Deep Throat
Deep throat PD poster (restored, borderless).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJerry Gerard
Written byJerry Gerard
Produced byLouis "Butchie" Peraino
CinematographyHarry Flecks
Edited byJerry Gerard
Distributed byBryanston Distributing Company
Release date
  • June 12, 1972 (1972-06-12)
Running time
61 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$30–50 million[1]

Deep Throat is a 1972 American pornographic film written and directed by Gerard Damiano, listed in the credits as "Jerry Gerard", and starring Linda Lovelace (Linda Susan Boreman). It is considered the forefront of the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984).

One of the first pornographic films to feature a plot, character development and relatively high production values, Deep Throat earned mainstream attention and launched the "porno chic" trend, even though the film was banned in some jurisdictions and subject of obscenity trials. Lovelace later wrote that she was coerced and sexually assaulted during the production, and that the film is genuine rape pornography.[2]


Linda Lovelace, a sexually frustrated woman, asks her friend Helen for advice on how to achieve an orgasm. After a sex party provides no help, Helen recommends that Linda visit a psychiatrist, Dr. Young. The doctor discovers that Linda's clitoris is located in her throat, and after he helps her to develop her oral sex skills, the infatuated Linda asks him to marry her. He informs her that she can settle for a job as his therapist, performing her particular oral technique—thereafter known as "deep throat"—on various men, until she finds the one to marry. Meanwhile, the doctor documents her exploits while repeatedly having sex with his nurse. Linda finally meets a man who can make her happy, agreeing to marry him. The movie ends with the line "The End. And Deep Throat to you all."



The scenes involving Lovelace were shot in North Miami, Florida, over six days in January 1972.[3] The interior scenes were shot at a hotel between 123rd and 124th Streets on Biscayne Boulevard, then known as the Voyager Inn. The building was subsequently converted to a dormitory for Johnson & Wales University.[citation needed] The scenes involving Carol Connors were shot in New York City.

The movie was produced by Louis "Butchie" Peraino, who was listed in the credits as "Lou Perry". Peraino was the owner of Plymouth Distributing, which he later renamed Arrow Film and Video. The entire production cost of $22,500 (equivalent to $157,000 today), and an additional $25,000 ($175,000 today) for music, was provided by Peraino's father, Anthony Peraino, a member of the Colombo crime family. Gerard Damiano, who had rights to one-third of the profits, was reportedly paid a lump sum of $25,000 once the film became popular and was forced out of the partnership.[4] John Franzese also had a financial stake in the film.[5]


In a March 1973 column, critic Roger Ebert wrote: "It is all very well and good for Linda Lovelace, the star of the movie, to advocate sexual freedom; but the energy she brings to her role is less awesome than discouraging. If you have to work this hard at sexual freedom, maybe it isn't worth the effort."[6] A review in Variety stated that although the film "doesn't quite live up to its reputation as the Ben-Hur of porno pix, it is a superior piece which stands a head above the competition."[7] Al Goldstein wrote a rave review in his Screw magazine, saying "I was never so moved by any theatrical performance since stuttering through my own bar mitzvah."[8][9]

Porno chic and pop culture influence

Deep Throat officially premiered at the World Theater in New York on June 12, 1972, and was advertised in The New York Times under the bowdlerized title Throat.[citation needed]

The film's popularity helped launch a brief period of upper-middle class interest in explicit pornography referred to by Ralph Blumenthal of The New York Times as "porno chic". Several mainstream celebrities admitted to having seen Deep Throat, including Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma,[10] Truman Capote, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Carson,[4] Spiro Agnew, Frank Sinatra, Philip Dresmann and Louis Derfert.[9] Barbara Walters mentions having seen the film in her autobiography, Audition: A Memoir.[11] Jimmy McMillan considers it to be his favorite film.[12]

The film's title soon became a pop culture reference, most notably when Howard Simons, the then-managing editor of The Washington Post, chose it as the code name for a well-guarded secret inside informant during the Watergate scandal that plagued the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, who many years later was revealed to be assistant FBI director W. Mark Felt.[citation needed]


