I Shot Andy Warhol

I Shot Andy Warhol Information

I Shot Andy Warhol is a 1996 independent film about the life of Valerie Solanas and her relationship with Andy Warhol. The movie marked the 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 despite protests from former band member Lou Reed. Yo La Tengo plays an anonymous band that is somewhat reminiscent of the group.

The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.


The film opens with a foreshadow to moments after the shooting. This is quickly followed by a scene with Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) in custody for the shooting of Andy Warhol (Jared Harris). The film then takes us back to a time when Valerie is living in New York and prostituting herself for a living. A series of further flashbacks point to her difficult childhood, and 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 (Martha Plimpton), she meets Candy Darling (Stephen Dorff), who in turn introduces her to Andy Warhol.

Meanwhile, Valerie also meets Maurice Girodias (Lothaire Bluteau), 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. Once she signs a contract with Girodias, she comes to suspect his offer is not a generous one and may not be in her interests. 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. The film then steps ten years into the future, where Warhol gets frightened when he sees Valerie by a near car staring angrily at him while he and some friends are entering a nightclub, and finds that she suddenly disappears once a bus passes the car.


  • Lili Taylor - Valerie Solanas
  • Jared Harris - Andy Warhol
  • Stephen Dorff - Candy Darling
  • Martha Plimpton - Stevie
  • Lothaire Bluteau - Maurice Girodias
  • Anna Levine - Iris
  • Peter Friedman - Alan Burke
  • Tahnee Welch - Viva
  • Jamie Harrold - Jackie Curtis
  • Donovan Leitch - Gerard Malanga
  • Michael Imperioli - Ondine
  • Reg Rogers - Paul Morrissey
  • Bill Sage - Tom Baker
  • Jill Hennessy - Laura
  • Coco McPherson - Brigid Berlin
  • Lorraine Farris - Susan
  • Craig Chester - Fred Hughes
  • Victor Browne - Danny
  • Billy Erb - Rotten Rita
  • Anh Duong - Comtesse de Courcy
  • Myriam Cyr - Ultra Violet


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

Dr. Dana Heller, professor of English at the Old Dominion 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. 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.

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."


Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 77% of critics gave the film positive reviews. On Metacritic it has a weighted score of 75/100, based on 20 critics, which it ranks as "Generally favorable reviews".

Awards and nominations

  • Gijón International Film Festival Best Art Direction - Thérèse DePrez
  • Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actress - Lili Taylor
  • Stockholm Film Festival Award for Best Actress - Lili Taylor
  • Sundance Film Festival Special Recognition for Outstanding Performance - Lili Taylor
  • Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress - Lili Taylor
  • Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature - Mary Harron, Tom Kalin, and Christine Vachon
  • Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse
  • Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic

Home media

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


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