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The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  10 January 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 69,629 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 125 user | 64 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

A partially idealized film of the controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech for all people.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 22 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brett Harrelson ...
Miles Chapin ...
Burt Neuborne ...
Jan Tríska ...
10-Year-Old Larry
Ryan Post ...
8-Year-Old Jimmy


Larry Flynt is the hedonistically obnoxious, but indomitable, publisher of Hustler magazine. The film recounts his struggle to make an honest living publishing his porn magazine and how it changes into a battle to protect the freedom of speech for all people. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You may not like what he does, but are you prepared to give up his right to do it?


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual material, nudity, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Larry Flynt  »

Box Office


$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$607,652 (USA) (27 December 1996)


$20,191,312 (USA) (25 April 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lawyer Alan Isaacman, played by Edward Norton, is a composite of a few lawyers that represented Flynt over the years and is not the lawyer who was shot along with Flynt. That lawyer is Gene Reeves Jr. who (as of April 2012) is a senior magistrate Judge in Gwinnett County at the same courthouse at 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, GA outside of which he and Flynt were shot. See more »


Flynts mother, Edith died in 1982, 5 years before Flynts wife Althea died in 1987. In the movie she is present at Althea's funeral. See more »


[Isaacman on the phone with Flynt]
Alan Isaacman: Listen, I'm sitting here with the eminently reasonable District Attorney of the state of Georgia.
[Larry makes an off screen comment on the other end of the line]
Alan Isaacman: Right. He's very impressed by your conversion, he wants to cut us a plea bargain.
Larry Flynt: A plea bargain? Because I've found God?
Isaacman: Larry, listen to me for a second: Don't argue with me on this, ok. Just say yes because I've pulled a lot of strings to make this happen.
Larry Flynt: Is he sitting there with you?
Isaacman: Yes, he is.
Larry Flynt: ...
See more »


Express Yourself
Written by Charles Wright
Performed by Idris Muhammad
Courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
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User Reviews

Unusual, audacious film
13 September 1999 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

As Larry Flynt is hardly the usual type of person you think of when you think of the word "hero," it's fitting that this biopic opts not for the standard approach, but to make an offbeat comedy(as writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski did in their screenplay for ED WOOD and the upcoming MAN ON THE MOON, about controversial comedian Andy Kaufman). You may not like him(and one of two faults I had with this film was I think the filmmakers lionized him a little too much), but certainly any society which calls itself free needs to make room for him. Harrelson does a good job in the title role, but the real force for me came from Courtney Love, in an astonishing performance as Flynt's wife, and Edward Norton, one of the best new talents, as Flynt's reluctant lawyer.

Besides that it does lionize Flynt a little too much, there is one problem I had, though. If you believe the film, all of Flynt's opposition came from right-wing blowhards like Charles Keating and Jerry Falwell. Certainly, they did have the most publicized tussles with him. But to ignore the problems he had with feminists makes it rather limited. I don't agree with Gloria Steinhem's contention that the film ignores his depraved side, but I think the film would have been more interesting if it had addressed the opposition he had from both the left and the right. Still, this is a terrific and important film to remind us what freedom really is.

45 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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