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The People vs. Larry Flynt
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Reviews & Ratings for
The People vs. Larry Flynt More at IMDbPro »

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49 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Larry Flynt, Great American

9/10
Author: great_sphinx_42 from The Poppy Field, OZ 69666
14 March 1999

I went into this one fully expecting to like the heck out of it, and I wasn't disappointed. No one had to convince me the message was a valid one, but I still thought I'd drop a line to say that I thought it was a very well done movie. It shows how a right that is supposedly near and dear to us all is often skewed in favor of mollycoddling lots of hypocrites who has the ridiculous audacity to think they have the right and the obligation to tell the rest of the world what to think of as moral or immoral. I loved the scene where Woody Harrelson, who does an absolutely bang-up job, gives a speech about how explicit depictions of death, murder, and war are considered appropriate while sex is considered filthy. "Sex or war" indeed. The more of Harrelson I see, the more my respect for his work grows. I must also mention Courtney Love, who is terrific as Althea. Great movie, I thought. Most of the people who don't like it are probably also the very ones it portrays as being the "bad guys"-the religious right, of course. Larry Flynt may not be admirable in the type of lifestyle he and Althea lived, and his magazine is, to my mind, entirely repugnant. But if Larry and Althea truly had the sort of relationship portrayed they loved each other beyond all reason, and what he did makes him a great patriot. How many people would do what he did in defense of such an idealistic belief? Not all people who do great things for great reasons are great people.

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43 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Unusual, audacious film

9/10
Author: Sean Gallagher (seankgallagher@yahoo.com) from Brooklyn, NY
13 September 1999

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.

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33 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Not Your Typical Patriot.

Author: tfrizzell from United States
8 July 2004

Idealized biography of Hustler magazine mogul Larry Flynt (played superbly by Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson) which finally ends up focusing on his legal battles to publish his pornography via the free speech laws of this land. Along the way he marries a bisexual wild woman (Courtney Love) who shares his unconventional views on free love, priced pornography and drug abuse. The character also survives an assassin's bullet, paralysis, imprisonment, endless court battles against the Reverend Jerry Falwell and even his own destructive nature. Edward Norton (a relative newcomer when this was released) shines as Harrelson's young attorney who tries to overlook and overcome his client's tirades. Director Milos Forman (Oscar-nominated) does a good job creating a cinematic story about a man who is hard for most in mainstream society to understand or relate to. Flynt is humanized and so are those who cross his path throughout the picture. The movie is not as wild and crazed as one would think. Instead Forman uses well-timed comedy with drama to get the major points across effectively. Overall one of the better films of 1996. 4 stars out of 5.

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26 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Shocking Expose

Author: KhaloodiY from London, England
2 June 2000

Anyone familiar with Milos Forman's work will know how much he likes to discuss and examine controversial real-life characters and make them the focal point of his films. Amadeus for one was a powerful expose of the legendary composer; Forman was able to extraordinarily add so much spice to the script that the end result was a harrowing documentation that genuinely moved us. We didn't need to know anything about the composer or even like his work or personality; Forman craves on these sorts of challenges. He likes to make films about characters that the audience may not identify with because it heightens the overall achivement if the film is a hit. With Larry Flynt he's done it again.

Flynt is the story of Porn magazine chairman larry Flynt who amidst an era of overwhelming decadance launched Hustler magazine, a porn magazine that broke all taboos and crossed all boundaries. The magazine was a huge hit that transformed Flynt into a powerful figure in the American Community. Needless to say though, Flynt (superbly played by Harrelson) faces insurmountable odds from everyone to keep the business running. Politicians, reverends, mass public opposition et.al.. Flynt is accompanied along the way by his junkie wife (played with real panache by Courtney Love) and a reluctant lawyer (dependable performance from Edward Norton Jr.). At the midway point of the film Flynt is shot and paralyzed and consequently the fight to stay on top is made even more challenging.

This story is intriguing because is dares to break universal taboo's. It shows Flynt disassociating himself from the norms and traditions of society and really willing to take genuine risks that could blow up in his face. Before Hustler was formed, Playboy was the porno pioneer. Playboy was subtle in it's nudity, preferring to call itself a REAL magazine rather than something trashy. We notice that Playboy was afraid to overstep the barrier. Playboy was a magazine that was restricted in it's disclosure of barenaked ladies because of the shape of society at the time and the values the society had come to embrace. To call yourself a porno magazine was unthinkable with unthinkable consequences! Hustler dared to step over those lines and bear all the consequences. Flynt was not necessarily a likeable man but he cannot not be admired. He was a risk taker, an enterpeneur, a man with a vision, and a man who believed that oe should act on one's desires and ambitions.

The mass hysteria the swamps the society as a consequence mainfests how powerful yet dangerous a little "acting on ambition" can bring. Flynt's idea is impossible to resist; the public cannot stay away from the controversial impact of the magazine. As the fan base grows, so does Flynt's empire, and so do the forces determined to suppress him. Flynt's meteoric rise is unprecedented, and made all the more shocking by the fact that the evnets are real. His opposition ranges from hypocritical politicians to dubious religious figures, all of whom are hell-bent on the abolition of Flynt and his tremendous reach.

