Talk Radio is a 1988 American drama film about a rude, contemptuous talk show host who becomes overwhelmed by the hatred that surrounds his program just before it goes national.
Directed by Oliver Stone. Written by Eric Bogosian and Oliver Stone, based on the play by Eric Bogosian and Tad Savinar.
== Barry Champlain ==
Metro Wave Broadcasting is a giant media corporation specializing in broadcast radio. It has 357 affiliate stations in the United States and Canada. Two minutes ago I received a phone call from the man who controls those 357 stations, the president of Metro Wave Broadcasting. He asked me if Metro Wave could pick up this show, pick up Barry Champlaign for national syndication, beginning Monday night. I've had these offers before, and I've been asked in the past if I could ever soften my touch, go a little easier, and my answer has always been the same; Take it or leave it. He took it. And so, beginning Monday night, this show, Night Talk, begins national broadcasting. That means the nation is listening. You better have something to say. I know I do.
This is Barry Champlain reminding you that sticks and stones can break your bones, but words cause permanent damage.
And what if a woman competes with you in the marketplace and takes your job? What if black men start dating and marrying white women? Oh! And what if homosexuals are teaching your children? And what if you're afraid to walk the streets at night? What if you see yuppies getting rich while you're standing in the unemployment line? And what if your government sends you to Vietnam to fight a war they have no chance of winning? And what if your country is slipping away, lost? I know the argument, friend. It's the great theory of history. I've heard it before. It says, "When things ain't good, instead of getting down and doing something about it, instead of changing your life, it's a hell of a lot easier to blame somebody else." And it just don't wash in my book.
Barry Champlain is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
This country is in deep trouble people! This country is rotten to the core and somebody better do something about it! Now I want you to take your hand out of that bowl of Fritos, throw away your National Enquirer, and pick up the phone!
Believe it or not, you make perfect sense to me. I should hang. I'm a hypocrite. I ask for sincerity and I lie. I denounce the system as I embrace it. I want money and power and prestige. I want ratings and success. I don't give a damn about you or the world. That's the truth. For this I could say I'm sorry, but I won't. Why should I? I mean, who the hell are you anyways, you - audience! You're on me every night like a pack of wolves because you can't stand facing what you are and what you've made! Yes, the world is a terrible place. Yes, cancer and garbage disposals will get you. Yes, a war is coming. Yes, the world is shot to hell and you're all goners! Everything's screwed up and you like it that way, don't you!You're fascinated by the gory details! You're mesmerized by your own fear. You revel in floods, car accidents, unstoppable diseases. You're happiest when others are in pain.That's where I come in, isn't it? I'm here to lead you by the hand through the dark forest of your own hatred and anger and humiliation!
I'm providing a public service. You're so scared. You're like a little child under the covers. You're afraid of the bogeyman, but you can't live without him. Your fear, your own lives, have become your entertainment. Next month, millions of people are gonna be listening to this show, and you have nothing to talk about! Marvelous technology is at our disposal. Instead of reaching up to new heights, we're gonna see how far down we can go. How deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves!
What do you wanna talk about, hmm? Baseball scores? Your pet? Orgasms? You're pathetic. I despise each and every one of you. You got nothin', absolutely nothin'. No brains, no power, no future. No hope. No God. The only thing you believe in is me. What are you if you don't have me?
I'm not afraid, see? I come in every night, I make my case, I make my point, I say what I believe in! I tell you what you are. I have to. I have no choice. You frighten me. I come here every night, I tear into you, I abuse you, I insult you, and you just keep coming back for more. What's wrong with you? Why do you keep calling? I don't wanna hear anymore. STOP TALKING! GO AWAY! [echo]
You're a bunch of yellow-bellied, spineless, bigoted, quivering, drunken, insomniatic, paranoid, disgusting, perverted, voyeuristic, little obscene phone callers. That's what you are. Well, to hell with you. I don't need your fear and your stupidity. You don't get it. It's wasted on you.
== Stu ==
Barry and I worked together for over seven years. And whenever you threatened him over the air, man, he would stick it right back in your face. It was like his dick was flapping in the wind and he'd like to see if he could get an erection. The guy had a little dick, but he liked to flap it out there. Then they cut it off, so now he's dead. I don't know if you understand my analogy, but it's the clearest one I can make.
== Dialogue ==
Barry: It's immoral for the government of this country to have tax dollars to be goin' to addicts. But it's all right for our tax dollars, four billion of them, to go into a system that's a complete joke. More drugs than ever are coming into this country. Our courts, our jails are clogged with cases. The other night up in New York City, crack dealers killed another cop. Any kid who wants a hit can get one. That's right. When are we gonna wake up, Rhonda? When are we going to admit that drug prohibition is not working in this country?
Rhonda: I think-
Barry: Know what I think? I think we should legalize all drugs, as sinister as that sounds.
Rhonda: That's the dumbest thing I ever heard.
