Barton Fink

Still of Judy Davis and John Mahoney in Barton FinkStill of John Goodman and John Turturro in Barton FinkStill of John Goodman in Barton FinkStill of Judy Davis and John Turturro in Barton FinkStill of John Turturro in Barton FinkStill of John Goodman and John Turturro in Barton Fink


In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture…

Release Year: 1991

Rating: 7.8/10 (44,983 voted)

Critic's Score: 69/100

Joel Coen

Stars: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis

In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer's block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task.

Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen


John Turturro

Barton Fink

John Goodman

Charlie Meadows

Judy Davis

Audrey Taylor

Michael Lerner

Jack Lipnick

John Mahoney

W.P. Mayhew

Tony Shalhoub

Ben Geisler

Jon Polito

Lou Breeze

Steve Buscemi


David Warrilow

Garland Stanford

Richard Portnow

Detective Mastrionotti

Christopher Murney

Detective Deutsch

I.M. Hobson


Meagen Fay

Poppy Carnahan

(as Megan Faye)

Lance Davis

Richard St. Claire

Harry Bugin


Between Heaven and Hell There's Always Hollywood!

Release Date: 21 August 1991

Filming Locations: Ambassador Hotel – 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $9,000,000


Opening Weekend: $268,561
(23 August 1991)
(11 Screens)

Gross: $6,153,939

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The character of W.P. Mayhew is based on William Faulkner, whose first Hollywood contract was to write
Flesh, a wrestling movie for Wallace Beery.


The hand that Chet uses to stop the bell ringing.


[Barton is ranting about elitist playwrights]

Who cares about the fifth Earl of Bathsdrop and Lady Higgenbottom and… and… who killed Nigel Grinchgibbons?

I can feel my butt gettin' sore already!

User Review

Writer who doesn't want to see


This is my first time to comment on a film on this site. I have enjoyed
reading y'all's comments. After 4 viewings, I found peace with the
I saw in the film. Barton, though he talks a good show about wanting to
write about "the common man", doesn't see anything around him as worthy
being a subject. He fears learning about the common man, or anything else
outside his experience. His experience teems with material for a
writer, but Barton sees nothing. When the wallpaper peels, he doesn't
for what's underneath or an explanation, he feverishly tries to cover up
what's "exposed" as fast as he can (uno metaphoro). I agree with all
comments about Goodman presenting Barton with a "common man" right in his
own room. He has a research subject to learn from and to use as a
springboard to break through his "writer's block", but he can't see
that "god" presents for him to use. And the Woman on the Beach.
that he never sees her face. He can never really SEE her but seems drawn
her and fascinated by her. He is drawn to the fact that she is
In the end he "sees" her and doesn't explore that possibility either. The
Box? He never opens it. We assume what we want to assume, but Barton, who
in control (!) simply attaches to the box without ever "discovering" it.
is all show and no substance. I agree, his one hit (the play) may be all
has in him. He's a one-trick pony posing as a seeking writer, intent on
revealing the inner "common man" but is petrified by fear, ignorance or
what-you-will. Look at the film again with an eye to his inability to
what is clearly revealed to him. you may "see" what I mean!