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The People Vs. Larry Flynt

4.4 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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(Dec 07, 2010)
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(May 06, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Two-time Oscar winner Milos Forman (Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) directs Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love and Edward Norton in this "smart, funny, shamelessly entertaining" film called "a blazing triumph" by the New York Times. Based on the true story of the notorious Hustler publisher who was sued by the Religious Right and paralyzed by a fanatic's bullet, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT is a stranger-than-fiction comedy about one man's outrageous public persona and eccentric private life. Chronicling Flynt's raunchy business savvy, his wildly unconventional marriage and his infamous courtroom antics, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT is "the most scintillating and outrageous message movie of the decade. An ultra-pop masterpiece!" Playboy Magazine.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, James Cromwell
  • Directors: Milos Forman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2010
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00441GYZ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,305 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Conroy on October 24, 1999
Format: DVD
It's sad to discover that *some* people (who have posted reviews here) have overlooked the merits of this film... and focused only on Larry Flynt as a man. Well, listen up... a movie is not WHAT it's about, but HOW it's about it!
Don't complain about the actions of Mr. Flynt in the movie... after all, he (Flynt) overlooked the production... he really did those things. Perhaps Milos Forman should've CHANGED the events somehow? No!
This film is essentially a sad love story. Nevermind the politics and Ammendement speeches... what we have here is a destructive relationship in the vein of Sid Viscious and Nancy Spungen. It is masterfully directed, beautiful to look at, and deeply engrossing.
Whatever your feelings about Flynt, remember that he did play an important role in our era. Think he's a horrible person? You probably won't get an argument from him, as this film demonstrates.
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Format: VHS Tape
WOW!! Here's a film that takes completely unsympathetic characters, and yet, makes us care about them. No small task for Milos Forman as director, but casting this film with Woody Harrelson and Courtney Love as Larry and Althea Flynt respectively, was sheer brilliance.

Woody Harrelson gives a knockout performance as formidable pornographer and publisher of the controversial "Hustler" Magazine. We meet him as a little backwoods boy selling moonshine with his brother, then a grown-up Larry selling a peek at bare-naked ladies, first in the flesh, and later in print, as he starts his publishing empire with his brother. I thought that casting Woody's REAL life brother, Brett Harrelson, as his brother in the movie, was a terrific touch.

Speaking of authenticity, a role has never been so perfect for anyone like the role of Althea Flynt was for actress/musician Courtney Love. I think she is a fascinating dynamic personality, and that works for her extraordinarily well on the screen here. From the moment she saunters out onto the stage to strip for Larry in the beginning, and for every moment she appears on screen through the end, she is truly mesmerizing and captivating. Love accurately captures the innate self-destructiveness of Althea that comes to fruition once Larry is paralyzed. When he recieves heavy narcotic pain killers by injection, she decides to partake as well, while injecting him. We have to assume she was seeking a substitute for the physical pleasures she and a paralyzed Larry, could no longer share. A little timeline shows us how several years go by. When the bedroom vault they've been holed up in opens, Althea is a stumbling, drug addicted, disheveled, punk caricature of her former attractive strong self.
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Format: DVD
"The People vs. Larry Flynt" has long languished in a no-frill, barebone widescreen edition. Now Columbia has finally released a Special Edition that includes bonus material that fans of the film can appreciate: two full-length commentary tracks (both free of the excessive "back-patting" that other commentary tracks devolve into), a pair of interesting deleted scenes (though they are very brief, they include commentary), and some other bells and whistles.
The featurettes deserve a special kudos as they're actually quite good, not the normal fluff studios usually put in DVDs. Both were produced in 2003 for the Special Edition and allow the interviewees to reflect on the entire production and theatrical life of the movie and the backlash it recieved from the Left. The interviewees include Foreman, Flynt, Harrelson, the producers, screenwriters, and as a commendable surprise, Rev. Jerry Falwell himself. The featurette on Larry Flynt's life (narrated by Dennis Hopper) gives a brief synopsis of Flynt's entire life -filling in areas that the movie did not cover (like his service in the Army and Navy) and putting the events of the movie in actual chronological order -making it interesting to compare to how the movie interprets the truth.
As for the movie itself, I would recommend that you rent a movie before buying a more expensive "special edition." I personally enjoyed it a lot when it was theaters. Milos Forman's style is very visual, and he's able to keep his subject at enough distance to allow the audience to make up their own minds about him. Harrelson's performance is top notch (he recieved an Oscar nomination) and the rest of the cast definitely fits the bill. It stands alongside Forman's Amadeus and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
... to be elected Censor of this New Roman Republic of America, Flynt would get the nod. That would have been true even before I watched this film, not because of any regard I have for Flynt or for Hustler magazine but because of my contempt for Jerry Falwell, for his extremism and bigotry, and for his involvement with Charles Keating. Perhaps I should recuse myself, therefore, from reviewing this film, since I couldn't possibly react impartially to the evidence in the trial of Flynt for libel and the subsequent appeals processes that took Flynt and Falwell to the US Supreme Court.

As portrayed by actor Woody Harrelson, porn-publisher Larry Flynt wasn't a guy you'd want for a son-in-law. He was loud, crude, sleazy, narcissistic, sociopathic, greedy, and a bully. Harrelson makes him terrifyingly real; I'm sure if I met the real Flynt, i'd be perplexed and wonder why he didn't look like Woody. There's a lot of very skillful acting in this film, and brilliant directing by Czech-American Milos Forman, whose previous films had included: Loves of a Blonde, The Firemen's Ball, Taking Off, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Hair, and Amadeus. Honestly, I would never have watched "The People vs Larry Flynt" if it were not for my respect for Milos Forman as a director.

But I have to confess that the first fifteen or twenty minutes of this film left me skeptical. Flynt is obnoxious, the sleaze shots are nauseating, the whole scenario seems pointless ... until the "good people" of Ohio, people including Charles Keating, resolve to make a martyr of Flynt. And then the film becomes increasingly powerful even while Flynt himself becomes increasingly unpalatable.
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