7.9/10
528
11 user 6 critic

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
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary

Recounting the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut, and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it.

Directors: Robert B. Weide, Don Argott
Stars: Sam Waterston, Robert B. Weide, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Iconoclast Lenny Bruce appears at San Francisco's Basin Street West in what was his next-to-last live appearance. His act that night consisted of reading allegations and transcripts from ... See full summary »

Director: John Magnuson
Stars: Lenny Bruce
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Looking for Lenny is an in-depth, controversial documentary that uses Lenny Bruce's legacy to explore the present condition of the fear of words and expression. It also tackles the issue of... See full summary »

Director: Elan Gale
Stars: Lenny Bruce, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Mock documentary about Seinfeld writer Larry David featuring contributions from his friends and colleagues. Larry makes a return to stand-up comedy and prepares to film a television special for HBO.

Director: Robert B. Weide
Stars: Jason Alexander, Larry Charles, Carol Leifer
Mr. Sloane (2014)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

It's December 1969 in Watford, England, and Jeremy Sloane is at the end of his rope - literally. His failed attempt to end it all has just joined a growing list of recent setbacks, which ... See full summary »

Stars: Nick Frost, Olivia Colman, Peter Serafinowicz
American Masters (TV Series 1985)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Since its premiere in 1986, this Emmy-winning documentary series has presented hundreds of hours comprising profiles of outstanding American cultural artists. Past subjects have included ... See full summary »

Stars: Martin Scorsese, Tony Bennett, Peter Bogdanovich
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Documentary on the life and death of Lenny Bruce.

Director: Fred Baker
Stars: Lenny Bruce, Steve Allen, Fred Baker
W.C. Fields: Straight Up (TV Movie 1986)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Director: Joseph Adamson
Stars: Dudley Moore, W.C. Fields, Harry Caplan
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A British writer struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York City.

Director: Robert B. Weide
Stars: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox
The Giver (2014)
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world.

Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep
Earth to America (TV Special 2005)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Tom Hanks is the host of this show with a comic approach to raise awareness concerning the environment.

Directors: Ron de Moraes, Jay Roach, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jason Alexander, Jack Black, Dana Carvey
The Great Standups (TV Movie 1984)
Comedy | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Robert B. Weide
Stars: Carl Reiner, Fred Allen, Gracie Allen
Edit

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
Edit

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.


Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,445, 25 October 1998

Gross USA:

$21,350
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Connections

Features Broadway Open House: (1950-05) (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Busted
Performed by Ray Charles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Funny, touching, a testament to the power of words
10 December 2003 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

I caught this documentary on the Sundance channel, knowing Lenny Bruce very well as being influential (I listened to one of his later recordings) though not knowing a whole lot on why he became the most controversial comic of the pre-Vietnam era. What I learned was that Lenny Bruce's story - of rising to fame as a satirist and stand-up comic after working in strip joints, and then being put down by the legal machinations of the United States government - is both hilarious and engrossing, and here and there a (necessary) downer. What the system pulled over on Lenny was a travesty, and the mere fact that (technically) the charge of swearing/indecency still stands decades later is an insult to, if any, meaning by the constitution. When Lenny does do his act in the film, one who's never heard most of his material can be drawn in, the style in which he lays his bits is extraordinary. If one had to describe this film to someone who hasn't seen it, or perhaps might not know who Lenny Bruce is (most of my friends don't, though they know his descendents like George Carlin), 'Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth' is about a terrific wordsmith who's self-esteem got crushed to oblivion & suicide by those who felt that they had the right over another person's language. It also includes some good narration by old Bobby De Niro. Grade: (strong) A


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed