IMDb > Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972)

Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972) More at IMDbPro »

Lenny Bruce Without Tears -- The outrageous, groundbreaking comic whose iconoclastic material in a conservative era got him into tragic trouble is here profiled by a close friend who prefers to remember the laughs Lenny Bruce's memory evokes.


User Rating:
6.3/10   97 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Documentary on the life and death of Lenny Bruce. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Fred Baker, 1933 - 2011
 (From MUBI. 12 June 2011, 12:59 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The Legacy of a REAL American Hero: Raw & Unsanitized See more (6 total) »


  (in credits order)
Lenny Bruce ... Himself / Various (archive footage)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Steve Allen ... Himself / DJ (archive footage)
Fred Baker ... Narrator
Martin Garbus ... Himself (archive footage)
William Glenesk ... Himself (archive footage) (as Rev. William Glenesk)
Nat Hentoff ... Himself (archive footage)
Frank Hogan ... Himself (archive footage)
Paul Krassner ... Himself (archive footage)
Malcolm Muggeridge ... Himself (archive footage)

Mort Sahl ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Shepherd ... Himself (archive footage) (as Jean Shepard)
Kenneth Tynan ... Himself (archive footage)

Lyndon Johnson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Fred Baker 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Barbara Baker 
Fred Baker 
John Parson  narration (as John Parsons)

Produced by
Barbara Baker .... producer
Fred Baker .... producer
Film Editing by
Edward Deitch  (as Edward Deutsch)
Other crew
Barbara Baker .... associate director
Barbara Baker .... researcher
Fred Baker .... researcher
John Parson .... narration writer (as John Parsons)
Steve Allen .... acknowledgment
Martin Garbus .... acknowledgment (as Martin Garbus Esq.)
William Glenesk .... acknowledgment (as Rev. William Glenesk)
Nat Hentoff .... acknowledgment
Paul Krassner .... acknowledgment
John Magnuson .... acknowledgment
Malcolm Muggeridge .... acknowledgment
Mort Sahl .... acknowledgment
Jean Shepherd .... acknowledgment (as Jean Shepard)
Kenneth Tynan .... acknowledgment

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

85 min
Sound Mix:
UK:X | UK:15 (video) (2006)

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Edited into Looking for Lenny (2011)See more »
Jazz Dance SuiteSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
The Legacy of a REAL American Hero: Raw & Unsanitized, 28 December 2010
Author: meddlecore from Canada

"There are no dirty words, only dirty minds" - Bruce

Lenny Bruce was and is the most important comedian to have ever lived- and did more to protect free speech in America than perhaps anyone else in the country's history. After his death by drug overdose in 1966 there was a feeling that there was a need to define the martyred comedian's legacy. This task was carried out by filmmaker and close friend of Lenny, Fred Baker. The film, "a skillfully researched documentary about the late pop hero" (la times), was produced, directed, researched and written by Fred Baker and his wife Barbara, whom together accumulated the largest collection of audio and video footage of not only Bruce's performances in film, stage and TV, but also audio recordings photos, footage of his criminal prosecutions and dealings with the media, as well as a number of interviews with Bruce and others concerning/discussing his life and work. Not only was Baker in the best position to define Bruce's Legacy because he was his biggest fan, but also because he was his close friend- during his rise to fame and fortune, his persecution, and the downfall which eventually led to his dive into addiction and death. This film is testament which greatly honours everything Bruce achieved, both in life, and after his death.

Bruce was a brilliant entertainer, whom from a very young age was doing comedy. His mother introduced him to the world of burlesque (also at a very young age!) which would shape Bruce's mindset- representing all that was taboo, vulgar....and true. After traveling the burlesque circuit as a comedian, Bruce met a woman who would soon become his wife. Together they would travel the US and Canada as a duo, until Bruce was recognized and shortly after became one of the most renown comedians in the country (making over 350, 000 a year at one point). When he and his wife separated after the birth of their child- Kitty- Bruce met with depression and drugs....but this made him lose all inhibitions and he started to become more of a social satirist than merely just another mediocre comedian. Bruce would hold nothing back, lashing out at the government, police and especially the Catholic Church- stepping on some powerful toes in the process. Not only was he a brilliant performer, but what he was revealing made you laugh...think...and maybe even act, which is what these institutions of power feared most. The power you wield when you can make someone laugh is unsurpassed.

"If you can't say F_U_C_K, you can't say F_U_C_K THE GOVERNMENT!" - Bruce

Soon after Bruce would be arrested for obscenity. Not once, but over and over, everywhere he played. He was always in court, no one would risk having Bruce play at their club for fear of repercussions, and thus Bruce was in ruins. All his money was now tied up in legal costs and he was put in a position where he was unable to work without being thrown in jail and charged even more so. Despite everything, Bruce refused to roll over. His shows became more rants than comedy acts. He would read peoples reviews of his shows, the charges brought against him, and the laws of the state and constitution- he was no longer a comedian but a revolutionary, fighting for his right to free speech and liberty to make a living. Sadly, Bruce would not live through the ordeal...his battle with drug addiction and depression took his life in 1966- the police letting reporters in 2 at a time to photograph Bruce lying dead and naked on his bathroom floor. But in death Bruce would achieve just as much as he did in life...his battle went to the Supreme Court where his name was exonerated (though charges never dropped)- never again would a comedian, or anyone else, be charged with obscenity for what they said in the US.

Baker himself succeeds in portraying Bruce's mentality in this film- he holds nothing back, showing Bruce at his highest and lowest. He decided to include the scenes of Bruce's death as that is what he would have wanted......the truth to be heard.

RIP are, and always will be, the man!

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (6 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972)


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Lenny The U.S. vs. John Lennon Talk to Me Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.