Down 1,795 this week

Obscene (2007)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 171 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 6 user | 24 critic | 7 from

A look at the life and work of American publisher Barney Rosset, who struggled to bring controversial works like "Tropic of Cancer" and "Naked Lunch" to publication.

Watch Trailer
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 250 titles
created 27 Dec 2010
a list of 9999 titles
created 16 Mar 2013
a list of 102 titles
created 26 Mar 2013
a list of 35 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 32 titles
created 3 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Obscene (2007)

Obscene (2007) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Obscene.


Credited cast:
Amiri Baraka ...
Lenny Bruce ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Jim Carroll ...
Lawrence Ferlinghetti ...
Al Goldstein ...
Erica Jong ...
John Rechy ...
Barney Rosset ...
Ed Sanders ...
Joseph Strick ...


A look at the life and work of American publisher Barney Rosset, who struggled to bring controversial works like "Tropic of Cancer" and "Naked Lunch" to publication.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 February 2009 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs




See  »

Did You Know?


Adult Books
by X
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Historical Ode to a free speech pioneer
10 March 2008 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

I had the opportunity to see this film at the SXSW film festival in Austin, TX. It is a wonderful tribute to a great and almost forgotten American, Barney Rosset, the publisher of Grove Press and the Evergreen Review. Despite its prominent place in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the nature of free speech has long been contested within American society. Those of us under 40 often do not appreciate how much censorship used to exist in the U.S. until relatively recently, because this side of censorship has mostly disappeared. Free speech has not always been as free as it is today.

Obscene, the story of Barney Rosset, is both a biographical picture and the story of the struggle to open up American society to new ideas and concepts. This is the story of transition from the repressed America of the 1950s to the more open society that would emerge from the 1960s/1970s and would continue to today. Some would say that opening up to that much obscenity has not been a good thing, but its really the cost of freedom.

Barney Rosset, at great personal and financial cost, was one of those pioneers that spent his life tearing down rules that restricted the publication of books like Lady Chatterly's Lover, Naked Lunch, Tropic of Cancer and poems like Howl. He challenged the system to open up and confront topics that had once been taboo.

I hope the film makers will make an edited - PG-13 version - available for classroom use. Perhaps it would be ironic to censor such a film, but it seems like a necessary sacrifice to get the core message out to young people who need to learn both how precious legacy free speech is

  • especially today when free speech faces different sort of challenges.
The non-professional film makers have done a really first rate job including music and editing. The film is perhaps a little long at 97 minutes, but that is a minor flaw. I hope their film gets a wider distribution and that Barney Rosset is remembered for his important contributions to this country.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Obscene (2007) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page