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Portnoy's Complaint (1972)

The movie chronicles a young man's love and passion in his own kinky way.


Ernest Lehman


Philip Roth (novel), Ernest Lehman




Complete credited cast:
Richard Benjamin ... Alexander Portnoy
Karen Black ... Mary Jane Reid (The Monkey)
Lee Grant ... Sophie Portnoy
Jack Somack Jack Somack ... Jack Portnoy
Renée Lippin Renée Lippin ... Hannah Portnoy
Jeannie Berlin ... Bubbles Girardi
Kevin Conway ... Smolka
Lewis J. Stadlen ... Mandel (as Lewis Stadlen)
Jill Clayburgh ... Naomi
Jessica Rains Jessica Rains ... Opening Girl
Francesca De Sapio ... Lina
William Pabst William Pabst ... Clerk at Inn
Eleanor Zee Eleanor Zee ... Woman in Hospital Bed
Tony Brande Tony Brande ... Cab Driver
D.P. Barnes D.P. Barnes ... Dr. Spielvogel


The movie chronicles a young man's love and passion in his own kinky way.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Due to the explicit dialogue and bold sexual matter no one under 17 will be admitted without parent or guardian. Rated R. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Ernest Lehman's first and last attempt to direct. See more »


Mary Jane Reid (The Monkey): Is this your idea of a love affair, where you treat a woman as a leper?
See more »

User Reviews

Sex is Heaven, Then It's Hell!!!!!
18 June 2004 | by dataconflossmoorSee all my reviews

Richard Benjamin is psychologically tortured merely by being a product of his environment....He must prove something to everyone as well as himself...Once he and Karen Black are tired of great sex, their relationship takes a nosedive...Karen Black's perception of Richard Benjamin is that he cannot avoid denigrating her even if he tries. Regardless of what he might say, she is definitely not a Columbia Graduate, and she definitely does not buy her clothes at Peck and Peck... Neither one of these two people feel that their lives make sense....The plain truth is that once these two are tired of just having sex, all evidence points to the fact that they hate one another..Richard Benjamin's undetermined plight in life is a heinous source of consternation to him!!..Both major characters in this movie will be lambasted from all sides, and while they are not ready for the world, the world is also not really ready for them!!!...This movie is a compelling revelation of the side effect from the sexual revolution....When Mom and Dad told you not to play with matches, they also did not want you to play with blow torches as well!! If you don't like what's going on with your life, Change it!!..However, if all you can recognize as a common bond with the opposite gender is casual sex, then you are going out of the frying pan and into the fire!! It is the fact that people like Karen Black and Richard Benjamin cannot fully understand the concept of "We reap what we sow" that keeps the Park Ave shrinks in business!! The cogency of human errors in this film simply astounds you, the audience has no choice but to empathize yet not sympathize with the characters in the movie.. What is wrong with negative realism in a film is that a great deal of movie watchers do not perceive this as entertainment...I do!!...I was very impressed with this film, particularly when you consider the year it was made...This movie is clairvoyant enough to reach today's thoughts on casual sex!!..Furthermore, it is a proverbial case of how some things never change.. The culprit usually being that of extreme selfishness!! What is the typical reaction to messing up your emotions? Blame your environment!!...Bear in mind one thing...Recrimination without change is like French fries without Ketchup!!!...This movie is GREAT because the truth not only hurts the characters in the movie, but it also offends the audience...Sorry about that Frankie and Annette Fans!!

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Release Date:

15 September 1972 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Alexanders stående problem See more »

Filming Locations:



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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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