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Talk Radio (1988)

R | | Drama | 13 January 1989 (USA)
A rude, contemptuous talk show host becomes overwhelmed by the hatred that surrounds his program just before it goes national.

Director:

Oliver Stone

Writers:

Stephen Singular (book), Eric Bogosian (play) | 4 more credits »
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Bogosian ... Barry
Ellen Greene ... Ellen
Leslie Hope ... Laura
John C. McGinley ... Stu
Alec Baldwin ... Dan
John Pankow ... Dietz
Michael Wincott ... Kent / Michael / Joe
Linda Atkinson Linda Atkinson ... Sheila Fleming
Robert Trebor ... Jeffrey Fisher / Francine
Zach Grenier ... Sid Greenberg
Tony Frank Tony Frank ... Dino
Harlan Jordan Harlan Jordan ... Coach Armstrong
Bill Johnson ... Fan #1
Kevin Howard Kevin Howard ... Fan #2
Anna Levine ... Woman at Basketball Game / Denise
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Storyline

An acerbic radio talk show host based in Dallas starts what could be an important few days when he discovers that his controversial late night show is about to be "picked up" by a nationwide network of radio stations. However, all is not perfect for him, because on top of troubles with his love life and fears that the management of the network will try to alter the content of his show he has to cope with a neo-nazi group who have been angered by his forthright opinions. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The last neighborhood in America. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 January 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Talk Radio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$80,547, 26 December 1988

Gross USA:

$3,468,572

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,468,572
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The location of the film's source play is described at its start as: "Setting: Studio B of radio station WTLK in Cleveland, Ohio; Spring 1987". See more »

Goofs

In two occasions when Barry is taking listeners calls and he's also talking to his producer or bosses, he is not seen pushing the button to direct the call only to his staff which would prevent his radio listeners to hear what's he saying yet they don't hear any of his complaints on the air - only his staff hears his conversation. See more »

Quotes

Barry: [to a caller about the most powerful drug ever sold] It's tobacco. It kills 350,000 people a year. You know how much coke, crack, heroin, pot kill every year? Four thousand people. Will you listen to sense? Hello? Let me check. Will you listen to logic, please? The only people who benefit from prohibition... are the gangsters makin' the money on it, the politicians condemning it and gettin' your vote. And who foots the bill? You, Rhonda Q Sucker!
See more »

Connections

References I Love Lucy (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

Telephone & Rubber Band
Written by Simon Jeffes
Performed by Penguin Cafe Orchestra (as The Penguin Cafe Orchestra)
Courtesy of E.G. Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Venue is Perfect for an Ideological Drop of 2000 Feet!!!
30 October 2005 | by dataconflossmoorSee all my reviews

From the offset, I knew this was going to be a terrific movie, the pace, the cinematography, personalities indigenous to the Dallas area, the diversification of characters, not to mention the director Oliver Stone and of course Eric Bogasian...The film starts out on a Friday (suggestively occult in the first place) and begins with a radio station in Dallas that is hosting their number one talk show, The Barry Champlain Show (Based on the Talk Radio Host Alan Berg)...Barry (Eric Bogasian) is the abrasive radio talk show host and his job is such whereby it is compulsory to pontificate all of the sensationalistic nuances of the radio audience feeding into his show...He attempts to commiserate with a bunch of societal deviates turned lonely, vulnerable, obscene phone callers who have the masochistic craving to be publicly vilified, Barry Champlain is effective in coping with this precarious ilk, by socially debasing them rather than simply subjugating them to mere admonishment...New technologies serve a stigmatic purpose for the Dallas radio audience, and paramount concepts take a backseat to perversion, talk about "Baseball Scores, Orgasms and People's Pets!!"

The whole thing is a cacophony of drug-induced diatribes and a potpourri for psychopathic paranoia!! This high profile cannon fodder is something that Barry Champlain thrives on!!! The convoluted pathos, the deranged proclivities deeriving from inaneities and puveyors of pornography and the overall pop culture afflictions serve as volatile ammunition for Barry Champlain's stilted battleground!!

The setting for this movie is perfect in that there is a two thousand foot drop in terms of ideology.. In the the center of Dallas there is an overbearing sense of cosmopolitan awareness, whereby 20 miles away resides a significant chapter of the Ku Klux Klan!!...The play is based in Denver,that is where the actual story takes place, other small theater plays depict the cities of Louisville, Atlanta and Cleveland. Dallas is the city where the film takes place, I thought it was an excellent choice!!...This movie illustrates how people have a horrid and erroneous and deadly misconceptualization of the Jewish people in America, whereby they control the banks, their agenda is different than everybody else's and their intellectual literature leads to perversion!! These preconceived notions compound Barry Champlain's overall dilemma!!! Barry Champlain's personal undoing is whereby he is irascible and non-responsive to his alcoholism, and his abrasive and politically controversial nature is his ultimate undoing, this is what makes the film so believable!!

The characters in the movie were well portrayed, Dan, the tailor made for middle management hatchet man (played by Alec Baldwin) who was constantly monitoring Barry Champlain's every move!!..Laura, his girlfriend, also his producer, will constantly feel Barry is someone who is always misunderstood!! Ellen, his ex-wife, is a recipient of Barry's anguish and selfishness, but cannot quite relinquish her feelings for Barry regardless of the path of personal destruction he winds up resorting to!! The Dallas radio audience is a melting pot of socially misplaced retro-bates who are dementedly amused by their own real shortcomings!!!...In part, everybody's hang-ups including Barry Champlain's own hang-ups are what do Barry Champlain in!! His audience ogles depravity, solicits amelioration and ultimately becomes Barry Champlain's pet project for prescribed sinners!! Social culture conflicts become Barry Champlain's downfall!!

This movie is superb!! In my opinion Oliver Stone's best picture, including Platoon and Natural Born Killers..That statement in of itself tells you how magnificent a film Talk Radio is...The story consulting and acting and co-producing of Eric Bogosian is simply compelling!! The camera angles, the dialogue, the haunting character portrayals, all top notch..The cinematography of the Dallas skyline at the end of the movie is terrific!! Dallas has the dubious distinction of being deemed a mega metropolis...So now, just like Los Angeles and New York, there are crack baby cases too numerous to count, low cost housing neighborhoods from Hell and budgets cuts that will mean there will be a significant number of people who will be dead by this time next year!!!!...Dallas asserts it's status as a major metropolitan area in the precarious manner by which human debauchery prevails!! The city has it's lynching radio listeners who have given a pejorative spin to the marvel of nationwide air wave communication!! These are the culprits in the movie!! The ghoulish tabloid derelicts who want to meet the big bad wolf, and their decadent curiosity has morally obliterated "The last neighborhood in America"


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