Deep Throat grossed $1 million (equivalent to $7 million today) in its first seven weeks of release in 1972, including a then-porn film single-screen record of $30,033 ($210,112 today) in its opening week at New York City's New World Theatre. The film made a then-record $3 million ($21 million today) in its first six months of release and was still ranked among the top 10 highest-grossing films, as ranked by Variety, 48 weeks after its release.[13]

Estimates of the film's total revenues have varied widely: numbers as high as $600 million (equivalent to $4.2 billion today) have been cited, which would make Deep Throat one of the highest-grossing films of all time. With an average ticket price of $5 ($34.98 today), box-office takings of $600 million would imply 120 million admissions, an unrealistic figure.[4] Although subsequent sales of the film on home video certainly brought additional revenue, the FBI's estimate that the film produced an income of approximately $100 million ($700 million today) may be closer to the truth. Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times also argues for a lower figure in a February 2005 article, pointing out that Deep Throat was banned outright in large parts of the US (as well as many other countries), and only tended to find screenings in a small network of adult theaters in larger urban centers.[1] The directors of Inside Deep Throat responded to the article, suggesting that actual revenues from the film were possibly even higher than the $600 million figure.[14] Hiltzik was unsatisfied with the directors' response, writing that their method was to "construct a seemingly solid box office figure out of layers and layers of speculation piled upon a foundation of sand".[15]

Roger Ebert noted as well in his review of Inside Deep Throat, a 2005 documentary about the film's cultural legacy, that many theaters that screened the film were mob-connected enterprises, which probably also "inflated box office receipts as a way of laundering income from drugs and prostitution" and other illegal activities.[16]

In 2006, a censored edition of the film was released on DVD for fans of pop culture and those wishing to own a non-X-rated copy of the infamous movie. Deep Throat was the first film to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame.[17]


Linda Boreman's allegations

Main article: Linda Lovelace § Charges against Chuck Traynor

In her first two biographies, Linda Boreman characterized having made the film as a liberating experience; in her third and fourth biographies, both of which were written after she had come out with her stories of sexual abuse, rape, and forced prostitution in the porn business,[18] she charged that she had not consented to many of the depicted sexual acts and that she had been coerced to perform by her abusive then-husband Chuck Traynor, who received $1,250 (equivalent to $9,000 today)[citation needed] for her acting.[citation needed] She also claimed that Traynor threatened to kill her, brandishing handguns and rifles to control her.[19]

In 1986, she testified before the Meese Commission, "Virtually every time someone watches that movie, they're watching me being raped."[20] In the Toronto Sun on March 20, 1981, she said, "It is a crime that movie is still showing; there was a gun to my head the entire time."[citation needed] While the other people present on the set did not support the gun charge, both Traynor and Damiano confirmed in interviews that Traynor was extremely controlling towards Boreman and also hit her on occasion. In the documentary Inside Deep Throat, it is claimed that bruises are visible on Boreman's body in the movie.

These allegations were cited in the UK Government's Rapid Evidence Assessment on "The evidence of harm to adults relating to exposure to extreme pornographic material"[21] as part of its plans to criminalize possession of what it termed "extreme pornography".

Obscenity litigation

In various United States communities, the movie was shown to juries to determine whether it was obscene; the outcomes varied widely and the movie was banned in numerous locations.

In August 1972, after a jury in New York City had found the movie not to be obscene,[22] prosecutors decided to charge Mature Enterprises, the company that owned the World Theater, for promotion of obscene material, taking them to trial in December.[23][4][24] During the trial, a psychiatrist testified that the film portrayed acts that were "well within the bounds of normal behavior".[24] A film critic testified the movie had social value because it showed sympathy for female desires, because the script contained humor and because it was filmed "with clarity and lack of grain".[24] Conversely, in response to a claim the film was a spoof of sexual behavior, a New York University professor said, "I do not see how you can spoof fellatio by showing continuous performance of fellatio."[24] On March 1, 1973, Judge Joel J. Tyler ruled Deep Throat to be obscene, issuing his opinion on the film as "this feast of carrion and squalor", "a nadir of decadence" and "a Sodom and Gomorrah gone wild before the fire".[24] Judge Tyler fined Mature Enterprises $100,000 (equivalent to $660,000 today), which was later reduced on appeal.[24] The ruling would inadvertently contribute to the film's becoming perhaps the most popular X-rated movie of all time.[24]