Barry: Is it? A junkie could go to a drugstore, sign his name, get the stuff for a buck...then he doesn't have to rob or kill for his habit.
Rhonda: You cannot let children have drugs.
Barry: Why not? They're gonna get it anyway. Why not? In America today we're talking about shooting up in the eighth grade. We have a moral obligation to the children. Know what the most dangerous drug is?
Rhonda: It's heroin.
Barry: No, it's legal. It's tobacco. It kills 350,000 people a year. You know how much coke, crack, heroin, pot kill every year? Four thousand people. Will you listen to sense? Will you listen to logic, please? The only people who benefit from prohibition are the gangsters makin' the money on it, the politicians condemning it and gettin' your vote. And who foots the bill? You, Rhonda Q Sucker!
Rhonda: I beg your pardon!
Barry: It would end tomorrow. The $200 billion drug problem in this country could disappear overnight. Legalize the damn stuff. Do it today, right after this message. I'm Barry Champlaign. This is Night Talk. We're gonna go to a message. I'll be right back after I shoot up.Barry: Last summer I visited Germany. Wanted to take a look at Hitler's homeland. Are you familiar with Adolf Hitler, Chet?
Chet: I'm familiar with Adolf Hitler.
Barry: I bet you are. I decided to visit the remains of a concentration camp on the outskirts of Munich: Dachau. You join a tour group, go out by bus, get out at the gate. It's chilling. A sign over the gate says, "Arbeit Macht Frei." It means, "Work will make you free" - something the Nazis told their prisoners. You still listening to me, Chet?
Chet: I'm counting your lies.
Barry: Good. I wanna make sure you're hearing them. I'm walking around this concentration camp, and I see something on the ground. I picked it up. Guess what I found, Chet? A tiny Star of David. Very old. Who knows? It might've belonged to one of the prisoners at the camp. Maybe a small boy torn from his parents as they were dragged off to the slaughterhouse. I kept that Star of David. I know I shouldn't have, but I did. I keep it right here on my console. I like to hold it sometimes. In fact, well... I'm holding it right now. I like to hold it in my hand to give me courage. Maybe some of the courage that small boy had as he faced unspeakable evil can enter me as I face the trials in my own life...as I face the cowardly and the narrow-minded. The bitter, bigoted people who hide behind anonymous phone calls...full of hatred and poisonous bile. The gutless, spineless people...like you, Chet, who make me puke!
Chet: Keep talkin', Jewboy. Life is short.
Barry: Stu, let's send a microwave oven out to Chet.Chet: So now everyone in the country can hear your big mouth flap.
Barry: Oh, Chet. So nice to hear from you again. Shouldn't you be out burning crosses or molesting children or something?
Chet: I'd rather be talking to you.
Barry: Or training pit bulls?
Chet: You think you're so smart... You get the package I sent down to the station?
Chet: You got it, I know you did.
Barry: [Sarcastic] You sent me a present, Chet?
Chet: I couldn't decide whether to use a timer or not. You'll have to find that out when you open it.
Barry: You're telling me you sent me a bomb in the mail?
Chet: Wrapped in brown paper. I know you're lookin' at it right now. You just take some C-4, roll it in a pile of nuts and bolts and pebbles, and it does the job.
Barry: Sounds interesting, Chet. I didn't receive your package. Sure you sent it to the right address?
Chet: You got it. If I were you, I'd have my pretty assistant give the police a call. Take the bomb squad ten minutes to get there.
Barry: Why should I call the bomb squad, Chet? Because some pinheaded redneck moron tells me there's a bomb in my mail?
Chet: He who laughs last...
Barry: Shut up! [hangs up]Caller: You're part of the problem. You're another Jew, another weed-eating Jew, in control of the media of this country. And from there, you pass judgment on that which you don't know. And there will come a day for you, Barry, and thousands of others like you who have slept with black women, who have lied to us, when you will hang from your neck with a placard around it saying, "I betrayed my race." [hangs up]
Barry: Well, what can you say to a paranoid schizophrenic who's a coward for hanging up, except that I guess the day that I hang, I'll probably defend the asshole who hung me. Talk radio. Free speech isn't really free at all. It's actually a little bit like Russian roulette. A very expensive commodity. You never know what's gonna come up the next time you push the button.
== Cast ==
Eric Bogosian - Barry Champlain
Ellen Greene - Ellen
Leslie Hope - Laura
John C. McGinley - Stu
Alec Baldwin - Dan
John Pankow - Dietz
Michael Wincott - Kent / Michael / Joe
Linda Atkinson - Sheila Fleming
Robert Trebor - Jeffrey Fisher / Francine
Zach Grenier - Sid Greenberg
Tony Frank - Dino
Earl Hindman - Chet / Black John / Jerry (voice)
== External links ==
Talk Radio quotes at the Internet Movie Database
Talk Radio at Rotten Tomatoes