7.7/10
110,575
264 user 144 critic

Barton Fink (1991)

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

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Reviews
Popularity
3,402 ( 500)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

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
Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Tom Reagan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco
A Serious Man (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Blood Simple (1984)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her lover. However, nothing is simple when blood is involved.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A disk containing mysterious information from a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous and daft gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich
True Grit (2010)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Six tales of life and violence in the Old West, following a singing gunslinger, a bank robber, a traveling impresario, an elderly prospector, a wagon train, and a perverse pair of bounty hunters.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first film to win all three major awards (Palme D'or, Best Director, and Best Actor) at the Cannes Film Festival. Also, it was unanimously chosen for the Palme D'or. See more »

Goofs

The hand that Chet uses to stop the bell ringing. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Meadows: Look upon me! I'll show you the life of the mind!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Coen Brothers Movies (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

Top movies of the decade? The Thin Red Line, Pulp Fiction, Fargo, Quiz Show, Ed Wood, Gettysburg and BARTON FINK
6 August 2000 | by CAM-32See all my reviews

*Read this review only if you've seen Barton Fink and want to read analysis, not if your thinking of seeing the movie.

First of all, Barton Fink is some serious brain candy. There are so many issues and so many symbols in this movie that are great to discuss. To name a few big ones, think companionship, jealousy, damnation, fascism, racism, vigilantism, interventionism, pretentiousness, creativity, the right to be a jerk, corporate power and dumb Hollywood style all rolled into a movie that IS writer's block. Like the other Coen brother's movies, there is an absolutely unique feel to the movie, created mostly by fabulous imagery and a handful of great characters. The acting is about the best I've ever seen in a movie. The cast has a lot of 'hey I've seen that guy' guys who are all awesome. They include:

John Turturro - Is there a better actor in the business? No. The Coen brothers and Spike Lee seem to know this, when will the Academy? Turturro carries the movie as Barton Fink, there's amazing depth to his expressions. I love his trance, sort of a "what the hell happened" expression during the scenes on the beach and beside the pool... does the serenity of water signify something about that... maybe a serenity he desires yet would kill his writing? Who knows, there's A LOT to think about in this movie.

Michael Lerner - This guy was fabulous as Lipnick, the studio boss. While his long, loud, chatty lines, are extremely funny but not particularly original, his praise of Barton is genius, hitting a ridiculous high that is absolutely hysterical. Like the other characters, listen carefully to his lines, (if you're not laughing too hard), the second time you see the movie you'll undoubtedly notice something very funny about the line, "Never heard of it. Let's move him to the Grand, or the Wilshire, or hell, he can stay at my place."

Tony Shaloub - He's a great actor and he shows it here. He's a stressed out producer who seems to be the last one to know what movies he's producing. He has a couple great lines.

John Mahoney - He was great in Eight Men Out and Frasier, and he's good in this movie too as a drunk southern writer (Faulkner?) who is somewhat belligerent but at the same time very lofty and whimsical, explaining that he writes simply because he loves to create, the antithesis of Barton's belief that a writer must have pain. It's classic how Barton very quickly turns from admiring him so much to thinking he's a son of a bitch.

Steve Buscemi - He is the perfect cast as Chet (Charon?) the friendly but very eerie hotel clerk. The hotel is already quite bizarre with its odd wallpaper and long empty hallways and Buscemi is the perfect complement to it.

John Goodman - He truly elevates this movie to greatness. His performance was perfect. He captures the essence of the everyman with astounding detail. In his handful of simple scenes with Turturro he is so convincing and genuine that his truth is hard to stomach, could the everyday man slip into evil so easily (Nazism?) and still be such a nice guy? The transition from the very authentic real life feel of the movie to the ridiculous and allegorical conclusion follows Goodman, and he absolutely makes it happen. The transition is jarring at first, but when you think back on it, it makes perfect sense and there are many clues that lead up to it. It is a fantastic finale to an all-time great movie.


6 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 264 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 August 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barton Fink See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$268,561, 25 August 1991

Gross USA:

$6,153,939

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,153,939
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 »

Contribute to This Page

Your Next Binge Watch Awaits

Looking for something to watch? Check out IMDb's "What to Watch" series to find out what's really worth watching.



Recently Viewed