Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Forman finesses the story's grimmer aspects as he did in "Cuckoo's Nest," and his ability to switch moods on a dime remains unsurpassed.
  2. 100
    Love proves she is not a rock star pretending to act, but a true actress, and Harrelson matches her with his portrait of a man who has one thing on his mind, and never changes it.
  3. 88
    Tells a good, intelligent story that keeps us interested and involved.
  4. The film catches us by surprise in its moving portrayal of the love between Larry and Althea, played by Courtney Love in a performance that glides from kinky abandon to stark tragedy.
  5. A blazing, unlikely triumph about a man who is nobody's idea of a movie hero. Smart, funny, shamelessly entertaining and perfectly serious too.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Courtney Love's performance as stripper Althea Leasure is an amazement. Funny, unfettered and almost scarily alive in front of a camera, she's the definition of a "natural."
  7. 100
    Enormously entertaining and surprisingly touching.
  8. Provocative and engrossing.
  9. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Vastly entertaining.
  10. There's a gentleness and open-mindedness in that touch and throughout the film that's a little at odds with the shallower script. But, in the end, that humanity pays. [27 Dec 1996]
  11. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    With its fine courtroom scenes, excellent performances, great writing and superb direction it reminds me more than anything else of Barbet Schroeder's "Reversal of Fortune."
  12. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Raucously entertaining.
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    Forman imbues the material with exactly the right dry, satirical flavor, yet this story is still a Frank Capra little-guy-against-the-system picture.
  14. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    Althea is a ferociously vibrant character, and Love goes all out to infuse her with a wildness seldom seen on screen. Love holds nothing back, and her energy and her heartache energize the movie.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Apr 20, 2014
    Woody Harrelson performs at the height of his acting ability as the eponymous Prince of Porn, embodying Larry Flynt with a riotous irreverence interspersed by moments of superbly nuanced vulnerability and pain, particularly in the scenes where Flynt dissolves almost completely into madness. The chemistry between Harrelson and Courtney Love (who plays Flynt's wife Althea) is fantastic; they depict, in a way that's quite bittersweet, how the two came to need one another. The acting in this film is magnificent, and makes it worth seeing, especially for Harrelson and Love. "The People vs. Larry Flynt" is highly entertaining, and provokes some interesting thought about the ideal of freedom of speech, and what it should and does protect. Full Review »
  2. Aug 7, 2012
    This movie is truly amazing. Woody Harrelson's portrayal of Larry Flynt is so realistic and Courtney Love's portrayal of his wife is truly mesmerizing. What can't this woman do? Edward Norton's character is also amazing and realistic. A truly amazing, funny, but yet tear jerking and gasping film. Truly one of the best movies of all time. Full Review »
  3. Mar 5, 2012
    The People vs. Larry Flynt is a truly great biopic. When telling the story of such a controversial public figure, filmmakers are required to make their views of the person clear from the off, to come down definitively on one side of the argument or the other. Director Milos Forman and veteran writing duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski choose to present Larry Flynt as a defender of liberty, a man who bravely fought against the hypocritical American legal system to preserve what he believed in. Their argument is presented extremely convincingly, and Woody Harrelson's natural charisma and bad-boy charm make Flynt an extremely engaging, entertaining protagonist. A baby-faced Edward Norton is also extremely impressive in his second big-screen role playing Flynt's despairing lawyer Alan Isaacman, and Courtney Love is simply mesmerising as Flynt's increasingly broken-down and drug-addled wife Althea Leasure. What the film gets just right is the balance between fact and fiction - enough of the true events in Flynt's life remain to make the film credible as a biopic, but there is just enough romanticising to make the story dramatically effective and emotionally involving. If you want the facts about Larry Flynt's life and career, warts-and-all, then there are documentaries about, and both entertainment and academia-based books featuring the publisher widely available. If you're prepared to indulge a bit of artistic licence for the sake of big-screen drama, then The People vs. Larry Flynt is a very rewarding viewing experience. It has great performances, tragedy and comedy aplenty, and it bravely confronts attitudes to some of the more morally frowned-upon industries in society, making you think, and consider the validity of your own attitudes to the world. Simply put, it's a really good watch. Full Review »