Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind



Critic Consensus: Rockwell is spot-on as Barris, and Clooney directs with entertaining style and flair.

Movie Info

Chuck Barris is best known to most Americans as the guy who used to host The Gong Show. He was also the creator and producer of The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and a handful of other successful game shows in the 1960s and 1970s. But was he also a hired killer working with the CIA? That's the take-it-or-leave-it premise of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on the memoir of the same name by Chuck Barris. Barris (Sam Rockwell) grows up dreaming of success in show biz and winning the hearts … More

Rating: R (for language, sexual content and violence)
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Chuck Barris, Charlie Kaufman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 9, 2003
Box Office: $15.9M
Miramax Films - Official Site


as Chuck Barris

as Patricia

as Keeler

as Larry Goldberg

as Georgia

as Freddy `Boom Boom' C...

as ABC Executive

as Tuvia (age 25)

as Tuvia (age 8)

as Chuck (age 8 and 11)

as Benitez

as Housekeeper

as Chuck's Date No.1

as Chuck's Date No.2

as Chuck's Date No.3

as Bellboy

as Woman In Veil

as Blonde Bachelorette

as Beanpole Bachelor

as Frizzy Haired Bachel...

as Stud Bachelor

as Handsome Bachelor

as Black Bachelorette

as Black Bachelor

as Loretta

as `Dating Game' Direct...

as Stud Bachelorette

as Bachelor Brad

as Bachelor Matt

as Stud Bachelorette

as Woman In Pub

as Simon Oliver

as Chuck's Father

as Chuck's Mother

as Amana Girl

as Bachelorette Winner

as Bachelor Winner

as Shaving Man

as Colbert

as Casting Executive Wo...

as Casting Executive Ma...

as Asian Folksinger No....

as Georgia's Girlfriend

as Asian Folksinger No....

as Gong Show Band

as Gong Show Band

as Gong Show Band

as Gong Show Band

as Gong Show Band

as Gong Show Band

as Little Person

as Pretty Woman

as Gene Gene the Dancin...

as Prostitute

as Elvis Singer

as Rod Flexner

as Little Person

as L.A. Bar Woman

as L.A. Bartender

as Black Bachelor

as Unknown Comic

as Hambone Man

as Shaving Man

as Justice of the Peace

as Gong Show Model

as Himself

as Himself

as Herself

as Gene Gene the Dancin...

as Himself

as Unknown Comic
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

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Critic Reviews for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (35)

Brimming with slightly self-conscious directorial panache, the movie zips between nearly three decades, fantasy and reality without ever really deciding how seriously it wants to take itself.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Well-acted and well-written, for mature teens+.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

An intriguing, bizarre and challenging film that invites us into a world filled with larger-than-life characters and strange occurrences.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Fact and possible fiction amble to a photo finish as one of pop culture's nuttiest milestones.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

Clooney wanted Kaufman's script delivered without corruption or softening. He has overcorrected and made a glum, almost listless movie.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007

Directing a movie is no picnic, but I'll be damned if Mr. Clooney doesn't make it seem like fun.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

Audience Reviews for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

His future was uncertain. His every move was being watched.

Very Good Film! One of Charlie Kaufman's more overlooked and underrated screenplays, 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' may have been something of a departure from the high-concept experimentalism that made his previous brainchildren, 'Being John Malkovich' and 'Adaptation' (a masterpiece and a near-masterpiece, respectively) such striking breaths of fresh air, but on no account should its ability to engage and entertain on those strengths of its own be underestimated. Taking a well-earned break from the surreal situations and the complex plotting, Kaufman turned his attention here to a much more straightforward yarn that was better grounded in reality; the twist there being that it was based on a story that, while allegedly true, just as likely never happened. 'Confessions' though is willing to give Chuck Barris the benefit of the doubt in regards to his dubious claims to have been a secret assassin for the CIA in the midst of his days as a game show host, giving life to such controversial classic as 'the Gong Show' and 'the Dating Game' while taking it from a range of human targets around the globe. It sits back and lets the scenario unfold without question - and does so with such considerable spirit and vigour that it's hard not to get lured in and pulled along for the ride. Regardless of whether the real-life Barris truly did have some incredible adventures within his time, or simply an overly-active imagination, this ×movie translates it into one heck of an enjoyable romp - slick, stylish and entrancing on the surface, and with a bracingly poignant and sobering tale lurking underneath. It's not an innovative, far-out, one-of-a-kind experience (a la 'Being John Malkovich'). But it's an entertaining, well-made and entirely satisfying flick with one particularly brilliant stand-out performance, and that's more than enough to do the job. Kaufman can probably pen avant-garde better than anybody else today, but 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' goes to prove that, when in the right company, he can write 'normal' just as impressively.

Television made him famous, but his biggest hits happened off screen. "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is the story of a legendary showman's double life - television producer by day, CIA assassin by night. At the height of his TV career, Chuck Barris was recruited by the CIA and trained to become a covert operative. Or so Barris said.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Jim Byrd: You're an assassination enthusiast, a murder buff.

"Some Things Are Better Left Top Secret"

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is an altogether interesting film from all angles. There's the life of Chuck Barris aspect, which is the story of the film, and if the CIA connection is actually true or not. Then there's the technical elements. It's George Clooney's directorial debut and it's written by Charlie Kauffman. There's also the great cast, including: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts. Overall, it's a fairly good movie, but in that sense it is also disappointing because I believe, given the source material and names attached, it should have been a lot better.

This biographical film follows Chuck Barris as he works his way into television by coming up with game show ideas like, The Dating Game. In enters, Jim Byrd, who approaches Chuck about becoming an independent contract killer for the CIA right before he hits it big with his first game show. From their we see the supposed double life of Chuck Barris. On the surface he's just a trash television personality, but behind the scenes he's a lethal assassin. 

At the end of this one I was left wondering what could have been. The movie is extremely messy in spots and some scenes just don't work at all. Then there's the scenes that are just about perfect also. If only Clooney, Kauffman, and the cast could have found a happy medium between the absurd and the serious, this would have been a much better film.

As it is, this is still a pretty good film. It's far from perfect and suffers from a variety of problems, but it's altogether entertaining and interesting. It's worth a watch for more than the fact that it's Clooney's directorial debut and a Kauffman script. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

This is one of those films that took forever to get made, had a lot of turnover in terms of casting, directors, and screenwriters. Because this film did take twenty years to make, and had some creative differences between director George Clooney and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, there are some strange scenes and odd choices to this semi-biographic film about host, show creator, and supposed CIA operative Chuck Barris. The main objective of the film is to show the true story of Chuck Barris, based on his autobiography, and that earnest attitude towards staying true to a set of events that are widely disputed makes cartoonish circumstances come off as corny and strange. If the script had been handled appropriately and given the credence that a Kaufman script deserves, then this film would be better received than it already is. As a straight biopic this film is off-putting at every turn, but as a general film it remains very interesting. Sam Rockwell has the swag and confidence to be a bigger star than he's given credit for, and he proves that in this film as well as the critically acclaimed "Moon". The rest of the cast is engaging, and the film stays interesting, but when it comes to Barris being a spy, everything feels slow, methodical, and sluggish. Particularly when it comes to Julia Roberts' performances, the story gets a bit muddled. There is some action, though it belies the point of the actual movie, and makes it harder to characterize really who Barris is. Is he the smart and affable game show creator, the thrust upon hero, or the wronged man who has taken on too much responsibility? You can never feel close to the character, and you can never understand him either. If it's not flashing game show clips at you it all feels bleak and wrong.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Quotes

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