Dirty Pictures (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dirty Pictures (2000)




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Much attention was given to the Robert Mapplethorpe photographs that became the center of controversy when they were exhibited at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center in 1990, but less was known about Dennis Barrie, the museum director responsible for the exhibit. Barrie's obscenity trial and condemnation by right-wing conservatives are the focus of this Showtime telepic. Played by James Woods, Barrie is shown standing up for his museum's right to display controversial art and coping with the toxic windfall that surrounded his actions. Diana Scarwid gives plenty of support as Dianne, Barrie's wife, and interviews with personalities ranging from Susan Sarandon to Salman Rushdie are interspersed with the film's narrative. Thanks to the cooperation of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, a number of the actual photographs that were at the heart of the controversy were used in the production.
R (adult situations/language, sex)
Drama , Television
Directed By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment


James Woods
as Dennis Barrie
Diana Scarwid
as Dianne
Craig T. Nelson
as Simon Leis Jr.
Leon Pownall
as Prouty
David Huband
as Sirkin
Judah Katz
as Mizibov
R.D. Reid
as Albanese
Matt North
as Lobb
Jeff Pustil
as Harry
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Critic Reviews for Dirty Pictures

All Critics (5)

a credible and dramatic statement despite the weakness in the screenplay

January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Dirty Pictures

Incredible film, James Woods fights for artistic expression in Cincinnati as an art director. The tense drama of society embattled over still photographs is amazing. Much like the Inquisition of old, Cincinatti behaves as a bunch of morons upset over pictures depicting nudity. Just outstanding as James Woods and his family endure hardship over his stand to allow photo exibit pictures to be public. Not surprising is the public outcry, Republican (Newt Gingrich) denunciations in Congress... you name it. This is a fascinating portrayal of the modern day public going ape over nudity. A Cincinnati museum director * goes on trial in 1990 for exhibiting sadomasochistic photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. [* NOTE: As his marriage begins to disintegrate and the prospect of a jail sentence looms before him, the Director finds himself torn between his devotion to his family and his determination to defend the doctrines of the First Amendment. Director Barrie ultimately is found not guilty. Via an epilogue we learn his marriage eventually ended in divorce and, despite his legal victory, his experience and the wide publicity it received consequently impacted on other museum curators and boards who opted to avoid presenting potentially controversial exhibits in their venues for fear of a similar backlash.] And we think we are better today than in Michaelangelo's day? At least we don't burn people, literally, at the stake today. Or do we? Directed by Frank Pierson Produced by Michael Manheim Written by Ilene Chaiken Starring James Woods (director Barrie) Craig T. Nelson Diana Scarwid Music by Mark Snow Cinematography Hiro Narita Editing by Peter Zinner Distributed by MGM Television Release date(s) May 20, 2000 (USA) Running time 104 minutes

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