The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
Larry Flynt: I think the real obscenity comes from raising our youth to believe that sex is bad and ugly and dirty, and yet it is heroic to go spill guts and blood in the most ghastly manner in the name of humanity.
Larry Flynt: If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you.
Larry Flynt: Eight million people buy it, and no one reads. Gentleman... Playboy is mocking you.
Larry Flint: Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one.
Blow Dried Jerk: Uh, Mr. Flynt? I don't wanna step on your toes but things have changed since you were actively running the company. I mean I look back at the stuff you did in the 70s and it was uh sorta racy and crazy. But the country is different now. Reagan has rebuilt America and the moral majority is gaining power.
Larry Flynt: You're fired.
Blow Dried Jerk: Excuse me?
Larry Flynt: You get the fuck out of my building. Doug get him out of here. You blow dryed jerk mother fucker. Take him out of here and throw him in the incinerator, cut him to little pieces and feed him to the animals out there. Get out of here.
Larry Flynt: You don't want to quit me, I'm your dream client: I'm the most fun, I'm rich, and I'm always in trouble.
Althea: I've had an epiphany once, Larry. When my daddy shot my entire family in the head, and I was the only one to identify the bodies, and I was sent to an orphanage full of good Christian nuns who shoved my face into their pussies with their cruxifixes on for eight goddamn years!
Isaacman: Unpopular speech is absolutely vital to the health of our nation.
[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: Would you do me a favor? Just tell that miserable old gray-haired bastard to go fuck himself, we're going to trial.
Isaacman: Ok, right.
Larry Flynt: Oh, and praise the lord.
Alan Isaacman: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you have heard a lot today, and I'm not gonna go back over it, but you have to go into that room and make some decisions. But before you do, there's something you need to know. I am not trying to suggest that you should like what Larry Flynt does. I don't like what Larry Flynt does, but what I do like is the fact that I live in a country where you and I can make that decision for ourselves. I like the fact that I live in a country where I can pick up Hustler magazine and read it, or throw it in the garbage can if that's where I think it belongs.
Althea Leasure: The reign of Christian terror is over. We're going back to our roots. We are porn again.
Larry Flynt: Why do *I* have to go to jail to protect *your* freedom?
Larry Flynt: [incredulously] 25 years? All I'm guilty of is bad taste.
Larry Flynt: If you don't like Hustler magazine, don't read it.
Jerry Falwell: What?
Roy Grutman: Yeah, Jerry, he's suing you.
Jerry Falwell: He's suing me? For heaven's sakes, on what grounds?
Roy Grutman: Well, you xeroxed his ad, and you sent it out in a million fundraiser letters.
Jerry Falwell: Yeah, so?
Roy Grutman: But you didn't get his permission. And that's copyright infringement.
Jerry Falwell: The depth of his depravity sickens me.
Althea: Larry, I don't to work at the magazine anymore. People there don't listen me and they don't talk to me. They're afraid of me and they don't shake my hand... Larry, I went to Dr. Robert and... he told me that I was sick. I mean, sick, sick. I mean, I've got AIDS, Larry.
Isaacman: At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas, freedom to speak one's mind is not only an aspect of an individual liberty but is essential to the quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole, in the world of debate about public affairs many things done with motives that are less than admirable are none of the less protected by the first amendment.
Isaacman: Larry, thousands of people petition the Supreme Court, OK? Thousands.
Larry Flynt: Yeah, and our case is as good as any.
Isaacman: Our case is better than most, you're missing my point, and that is they will never pick you. Because you're a nightmare. They're afraid if they let you in there, you're gonna wear a diaper, or throw oranges at the justices, and they should be, Larry, because in all the times you've gone to the court asking for help, you've never once demonstrated any respect for its institutions and procedures.
Simon Leis: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Before we begin, I must apologize for the unpleasantness of this task. What you are about to see is going to take your breath away. Hustler magazine depicts men and women posed together in a lewd and shameful manner. Hustler magazine depicts women and women posed in a lewd and shameful manner. Hustler magazine depicts Santa Claus posed in a lewd and shameful manner.
Simon Leis: Mr. Flynt, can you please turn to page 77? Can you describe to the jury what is on that page, please sir?
Larry Flynt: It's a picture of Santa Claus.
Simon Leis: What is Santa Claus doing?
Larry Flynt: He's talking to Mrs. Claus, and holding in his hand what appears to be a large, erect penis.
Simon Leis: And could you read the caption underneath that cartoon, please?
Larry Flynt: "This is what I've got to ho-ho-ho about."
Larry Flynt: These are my friends - lots of money, lots of friends.
Alan Isaacman: I'm not trying to convince you to like what Larry Flynt does. I don't like what Larry Flynt does.
Althea Leasure: Nobody on this planet wants their religion and their pornography together.
Mantke Clerk: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help yo God?
Larry Flynt: No.
Larry Flynt: Your honor, I'm an atheist. I can't very well, uh, swear to a God I don't believe exists.
Judge Thomas Alva Mantke: Mr. Flynt, you are a handful.
