Vinni Savino

Written by Vinni Savino

Modified & Updated: 21 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Citizen Ruth is a satirical comedy film directed by Alexander Payne and released in 1996. With a brilliant blend of humor and social commentary, this movie has become a cult classic among film enthusiasts. It tells the story of Ruth Stoops, a hapless and pregnant drug addict who becomes the focus of a heated debate surrounding the pro-life and pro-choice movements.

In this article, we will delve into 36 fascinating facts about Citizen Ruth that highlight its significance in the world of cinema. From its inception to its impact on society, we will explore the behind-the-scenes moments, notable performances, and the lasting legacy of this groundbreaking film.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Citizen Ruth” is a thought-provoking dark comedy that tackles abortion, morality, and societal norms with humor and sharp dialogue, leaving a lasting impact on its viewers.
  • This cult classic challenges traditional beliefs, encourages empathy, and sparks important conversations about social issues, making it a timeless and relevant film for today’s society.
Table of Contents

Citizen Ruth is a dark comedy film

Citizen Ruth is a dark comedy film directed by Alexander Payne.

The movie was released in 1996

Citizen Ruth was released in 1996 and marked Alexander Payne’s directorial debut.

The film stars Laura Dern

Laura Dern delivers a stellar performance as the titular character in Citizen Ruth.

Citizen Ruth tackles the topic of abortion

The movie revolves around the controversial subject of abortion, highlighting both personal and political struggles.

It explores the concept of morality

Citizen Ruth delves into the complexities of moral and ethical choices.

The film received critical acclaim

Citizen Ruth received widespread praise from critics for its intelligent screenplay and strong performances.

The movie has a satirical tone

Citizen Ruth effectively uses satire to address societal issues.

Alexander Payne co-wrote the screenplay

The screenplay for Citizen Ruth was co-written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.

The film explores the concept of personal freedom

Citizen Ruth raises important questions about individual freedom and autonomy.

It features a talented ensemble cast

In addition to Laura Dern, Citizen Ruth boasts a talented ensemble cast including Swoosie Kurtz, Kurtwood Smith, and Mary Kay Place.

The movie provides thought-provoking social commentary

Citizen Ruth offers a nuanced critique of societal norms and values.

It tackles the topic of addiction

The film explores the theme of addiction and its impact on individuals and relationships.

Citizen Ruth explores the idea of redemption

Throughout the movie, the concept of redemption is examined through the characters’ journeys.

It blends humor with dark subject matter

Citizen Ruth skillfully combines humor and dark subject matter to create a unique cinematic experience.

The film addresses issues of gender and power

Citizen Ruth shines a light on the dynamics of gender and power in society.

It highlights the importance of understanding different perspectives

Citizen Ruth encourages viewers to consider alternative viewpoints and challenge their own beliefs.

The movie showcases Alexander Payne’s distinctive directorial style

Alexander Payne’s signature blend of humor and social commentary is evident throughout Citizen Ruth.

It was shot on a low budget

Citizen Ruth was made on a modest budget, but that didn’t compromise the quality of the film.

The movie received several awards and nominations

Citizen Ruth garnered recognition at film festivals and award ceremonies for its outstanding performances and screenplay.

It explores the concept of personal choice

Citizen Ruth emphasizes the importance of individual agency and the right to make choices.

The film challenges societal stereotypes

Citizen Ruth defies conventional norms and challenges societal stereotypes.

It presents complex and flawed characters

The characters in Citizen Ruth are multi-dimensional, representing the complexities of human nature.

The movie raises questions about social justice

Citizen Ruth prompts viewers to consider issues of social justice and equality.

It uses dark humor to address serious subject matter

Citizen Ruth employs dark humor to tackle sensitive topics in a thought-provoking manner.

The film offers a critique of political systems

Citizen Ruth shines a critical light on political systems and their impact on individual lives.

It challenges traditional notions of morality

Citizen Ruth questions society’s conventional understanding of right and wrong.

The movie highlights the importance of empathy

Citizen Ruth emphasizes the need for empathy and understanding in a diverse world.

It features memorable and quotable dialogue

Citizen Ruth is known for its sharp and memorable dialogue that leaves a lasting impression.

The film has a cult following

Citizen Ruth has gained a dedicated fanbase who appreciate its unconventional storytelling and rich themes.

It explores the influence of media on public opinion

Citizen Ruth examines how media shapes public perception and influences personal decisions.

The movie remains relevant in today’s society

Citizen Ruth’s themes and messages continue to resonate with audiences, making it a timeless film.

It raises questions about social conformity

Citizen Ruth challenges the pressures of conformity and the consequences of blindly following societal norms.

The film showcases the talent of its director and cast

Citizen Ruth serves as a testament to the skills of its director and the exceptional performances delivered by the cast.

It received positive reviews for its originality

Citizen Ruth was praised for its fresh and innovative approach to storytelling.

The movie encourages dialogue and discussion

Citizen Ruth sparks conversations about important social issues and fosters a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives.

It leaves a lasting impact on its viewers

Citizen Ruth is a movie that stays with you long after the credits roll, challenging your beliefs and provoking introspection.


Overall, Citizen Ruth is a thought-provoking and satirical film that tackles important societal issues with a sharp wit. The movie explores the controversial topic of abortion through a unique and clever lens, engaging viewers in a lively discussion about personal choices, morality, and the role of government.

With memorable performances from Laura Dern and an outstanding ensemble cast, Citizen Ruth delivers a powerful message while keeping viewers entertained. The film’s dark humor and clever writing make it a standout in the genre, leaving a lasting impact on audiences. Whether you’re a fan of political satire, social commentary, or simply looking for a captivating film experience, Citizen Ruth is definitely worth a watch.


Q: What is the plot of Citizen Ruth?

A: Citizen Ruth follows the story of Ruth Stoops, a pregnant and drug-addicted woman who becomes the center of a legal battle over the fate of her unborn child. As she navigates the conflicting opinions of pro-life and pro-choice activists, Ruth finds herself at the center of a media circus and must ultimately make a life-changing decision.

Q: Who stars in Citizen Ruth?

A: The movie stars Laura Dern in the lead role of Ruth Stoops. Other notable cast members include Swoosie Kurtz, Kurtwood Smith, Mary Kay Place, and Burt Reynolds.

Q: When was Citizen Ruth released?

A: Citizen Ruth was released in 1996.

Q: Who directed Citizen Ruth?

A: The film was directed by Alexander Payne, who later gained further acclaim for movies such as Election, Sideways, and The Descendants.

Q: Is Citizen Ruth based on a true story?

A: No, Citizen Ruth is a fictional film. However, it presents a satirical take on the highly contentious issue of abortion and draws inspiration from real-life debates and political controversies surrounding this topic.

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