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Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth (1998)

Comedian Lenny Bruce struck a subversive chord in an era of change in America. After getting his start as a conventional stand-up comic, Bruce's increasingly iconoclastic act transformed ... See full summary »

Director:

Robert B. Weide

Writer:

Robert B. Weide
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Steve Allen ... Himself
Honey Bruce Friedman Honey Bruce Friedman ... Herself
Kitty Bruce ... Herself
Lenny Bruce ... Himself (archive footage)
JoJo D'Amore JoJo D'Amore ... Himself
John Dolan John Dolan ... Himself
Martin Garbus Martin Garbus ... Himself
Jackie Gayle ... Himself
Nat Hentoff Nat Hentoff ... Himself
Paul Krassner ... Himself
Richard Kuh Richard Kuh ... Himself
Sally Marr Sally Marr ... Herself
Frank Ray Perilli ... Himself (as Frankie Ray)
Maynard Sloate Maynard Sloate ... Himself
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Storyline

Comedian Lenny Bruce struck a subversive chord in an era of change in America. After getting his start as a conventional stand-up comic, Bruce's increasingly iconoclastic act transformed him into a leading figure of the 1960s counterculture. This is his story.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1948, Lenny Bruce was just another comic who couldn't get arrested. By 1961, all that would change.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1998 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,445, 25 October 1998

Gross USA:

$21,350
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This Oscar-nominated documentary was 12 years in the making. See more »

Connections

Features Playboy's Penthouse (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

It Never Entered My Mind
Performed by Miles Davis
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User Reviews

 
Excellent account of the man's career and the issues surrounding him.
11 August 1999 | by Hermit C-2See all my reviews

It mat be a cliche to call documentaries like this "fascinating" and "informative" but this one is. Rather than simply hearing a bunch of people tell you how funny, insightful and human Lenny Bruce was, you can judge for yourself from the extensive film clips shown here, ones you are unlikely to have seen anywhere else.

One of the big revelations here is how well-rounded a talent Bruce was. He was not just a one (sick)-joke performer, as archive footage of some of his early TV appearances show. Another clip has him singing a song of his own composition, "All Alone," worked into material concerning his breakup with his beloved wife Honey. She, Bruce's mother Sally Marr, and other friends contribute many colorful reminiscences. Yet another bit of footage has Bruce holding a sidewalk news conference naming names of those who suggested that he could bribe a judge in one of his many obscenity trials. You would swear this amazing scene couldn't possibly have been an impromptu session, yet it was.

The talk of Bruce and freedom of speech is not just a lot of liberal breastbeating; what happened to him was a disgrace. That he was prosecuted so many times for obscenity is the true outrage here. The documentary might go a little easy on his drug use but that really isn't what the man was all about anyway. Watch this film and find out.


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