7.2/10
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27 user 4 critic

Citizen Cohn (1992)

As lawyer and power broker Roy Cohn lies dying of AIDS in a private hospital room, ghosts from his past visit him as he reflects on his life and loves.

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Joseph N. Welch
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Dora Cohn
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Older Doctor
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Albert Cohn
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Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman
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Iva Schlesinger
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Sen. Charles Potter
Frances Foster ...
First Annie Lee Moss
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Abe Feller
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Storyline

In the 50's, the ambitious and unscrupulous Jewish prosecutor Roy Marcus Cohn convinces Senator Joseph McCarthy to be his Chief Counselor in his hunting against communists. The arrogant Cohn destroys careers and lives and becomes a Jew hunting Jews and a gay hunting gays. In 1985, he dies of AIDS in a hospital in New York. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hospital | aids | senator | jewish | lawyer | See All (68) »

Taglines:

He was McCarthy's loyal partner. The Kennedys' worst enemy. The F.B.I.'s best friend. The country's greatest nightmare.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

22 August 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cidadão Cohn  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When a tape is played from bugging Martin Luther Kings hotel room, the sounds of people having sex are the same sounds from the sex scene between Jack Nicholson and Sally Struthers in Five Easy Pieces (1970). See more »

Goofs

As he is scattering ashes into what is purportedly the East River, Cohn says he consigns his mother to the waters of New Jersey, where she did not live. The East River does not border New Jersey. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Older Doctor: Well, at last he did something human. What was he saying?
Peter: He said "Tell me the name of the judge!"
See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Life and Death of Roy Cohn in a Great Film
5 June 2011 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

"Citizen Cohn" is a dramatization on the life of one of the most contradictory and controversial American characters ever, the infamous attorney Roy Cohn (1927-1986) here played by an furious and excellent James Woods, in one of his best roles ever. Cohn is played in two ways: the hypocrite guy who sentenced to prison or death many innocent people, destroying private lives; and the madman who sees in his deathbed, dying of AIDS, the ghosts of all the people he met and died before him, judging his acts as a public man, denouncing possible Communists.

Frank Pierson's film shows us this: a closeted gay man persecuting others gay men; a Jewish condemning another Jewish; a man enlisted in one political party but who join forces to the other; an idealist in knowing what American needs, blaming invisible enemies and supporting Senator McCarthy's (played by Joe Don Baker) red scare. A multifaceted figure that is very difficult to give a good definition and to each viewer it might vary such definition. Woods great performance goes to show that we must hate this guy but for certain reasons we end up liking him for a few moments (his scene with his mother, so proud of his work while his father doesn't even care because Cohn is damaging lives and reputations).

The movie knows how to present numerous historical and political facts, attached with many good fictional moments and artistic licenses (such as Cohn's dying and seeing visions of McCarthy, Ethel Rosenberg, Bobby Kennedy and so and so). It never gets boring, it never gets highly educational, is very informative without being excessive. As for Roy Cohn presentation as a gay man we only get what we could possibly know about his life in other medias, he was very discreet and the moments are very light, so few to see, nothing so compromising which can be viewed as something disappointing in terms of plot, more could've been done.

Woods is not alone here, he has some outstanding actors along like Lee Grant, Joseph Bologna, Josef Sommer, Joe Grifasi, Pat Hingle, Peter Maloney, Jeffrey Nordling, David Marshall Grant and many others. "Citizen Cohn" is a powerful film, very memorable, an important document for those who have interest in seeing who Cohn was and his part during the HUAC activities. HBO nails it again! 10/10


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