THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT (Milos Forman, 1996)

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“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you’ve heard a lot here today, and I’m not gonna try to go back over it all again for you. But you have to go back in that room and make some decisions. And there is one thing I want to make very clear to you before you do. I am not trying to convince you that you should like what Larry Flynt does.

I don’t like what Larry Flynt does. But what I do like is that I live in a country where you and I can make that decision for ourselves. I like that I live in a country where I can pick up Hustler and read it if I want to or throw it in the garbage can if that’s where I think it belongs. Or better yet, I can exercise my opinion and not buy it.

I like that I have that right. I care about it. And you should care about it too. You really should. Because we live in a free country. We say that a lot, but I think sometimes we forget really what that means, so listen to it again.

We live in a free country. And that is a powerful idea. That’s a magnificent way to live. But there’s a price for that freedom, which is that sometimes we have to tolerate things that we don’t necessarily like.

So go back in that room, where you are free to think whatever you want to think about Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine. But ask yourselves if you want to make that decision for the rest of us. Because the freedom that everyone in this room enjoys is in a very real way in your hands. If we start throwing up walls against what some of us think is obscene we may very well wake up one morning and realize walls have been thrown up in all kinds of places that we never expected. And we can’t see anything or do anything.

And that’s not freedom. That is not freedom. So be careful. Thank you.”

(Also, Woody Harrelson gave the performance of his life in this film.)

Rating: ★★★★★