I Shot Andy Warhol

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I Shot Andy Warhol
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMary Harron
Screenplay by
Based onThe Letters and Diaries of Candy Darling, 1992
by Jeremiah Newton
Produced by
CinematographyEllen Kuras
Edited byKeith Reamer
Music byJohn Cale
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 20, 1996 (1996-01-20) (Cannes)
  • May 1, 1996 (1996-05-01) (United States)
  • November 29, 1996 (1996-11-29) (United Kingdom)
Running time
103 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Box office$1.9 million[4]

I Shot Andy Warhol is a 1996 biographical drama film about the life of Valerie Solanas and her relationship with the artist Andy Warhol.[5] The film marked the feature film directorial debut of Canadian director Mary Harron. The film stars Lili Taylor as Valerie, Jared Harris as Andy Warhol, and Martha Plimpton as Valerie's friend Stevie. Stephen Dorff plays Warhol superstar Candy Darling. John Cale of The Velvet Underground wrote the film's score[6] despite protests from former band member Lou Reed.[7] Yo La Tengo plays an anonymous band that is somewhat reminiscent of the group.[8]

The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.[9] To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Teddy Awards, the film was selected to be shown at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2016.[10]


The film opens immediately after the shooting at The Factory in 1968, followed by Valerie Solanas being shown in custody for shooting Andy Warhol. The film then uses flashbacks to when Valerie was living in New York as a sex worker, then to her difficult childhood, then to her success in studying psychology at college. Here, Valerie discovers that she is a lesbian, that she can write, and that she has a distinctive view of the world. This leads her to New York City and its downtown underworld. Through her friend Stevie, she meets Candy Darling, who in turn introduces her to Warhol.

Valerie also meets Maurice Girodias, the publisher of Olympia Press. While Valerie wants Warhol to produce her play, Up Your Ass, Girodias wants her to write a pornographic novel for him. The group steals her manuscript and lies about it, saying it was lost. Once she signs a contract with Girodias, she comes to suspect his offer is not a generous one and may not be in her best interest. She comes to regret signing this contract. At this point, her increasing derangement leads her to believe that Warhol and Girodias are controlling her. The film concludes, where it began, with Solanas' attempted murder of Warhol. Warhol lives in fear that Valerie will strike again and never fully recovers from the shooting. The SCUM Manifesto becomes a feminist classic.



Initially intended as a BBC documentary, the film was directed by Mary Harron who also co-wrote the screenplay with Daniel Minahan.[11]

Dr. Dana Heller, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Michigan University, argues that the film stages the conflict between Solanas and Warhol as less the result of gender politics – particularly because Solanas intended no connection between her writing and the shooting – than of the decline of print culture as represented by Solanas and the rise of new non-writing media as embodied by Warhol and the pop art movement.[12] In the screenplay, Harron and Minahan describe Solanas as "banging at an ancient typewriter" and the film frequently shows her typing, for which she is mocked by Warhol and other Factory regulars. Solanas' writing is set against the new technologies of reproduction championed by Warhol.[13]

Many people who knew Solanas and Warhol tried to rationalize the shooting. Stephen Koch, who in 1973 wrote a study of Warhol's film, stated: "Valerie lives in terror of dependence: That is what the SCUM Manifesto is about, an absolute terror before the experience of need. Like Warhol, Solanas is obsessed with an image of autonomy, except that... she has played the obsession desperately, rather than with Warhol's famous cool."[14]


Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 77% of critics gave the film positive reviews.[15] On Metacritic it has a weighted score of 75/100, based on 20 critics, denoting "generally favorable reviews".[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]



Home media[edit]

I Shot Andy Warhol was released on Region 1 DVD on January 23, 2001.


I Shot Andy Warhol: Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
Released30 April 1996
LabelTAG Recordings / Atlantic Records

Additional songs from the film[edit]


  1. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  2. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)". BBFC. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  3. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  4. ^ I Shot Andy Warhol at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ Kaufman, Anthony (December 3, 2009). "Decade: Mary Harron on 'American Psycho'". indieWire. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  6. ^ John Cale - Music - The Austin Chronicle
  7. ^ Steve Hochman (December 17, 1995). "POP MUSIC : 2 Velvets Clash Over Warhol Films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  8. ^ Steve Hochman (December 17, 1995). "POP MUSIC : 2 Velvets Clash Over Warhol Films". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  9. ^ "Festival de Cannes: I Shot Andy Warhol". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
  10. ^ "Berlinale 2016: Panorama Celebrates Teddy Award's 30th Anniversary and Announces First Titles in Programme". Berlinale. Archived from the original on December 21, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
  11. ^ Heller 2008, p. 151.
  12. ^ Heller 2008, pp. 152–157.
  13. ^ Heller 2008, pp. 155–156.
  14. ^ Harron, I Shot Andy Warhol, Grove Press NY, 1995
  15. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol" at Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ "I Shot Andy Warhol" at Metacritic
  17. ^ The 1996 Sundance Film Festival|EW.com
  18. ^ 12th annual Spirit Awards ceremony - FULL SHOW | 1997 | Film Independent on YouTube


  • Heller, Dana (2008). "Shooting Solanas: Radical Feminist History and the Technology of Failure". In Hesford, Victoria; Diedrich, Lisa (eds.). Feminist Time Against Nation Time: Gender, Politics, and the Nation-State in an Age of Permanent War. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-1123-9.

External links[edit]