In 1976, there was a series of federal cases in Memphis, Tennessee, where over 60 individuals and companies, including the Perainos and actor Harry Reems, were indicted for conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines. Damiano and Lovelace were granted immunity in exchange for testimony. Federal District Court judge Harry W. Wellford heard the case with the trial ending with a conviction. This was the first time that an actor had been prosecuted by the federal government on obscenity charges (Lenny Bruce had been prosecuted in the 1960s by local authorities). Reems became a cause célèbre and received considerable support from Hollywood circles. On appeal, he was represented by Alan Dershowitz, and his conviction was overturned: the Miller test (the three-pronged standard from the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Miller v. California[25] that determines what constitutes obscenity)[26] had been applied in his case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation case known as "Miporn" convicted and sentenced, on April 30, 1977, Michael Cherubino to five months' imprisonment and fined $4,000, Anthony Novello to six months' imprisonment, Joseph Peraino to one year's imprisonment and fined $10,000 (including a $10,000 fine to his company, Plymouth Distributors Inc.), Louis Peraino to one year's imprisonment and fined $10,000 (including a $10,000 fine to each of his two companies, Bryanston Distributors Inc. and Gerard Damiano Productions Inc.), Anthony Battista to four months' imprisonment and fined $4,000, Carl Carter to six months' imprisonment and fined $6,500, Mel Friedman to nine months' imprisonment and fined $7,500, and Mario Desalvo to three months' imprisonment and fined $3,500.[27]

In 1975, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota jury found the film not obscene.[28]

In San Antonio, police seized the movie and its movie projector from a theater several times in two-weeks.[29]

Herman Hausman, manager of Franklin Art Theater on South Avenue, Syracuse, NY, was charged with second degree obscenity.[30]

In the UK, the movie was banned upon release, and the ban was upheld by the courts 10 years later. The uncut DVD of the movie was finally given an R18 rating in 2000, which allowed it to be sold in licensed sex shops in the UK.[31]


Deep Throat was released without a copyright notice. Because Peraino had used four wall distribution for all of Deep Throat's releases, that left the potential for the film to be classified as an unpublished work, preventing it from falling into the public domain. Peraino sold the rights to the film to Arrow Productions for home video release (including a copyright notice) at some point prior to 2009. Despite Arrow holding the rights, rival pornography distributor VCX began distributing Deep Throat as retaliation for Arrow's distribution of Debbie Does Dallas and The Devil in Miss Jones, two films VCX asserted were under their copyright. (In the former case, Debbie Does Dallas was determined to be public domain in a 1987 court ruling.) In order to prevent VCX from challenging the copyright on Deep Throat, Arrow Productions agreed in 2011 to voluntarily stop distributing Debbie Does Dallas and The Devil in Miss Jones, thus leaving their copyright status unresolved.[32]


In April 1978, pirate station Lucky 7 in Syracuse, New York illegally aired Deep Throat (and also Behind the Green Door, as well as non-pornographic fare such as episodes of Star Trek). The pirates have never been identified.

On February 23, 2008, the Netherlands Public Broadcasting corporations VPRO and BNN screened Deep Throat on national television as part of a themed night on the history of pornographic films, and the influence of pornography in youth culture in the Netherlands. Although the film aired after 10 p.m., following a guideline for adult television, and was embedded in a discussion program, several political parties (especially Dutch cabinet member party Christian Union) were clamoring for steps to be taken to prevent airing. The Minister of Education and Media, Ronald Plasterk, declared that he could not and did not want to forbid the airing of the film.[33] The movie was seen by 907,000 viewers.[34]

Identity of "Dolly Sharp"

