I Shot Andy Warhol


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

1996 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Lili Taylor, Jared Harris, Martha Plimpton, Lothaire Bluteau, Stephen Dorff, Donovan Leitch, Tahnee Welch

Non-Cast Credits

Mary Harron, Tom Kalin, Christine Vachon, Lindsay Law, Anthony Wall, Daniel Minahan, Ellen Kuras, Keith Reamer, Therrese Deprez


In this era of history biopics that endlessly revive British literary icons or ruling classes, it's a treat to find a film looking at recent U.S. history: the legacy of the sixties and its bohemian underbelly. In an era of postfeminism, it's thrilling to find a film that reconsiders the life of the Joan of Arc of American prefeminism,Valerie Solanas, founder, theorist, arid sole member of SCUM, the Society for Cutting Up Men.Today, she's more famous for a single sentence (and the act that preceded it):"l shot Andy Warhol," as spoken to a Times Square traffic cop to whom she turned herself in.

Lili Taylor burns up the screen with the intensity of her Solanas performance, conveying the mad brilliance arid tragic dimension of this magnetic personality, challenging and beguiling us into the riot-so-long-lost world of The Factory, its coterie, and those it excluded. Documentarian Mary Harron cut her teeth on past views of the Warhol scene; the script, cowritten with Dan Minahan, captures the spirit of license and invention that pervaded the era, and the ups and downs (drugs included).The wonders are legion. See the legendary Gerard Melanga snake-dance! Watch Valerie's play, Up Your Ass, performed by her drag-queen friends at Nedlick's restaurant! See Warhol pre- side once again, the voyeuristic crown prince of the underworld who never quite lost his altar-boy airs.

It's eminently satisfying to have the whole Warhol crew brought back to life, so to speak, and to witness a new generation of actors getting it right. Produced by the same Kalin-Vachon team that brought Go Fish and Swoon to Park City, I Shot Andy Warhol etches a new version of history into the consciousness of its viewers and makes us care, furiously, about Valerie, a genius ahead of her time, a prophet felled by the deadly weight of her own truths.


B. Roby Rich (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.