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Barton Fink (1991)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  21 August 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 83,229 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 216 user | 109 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.


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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Warrilow ...
Garland Stanford
I.M. Hobson ...
Poppy Carnahan (as Megan Faye)
Richard St. Claire


In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer's block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Between Heaven and Hell There's Always Hollywood! See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some scenes of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 August 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barton Fink - Delírios de Hollywood  »

Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$6,153,939 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jon Polito originally turned down the role of Lou Breeze because he wanted the role of Jack Lipnick instead. But Frances McDormand, Joel Coen's wife, persuaded Polito to accept the role. See more »


When Mundt pulls the bedframe apart, the metal ball that drops to the floor has a metal rod through the center. When it hits the floor, the rod is nowhere to be seen. See more »


Charlie: Beery wrestling picture? Could be a pip, could be a pip.
See more »


Referenced in Böcek (2013) See more »


by Irving Mills and Fletcher Henderson
Published by Mills Music, Inc.
Courtesy of EMI Music Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

Another Coen Brothers Classic!!!
21 May 2007 | by (San Francisco CA USA) – See all my reviews

I recently purchased "Barton Fink" along with "Miller's Crossinhg", another Coen Brothers gem.

Barton Fink quite simply is a writer who cannot see the forest for the trees. He is so taken with the fact that he is a writer that he can't write. He is so idealistic that he misses fantastic opportunities to become a writer for the ages because he wastes precious time proselytizing. John Goodman perfectly sums up everyone's frustration with Barton Fink when after a series of unfortunate occurrences, Barton asks him "Why me?" to which John's character answers "Because you don't LISTEN!" Set in 1930s Hollywood we follow the exploits of a one-hit wonder, Barton Fink, who has written a successful Broadway play and is summoned by the powers that be to Hollywood. After much cajoling to take the job from his agent, Barton arrives in Los Angeles determined to become the writer for the common man where he insists true stories live. The trouble with Barton, however, is he does not have time for the common man because he has so romanticized their lot as well as his particular quest in speaking for them.

Excellent performances from John Turturo, John Goodman, Judy Davis, John Polito (often overlooked, but his scenes ALWAYS become his!!) and the inimitable Tony Shaloub.

I have decided after a slew of Coen Brothers films I currently have in my collection, that any project these guys are involved with deserve more than passing scrutiny.

60 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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