The People vs. Larry Flynt

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director: Milos Forman
Writers: Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
Director of Photography: Philippe Rousselot
Editor: Christopher Tellefsen
Music: Thomas Newman
Production Designer: Patrizia Von Brandenstein
Producers: Oliver Stone and Janet Yang
Columbia; R; 129 minutes
Release: 12/96
Cast: Courtney Love, Woody Harrelson, Edward Norton, James Cromwell, Crispin Glover, Brett Harrelson, Donna Hanover and Miles Chapin

A smart First Amendment opus that packs wit, emotion, hilarity, religion, sleaze and civil liberties in to what is arguably (and surprisingly) the best film of 1996. Who would've thought that the legal battles of sleazoid Hustler publisher Larry Flynt (Harrelson) would prove so boldly entertaining and savvy or that Love would kick ass (we're talking about her performance; we already know she can knock heads with the best of them)? Norton as Flynt's sharp, often miffed attorney gives another scene-stealing performance. Looking to attract customers to his strip club, Flynt starts a nudie newsletter, Hustler, that grows into a slick periodical with a circulation in the millions. Things really get going when, shortly after establishing Hustler, Flynt meets Althea Leasure (Love), a drugged-out, bisexual stripper. It's great fun watching the antics of the crass Flynts, but the proceedings have a serious side. Though Flynt's notorious ride through the justice system was a circus, he was testing the outer limits of the liberties we enjoy from the First Amendment. A long, stange trip, but that's what makes it so compelling.

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