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Barton Fink (1991)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Mystery  |  21 August 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 83,333 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


There's only one thing stranger than what's going on inside his head. What's going on outside. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Mystery

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?


Frances McDormand:  The female voice heard on stage at the beginning of the film is that of Joel Coen's wife. See more »


Tony Shalhoub's name is spelt Tony Shaloub in the opening credits. See more »


Charlie: I could tell you some stories...
Barton: Sure you could and yet many writers do everything in their power to insulate themselves from the common man, from where they live, from where they trade, from where they fight and love and converse and...
Barton: So naturally their work suffers and regresses into empty formalism and... well I'm spouting off again, but to put it in your language, the theatre becomes as phony as a three-dollar bill!
Charlie: Well I guess that's a tragedy right there!
See more »


Referenced in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) See more »


by Edward Heyman, Al Sherman and Abner Silver
Licenced with Permission the Successors of Marlo Music Corporation/ASCAP
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User Reviews

quirky, dark comedy about "the life of the mind"
13 August 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

No-one makes films like the Coen brothers and Barton Fink is a film like no other. Like all their movies it can be watched over and over and each viewing is as rewarding as the last. It's basically a film about writer's block (it was written when the Brothers Coen were struggling with 'Miller's Crossing',in the midst of their own block) and how lonely the "life of the mind" is. But the message here is that a writer must do everything he can not to be isolated from his fellow man. Barton is trying to write a screenplay for the common man but won't even listen when one such common man (his neighbor in the Hotel Earl, played by John Goodman) tries to tell him stories. He's too interested in spouting clichés about the nobility of the art of writing and the great service he is providing in his works. From the above Barton Fink may sound a little dry but it is anything but and as is customary in Joel and Ethan's films, the narrative never goes where you think it will. If you see Barton Fink for anything though, it should be for the characters, because they are incredibly well written and acted.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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