Barton Fink

August 21st, 1991


more trailers 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

Director: 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 - Chet
David Warrilow - Garland Stanford
Richard Portnow - Detective Mastrionotti
Christopher Murney - Detective Deutsch
I.M. Hobson - Derek
Meagen Fay - Poppy Carnahan (as Megan Faye)
Lance Davis - Richard St. Claire
Harry Bugin - Pete

Taglines: 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(estimated)

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

Gross: $6,153,939 (USA)

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.

Continuity: The hand that Chet uses to stop the bell ringing.

[Barton is ranting about elitist playwrights]
Barton: Who cares about the fifth Earl of Bathsdrop and Lady Higgenbottom and... and... who killed Nigel Grinchgibbons?
Charlie: 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 mysteries 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 of being a subject. He fears learning about the common man, or anything else outside his experience. His experience teems with material for a watchful writer, but Barton sees nothing. When the wallpaper peels, he doesn't look 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 anything that "god" presents for him to use. And the Woman on the Beach. Interesting that he never sees her face. He can never really SEE her but seems drawn to her and fascinated by her. He is drawn to the fact that she is "unseeable". 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 is in control (!) simply attaches to the box without ever "discovering" it. He is all show and no substance. I agree, his one hit (the play) may be all he 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 "see" what is clearly revealed to him. you may "see" what I mean! Cheers!