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Barton Fink (1991)

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


, (uncredited)


2,717 ( 359)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 12 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


What's in his head 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?


When Barton is watching dailies for 'Devil on the Canvas', there is a brief but clear glimpse of a slate for 'Barton Fink', with the names of Joel Coen and Roger Deakins. See more »


When Barton meets Charlie for the first time, the fan behind him on the desk changes speeds. The strips attached to the fan are first slack, then blowing out, then slack again. See more »


Jack Lipnick: I run this dump, and I don't know the technical mumbo-jumbo. Why do I run it? Cause I got horse sense goddamit, SHOWMANSHIP! And also I hope Lou told you this, I am bigger and meaner and louder than any other kike in this town. Did you tell him that Lou? And I don't mean my dick is bigger than yours, it's not a sexual thing. You're a writer, you know more about that. Coffee?
See more »


References La Dolce Vita (1960) See more »


Old Black Joe
aka "Poor Old Joe"
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung by Mayhew when he is drunk
See more »

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User Reviews

A masterpiece of surrealism
31 October 2000 | by (Vienna, Austria) – See all my reviews

The Coen-movie I liked best was "Raising Arizona". But being realisic, I know that "Miller's Crossing" and "Barton Fink" were better. There is so much inside and behind this movie, it's impossible to refer to every single detail. John Turturro has never given a better performance than here, as arrogant, too ambitious author Barton Fink. John Goodman also plays his role for a lifetime. And of course, Michael Lerner was nominated for an Academy Award. The reason why he still is no star is that he didn't act in any other Coen-brothers-movie. It's a fact that with their direction actors reach their climax.

Some of my friends who saw this film disliked it because they didn't understand the plot. Well, this is not a movie for people who need instructions how to handle a film. You have to think, to guess what all the symbols mean, what the ending means. Whatever you'll guess it can't be completely wrong because a real masterpiece like this offers many possibilities for interpretation.

53 of 84 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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