In December 2014, The Rialto Report, a web site devoted to the history of the so-called Golden Age of Porn, made the surprise announcement that the supporting actress billed as Dolly Sharp, who had vanished into obscurity shortly after the release of Deep Throat, was in fact Helen Wood (1935–1998), a former Broadway performer who, as a teenager, had a major role in the 1953 Hollywood musical Give a Girl a Break.[35]


Deep Throat
Soundtrack album by
unknown artists
GenreFilm soundtrack
Length60 minutes
ProducerLouis Peraino

An original soundtrack album for the film was released in 1972. Few copies exist today and when on the market, they have sold for as much as US$300. The album contains both instrumental and vocals tracks as well as short snippets of dialog from the film (indicated with quotations in the list below). All artists are unknown. A remixed and remastered CD and LP version is available from Light in the Attic Records (see links). Director Gerard Damiano reportedly edited the sex scenes to conform to different musical cues.[36] The film opens with an instrumental track that echoes the hook of the 1968 easy listening hit, "Do You Know the Way to San Jose".

Sequels and remakes

The original sequel to Deep ThroatDeep Throat Part II—was written and directed by Joseph W. Sarno and featured the original stars Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. Shot in New York City in early 1973, it was released in New York in February 1974 with an MPAA "R" rating. Although attributed to Damiano Films, Deep Throat director Gerard Damiano was not involved with its production. The film was produced, however, by Deep Throat producer Louis Peraino, who had in the meantime founded the mainstream distribution company Bryanston Films. The version of Deep Throat Part II currently available on DVD is bowdlerized to the point where the film contains virtually no sexual content of any sort, probably a byproduct of its efforts to receive an MPAA R rating at the time of its release. An Italian DVD release of the film, however, contains its original softcore sex scenes. It has long been claimed that Deep Throat Part II was originally shot with the intention of releasing it as a hardcore feature and that hardcore sequences shot for the film were stolen while the film was in post-production. Director Joe Sarno, however, has insisted in interviews that this is not the case.

Vivid Entertainment owner Steven Hirsch told XFANZ reporters at the FAME Awards in June 2008 that the company is producing a remake of Deep Throat.[37] The making of this film was the subject of the Showtime original series Deeper Throat.

Vivid had planned to release its remake but Arrow Productions, the copyright owner, did not like the deviation from the original storyline or the manner in which the film was directed and cast. They then withdrew permission to make the remake to Deep Throat, and forced Steve Hirsch to remarket and edit his movie for copyright purposes.

Hirsch changed the name of the title to Throat: A Cautionary Tale, and it was released in March 2009.[38]

