Lenny (film)
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Lenny Film
Original film poster
Directed byBob Fosse
Produced byMarvin Worth
Screenplay byJulian Barry
Based onLenny
by Julian Barry
StarringDustin Hoffman
Valerie Perrine
Music byRalph Burns
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited byAlan Heim
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • November 10, 1974 (1974-11-10)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$11,622,000 (rentals)[2]

Lenny is a 1974 American biographical drama film about the comedian Lenny Bruce, starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Julian Barry is based on his play of the same name.


The film jumps between various sections of Bruce's life, including scenes of when he was in his prime and the burned-out, strung-out performer who, in the twilight of his life, used his nightclub act to pour out his personal frustrations. We watch as up-and-coming Bruce courts his "Shiksa goddess", a stripper named Honey. With family responsibilities, Lenny is encouraged to do a "safe" act, but he cannot do it. Constantly in trouble for flouting obscenity laws, Lenny develops a near-messianic complex which fuels both his comedy genius and his talent for self-destruction. Worn out by a lifetime of tilting at Establishment windmills, Lenny Bruce dies of a morphine overdose in 1966.



Director Fosse decided to cast a real-life Broward County Bailiff in the role of the Dade County Bailiff who would drag Dustin Hoffman (Lenny) out of the Courtroom. Aldo DeMeo, the President of the Bailiff's Association at the time, was offered the role. The scene when Lenny is dragged from the courtroom was chosen as the clip screened at the Academy Awards to represent the film as a candidate for Best Picture.[3] Casting was completed by Florida-based casting director, Beverly McDermott.[4]

Bailiff Aldo DeMeo and Dustin Hoffman between takes of the scene in which Lenny is dragged from the courtroom
Dustin Hoffman on the set of Lenny 1974

Awards and honors

Although nominated for six Academy Awards in 1975, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography, Lenny did not receive an award.

Valerie Perrine won the award for Best Actress at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival.[5]


Lenny opened at Cinema I in New York City on Sunday, November 10, 1974 and grossed a house record $14,981 in its first day.[6]

Lenny has received a 95% "Fresh" score on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews.[7]

One of the less enthusiastic reviews came from Roger Ebert stating "Unless we go in convinced that Lenny Bruce was an important performer, the movie doesn't convince us." [8]

In 2012, British film critic Mark Kermode put Hoffman's performance as Lenny Bruce at number eight in a top-ten video of Hoffman's best performances.[9]


Lenny was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on April 1, 2003 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD and by Twilight Time (under license from MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) as a Region 1 widescreen Blu-ray Disc on February 10, 2015.

See also


  1. ^ "Film Heritage". 1974.
  2. ^ Top 20 Films of 1974 by Domestic Revenue. Box Office Report via Internet Archive. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  3. ^ "Aldo DeMeo". IMDb. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Beverly McDermott dies at 83". Sun Sentinel. 23 January 2012. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Lenny". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "'Prince' Gives N.Y. Tall 215G; 'Lenny' First Day of $14,981; 'Pelham' 65G, 'Amarcord' 31G". Variety. November 13, 1974. p. 10.
  7. ^ "Lenny Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ Lenny, review by Roger Ebert
  9. ^ kermodeandmayo (2012-12-04), Kermode Uncut: Hoffman Top Ten, retrieved

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes