15 user 7 critic

Dirty Pictures (2000)

R | | Drama | TV Movie 27 May 2000
A Cincinnati museum director goes on trial in 1990 for exhibiting sadomasochistic photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe.


Frank Pierson


Ilene Chaiken

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Dennis Barrie
Craig T. Nelson ... Sheriff Simon Leis
Diana Scarwid ... Dianne Barrie
Leon Pownall Leon Pownall ... Mr. Prouty
Matt North Matt North ... Monty Lobb
David Huband ... H. Louis Sirkin
Judah Katz ... Mark Mizibov
Rachael Crawford ... Ann Bosworth
Marnie McPhail ... Reising
R.D. Reid R.D. Reid ... Judge Albanese
Allegra Fulton ... Angela
Michele Muzzi Michele Muzzi ... Brenda
Martin Roach ... Ed
Tony De Santis ... Floyd
Kenneth McGregor Kenneth McGregor ... Gil


Fact-based story about the court proceedings that followed Cincinnati art museum director Dennis Barrie after his decision to display a controversial art exhibit by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The proceedings start with an inflamed County Sheriff who is determined to put Barrie in jail. A grand jury established to determine whether the sexually explicit photographs were obscene found seven of the pictures to possibly be obscene. The seven pictures depicted nude children, a man ramming his fist up another man's anus, and man with his finger in his penis. Other pictures in the exhibit did depict explicit nudity and sexual connotation. An obviously biased judge made derisive decisions throughout the trial. The strain of the trial also placed Barrie's marriage under duress, which ultimately led to his wife divorcing him, and led to Barrie's children being derided and physically attacked by their classmates. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nude and sexual images and for related dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

27 May 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Museum Project See more »

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Did You Know?


First Showtime production to win a Golden Globe. See more »

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User Reviews

USA – The Land of Freedom? At Least, not in Cincinnati, 1990 for Robert Mapplethorpe´s work.
5 November 2003 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In 1990, in Cincinnati (USA), a director of an Art Museum, Dennis Barrie (the outstanding James Wood, one of the best American actors) decides to expose the pictures of Robert Mapplethorpe. This is the trigger to be prosecuted, go on a civil trial and destroy his private life. The presentation of this movie, showing the position of both sides, questioning what is pornography through the discussion of the jury, is in my opinion very neutral and positive, leaving a chance for the viewer reflecting in a very controversial theme. Another great point in this film is the comments of personalities and intellectuals, such as Salmon Rushdie, or Susan Sarandon. Inclusive, Robert Mapplethorpe had shot photos of the son of this great actress. However, it is funny the label of USA being `The Land of Freedom and Opportunity' showing the power of conservative persons in the end of the Twentieth Century, no matter they were the majority or minority part of the society. In the end of the movie, there is a statement about the real intention of the trial that is scary. USA had had its apartheid until the 60´s fortunately resolved in the present days. I believe it is one of the few countries where there is no Communist Party, maybe due to the serious restrictions in the past (McCarthyism, for example, has been showed in many movies, including `Citizen Cohn', where James Wood is the main character). If a person wants or needs to visit America, has to submit an application for an expensive VISA, on the contrary of most of the countries, but, anyway these are their internal society rules and are to be very respected. Especially in the present days, with threatens everywhere. What I was not aware and is completely new for me was about such a case of restriction to Arts. Arts are universal and belong to the citizens of planet Earth and should not be censored. I do not know the real intention of Dennis Barrie in exposing the photographs of Mapplethorpe after a previous prohibition in another American town, but anyway the exhibition was placed in a private and paid close place, with restriction to teenagers and children. Therefore, you would go there only if you liked it somehow. I myself am not fan of this type of theme, but I have visited some museums in Amsterdam and Hamburg, with expensive tickets, just for curiosity. The viewer will not be disappointed with this film. My vote is nine.

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