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Citizen Cohn

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

James Woods plays Roy Cohn, a ruthless attorney who first took the Rosenbergs to trial as spies, ensuring he got them the death penalty. As Senator Joe McCarthy's right-hand man in the Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, he disrupted many more lives. During the Kennedy years, he fought their support of civil rights, befriending the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover and attempting to undermine the leadership of Martin Luther King. 1992/color/112 min/R.


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Product Details

  • Actors: James Woods, Joe Don Baker, Joseph Bologna, Ed Flanders, Frederic Forrest
  • Directors: Frank Pierson
  • Writers: David Franzoni, Nicolas von Hoffman
  • Producers: Alan Haft, Daniel Schneider, Doro Bachrach, Linda Gottlieb, Mark Rosenberg
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: HBO Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B8U4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,940 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Citizen Cohn" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By From the Balcony on February 12, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
James Woods gives a brilliant and very realistic performance. The story is told of Cohn's rise to power, his ruthless treatment of 'communists', and his slow but eventual downfall, first when he meets his match in a clever army lawyer, then in a woman he should have taken a little more seriously, and then in illness and death. The portrayal of the gassing of Ms. Rosenberg is not something that I will forget easily. And often, when the obsessions of this Cohn character get to be so unnerving, that you wonder, how can this continue????, the scene jumps to his deathbed. Highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Blake on November 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
"Citizen Cohn" is like Anthony Sommer's "Official And Confidental: The Secret Life Of J.Edgar Hoover," it examines the true perverse and sinister nature of a respected public figure. James Woods gives a venomous, great performance like Bob Hoskins as Hoover in Oliver Stone's "Nixon." The film is really intriguing and fascinating. It serves as a study of politics in the McCarthy era through the 60s. Roy Cohn was obviously no saint and the film dwelves into his secret, perverse nature in a fascinating way. This movie is a mind-opener that raises many issues and uncovers the dark truth about not only Cohn, but about the era in which he lived. It seems he, like Hoover, was a personifacation of everything perverse in the system. Is it surprising he died of AIDS?
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on December 18, 2003
Format: DVD
When Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy muscled his way onto a committee investigating communist subversives in the government, he brought along with him Roy Cohn. The son of a New York state judge and a brilliant lawyer in his own right, young Cohn saw McCarthy's committee as a way to increase his own social and political position. After all, this hotshot lawyer helped send the Rosenbergs to the electric chair, so a stint busting Reds in the government seemed a logical progression for him. After the collapse of McCarthyism and the subsequent waning of the Red Scare, Roy moved into a private legal practice in New York. Many considered this lawyer one of the most brilliant legal minds in the country, and Cohn got plenty of work in high profile divorce cases and even worked with members of the Mafia on occasion. Roy Cohn died in 1986, a disbarred lawyer reduced to a shattered husk of the dealmaker he once was. HBO thought Roy Cohn an intriguing enough character to fund this shrill 1992 effort starring the venerable James Woods as "Citizen Cohn."
The movie tells us that young Cohn quickly fell under the spell of his overbearing mother, an unnaturally close relationship that would last as long as she lived. Roy's father, a liberal judge with the firm idea that "what's right never changes," soon comes to despise his overly ambitious son and his morally suspect ways. After assisting in the conviction of the Rosenbergs, Cohn ingratiates himself with McCarthy in order to serve as the junior senator's chief counsel and personal attack dog. Moreover, Roy tells McCarthy that making Bobby Kennedy chief counsel for the committee (yes, RFK did a stint with McCarthy) could raise ugly charges of anti-Semitism because most of the men called in to testify are Jews.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amir Mulaganovic on October 24, 2003
Format: DVD
I don't know who they were giving oscars to in the year this movie came out but (as always) they fail to give them to the movie or the actors which deserve them and James Woods and the citisen Cohn sure deserved some oscar recognition for this masterpiece
For history buffs such as myself this movie is one of those you can watch again and again
5 stars out of 5
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Barry Kenyon on July 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
James Woods gives a riveting performance of Roy Cohn, the lawyer at the center of the US communist witch hunts of the early 1950s. The spoiled brat and closet gay on whom Joe McCarthy so naively relied is shown in a series of flashbacks from his hospital bed in the 1980s. The pace is fast with characters such as Bobby Kennedy, Walter Winchell and Ethel Rosenberg popping up here and there to shed light on Cohn's selfish character. Cohn's habit of helping himself at meals to other people's plates, notably Cardinal Spellman's, sums him up precisely. Naturally, there are moot points. There is, for example, no real evidence Cohn was David Schine's lover and Cohn's relationship with his father was more complex than the comtempt shown in the movie. No matter. Cohn's ability to ruin other people whilst serving his own career and bank balance is succinctly portrayed in an excellently written script.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By columbus tillman on January 29, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Excellent film and in excellent condition. one of the best film I have purchase so far. one for my collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Baird on June 8, 2007
Format: DVD
I saw this movie and was stunned regarding the raw acting talents of Mr. Woods...Boy!...He took my breath away, It was as if he lived the part....he made you forget you were watching a movie,that you were just sneaking a peek into the real life of a dysfunctonal human being.Speaking of Cohn....How come no one could see through all of his shananigans?...His lifestyle, lies, deceits,and disrespect of the court system.These manipulations should have given his oppositions a clue as to what they were dealing with. Sandee
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
great movie with james wood, excellent as roy cohn, sen. Mccarthy's henchman, and a hated enemy of RFK.
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