The People vs. Larry Flynt

The People vs. Larry Flynt is a 1996 American biographical drama film directed by Miloš Forman, chronicling the rise of pornographer Larry Flynt and his subsequent clash with religious institutions and the law.[4] It stars Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love as his wife Althea, and Edward Norton as his attorney Alan Isaacman. The screenplay, written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, spans about 35 years of Flynt's life, from his impoverished upbringing in Kentucky to his court battle with Reverend Jerry Falwell, and is based in part on the U.S. Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.

The People vs. Larry Flynt
A man with an image of the American flag superimposed over his mouth
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMiloš Forman
Written byScott Alexander
Larry Karaszewski
Produced byOliver Stone
Janet Yang
Michael Hausman
Starring
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited byChristopher Tellefsen
Music byThomas Newman
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • October 13, 1996 (1996-10-13) (New York)
  • December 25, 1996 (1996-12-25) (U.S.)
Running time
130 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$35 million[2]
Box office$43 million[3]

Although it was not a financial success, The People vs. Larry Flynt was acclaimed by critics and garnered Harrelson, Love, Norton and Forman multiple accolades and award nominations, including Best Actor for Harrelson and Best Director for Forman at the 69th Academy Awards. Forman won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and Edward Norton was won Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.

PlotEdit

In 1952, 10-year-old Larry Flynt is selling moonshine in Kentucky. Twenty years later, Flynt and his younger brother, Jimmy, run the Hustler Go-Go club in Cincinnati. With profits down, Flynt decides to publish a newsletter for the club, the first Hustler magazine, with nude pictures of women working at the club. The newsletter soon becomes a full-fledged magazine, but sales are weak. After Hustler publishes nude pictures of former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis in 1972, sales take off.

Flynt becomes smitten with Althea Leasure, a stripper who works at one of his clubs. With Althea and Jimmy's help, Flynt makes a fortune from sales of Hustler. With his success comes enemies – as he finds himself a hated figure of anti-pornography activists. He argues with the activists, saying that "murder is illegal, but if you take a picture of it, you may get your name in a magazine or maybe win a Pulitzer Prize. However, sex is legal, but if you take a picture of that act, you can go to jail." He becomes involved in several prominent court cases, and befriends a young lawyer, Alan Isaacman. In 1975, Flynt loses a smut-peddling court decision in Cincinnati, but the decision is overturned on appeal; he is released from jail soon afterwards. Ruth Carter Stapleton, a Christian activist and sister of President Jimmy Carter, seeks out Flynt and urges him to give his life to Jesus. Flynt seems moved and starts letting his newfound religion influence everything in his life, including Hustler content.

In 1978, during another trial in Georgia, Flynt and Isaacman are both shot by a man with a rifle while they walk outside a courthouse. Isaacman recovers, but Flynt is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Wishing he was dead, Flynt renounces God. Because of the emotional and physical pain, he moves to Beverly Hills and spirals down into depression and drug use. During this time, Althea also becomes addicted to painkillers and morphine.

In 1983, Flynt undergoes surgery to deaden several nerves in his back damaged by the bullet wounds, and as a result, feels rejuvenated. He returns to an active role with the publication, which, in his absence, had been run by Althea and Jimmy. Flynt is soon in court again for leaking videos relating to the John DeLorean entrapment case, and during his courtroom antics, he fires Isaacman, then throws an orange at the judge. He later wears an American flag as an adult diaper along with an Army helmet, and wears T-shirts with provocative messages such as "I Wish I Was Black" and "Fuck This Court." After spitting water at the judge Flynt is sent to a psychiatric ward, where he sinks into depression again. Flynt publishes a satirical parody ad in which Jerry Falwell tells of a sexual encounter with his mother. Falwell sues for libel and emotional distress. Flynt countersues for copyright infringement, because Falwell copied his ad and used it to raise funds for his legal bills. The case goes to trial in December 1984, but the decision is mixed, as Flynt is found guilty of inflicting emotional distress but not libel. By that time, Althea has contracted HIV, which proceeds to AIDS. Some time later in 1987, Flynt finds her dead in the bathtub, having drowned.

Flynt presses Isaacman to appeal the Falwell decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. Isaacman refuses, saying Flynt's courtroom antics humiliated him. Flynt pleads with him, saying that he "wants to be remembered for something meaningful". Isaacman agrees and argues the "emotional distress" decision in front of the Supreme Court, in the case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell in 1988. With Flynt sitting silently in the courtroom, the court overturns the original verdict in a unanimous decision. After the trial, Flynt is alone in his bedroom watching old videotapes of a healthy Althea.

CastEdit

Casting notesEdit

Both Bill Murray and Tom Hanks were considered for the role of Flynt.[5][6] Flynt's brother, Jimmy, is played by Brett Harrelson, the real-life brother of Woody Harrelson.

