All the King's Men (1949)
Critic Consensus: Broderick Crawford is spellbinding as politician Willie Stark in director Robert Rossen's adaptation of the Robert Penn Warren novel about the corrosive effects of power on the human soul.
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as Willie Stark
as Sadie Burke
as Tom Stark
as Ann Stanton
as Jack Burden
as Adam Stanton
as Tiny Duffy
as Lucy Starke
as Mrs. Burden
as Judge Stanton
as Sugar Boy
as Dolph Pillsbury
as Floyd McEvoy
as Pa Stark
as Football coach
as Helene Hale
as Dance caller
as Local chairman
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Critic Reviews for All the King's Men
It is one of the most vital and honest films to come out of Hollywood in a long time.
A poisonous political process from our not-so-distant past dominates Robert Rossen's classic film about the rise of a Southern demagogue.
It is a film that vividly impresses, with dramatic sureness the chicanery of politics as have been practiced in the past and may crop up again.
Audience Reviews for All the King's Men
A regional politician rises to power but loses his grip on his principles along the way.
The original man-ruined-by-the-system story, All the King's Men doesn't have much over its Sean Penn remake or the more modern The Candidate. The performances are all fine, but the story, which is compelling at its base, doesn't fully explore what motivates Willie's descent. Power-hungry characters aren't compelling if they're not power-hungry in ways with which we can identify.
Overall, in this case, the imitations are better than the original.
This interesting play on the old maxim about absolute power corrupting absolutely could've spent a wee bit more time actually looking at corruption itself instead of choosing to simply imply that it's there. We get to see characters capitulating their morals, but not to know why. As well there's enough of a faint taste of "member dat good ol' a-ris-to-crazy ... dey was sho' good to us!" to have one looking for something to cleanse the palate. Nonetheless riveting work ...
A great example of how politics really works, through corruption and dishonesty. There's a fantastic cast in this film as well. This one is definitely worth a watch if you're interested in political films, or if you're just looking for a movie that makes you think.
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