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Talk Radio

52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based loosely on the life of the murdered talk-radio personality Alan Berg, TALK RADIO stars monologist Eric Bogosian as the abrasive, self-loathing talk-radio host Barry Champlain. He spends his nights at Dallas station KGAB engaged in vitriolic conversations with a motley assortment of racists, anti-semites, rednecks, and all-purpose lunatics. Just having learned that his show has a chance to be picked up for national syndication, Barry seems to have ratcheted up the abuse level to new heights, worrying his co-workers. Yet while Barry's career is taking off, studio boss Dan (Alec Baldwin) angers him by trying to alter the provocative content of his show. At the same time, Barry's having problems with his girlfriend and ex-wife, Ellen (Ellen Greene). And a neo-Nazi group is making increasingly menacing calls, forcing him to the edge of a possible nervous breakdown. A compelling take on the dynamics of hate radio and the wages of narcissism, Oliver Stone's film is exceptionally well shot and acted, directed with claustrophobic concentration.

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Recommendations

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Eric Bogosian, Ellen Greene, Leslie Hope, John C. McGinley, Alec Baldwin
    • Directors: Oliver Stone
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: Spanish, French
    • Dubbed: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Universal Studios / Sunset Home Visual Entertainment (SHE)
    • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2000
    • Run Time: 109 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00004X13U
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,248 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Talk Radio" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David O'Brien on November 11, 2005
    Format: DVD
    Often overlooked ,'Talk Radio' is one of Oliver Stone's most enduring pieces of work. It's based on a radio play written by Eric Bogosian who is the main character in this, the film version .Bogosian delivers a powerful performance as the tortured, acerbic DJ shock-jock Barry Champlain.

    Bogosian's play itself is based on the death of Denver DJ Alan Berg who was shot dead in 1984 by a White Power/Aryan group known as The Order.

    Bogosian delivers a brilliant performance as Champlain - a former tailor's assistant in Dallas who is discovered by a local DJ and after audition, becomes a late-night DJ on a radio station.

    The basic storyline is that Champlain does a nighttime show called 'Nighttalk' where he gets to talk live to various sick and twisted individuals who ring up. The characters who inhabit Champlain's life are Laura - his lover and assistant, Stew - his producer and similarly-sarcastic wit played by Stone favourite John C.McGinley and Dan the hard-nosed boss played by the brooding Alec Baldwin.

    Baldwin is trying to get a national syndication deal for Bogosian and the Nighttalk show and a rep of Metrowave ,the company interested in the syndication is in the studio checking out Champlain's show. Champlain has had a bad night with lots of weird people ringing his show.

    In the midst of all of this, Champlain's estranged wife Ellen (played by Ellen Greene) is coming to Dallas for a few days.It's not made clear why she is coming but it seems that he is under pressure and needs someone in his life who truly understands him - like Ellen does.
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    15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    This movie works so well because unlike with his other films, Oliver Stone just lets the material do the work for him. The material and the actor/playwright, actually; Eric Bogosian's excellent portrayal of a talk-show host skirting his psyche's edge on-air and off is jaw-dropping. You watch this guy weave himself into a tighter and tighter shell as his world crumbles and feel helpless to stop his flight to destruction. Ellen Green and other supporting cast members round things out, and TALK RADIO ends up being the most powerful vision that Stone has ever brought to the screen, before or since.
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    13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on January 12, 2011
    Format: DVD
    No, it's not the violence; there is no physical violence except a few seconds of gun fire in the last moments of the film. No, it's not vertiginous dangling from cliffs or windows; nearly the whole film takes place in a radio sound studio, with the central character seated at a desk. No, there aren't any zombies, ax wielders, vampire, bug-eyed space invaders, or syndicate hit men. All that kind of scary stuff I can easily process as unreal, mere cinema illusion ... [except those dangling-from-windows scenes; they give me goosebumps.] ... but the scary things in this film are the emotions, the hatred and anger seething in the words of the unseen callers to Talk Radio. The violence they threaten against provocative shock jock Barry Champlain, acted by playwright Eric Bogosian, is horrifyingly real. The racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and sado-masochistic perversion the callers spew is verbatim what you can find in written words on comment threads here on amazon. Nothing is said in this film -- not the most nauseating rant -- that isn't said aloud with conviction by thousands of Americans and held in the hearts of millions more. And that's scary!

    A distant friend suggested that I watch this film, originally released in 1988, this week, in response to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Tucson Arizona, the moderate Democrat who had been 'cross-haired' for elimination by Sarah Palin and who had already been violently targeted by rightist extremists more than once. Yes, this film is powerfully relevant to the toxic politics of the USA today, as well as being a powerful drama in itself, one of director Oliver Stone's most subtle classics.
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By yosunnyjoe on July 8, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    Eric Bogsian may just be the most underated actor of our time. Eric plays an argumentitive and controversial radio talk show host in Dallas, one that was typical of the 70's and 80's AM band. This movie borrows some story line from the book "Talked to Death" which is about the late Denver host Allen Berg who was murdered. Oliver Stone brings this to us in hardcore movie fashion where on air lights are bright and groupie visitors are suspicious. This film identifies the pain behind the genius of the talk radio host by letting you into his out of control life. It's not about the shock comedy Howard Stern type talk show although much of Bogosians character is very shocking and sometimes funny. Most of all he is troubled, angry and can only be compared to the tv host of the 70s movie "Network" with Faye Dunaway. Bogosian is obsessed with the worlds faults and gives his listeners some awful tasting medicine. The actors who play the callers are interesting to say the least, as they sound so real at times expressing their discord and hurt feelings. The radio talk show type here is not trying to be funny but trying to change the world. Maybe you've heard them before. Please note that since this release both sports talk and comedy talk have succeeded. In the movie you hear an announcer say "Everybody loves to Talk". More apparently, They like to listen. The ending is predictable but still surprising. This movie is not for everybody but it's damn good!
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