7.6/10
13,363
66 user 63 critic

Lenny (1974)

The story of acerbic 1960s comic Lenny Bruce, whose groundbreaking, no-holds-barred style and social commentary was often deemed by the Establishment as too obscene for the public.

Director:

Bob Fosse

Writers:

Julian Barry (play), Julian Barry (screenplay)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Lenny Bruce
Valerie Perrine ... Honey Bruce
Jan Miner ... Sally Marr
Stanley Beck Stanley Beck ... Artie Silver
Frankie Man Frankie Man ... Baltimore Comic
Rashel Novikoff Rashel Novikoff ... Aunt Mema
Gary Morton Gary Morton ... Sherman Hart
Guy Rennie Guy Rennie ... Jack Goldstein
Michele Yonge Michele Yonge ... Nurse
Kathryn Witt Kathryn Witt ... Girl (as Kathie Witt)
Monroe Myers Monroe Myers ... Hawaiin Judge
John DiSanti ... John Santi
Mickey Gatlin Mickey Gatlin ... San Francisco Policeman
Martin Begley Martin Begley ... San Francisco Judge
Mark Harris Mark Harris ... Defense Attorney
Edit

Storyline

Interview-style biography of controversial and pioneering stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. The film traces Bruce from his beginnings as a Catskills comic to his later underground popularity based on his anti-establishment politics and his scatological humor. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Lenny Said It. "Hot Honey" Did It. Together They Shocked America. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Leni See more »

Filming Locations:

Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Al Pacino was offered the role first but turned it down. He said on Larry King years later that this was his only career regret (to date). See more »

Goofs

During the movie's opening monologue, Lenny says that it's 1964 and then references the MDA Telethon, which debuted in 1966. See more »

Quotes

Lenny Bruce: Deny it. Flat out - deny it! If you really love your wife, deny it. If they got pictures, deny it.
Honey Bruce: lt bugged me at first. You know, it, it hurt.
Lenny Bruce: If they walk in on you, deny it. Just say this strange chick came into the apartment shivering with a sign around her neck that said, ''l have malaria. Lie on top of me and keep me physically active or l'll die.''
Honey Bruce: Later, l found out a lot about why he did things like that.
Lenny Bruce: And chances are, man... they'll believe it. Do you know why?
The Interviewer: To prove himself.
Honey Bruce: ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Going the Distance: Remembering 'Marathon Man' (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

It Never Entered My Mind
Music by Richard Rodgers
Performed by Miles Davis
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well Made But Dismally Depressing
9 July 2007 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

This biopic about shock comedian Lenny Bruce was Bob Fosse's followup to his well-received 1972 film "Cabaret." I'm pretty sure that "Lenny" was a financial bomb, and I'm not surprised. It's a relentlessly depressing and ugly film, despite the stylish polish Fosse gives it. Anyone who has seen Fosse's last film, "Star 80," knows just how nihilistic this director could be, and "Lenny" shows evidence of that.

It is a fascinating film though, in its own way. Fosse uses a documentary-like approach, complete with black and white photography and a narrative device in which we see Bruce's long-suffering love (played heartbreakingly by Valerie Perrine, Lex Luthor's bikini-clad girlfriend in "Superman" [1978]) telling Bruce's story to a filmmaker while the actual events themselves are played out as flashbacks. Fosse was fond of this confessional type of storytelling and would use it again in "All That Jazz" (1979). Dustin Hoffman is simply sensational as Bruce; he utterly disappears into this caustic character until no trace of Hoffman the actor is left. Technically, everything about the film is highly accomplished, but it's so desolately grim as to be off putting.

Grade: B+


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