Columbia Pictures | Release Date: December 25, 1996
8.7
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 102 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
93
Mixed:
7
Negative:
2
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8
GilbertNov 17, 2002
Oh, come on. You call it a "pandering glorification of political correctness", then call it "evidence of our moral bankruptcy". Which are two different things. Face it, "Flynt" is not a leftie liberal pinko etc conspiracy to usurp you from Oh, come on. You call it a "pandering glorification of political correctness", then call it "evidence of our moral bankruptcy". Which are two different things. Face it, "Flynt" is not a leftie liberal pinko etc conspiracy to usurp you from your throne as arbiter of the Western World's morals. It's just a great movie. Like all the other ones Milos Forman made. Expand
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2
SteveB.Nov 2, 2002
This movie almost had me rooting against the first amendment. This pandering, glorification of a politically correct (these days) low-life shows just far downhill our society has gone, and the moral bankruptcy of the entertainment industry, This movie almost had me rooting against the first amendment. This pandering, glorification of a politically correct (these days) low-life shows just far downhill our society has gone, and the moral bankruptcy of the entertainment industry, including the left immoral (yet moralistic) movie critics. Expand
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10
RyanM.Jan 9, 2003
One of the greatest, most unflinchingly sad, but real biopics I've ever seen.
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10
mayanks.Jan 11, 2005
Movie of our times.. sad, dark, and yet an expression so strong.
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10
angieJun 23, 2005
This movie was absolutely wonderful. Made a very valid point.
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9
PatC.Sep 12, 2005
A precise solidly crafted movie in full control of its volatile actors, story line and editing. Not quite uplifting, but still reassuring, not to mention both cerebral and provocative.
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8
EvanW.Mar 3, 2009
Flynt is, ironically, moralistic. He stands up for what he believes in and doesn't back down.
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9
HalfwelshmanMar 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 theThe 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. Expand
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10
ScarTissue1990Aug 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 trulyThis 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. Expand
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4
SpangleJan 13, 2017
From the very beginning of the film, The People vs. Larry Flynt spirals out of control. While featuring great performances and a compelling subject, the film feels abbreviated. Directed by Milos Forman, the film won him the Golden Globe forFrom the very beginning of the film, The People vs. Larry Flynt spirals out of control. While featuring great performances and a compelling subject, the film feels abbreviated. Directed by Milos Forman, the film won him the Golden Globe for Best Director and he got a nomination at the Academy Awards in the same category. Though a legend in the director's chair, it is hard to imagine why Forman would receive these honors. For a film this ambitious and trying to cover such a large stretch of time, the film is done in a blink because scenes smash together, things progress quickly, and events are skimmed over to just give you a taste and then it takes them away. All told though, the film is just a middling biopic that does not really analyze its characters as much as it champions as a patriot for the little man who wants to call Jerry Falwell a moron (a valiant enterprise, admittedly).

Starring Woody Harrelson as the infamous smut peddler, Harrelson is brilliant. Both bombastic, reserved, and solemn, Harrelson gives a real bite and edge to Larry Flynt, but makes him entirely sympathetic. Every time he acts like a moron in court, you feel sympathy and compassion for a man who is throwing his life away. Harrelson's brilliance is highlighted in a scene with the Americans for a Free Press rally. In it, the great dialogue in the scene hands Harrelson an impassioned speech about the morals of America and how out of wack they are. While soldiers and war are celebrated, sexuality is taboo and not to be discussed. The speech really spoke to his character and Harrelson nails this fiery speech. Alongside is his Edward Norton, appearing as his lawyer Alan Isaacman. A bit awkward and young, Isaacman is unassuming and really should not have volunteered to be Flynt's lawyer. Yet, Isaacman is along for the ride all the way and is excellently captured by Norton. The scene in front of the Supreme Court is a really highlight with the young, but smart Isaacman holding his own under direct questioning as to his client's intents with the publication of an anti-Falwell article and advertisement. Though he seems awkward and cracks a few jokes, he is composed and knowledgeable at every turn. This is a real credit to Norton who captures both the bulldog and the shih tzu of Isaacman.

On the flip side, however, is Courtney Love. Portraying Althea Leasure, the wife of Larry Flynt, Love is an AIDS infested junkie whore. Fortunately, this makes her perfect for the role. Maybe that is harsh, but Love injects Larry with heroin and then injects herself and it just really felt like a home video instead of a film. As may be clear, Love is grating in the role. She is so bad, melodramatic, and is a real blight on this film. Had the editing and storytelling not be so inept as well, Love would stand as the worst part of this film. Just because is the exact same person as Althea was does not mean she is good casting. She simply cannot act and just goes through the motions and plays herself.

As for the editing, it is horrible. With scenes ending too early and smashing into one another throughout, the best scenes are the ones that Forman actually lets play out. However, these are few and in between as he insists of flying through this film. With a runtime just over two hours and covering 35 years (more like 25) of Flynt's life, the film just has too much material for a two hour film. Forman knows this and, as such, abbreviates key moments into a highlight reel. This is largely ineffective and would not provide a good portrait of who Flynt is as a person. Thus, he must resort to having on-the-nose dialogue where Flynt just spews exposition as to what he stands for as a person. This is not ideal, but a man has to do what a man has to do when the story does not tell itself. Without these monologues, the film would just be a loose collection of scenes that, when put together, do not really add up to much. Though I dislike Jerry Falwell as much as the next guy and Flynt's contributions by bringing him down a peg (as if Falwell and his disciples are not massively self-righteous) are valuable, the film does a poor job introducing Falwell and has to have Norton's character explain at the end why Flynt hates Falwell. He is a religious leader, yes, but other than a brief mention by Althera, he does not factor in until the end. The mention from Althera also comes off as an after thought by Forman when her realized nobody mentions Falwell until the court case.

A meandering, poorly edited, and poorly told film from a great director, The People vs Larry Flynt is nearly saved by a workmanlike performance from Woody Harrelson and a typically great turn from Edward Norton is one of his first roles. However, they are dragged back down by Courtney Love. A misfire, the film simply does not work as a biopic or really any other genre.
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9
MovieGuysSep 8, 2014
Although this movie is essentially about a sleazy porn magazine publisher, The People vs. Larry Flynt never feels sleazy itself, thanks to great direction and a script that promotes the message of civil liberties without exploiting itself.Although this movie is essentially about a sleazy porn magazine publisher, The People vs. Larry Flynt never feels sleazy itself, thanks to great direction and a script that promotes the message of civil liberties without exploiting itself. There is character development, great performances, and clear themes and messages. It may run a bit long in the middle passages, but it is still an important film about standing up for what's in the boundaries of the law, and not exactly what is popular or moral. Expand
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10
googolendtimesApr 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 scenesWoody 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. Expand
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