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All the King's Men
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All the King's Men

5.0 2
Director: Steven Zaillian

Cast: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet


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The legacy of a populist Southern politician whose lofty ambitions for the future leave him open to corruption and scandal is detailed as author Robert Penn Warren's thinly veiled portrait of Depression-era Louisiana governor Huey Long comes to the screen -- again -- this time courtesy of director and screenwriter Steven Zaillian.


The legacy of a populist Southern politician whose lofty ambitions for the future leave him open to corruption and scandal is detailed as author Robert Penn Warren's thinly veiled portrait of Depression-era Louisiana governor Huey Long comes to the screen -- again -- this time courtesy of director and screenwriter Steven Zaillian. Willie Stark (Sean Penn) is a man of the people, and for the people; at least that's what he tells the people. Propelled into a race for governor by opposing forces looking to split the "hick vote," Stark is convinced by a handler -- as well as by young journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law) -- to not kowtow to the powers that be. His rhetoric grows fiery, and he makes his way into office on a not-so-solid foundation of social-service promises. When idealism gives way to the harsh realities of the time, however, the fast-talking politico is quick to discover just how far one can fall when ambition and power lead to a betrayal of one's original motivations. Kate Winslet, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins round out an all-star cast in this second version of Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 novel; the first won a parade of Oscars after its release in 1949.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Steven Zaillian was very smart to put together such a strong cast for his adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men. These remarkable actors understand what to do with the rich and flowery language Zaillian provides, seamlessly integrating Warren's original dialogue with his own additions. Individual scenes work very well as stand-alone vignettes, the cinematography is unobtrusively beautiful, and the set design is flawless. Sadly, Zaillian ignores the pulpier aspects of the original work, going for an overly serious tone. The pace of the film could charitably be described as stately, although the more honest description would be slow. The bombastic score does not underscore the drama onscreen, but circles it half a dozen times and highlights it in red, practically insulting the audience. In many of the dramatic moments, Zaillian resorts to a series of quick flashbacks in order to help the audience recall the confluence of events that led there. These rapid reminders might seem like a good idea because of the complex plot, but the deliberate pace of the movie keeps the plot in focus -- making the flashbacks entirely unnecessary. Although the editing attempts to help the viewer, these recaps feel, at worst, downright condescending. These faults could have been overcome if Zaillian had managed to make interesting parallels to the polarized political condition of the country in the first decade of the 21st century, but the 60-year-old story of a corrupted populist never really seems all that relevant in the age of George W. Bush. Steven Zaillian is a first-rate screenwriter who has proven himself remarkably adept at bringing respected books to the big screen. This time, however, he seems to have a little too much respect for his source material, making his interesting but flawed version of All the King's Men the first disappointment of his directorial career.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

The making-of All the Kings Men; Shake hands with the devil - The cast of" All the Kings Men" discusses politics and corruption and why filmgoers find the subject so fascinating; An american classic - An introduction to Robert Penn Warren, Pulitizer Prize-winning author of "All the King's Men"; The legend and lore oe Huey Long - This documentary investigates the colorful politician who provided the inspiration for Sean Penn's character Willie Stark; L.A. Confidential: On location with All the King's Men; Deleted scenes; Alternate ending

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sean Penn Willie Stark
Jude Law Jack Burden
Kate Winslet Anne Stanton
James Gandolfini Tiny Duffy
Mark Ruffalo Adam Stanton
Patricia Clarkson Sadie Burke
Kathy Baker Mrs. Burden
Jackie Earle Haley Sugar Boy
Anthony Hopkins Judge Irwin
Kevin Dunn Alex
Tom McCarthy Editor
Glenn Morshower Commissioner
Frederic Forrest Willie's Father
Talia Balsam Lucy Stark
Michael Cavanaugh Mr. Peyton

Technical Credits
Steven Zaillian Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Marit Allen Costumes/Costume Designer
Gary Baugh Art Director
Patrizia Von Brandenstein Production Designer
Scott Budnick Associate Producer
James Carville Executive Producer
Marty Cherrix Casting
Guy Clayton Special Effects Supervisor
Pawel Edelman Cinematographer
Andreas Grosch Executive Producer
Andy Grosch Executive Producer
Michael Hausman Executive Producer
Ryan Heck Set Decoration/Design
James Horner Score Composer
Avy Kaufman Casting
Ryan Kavanaugh Executive Producer
Kirkpatrick Kimberley Makeup
Drew Kunin Sound/Sound Designer
Ken Lemberger Producer
Bruce MacCallum Camera Operator
David McGiffert Asst. Director
Mike Medavoy Producer
Arnie Messer Producer
Todd Phillips Executive Producer
Adele Plauche Set Decoration/Design
Marek Rajca Camera Operator
Andreas Schmid Executive Producer
David Thwaites Executive Producer
Wayne Wahrman Editor
Thomas Weston Camera Operator

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- All the King's Men
1. "Sometime Ain't Never Now" [5:54]
2. Willie Stark's School Bond [2:36]
3. Louisiana Contract Bidding [3:37]
4. "What I See" [6:44]
5. "Trying to Say Too Much" [3:16]
6. Being Used [3:56]
7. "Nail Em Up" [7:21]
8. Victory for the Poor [3:12]
9. Sweet - Talkin [2:52]
10. Talk of Impeachment [3:54]
11. Family Visit [4:17]
12. Visiting Judge Irwin [7:30]
13. Skates [5:30]
14. Dig Deeper [1:58]
15. Anne Stanton [4:41]
16. Digging [4:11]
17. Son of a Great Man [6:12]
18. Littlepaugh [3:24]
19. Jack, Anne and Adam [2:31]
20. Stark and Stanton [5:53]
21. Betrayed [3:00]
22. "All the Time in the World" [4:35]
23. Choices [7:37]
24. Death in the Damily [3:35]
25. "Not Be Made a Fool" [4:50]
26. Failure to Impeach [2:55]
27. Fall From Grace [3:33]
28. Lionized and Villified [7:41]


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All the King's Men 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautiful film in a time and place which is gone in American life and politics. It is only seen in the reflections of the water.
evie-Z More than 1 year ago
Strange that Sean PENN should have the role of Willy Stark in a movie made from a book written by Robert PENN Warren. Sean Penn was outstanding in the lead role, as usual, but how can you go wrong with a cast including Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Kate Winslet? I found the diologue a bit hard to follow so thanks for the subtitles. Some of the deleted scenes may have helped if left in but then the movie would be too LONG. It has been denied that this is a story of Huey Long but the ideology and personality of Willy Stark matches Long's perfectly. I am sure Warren was writing a fictionalized version on Long's character and life. Very much worth watching.