50th Anniversary Re-release

In 2022, which marked the 50th anniversary of the film, the film was restored and re-released and several screenings were held.[18] Since all of the principals and the director Damiano have since died, the movies restoration was overseen by Damiano's children, Christar and Gerard Damiano Jr., in collaboration with Robin Leonardi, the surviving daughter of another adult industry trailblazer, and a contemporary of the original Deep Throat trio, Gloria Leonard.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b Hiltzik, Michael (February 24, 2005). "'Deep Throat' Numbers Just Don't Add Up". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  2. ^ MacKinnon, Catherine A. (2006). Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  3. ^ "Organized Crime Reaps Huge Profits From Dealing in Pornographic Films". The New York Times. October 12, 1975. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Blumenthal, Ralph (January 21, 1973). "Porno chic; 'Hard-core' grows fashionable-and very profitable". The New York Times. p. 28. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "Law and Order; In the Can" Archived August 18, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, November 3, 2002
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 6, 1973). "Deep Throat". Archived from the original on April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "Deep Throat". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. December 31, 1971. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  8. ^ Will Sloan (December 20, 2013). "Al Goldstein: The Anti-Hef". Penguin Random House Canada. Archived from the original on October 30, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Lili Anolik (February 23, 2011). "Al Goldstein: The Pornographer in Winter". New York Observer. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  10. ^ "Scorsese on Scorsese Part 3". YouTube. July 25, 2010. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Walters, Barbara (2008). Audition: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-307-26646-0.
  12. ^ Rathe, Adam (August 5, 2011). "Jimmy McMillan cops to pot smoking, porn watching in new film". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  13. ^ Lewis, Jon (2000). Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle Over Censorship Created the Modern Film Industry. New York: NYU Press. pp. 260–67. ISBN 978-0814751428.
  14. ^ Fenton Bailey; Randy Barbato (March 5, 2005). "'Throat' Gets Cut, Directors Perform Surgery". World of Wonder. World of Wonder Productions. Archived from the original on March 12, 2005. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
  15. ^ Hiltzik, Michael (March 10, 2005). "Bad 'Deep Throat' Revenue Numbers Are Multiplying". Los Angeles Times. p. C-1. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
  16. ^ Roger Ebert (February 11, 2005). "Inside Deep Throat". Chicago Sun-Times.
  17. ^ "HALL OF FAME". Dirty Bob/X-Rated Critics Organization. Archived from the original on November 14, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c "A revolutionary movie or an 'artifact of abuse'? The landmark porn film 'Deep Throat' turns 50". Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  19. ^ Nussbaumer, Mary (October 27, 2022). "Deep Throat at 50: "Everyone wanted to see what they weren't allowed to see"". Exberliner. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  20. ^ Bronstein, Carolyn (January 7, 2013). "Why the New Movie About 'Deep Throat' Could Be Important". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  21. ^ [ARCHIVED CONTENT] Evidence of harm to adults relating to exposure to extreme pornographic material – Ministry of Justice. Retrieved December 22, 2011. Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Roberts, Sam (March 9, 2022). "Fred Ferretti, Reporter Turned Writer on Food, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  23. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (December 18, 1972). "Is Film 'Deep Throat' Obscene? Trial in Manhattan Opens Today". The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Weber, Bruce (January 14, 2012). "Joel J. Tyler, Judge Who Pronounced 'Deep Throat' Obscene, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  25. ^ Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (U.S. Supreme Court 1973).
  26. ^ Cohen, Henry (2003). "The Miller Test". Obscenity and Indecency: Constitutional Principles and Federal Statutes. New York: Novinka Books. pp. 2–5. ISBN 9781590337493. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  27. ^ "8 in 'Deep Throat' Case Receive Prison Sentences". The New York Times. May 1, 1977. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  28. ^ Miller, Zoey (January 9, 2023). "NOTE". Texas Law Review. 101 (2).
  29. ^ "Universal Amusement Co., Inc. v. Vance, 559 F.2d 1286". Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  30. ^ Croyle, Johnathan (June 20, 2018). "Syracuse theater manager faces obscenity charge over 'Deep Throat' in 1973". Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  31. ^ "Deep Throat passed uncut 28 years on". Guardian Unlimited. September 18, 2000. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  32. ^ Gardner, Eriq (October 26, 2011). "How a Nasty Legal Fight Over 'Deep Throat,' 'Debbie Does Dallas' Was Settled". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  33. ^ Kievit, Rob (January 29, 2008). "Porn movie on Dutch public TV causes row". Radio Netherlands Worldwide: English. Archived from the original on August 26, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  34. ^ "Pornofilm trekt ruim 900.000 kijkers". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau. February 24, 2008. Archived from the original on April 10, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  35. ^ "Whatever Happened to Deep Throat's Dolly Sharp?". The Rialto Report. December 7, 2014. Archived from the original on April 2, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  36. ^ "Archive – Deep Throat". Fused Magazine. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2008. Gerard Damiano edited the film to its music, so the actions would match and the beat would match ... like up and down strokes on the old shaft ... it was pretty clever.
  37. ^ Andrew, Steven (June 9, 2008). "F.A.M.E. Awards Winners". XFANZ. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008.
  38. ^ "Throat: A Cautionary Tale". AVN. Archived from the original on April 2, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  39. ^ "AVN – 2012 AVN Awards Show – The Adult Awards". Archived from the original on October 20, 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  40. ^ David Wharton (February 19, 1988). "Academy Awards of XXX Convene in 'the Valley of Lust' : Uptight Undercurrent Mars Atmosphere of Kinky Abandon in Era of Challenges From Law". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
Further reading