Larry Flynt: I know, your honor.
Larry Flynt: She ain't bad. She ain't legal either.
Jimmy Flynt: Yes she is, I saw her ID.
Larry Flynt: Look, you stupid briar-hopper, my dog could get an ID... from my goat.
Larry Flynt: I oughta move somewhere, where perverts are welcome.
Larry Flynt: I got money, which gives me the power to shake up the system.
Isaacman: I have giving you my best since back when people were laughing at you, and every time we come in there now, you fuck me with this bullshit circus act.
Jimmy Flynt: [Calculating their profits and expenses] How we doing?
Larry Flynt: Bad, we're broke
Jimmy Flynt: How could we be broke?
Larry Flynt: These giveaways are killing us the limousine the smorgasbord was a stupid idea and all your buddies are coming in here every night drinking for free
Jimmy Flynt: You don't have to bring my friends into this
Larry Flynt: There's the secret right there if we can somehow let people know what great ladies these girls are
Jimmy Flynt: You can't advertise that
Larry Flynt: [On the microphone speaking to the patrons inside his strip club] Give a big hand to Alison from Tennessee
[Jimmy starts clapping to persuade the patrons to clap ]
Larry Flynt: thank you Jimmy I don't know if all of you feel the way I do right now but we deliver the finest ladies in southern Ohio don't you think? And now give a warm welcome to Hilary and Melissa they're here all the way from Paris and London.
Larry Flynt: I run the Hustler strip clubs I'm sure you've heard of them?
Old Printer: No.
Larry Flynt: That's why I need a newsletter I figure we'd run eight ten pages per issue.
Old Printer: With nothing but nudity pictures?
Larry Flynt: Yeah, on nice smooth paper like this
[Points to a sample picture on the wall]
Larry Flynt: .
Old Printer: That's called "slick".
Larry Flynt: Slick yeah.
Old Printer: But I could get into trouble printing these.
Larry Flynt: Why?
Old Printer: Because there are laws you've got to have kind of text like Playboy does.
Larry Flynt: [Walking past protesters protesting outside his strip club] Thank you all for coming welcome to my establishment, we welcome Christians in here too.
Larry Flynt: [Looking at the first issue of the Hustler newsletter] What'd you think?
Jimmy Flynt: How much do they cost?
Larry Flynt: [shakes his head] Will you forget money for one second what'd you think?
Jimmy Flynt: What I think depends on how much they cost
Larry Flynt: This is the first Hustler newsletter it's all for the man on the go and man about town here's news service and pictures
Jimmy Flynt: It's a magazine how are you going to pay for that?
Larry Flynt: Don't interrupt me when I'm talking
Larry Flynt: [in his office] What's your name?
Althea: [sitting on his couch, Lying] Jane
Larry Flynt: We have a policy in this club I have a suspicion that you're not of age
[showing her the fake ID]
Larry Flynt: this could cost me my liquor license I'd have to close that shop and fire a lot of people
Althea: I am one second one millimeter one second from being legal
Larry Flynt: Well, I'd have to ask you to come back when that second and millimeter is up
Althea: That'd be tomorrow morning then
Larry Flynt: I like the way you dance don't get me wrong
Althea: Can I ask you a question?
Larry Flynt: Shoot
Althea: I heard you slept with every single girl in every one of your clubs as sort of a prerequisite I was wondering if that was true
Larry Flynt: Well it isn't entirely untrue if that's what you mean
Althea: I'm curious why you haven't taken a stab at me?
Larry Flynt: I just met you five minutes ago
Althea: [after having had sex, referring to both of them ejaculating] Come on one more time
Larry Flynt: [still her legs wrapped around his legs, the zipper to his pants is still open] One more time? Even Superman has his limits
Althea: That's the problem with men your batteries run out women's batteries never run out
Larry Flynt: [lightly pushes her head backwards] Well, then go fuck a woman then
Althea: I do fuck women
Larry Flynt: [startled, surprised] Excuse me?
Althea: You are not the only one in this club that has slept every girl in this club
Jimmy Flynt: [Referring to Althea, while eating breakfast] So after one night she's moving in with you?
Larry Flynt: She had it rough, grew up in an orphanage.
Trucker: [interrupting their conversation] Hey buddy, are the guy with the sex paper?
Larry Flynt: I might be.
Trucker: I love the pictures how do I subscribe?
Larry Flynt: Where'd you come up on the newsletter?
Trucker: I found it in the bathroom of a gas station, it came in pretty handy.
Larry Flynt: I'm glad we can help you out but it's not for subscription.
Althea: [Flipping through an issue of Playboy] Her tits look nice
Larry Flynt: They look nice but they don't look real. I don't understand this magazine fuzzy pictures, articles on I don't know what the hell their talking about
Larry Flynt: [frustrated at the photographer] Look we're not running a flower shop here we're selling the girl so stop playing with all the props and pillars and flowers and just shoot the girl
Stills Photographer: [to the model during a photo shoot] Let's go for the leg thing spread your legs a little wider
Larry Flynt: [Walks up to the model and spreads her legs even wider] There, that's exactly what we want, that's perfect a woman's vagina has just as much personality as her face
Stills Photographer: But you can't show the genitalia
Larry Flynt: [disappointed, confused] Why not?
