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Talk Radio (1988)

Eric Bogosian , Alec Baldwin , Oliver Stone  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Eric Bogosian, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Greene, Leslie Hope, John C. McGinley
  • Directors: Oliver Stone
  • Writers: Eric Bogosian, Oliver Stone
  • Producers: Edward R. Pressman, A. Kitman Ho
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • 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 (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004X13U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,565 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Talk Radio" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award-winning writer/director Oliver Stone brings shock radio to the screen in this relentlessly fast-paced suspense thriller. Dallas talk radio host Barry Champlain (Eric Bogosian) discovers one weekend that his skills in pushing people's buttons have won him a chance for national syndication. But instead of celebrating, he subjects his ex-wife (Ellen Greene) and co-workers to a darkly comic marathon bout of compulsive risk-taking with his unstable radio audience. Barry and his "fans" - the lonely, the angry and the dangerous - know that talk is not cheap, and words can kill.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and brooding meditation on life 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scariest Film I've Ever Seen! 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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"Talk Radio" seems to be one of Oliver Stone's lesser known works--I keep thinking it's going to come out in a better DVD format and more people will discover what a great, intense and challenging movie that it is. However, that has yet to happen--and we're left with an unimpressive DVD of a masterful work. More intimate, more claustrophobic, and more verbal than most of Stone's visually assaultive works, "Talk Radio" explores the power of words. Largely set within the confines of a radio studio during a nightly broadcast--"Talk Radio" relies on provocative ideas and intelligent performances. With this seeming lack of physical action, however, is a grandly entertaining and exciting picture.

At the center of "Talk Radio" is shock jockey Barry Champlain, played by Eric Bogosian. The story, based loosely on the real life murder of Alan Berg, was adapted from a play created by, written by, and starring Bogosian. On air nightly, Barry is free to provoke, insult and anger his listeners. His abrasive, obnoxious persona connects with many of his disaffected, vulnerable overnight audience--but offends in equal measure. The screenplay, consisting largely of haranguing diatribes, is spot on to the nuances of real radio interplay. And however you may feel about Barry, it's clear that he's a talented and intelligent button-pusher.

Since much of the picture rests on the power of monologue, Bogosian is front and center throughout. In what I feel is one of the great overlooked performances of the eighties, he is absolutely riveting. Magnetic and loathsome, intelligent and crude, self-righteous and manipulative--this is powerhouse acting. I know some may find such unpleasantness bothersome, but it's a fascinating look at a man emotionally trapped within a character he has created.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very surprised!
I'm a fairly young guy, but I've always been into talk radio for some reason. If you're like me and you like your films a little dark, this one might be for you.
Published 1 month ago by Matt M.
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding acting
i loved this movie very underrated, eric is fantastic actor, although only a small part of the movie is fact ,it is well done and although i wouldnt put this movie on my top 10... Read more
Published 2 months ago by JANE AUSTEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Underrated!!
Bogosian is a genius! Amazing supporting cast and Oscar-worthy screenplay to boot. A must-see for all 90's movie buffs. Amazing!
Published 3 months ago by Michael J Garry Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars EYE OPENING
Some what fictional..BUT these groups are alive and VERY well..the country is going through a civil war..QUIETLY..but the meadia says nothing about it.. Read more
Published 6 months ago by zeak
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense acting by Bogosian
I saw this film when it came out years ago and decided to get the DVD to add to my collection. Bogosian turns in an intense performance and you find yourself torn between liking... Read more
Published 15 months ago by B. Hobbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-stopping!
Talk Radio is an incredibly dark and compelling film. The elements of suspense in this film are almost suffocating. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Nick Lombardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Like A Punch In The Face!
Some people just can't deal with truth and facts even if its presented and explained in details right there just for them. Read more
Published on January 4, 2012 by ***Doum666***
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Play, Mediocre Movie
It's nigh on impossible to take certain stage plays and make them into good cinema; this is one.

The ultimate breakdown is not in the plot. Read more
Published on December 12, 2011 by Stanley M. Gilbert
1.0 out of 5 stars Painful to Watch, Painful to Review
As my previous two reviews have been rejected, I will confine myself to saying that the key to how irritating this film is found in the character of the wife. Read more
Published on June 7, 2011 by M. Ash
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great album of Copeland's music
Sting and Andy Summers, after The Police breakout were releasing album after album to great acclaim, Stewart decided to do film scores. Read more
Published on May 30, 2009 by ManWithGoodTasteSays:
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