266 user 145 critic

Barton Fink (1991)

2:14 | Trailer
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.


Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)


Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
3,384 ( 483)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Turturro ... Barton Fink
John Goodman ... Charlie Meadows
Judy Davis ... Audrey Taylor
Michael Lerner ... Jack Lipnick
John Mahoney ... W.P. Mayhew
Tony Shalhoub ... Ben Geisler
Jon Polito ... Lou Breeze
Steve Buscemi ... Chet
David Warrilow David Warrilow ... Garland Stanford
Richard Portnow ... Detective Mastrionotti
Christopher Murney ... Detective Deutsch
I.M. Hobson I.M. Hobson ... Derek
Meagen Fay ... Poppy Carnahan (as Megan Faye)
Lance Davis ... Richard St. Claire
Harry Bugin Harry Bugin ... Pete


In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer's block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Between Heaven and Hell There's Always Hollywood! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some scenes of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


At one point, Fink says to Charlie that his plays are about common people like Charlie, and extends his reasoning by saying that the hopes and dreams of the simple man are just as noble as the ones from a king. That same year, John Goodman, who plays Charlie, played a common man who becomes a king in King Ralph (1991). See more »


After Barton tacks up the first strip of wallpaper, he smoothes out the second strip and, in close-up, we see that the first thumbtack is not there. See more »


Barton Fink: I wanna know how many of his books you've written!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox logo appears over silence; the "fanfare" is not played. See more »


Old Black Joe
aka "Poor Old Joe"
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung by Mayhew when he is drunk
See more »

User Reviews

25 May 2006 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

"Barton Fink" is, in my opinion, probably the Coen brothers' weirdest movie ever. Portraying the playwright title character (John Turturro) getting called to LA in 1941 to write a movie script and experiencing several strange things while suffering writer's block, they let out all the stops here. I should identify that although we usually expect unusual things from the Coen brothers, this is beyond bizarre. Of course, it is very likely that they're just showing how hellish Hollywood is (how many movies have shown that?). But that bug, plus Charlie Meadows (John Goodman), plus the picture on the wall - and of course the end scene - all add up to something really far out. What does it all add up to? I don't know, but the movie is worth seeing. Just be forewarned, this is not really an "easy" movie (well duh, it's a Coen brothers movie). Also starring Michael Lerner, Judy Davis, John Mahoney, Steve Buscemi and Tony Shalhoub.

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Release Date:

21 August 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barton Fink See more »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$268,561, 25 August 1991

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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