Jimmy Flynt: He's right legally you can't show it
Larry Flynt: [to Jimmy] Shut up
Larry Flynt: Are you religious man?
Stills Photographer: Yeah
Larry Flynt: You believe God created man?
Stills Photographer: Yeah
Larry Flynt: And God created woman?
Stills Photographer: Yeah
Larry Flynt: Surely the same God created her vagina and who are you to defy God? Just shoot it
Larry Flynt: [to his staffers, as they remained silent] What's wrong?
Arlo: The distributer called and unfortunately we had only a twenty five percent sell through
Larry Flynt: Someone want to translate that for me?
Jimmy Flynt: What that means their sending back a hundred fifty thousand copies
Larry Flynt: [slams the champagne bottle into the cake] SHIT!
Jimmy Flynt: [referring to losing most of their money on printing and distributing their first copy of Hustler magazine] You're just stupid dumb briar hopper what made you think you can pull this off anyway?
Althea: At least he has balls
Jimmy Flynt: What he needs is brains
Althea: [sarcastically] Einstein's speaking I'm so impressed
Larry Flynt: So one more issue and we're wiped out?
Jimmy Flynt: Yeah
Althea: I believe you're the one that got us into this debt in the first place
Larry Flynt: You think just because it's your birthday you can be a bitch?
Althea: Yeah I think I'm fifty feet tall and you have a needle dick
[Larry slaps her]
Althea: Don't ever hit me like that, don't talk to me like that I'll go back and I'll eat dog food
Isaacman: [Addressing the Supreme Court] Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the court one of the cherished ideas is that we hold in this country is that there should be uninhibited public debate and freedom of speech the question you have before you today is whether a public' figure's right to protection from emotional distress should outweigh the public interest in allowing every citizen of this country to freely express their views
Justice Scalia: What was the view discussed in exhibit A?
Isaacman: To begin with this a parody of a known Campari ad
Justice Scalia: I understand
Isaacman: Also it was a satire of a public figure of Jerry Fallwell who in this case who really a prime candidate for such a satire because his such an unlikely person to appear in a liquor ad this is a person we're used to seeing at the pulpit The Bible in hand preaching with a famously beatific smile on his face
Justice Scalia: But what's the public interest you're describing? There's some interest in making him look ludicrous?
Isaacman: Yes there is public interest in making Jerry Fallwell look Ludacris in so far there is public interest in having Hustler Magazine express the point of view that Jerry Fallwell is full of BS and Hustler Magazine has every right to express this view they have the right to say to somebody who has actively campaigned against our magazine who has told people not to buy it who has publicly said it poisons the minds of Americans who in addition told people sex out of wedlock is immoral that they shouldn't drink Hustler Magazine has a first amendment right to respond to these comments by saying "Jerry Fallwell is full of BS", it says lets deflate this "stuffed shirt" and bring him down to "our level", "our level" in this case admittedly a lower level than most people would like to be brought to
Chief Justice William Rehnquist: The first amendment is not everything, it's a very important value but it's not the only value in our society what about another value that says good people should enter public life and public service? The rule you give us if you stand for public office or become a public figure in any way you cannot protect your or indeed you mother in a parody of committing incest with her in an outhouse, do you think George Washington would have stood for public office if that was the consequence?
Isaacman: It's interesting you mentioned George Washington because very recently I saw a political cartoon that's over two hundred years old it depicts George Washington riding on a donkey being led by a man and the caption suggests "this man is leading an ass to Washington"
Chief Justice William Rehnquist: I can handle that, I think George can handle that but that's a far cry from committing incest with your mother in an outhouse there's no line in-between the two?
Isaacman: No I would say there is no line between the two but what you're really talking about is taste and not law as you yourself said in Pope vs. Illinois, "it useless to argue about taste even more useless to litigate it" and that is the case here, the jury has already determined for us that this is a matter of taste and not law because they've said there's no libelous speech nobody could reasonably believe that Hustler Magazine was suggesting that Jerry Fallwell had sex with his mother
Justice Thurgood Marshall: So why did hustler him and his mother together?
Isaacman: Hustler puts him and his mother together as an example of "literary travesty"
Justice Thurgood Marshall: What public service does this serve?
Isaacman: It serves the same public service in having Gary Trudeau say "Regan has no brain or that "George Bush is a wimp" it lets us look at public figures a little differently we have a long tradition in this country of satiric comedy if Jerry Fallwell can sue when there's no libelous speech purely on the grounds on emotional distress then so can other public figures imagine lawsuits against Gary Trudeau and Johnny Carson for what he says on The Tonight Show every night obviously when people criticize public figures their going to experience emotional distress we all know that it's the easiest thing in the world to claim and impossible to refute and that's what makes it a "meaningless standard", really all it does it allows us to punish unpopular speech and this country is founded at least in part firm belief that unpopular speech is absolutely vital to the health of our nation