Selected Members of the Cast:
||Althea Leasure Flynt
||Ruth Carter Stapleton
Kirk - Roanoke Court
Morrissey - Cincinnati Court
New York Times
By Janet Maslin
The People vs. Larry Flynt"
is a blazing, unlikely triumph
about a man who is nobody's idea of a movie hero. Smart, funny,
shamelessly entertaining and perfectly serious too, Milos Forman's
film describes the Hustler publisher and his many liberties, civil
and otherwise. Above all, the film emerges as an object lesson in
open-mindedness, winning a reluctant respect for its main
character's right to crude self-expression just as Flynt has won
his days in court....
San Francisco Examiner
By Barbara Shulgasser
MILOS FORMAN'S "The People Vs. Larry Flynt" depicts the
publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler as a
vulgar, coarse, arrogant, reckless, lascivious,
self-centered boor whom you root for 100 percent.
It has been Larry Flynt's
singular burden and redemption
to be both the icon of trashy excess and the upholder of
one of the Constitution's most democratizing elements,
the First Amendment. As we behold Flynt in all his
loathsomeness, we tend to forget that popular speech
doesn't require protection. It's unpopular speech that
needs a legal system's backing. Inevitably, the guy who
will test the strength of such a protection is going to be
someone easy to despise.
In so many ways Flynt, played
by the versatile Woody
Harrelson, is reprehensible. Scores of feminists have
denounced him for his depictions of violence to women. His
famous Hustler cover bearing the legs of a woman whose
torso has presumably just been consumed in a meat-grinder
epitomizes a sensibility that could easily drive the most
dedicated libertarian to call for government sanctions.
But Flynt was also gleefully
irreverent enough to show
Santa and Mrs. Claus in an intimate moment, and witty
enough to satirize the deserving Rev. Jerry Falwell by
describing him performing unnatural acts in an outhouse
with his mother. I guess which of these images is most
personally offensive would depend on where you stand
politically and whether you believe that allowing Julia
Child to have a television show threatens to turn America
into a nation of gourmets....
By Rita Kempley
Flynt went from rags to riches, from born bad to reborn, and in
his most unlikely metamorphosis yet the hillbilly hustler has wriggled
from his chrysalis, no longer a pornographic worm but a soaring
champion of the First Amendment.
"The People vs. Larry Flynt,"
an enormously entertaining and surprisingly touching bio-pic starring
Woody Harrelson, practically canonizes the Pappy Yokum of
Though Flynt's political
opponents were plentiful and though many were feminists alarmed by
Hustler magazine's depiction of sexual violence against women, there's
little evidence of thoughtful critics here. In the film, most of his
foes are middle-American stuffed shirts and ladies who spend their time
making jello molds....
By Charles Taylor
fun about the movie
is that it pisses on things like virtue, monogamy, God and patriotism.
(It's fitting that, in the second half of the movie, after Larry has
been paralyzed by a would-be assassin's bullet, Harrelson talks in the
nasal squawk of W.C. Fields.) By the time Larry is giving a lecture
while intercutting slides of porn with slides of the Holocaust and
asking which is more obscene, or appearing as the Spirit-of-'76
flag-bearer at his bicentennial party, the ironies have started to
thud. And when Larry starts to cherish his Constitutional rights, the
picture gives up the chance to make a tougher point.
Larry appears in court in battle helmet,
wearing the flag as a diaper, talking gibberish or openly abusing the
judge, he's not just grandstanding. He's in contempt of court because
the court is in contempt of him. The method to his madness is this: if
a law protects your right to free speech, a law can take it away.
That's a rather sophisticated point, and not one likely to be seconded
by people who are intent on making "Mr. Flynt Goes to Washington"....
People vs. Larry Flynt" is ultimately a
worse disappointment than an out-and-out stinker would be, because of
its lively, entertaining first half. Forman clumps through the material
like Larry's hillbilly parents who show up one night at his mansion, Ma
and Pa Kettle stumbling into an orgy. Even a sleazebag's story deserves
to be told with a little style.