ReceptionEdit

Based on 56 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 88%, with an average score of 7.70/10. The site's consensus states, "The People vs. Larry Flynt pays entertaining tribute to an irascible iconoclast with a well-constructed biopic that openly acknowledges his troublesome flaws."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on reviews from 24 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

Box officeEdit

The film opened on December 25, 1996 in a limited release, in 16 theatres, where it was a hit, before expanding to wide release, 1,233 theatres, on January 10, 1997.[9] The film eventually grossed $20,300,385 in the United States and Canada.[10] Internationally it did better grossing $23 million, for a worldwide total of $43 million against a $35 million budget.[3][2]

AccoladesEdit

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
20/20 Awards Best Director Miloš Forman Nominated
Best Actor Woody Harrelson Nominated
Academy Awards[11] Best Director Miloš Forman Nominated
Best Actor Woody Harrelson Nominated
Artios Awards[12] Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Casting – Drama Francine Maisler and Jo Doster (location casting) Won
Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Director Miloš Forman Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Woody Harrelson Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Courtney Love Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Miloš Forman Nominated
Honorable Mentions (The Next Ten Best Picture Contenders) Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival[13] Golden Bear Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards[14] Best Supporting Actor Edward Norton Won
Best Supporting Actress Courtney Love Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[15] Best Film Nominated
Best Director Miloš Forman Nominated
Best Actress Courtney Love Nominated
Best Screenplay Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Nominated
Most Promising Actor Edward Norton Won
Most Promising Actress Courtney Love Won
Critics' Choice Awards[16] Best Picture Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Edward Norton Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Courtney Love Nominated
Czech Lion Awards Best Foreign Film Nominated
European Film Awards Achievement in World Cinema Award Miloš Forman Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards[17] Best Supporting Actor Edward Norton Won
Best Supporting Actress Courtney Love Won
Golden Globe Awards[18] Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Woody Harrelson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Courtney Love Nominated
Best Director – Motion Picture Miloš Forman Won
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Won
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards[19] Best Film Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards[20] Best Supporting Actor Edward Norton Won
Best Supporting Actress Courtney Love Runner-up
MTV Movie Awards[21] Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
National Board of Review Awards[22] Top Ten Films 10th Place
Freedom of Expression Miloš Forman and Oliver Stone Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards[23] Best Supporting Actor Edward Norton 3rd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards[24] Best Film Runner-up
Best Supporting Actress Courtney Love Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards[25] Best Picture Oliver Stone, Janet Yang and Michael Hausman Nominated
Best Drama Picture Nominated
Best Director Miloš Forman Nominated
Best Actor Woody Harrelson Nominated
Best Drama Actor Nominated
Best Drama Actress Courtney Love Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Won
Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Nominated
Political Film Society Awards Exposé Nominated
Human Rights Nominated
Satellite Awards[26] Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Courtney Love Won
Best Screenplay – Original Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Won[a]
Screen Actors Guild Awards[27] Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Woody Harrelson Nominated
Society of Texas Film Critics Awards[28] Best Actor Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Edward Norton Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards[29] Best Supporting Actor Won
Writers Guild of America Awards[30] Paul Selvin Honorary Award Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Nominated

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Tied with John Sayles for Lone Star.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The People vs. Larry Flynt (18)". British Board of Film Classification. January 14, 1997. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Collins, Scott (March 1, 1997). "The Many People vs. 'Larry Flynt'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Klady, Leonard (February 9, 1998). "The Top 125". Variety. p. 31.
  4. ^ "Milos Forman Explains Why He Made 'The People Vs. Larry Flynt'". Chicago Tribune. December 27, 1996. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  5. ^ Locke, Greg W. (August 26, 2011). "The Top 25 Roles Bill Murray Didn't Take". Archived from the original on November 25, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  6. ^ Evans, Bradford (February 17, 2011). "The Lost Roles of Bill Murray". Archived from the original on May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  7. ^ "The People vs. Larry Flynt Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  8. ^ "The People vs. Larry Flynt". Metacritic.
  9. ^ Brennan, Judy (December 30, 1996). "Michael: Miracle at Box Office; Movies: Estimates show John Travolta's angel film setting a Christmas week record; 'Evita' and 'People vs. Larry Flynt' hit big in limited release". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  10. ^ The People vs. Larry Flynt at Box Office Mojo
  11. ^ "The 69th Academy Awards (1997) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "Nominees/Winners". Casting Society of America. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  14. ^ "BSFC Winners: 1990s". Boston Society of Film Critics. July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  15. ^ "1988-2013 Award Winner Archives". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "The BFCA Critics' Choice Awards :: 1996". Broadcast Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008.
  17. ^ "1996 FFCC AWARD WINNERS". Florida Film Critics Circle. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  18. ^ "The People vs. Larry Flynt – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  19. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 1990-99". kcfcc.org. December 14, 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  20. ^ "The 22nd Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  21. ^ Richmond, Ray (April 18, 1997). "Bard Tops MTV List". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  22. ^ "1996 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  23. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. December 19, 2009. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  24. ^ "1996 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". Mubi. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  25. ^ "1st Annual Film Awards (1996)". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "1997 Satellite Awards". Satellite Awards. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  27. ^ "The 3rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  28. ^ Baumgartner, Marjorie (December 27, 1996). "Fargo, You Betcha; Society of Texas Film Critics Announce Awards". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  29. ^ "1996 SEFA Awards". sefca.net. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  30. ^ "Awards Winners". wga.org. Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on December 5, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  31. ^ "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External linksEdit