The film earns huge plaudits on the entertainment level. This is undisputed!! The acting demonstartes tremendous range from all involved and Flynt is an offensive yet endearing, and very funny figure. We grow to really love and root for him as the film develops. The points that necessitate discussion however are the legal and moral issues that are debated by Flynt, his lawyer, and the opposition. The freedom of press, of speech, and the freedom to exercise your FREEDOM are all fiercely debated. Flynt vehemently defends his position because he feels that the world is afraid to agree with him, that the world is afraid to speak out. The world is polluted by hypocrits; he's the only pure seed. This presents tremendous irony because Flynt is a low-class pervert up against scholars, and politicians, and bureaucrats, and yet he's claiming that he's the real deal and they are all phonies. He has a point; what's the point in looking presentable and being well-educated if you are banal, hollow, and insipid and cannot open your mind to new ideas?? The film asks that question; we see how closed off the men in power are to Flynt's ideas and we grow to hate them. Then we are torn because we are reluctant to accept the values of a porn fiend. The fact that we cannot resist Flynt's pulling power is the sign of the film's success. We start off opposing Flynt, unable to identify. Then we try and take a neutral stand as we discover the ugliness of Flynt's opponents. Finally, after Flynt is paralyzed and yet continues to defend his honour, we can no longer resist the seduction.

The film has Flynt giving amazing speeches about why he is doing justice to himself and the people. He's giving them what they want,they are taking it,and yet they are determined to censor him. He debates this point to manifest the outstanding hypocrisy that lies at the heart of society. Flynt is such an important character because he speaks for all of us. On countless occasions, we all seek to expose the two-faced ugliness of those around us. We just can't because not enough people are listening. Flynt however gets eveyone's attention and defends his honour, preserves his integrity, and succeeds in winning over the justice system. The final speech given by Issacman, his lawyer is very insightful and very powerful for it argues this very point: 'We don't need to like what Larry Flynt does, but we should like and appreciate the fact that we have the right to make that decision on our own, and that's what makes our society great. We have the right to accept or reject the offer on hand. We may well reject it but we and we alone need to have the choice made available to us. If that right is taken away, then we wither away as a people and our individuality is nullified' The speech is amazing because it demonstrates how the right to accept a porn fiend and his work preserves the democracy of the Western World. Truly Shocking but brilliant!!!

I haven't discussed the other characters all that much and I'm not going to except say this: All the characters are multi-dimensional because what we see on the outside is never what we get on the inside. Flynt for all his crude, perverted behaviour is an admirable, likeable, highly identifiable personality. His wife, for all her vulgarity and drug addiction is an endearing, loyal,intelligent personality. Issacman, the lawyer, for all his traditional, stiff boring work ethic, is an idealistic, shrewd, and deeply committed man....The list goes on and on

I loved this movie because our hero is not perfect; he's anything but!!! Movies that depict the hero as a flawed individual stand a better chance of being embraced by critics and audiences alike. Flynt thrives on this! And exposing hypocrits for their true selves is every cynics (and I happen to be a huge one) dream. Flynt's journey is whopping emotional tour de force!!!! You don't have to like Larry Flynt as a film, but I love the fact that I had the right to make up my own mind!! Society, you ignore that at your peril!!!

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Very good autobiographical drama

8/10
Author: Grann-Bach (Grann-Bach@jubii.dk) from Denmark
27 February 2004

Before watching this movie, I had nearly no idea who Larry Flynt was. I read a quick summary a few minutes before watching it, but I hardly knew any specific details. After watching it, I know exactly who he is, and what he stands for. He stands for freedom of speech. Some might call him a pervert. Others call him a patriot. I believe he is the latter. While I don't know the exact story of Larry Flynt from any other sources than this movie, I don't know if it's completely accurate. The plot is great, for a biographic piece, the acting is superb, by most actors, especially the three main characters. Most of the cinematography fits the movie perfectly. The only thing that bothered me a little, was there was relatively little information about why Larry Flynt did what he did, believed what he believed so strongly. I sympathized with his character in several scenes, but I never fully understood him. The director should have had at least a few more emotional scenes with Larry, to explain his actions better. Overall, a very good drama. Recommendable to most fans of the genre, as long as they can stand what the movie shows them. If you have an open mind, you're not too easily offended and you're into autobiographical dramas, this is a good film to watch. 8/10

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23 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Career milestone for Woody Harrelson & Courtney Love

