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Year: 2010
USA: Oscilloscope Pictures
UK: Soda Pictures
Cast: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Alessandro Nivola, Treat Williams, Mary-Louis Parker, Jeff Daniels, Sean Patrick Reilly, Aaron Tveit, Todd Rotondi, Jon Prescott, Andrew Rogers, Cecilia Foss,Allen Ginsberg (archive footage)
Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Country: USA
USA: 90 mins
UK: 84 mins
USA Rated: Not yet rated
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language, once very strong, and strong sex references
USA Release Date: 24 September 2010 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 25 February 2011


Allen Ginsberg (James Franco) is a young and talented poet, counter-culture adventurer and chronicler of the Beat Generation. In his famously confessional, leave-nothing-out style, Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless and electrifying work of his career, the poem Howl.

In the meantime, a San Francisco court is in session, and Ginsberg’s Howl poem is on trial. Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn) sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich (Joe Hamm) argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses (Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, Treat Williams, Alesssandro Nivola) pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn (Bob Balaban).

HOWL is simultaneously a portrait of a renegade artist breaking down barriers to find love and redemption and an imaginative ride through a prophetic masterpiece that rocked a generation and was heard around the world.

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