Barton Fink Movie Poster Image

Barton Fink



Bizarre Hollywood dream factory. Teens only.
  • Review Date: September 21, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Onscreen violence consists of a very bloody murder, gruesome gunplay, and minor fistfights. Implied off-screen violence is highly disturbing, with discussions of murder and dismemberment.


One tame sex scene.


Some cursing.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character is an alcoholic.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie isn't for kids.Young teens may also find this film very disturbing -- it includes very graphic violence and unclear definitions of right and wrong. The police do not act responsibly.

What's the story?

Set in the early 1940s, BARTON FINK traces the bizarre foray of its title character (John Turturro) into the dark underbelly of Hollywood. On the heels of a hit play, the playwright heads to Tinseltown to make the big bucks writing a B-wrestling film. Instead of finding success, he finds himself trapped in a bizarre series of events. While struggling with writer's block at a fleabag hotel, Fink strikes up a friendship with a burly and sweaty insurance salesman (John Goodman) with a dark past, present, and future. This friendship -- and everything else Fink comes in contact with -- goes south as a grizzly turn of events leaves him artistically bankrupt and overall aimless.

Is it any good?


In classic Coen style, the film skillfully combines eerily wacky characters with offbeat dark scenarios. Cinematography and design elements coalesce to create a world which welcomes the film's larger-than-life characters, odd situations, and quick-paced dialogue. Barton Fink was the first film to win all three major awards at the Cannes Film Festival -- Palme D'or, Best Director, and Best Actor.

Turturro uses his awkward appearance and nervous demeanor to create an alienated artist trapped in a hellish Hollywood. John Mahoney's alcoholic genius, Judy Davis's prolific secretary, and Michael Lerner's studio exec help to round out the weird scenario. Learner earned an Academy Award for his performance.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the violence in this film. How does it make them feel? This movie also begs questions about the place of art in Hollywood. What do the viewers think about the film's construction of Hollywood? Is film art or commerce? This film also presents an excellent opportunity to discuss film style. The Coen brothers' style contrasts to that of classical Hollywood cinema in various ways. How does it differ in terms of narrative? Character development? Aesthetics?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 21, 1991
DVD release date:May 20, 2003
Cast:John Goodman, John Turturro, Judy Davis
Director:Joel Coen
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some scenes of violence.

This review of Barton Fink was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 15 and 15 year old Written byxmasterxofxmyxd... August 8, 2009


Barton Fink is simply amazing, it will leave you breathless, and should be mandatory viewing for any movie buff. It is one of the most thought provoking movies i have ever seen, there are many interpretations of what this movie is saying, and what you thought everything meant symbolically. This movie is for people who want to think, if you want to watch mindless violence and action, look elsewhere, but Barton Fink, nonetheless is a thought provoking and amazing movie. Go out and rent it right now.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bynnowgoo April 9, 2008

A very dark, strange, and great movie

"Barton Fink" is definitely one of the Coen brothers better films. It was interesting, dark, and had a very weird twist at the end. John Tuturo did very well as the half crazy writer, Barton Fink. John Goodman also did very well as the man living next door. A great element in this movie was also the setting. Barton stays in a very ominous, strange hotel, that offers a complimentary shoe shining service. The only person that appears to be working in the hotel is a man named Chet, who is played by Steve Buscemi. The only thing that might keep you from letting your kids see it, is the one murder scene, which is very bloody. Also the movie can be disturbing, and maybe a little confusing for younger kids. A great movie, definitely see it.
Teen, 14 years old Written byleahxo June 29, 2011

One Of My Favourites.

Amazing film, surprising twist for sure. I was not aware that things would change so quickly. I thought it was going to be another fluffball Hollywood film. Boy was I wrong. It is not good for youth audiences, or anything under due to how deep it really was. It's hard to handle.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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