Author: george.schmidt (gpschmidt67@gmail.com) from fairview, nj
16 April 2003

THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT (1996) **** Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, James Carville, James Cromwell, Richard Paul, Crispin Glover, Vincent Schiavelli, Miles Chapin, Brett Harrelson, Donna Hanover, Norm MacDonald. Superb biographical account of smut publisher Larry Flynt (portrayed by Best Actor nominee Harrelson in arguably the role of his career) whose bouts with the courts regarding libel, pornography and ultimately first amendment rights to the freedom of speech are captured like a tempest in a teacup that depicts the rise and near fall of Flynt (who was paralyzed in an assassination attempt) and the uncomparable love affair with his doomed yet dedicated wife, bisexual, drug-addicted and tragically AIDS afflicted wife Althea Leasure (Love in a toweringly brilliant turn at acting that deserves all the recognition she mustered) who stood by her man as she withered away. Funny, insightful, important and some masterful filmmaking overall thanks largely to the cleverly constructed screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski ("Ed Wood"), costumes by Theodore Pistek and Arianne Phillips, and all too believeable production design by Patricia von Brandenstein. And yes that is real-life Flynt as one of the judges passing sentence and yes it is real-life brother Brett of Woody playing siblings. Kudos to Best Director nominee Milos Forman (who was sorely passed over in the Best Picture nomination as well as practically getting shut out come to mention it) for pulling off a difficult hat trick: making scum respectable.

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21 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

The rise and fall of a (sex)god

8/10
Author: Philip Van der Veken from Tessenderlo, Belgium
6 December 2004

"The People vs. Larry Flynt" is already 8 years old, and the subject it talks about is even older, but it still hasn't lost anything of it's relevance. This isn't a movie about Larry Flynt, the porn king. It's more a movie about the right to say what you want to say, without having to think of every person's opinion first.

You may not like the man or what he stands for, but at least he has the guts to stand up for what he believes in. He defends his right to speak freely and doesn't mind kicking against the shins of the ultra conservative Christians. In a way today's America needs more people like him instead of acting like a bunch of sheep being brought to the slaughterhouse by their government...

The acting in the movie is very good, but especially Woody Harrelson as Larry Flynt and Edward Norton as his lawyer were excellent. Courtney Love isn't really an actress, but still did a good job (not that hard to do when you play a role that you are quite familiar with in your own life.)

All in all this is a very enjoyable movie that will be loved by some and hated by many. Personally I liked it and I give it a 7.5/10

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

One of the best films of the Year

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
12 September 2000

Oscar Winning Milos Forman's The People Vs. Larry Flynt is a fascinating (if not too trashy) look at how without the first amendment, people like Flynt would not exist. We see an expose on the man, myth and legend of master porno publisher Larry Flynt (played to damn close perfection by Oscar nominated Woody Harrelson) who releases Hustler (in my opinion the best porno mag ever, but that's just me) and gets severe backlash from censors, church people and just people in general. But, we see his struggle to fight back at any cost (even his legs) to send a message- just because you don't like doesn't mean you can't let me publish what I want. Forman directs this pumped drama with 5-star performances from Harrelson, Love (as the tragedy queen girlfriend) and Especially Norton (as the suffering yet compelling lawyer). Never ashamed and always On the edge, this film has a place not only in film history, but in Hustler magazine's also. The real Flynt appears as a Cinncinatti judge and Norm MacDonald appears as a reporter. A+

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

best ensemble cast in years

8/10
Author: fionapeters from United States
22 April 2006

it is unfortunate that when one thinks of the movie 'people vs. larry flynt' the first person to come to mind is courtney love. not that she does an less then stellar job, rather by focusing solely on her, the rest of the richly deserving cast are overlooked. woody harrelson is genius as larry flynt. despite my liberal leanings, before seeing this movie i had made peace with the fact the flynt was a scum, but i would support him on the basis of free speech. after seeing this movie i was able to gain insight into the parts of his character which make him whole person. instead of seeing what Christian-right zealots, or bleeding heart liberals, tried to force upon me, i saw the entire man and all he brought with him. granted this was shown primarily thru scenes written and directed by milos forman, however, it is harrelson who brings them to life and convinces me of their sincerity.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The Finest Biopic Till Date.....

8/10
Author: nama chakravorty from India
31 December 2009

Larry Flynt is surely a cult figure, he believed in expressing thoughts, he made America a better place, in a way. Hustler Magazine, agreed it's damn explicit, but it's sells... and has made Fylnt a bloody rich man.

While watching 'The People VS Larry Flynt', I was stunned by the way the biopic has been executed by legendary filmmaker Miloš Forman. A highly-entertaining, highly-intriguing & a highly-gripping film. This film shows us the rise & rise of Larry Fylnt, the man who believed in doing what your heart says. An incredible film!

'The People VS Larry Fylnt' is a film that leaves behind a lot of questions? Example, Fylnt says that WAR is more homely a talk than SEX... Now that's something!

SEX is something that everyone wants, but when it's shown on TV or in a Movie or in a Magazine, everyone seems to be getting uncomfortable? Fylnt knew what he was doing... and he proved right after all the Court-Cases, and despite being a paralyzed man. 'The People VS Larry Fylnt' is a must watch film.... because it shows a man who did what he had to despite everything that happened to him.

Woody Harrelson's performance as Larry Fylnt is exemplary. Any compliment won't do justice his portrayal. Courtney Love is fabulous as Fylnt's lady love. Edward Norton is fantastic as Flynt's lawyer. Larry Fylnt who makes a brief appearance as a judge, is perfect.

'The People VS Larry Fylnt' cannot be missed by anyone... watch the amazing life of a man amazing man right now! Two Big Thumbs Up!

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