the film industry, though after watching Talk Radio some of my perceptions have changed. Talk Radio is an unsettling and amusing attack on what is now known as "reality TV".

Talk Radio follows a self-indulgent, dysfunctional, determined, hysterical, outrageous and perplexing radio host, named Barry Champlain who hosts a controversial late-night radio show in Dallas. Quickly becoming well known for his bold and quirky air-presence he becomes a late night sensation, whereby depraved junkies, delinquents, racists, sociopaths, sickos, perverts and morons call in to be ridiculed on air. The film shows the rise and fall of the man's career, carefully making an accurate portrayal on freedom of speech. Originally adapted from a stage-play, the film attaches itself to the theatre theme that it was originally built around, wonderfully conveying the film's fierce nature.

With the ferocious energy and non-stereotypical air, Talk Radio brings all the hilarity behind "crass media". It remains even more poignant today than it was in the late '80s. The film goes into depth studying the likes of arrogance, self-obsession, offensive behaviour, controversy, hypocrisy and ignorance. The film shows through a controlled manner how it is good to have a personal opinion and freedom of speech, yet it is something that should be used wisely rather than shamefully blunt. Stone tries to show how freedom of speech is a crucial importance in life, but is something that we should be wary and cautious about. The film asks the question of "is our main protagonist just the same as the sad people who call up the show?"

Stone fabulously creates the film's key set-piece (the radio station) with an ambition and cold atmosphere. He then succeeds in capturing the isolation, fear, ambiguity and the dangerous emotions that are built up at the radio station. Eric Bogosian is perfectly cast as the isolated, self-absorbed and complex genius, Barry Champlain. He fits the role perfectly letting off his lines with such enthusiasm, urgency, perplexity, brusqueness and ultimately the bold hilarity of his offensive nature. The performance brims with spark, which was evidently robbed of an Oscar nomination. His voice suits the character, being that a primary element of a radio host and his power of acting along with tragedy and comedy works brilliantly.

There is a strong use of editing in Stone's films and Talk Radio boasts some of his cleanest, most rhythmic editing. He uses beautifully controlled camera techniques, which differ from being calm to suddenly becoming turbulent. There is a vibrant energy behind the film, with its raw and wonderfully delightful script working as a centre-piece for the greatness of the film. The striking and virtuous cinematography stands out in the moments inside and outside the studio, most impressively capturing the city at night. Not forgetting the hauntingly heartbreaking and yet darkly funny climatic "spiral to decline" is ultimately remarkable cinema.

Talk Radio is an essential modern masterpiece, I am certain you will be surprised by just how great it really is. I highly recommend Talk Radio for anyone interested in media or film. Talk Radio is a fine example of top-notch, intellectual and insightful entertainment, which still packs a well-earned wakeup call. Finally, if it was not for Eric Bogosian the film would not be the fun, delightful and enduring masterpiece it is today.

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Underrated masterpiece

Author: fertilecelluloid from Mountains of Madness
10 February 2006

"Talk Radio" is my favorite Oliver Stone movie, though he has made many great ones including "Salvador", "JFK", "Natural Born Killers" and "Platoon". But I like the intimacy of "Talk Radio", a cinematic expansion of Eric Bogosian's searing stage play that was based on a real life account of a Dallas talk show host. Working with ace cinematographer Robert Richardson, Stone turns what could have been a very set-bound exercise into a visually arresting ideological battle that presents a radio station as an arena of war. Bogosian is devastating as tortured on-air spouter of abuse Barry Champlain and conveys the conflicted, destructive nature of his character with conviction and a generous dose of self-loathing. Alec Baldwin, as his Alpha male boss, strikes the perfect note as a man driven nuts by a guy whose monstrousness he helped nurture. Ellen Greene is fantastic as Barry's sweet ex-wife who ends up becoming another target of his vicious personal vitriol. Stone and Bogosian fill every frame with interest and every line of dialog with sweet poison and cutting ambiguity. John C. McGinley, as Barry's long-suffering screener/technical producer Stu, turns in a hilarious, sharp performance, as does the great Michael Wincott. The film is a flawless, underrated masterpiece of superb writing, awesome acting and brutal, uncompromising direction. The Stewart Copeland score is brilliant, too.

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23 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Interesting Character, But Not A Fun Guy

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
2 June 2007

I found this fascinating when it came out. How I would feel about it now might be different, knowing Oliver Stone's beliefs and how he likes to put them on film. Back then, I didn't care. I just looked at this as a character study of a nasty and very disturbed radio talk show host who had nutty callers and was nuts himself.

I have to warn viewers - and this has nothing to do with politics - after the riveting first 30 minutes, this lead character "Barry Champlain" (Eric Bogosian) wears thin big-time. He is so obnoxious that he makes this movie uncomfortable to watch in a number of areas. This is not fun to witness, folks, but Bogosian does a super job in the lead role.

Personally, this story is so full of anger, hatred and sordidness that I wouldn't watch it again. However, if you know all this in advance and appreciate fine acting and different kind of story, it's worth checking out. Just don't expect to be uplifted!

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Barry Champlain hates you

Author: Dr. Gore ( from Los Angeles, California
5 August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


Barry Champlain, (Eric Bogosian), hosts a late night radio talk show. He talks about how he "despises each and every one of you." He berates anyone who calls him. Even fans get put through the wringer. He is very good at pushing people's buttons. He's so good that a big corporation wants to pick up his show for national syndication. He may be a little too good as he is also inflaming most of his deranged fans to the point of death threats.

"Talk Radio" is a great movie. The tagline for the movie is "The last neighborhood in America". That claim may have been superseded by message boards on the internet. Of course, the principle is still the same: Anonymous people yell at each other over some random topic. Nothing ever gets solved. The "talk" is the entertainment. How effectively you can upset your opponent is how you win the game. Champlain is the master.

Bogosian is the movie. We watch him launch tirade after tirade against his listening audience. It's hilarious. His stress management consists of him having a cathartic experience every night. He still ends up hating everybody. And himself.

See this movie.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

An interesting film, though it could've been stronger

Author: guyfromjerzee from United States
16 February 2005

I tend to be inclined towards movies about people who choose to cross the barriers of censorship, and express what they really want to express. Eric Bogosian's character of Barry is like Howard Stern, but much more intelligent. The character itself is very fascinating. As an Oliver Stone film, I guess I was expecting more. The film sags a bit during the third act. Plus, it's pretty obvious that "Talk Radio" is based on a play, with its long dialogue scenes. But overall, the film works. Bogosian is great in the lead, and the fact that he also wrote the play from which the movie was based on probably helped him. If you want to check out one of Stone's greater films, I better suggest you check out "JFK" or "Salvador." This is not his best work, but a good movie nonetheless.

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