[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/barton-fink-1991-01-g_1724.jpg]]

A 1991 film by Creator/TheCoenBrothers, often considered one of their best. Barton Fink (John Turturro) is a playwright who has gotten a contract to write movies. The [[LargeHam enthusiastic]] studio executive tells him to write a wrestling picture.

Getting a bad case of WritersBlock, he meets Charlie Meadows, an insurance salesman, "W. P. Mayhew" ([[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed William Faulkner]]), his mistress, an [[LargeHam excitable]] producer, and a cast of others.

Notable for earning three awards at Cannes, it contains elements from numerous genres, being somewhat of a comedy-FilmNoir-mystery-horror-drama.
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!!''Barton Fink'' provides examples of:

* AlasPoorYorick: [[spoiler: A possible case, depending on the contents of the box.]]
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler: Charlie Meadows.]]
* AxeCrazy: [[spoiler: Charlie Meadows, a.k.a. "Madman" Mundt. Played by John Goodman.]]
* CaptainObvious: Charlie comments several times on how hot it is [[spoiler:inside a building that's on fire.]]
* TheChewToy: Barton; see TraumaCongaLine below.
* DeadpanSnarker: The two detectives are a ridiculously hostile example
* DeathBySex: [[spoiler:Audrey, and instantly]].
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: The detectives make it plain that they don't like Barton for being Jewish and (as they later incorrectly assume) homosexual.
* DisproportionateRetribution: [[spoiler:Mundt methodically kills everyone Fink respects or cares about because of a noise complaint. He also murders an ear doctor because of an argument over $10 (which equals about $160 in today's money, but still). It's implied this is the reason for most of his murders, regardless of what he says otherwise.]]
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The film is set in 1941. For no particular reason, the anti-Semitic detectives are given a German and an Italian name (Deutsch and Mastrionotti) to evoke the Axis powers, and [[spoiler:Charlie/Mundt]] (who also has a German name) says "Heil Hitler" before [[spoiler:killing one of them]]. However, WordOfGod says this is really just [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic symbolism for symbolism's (scary) sake]], not necessarily with a real message attached.
** Not to mention that it's Barton' s first movie, around the same time as the first for Orson Welles.
** Common Man and Music/AaronCopland, anyone?
* TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood: At it's worst.
* HaveAGayOldTime: W.P. Mayhew sings: "Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay..."
* HellHotel: The Hotel Earle is rather unsettling to begin with. [[spoiler:Then it bursts into flames.]]
* {{Hollyweird}}: The disturbing surrealism starts once Barton leaves New York.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Barton makes a big deal about how his work deals with the plights of the common man, yet when Charlie tries talking to him about his own experiences as a common man, Barton insists on talking over him about his own work.
* LargeHam: As noted, the producer and executive have the times of their lives with their roles.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The main menu of the DVD spoils almost everything about the ending.
* MadnessMantra
-->'''[[spoiler:Charlie/Mundt]]''': ''LOOK UPON ME! I'LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!''
* MagnumOpus: [[invoked]]Fink thinks he's written his at the end of the story. But since he was supposed to be writing a StrictlyFormula wrestling flick, all he achieves is [[spoiler:getting his supervisor fired and himself locked into a contract he's promised will never produce anything he writes.]]
* MindScrew: [[spoiler: The contents of the box.]]
* MoneyDearBoy: [[invoked]]InUniverse, how Fink is convinced to go to Hollywood to write B-movie scripts.
* TheMurderAfter: [[spoiler:Audrey's death.]]
* MostWritersAreWriters: The dreaded "Writer With Writer's Block" plot.
* NWordPrivileges: Jewish studio head Jack Lipnick calls himself and others kikes.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: W. P. Mayhew, based on William Faulkner. Also Barton himself, who's sort of a WritersSuck version of Clifford Odets.
** [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barton_Fink#Jack_Lipnick]]Jack Lipnick is based on Golden Age studio executives (Jack Warner, Louis B.Mayer, etc).
* NoEnding
* OffWithHisHead: [[The fate of W.P. Mayhew, Audrey, and Mundt's other victims.]]
* PlotHole: Possibly intentional, but [[spoiler:the morning after Meadows leaves the hotel, his shoes are out in the hall for shining.]]
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "I WILL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!"
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Barton gets one from Jack Lipnick near the end.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: The scene when the detectives meet Barton.]]
* SameStoryDifferentNames: In-universe example of Barton Fink's play vs. screenplay:
-->''Bare Ruined Choirs'' ends with "We'll be hearing from that kid, and I don't mean a postcard"
-->''The Burlyman'' ends with "We'll be hearing from that crazy wrestler, and I don't mean a postcard."
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: [[spoiler:Barton when he finds out that Audrey is dead.]]
* SerialKiller: Karl "Madman" Mundt, and a Nazi sympathizer to boot.
* ShaggyDogStory
* SurrealHorror: Much of what happens in the Hotel Earle has elements of this, especially the peeling wallpaper and the behaviors of Charlie and Chet.
* SuspectIsHatless: Barton can't really say much about the man the detectives are looking for:
-->'''Barton Fink:''' He... he said he liked Jack Oakie pictures.
-->''beat''
-->'''Detective Mastrionotti:''' You know, ordinarily we say anything you might remember could be helpful. But I'll be frank with you, Fink. That is not helpful.
-->'''Detective Deutsch:''' Notice he's not writing it down.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Deutsch and Mastrionotti
* TraumaCongaLine: First, Barton gets a little writer's block. Then he discovers that his idol is a drunken, empty shell of a man. Then [[spoiler:he wakes up with their mutual muse lying dead beside him in bed]]. Then [[spoiler:he discovers that his only friend is a homicidal maniac]]. Then [[spoiler:the homicidal maniac returns and kills his fallen idol and ''the entire building catches fire'' and it is also implied [[SelfMadeOrphan his folks were murdered due to Barton telling Mundt to stay with them]]]], at which point his employer [[spoiler:angrily dismisses his script and tells him the studio will never produce anything he writes until he grows up a little, forcing Barton to remain in a contract that will never gain him the recognition and artistic freedom he craves.]] One hell of a route from A to B, there.
* TheUnreveal: [[spoiler: The contents of the box.]]
* VomitDiscretionShot: Subverted; after seeing Audrey's body, Charlie goes to the bathroom to throw up.
* WhamLine: The very last line of the movie. When Fink calls the woman at the beach very beautiful and asks if she's in pictures, she replies "Don't be silly." This could be interpreted to mean that the best things do not belong in the pictures. That she's ''too'' beautiful for Hollywood and, consequently, that Fink's writing is too good for it. Hollywood isn't the shining city on a hill and the ultimate goal of any writer as he saw it, it's a sleazy and uncreative place more interested in money than art. The woman is better off on the modest beach and Fink would have been better off staying on Broadway.
* WideEyedIdealist: Barton and his belief in the common man.
* WritersBlock: The movie is about a writer suffering from writer's block, written while the Coens themselves were having difficulty with ''MillersCrossing''.
* WritersBlockMontage: Of course.
* WritersSuck: Ben Geisler certainly thinks so. Fink himself is a self-pitying, pompous hypocrite. Then again, WritersAreWriters.
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