Power (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

Power (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This rather cynical political satire follows the self-serving machinations of a public relations man who specializes in bolstering the images of powerful and often crooked politicians. He has no conscience and very few principles until he finds a single honest politician and sees that he is being manipulated by others.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: David Himmelstein
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 18, 1999
Lorimar Home Video


Richard Gere
as Pete St. John
Julie Christie
as Ellen Freeman
Gene Hackman
as Wilfred Buckley
Kate Capshaw
as Sydnet Betterman
Denzel Washington
as Arnold Billings
E.G. Marshall
as Sen. Sam Hastings
Beatrice Straight
as Claire Hastings
Fritz Weaver
as Wallace Furman
Michael Learned
as Gov. Andrea Stannard
J.T. Walsh
as Jerome Cade
E. Katherine Kerr
as Irene Furman
Polly Rowles
as Lucille DeWitt
Matt Salinger
as Phillip Aarons
Omar Torres
as Roberto Cepeda
Ricardo Gallarzo
as Interpreter
Rick van Nutter
as Charles Whiting
Glenn Kezer
as Frank McKusker
Douglas Newell
as David Garber
Scott Harlan
as Ralph Andropwicz
Nick Flynn
as Wilson Jacobs
Ed Van Nuys
as Charles Whiting
Noel Harrison
as Leonard Thompson
Leila Danette
as Poor Woman
Jackson Beck
as The Voice
Timothy Jecko
as Business Executive
Margaret Barker
as Wealthy Matron
D.B. Sweeney
as College Student
Linda de Niro
as Desk Clerk
Lynn Klugman
as Video Technician
John Robert Evans
as 1st Senator
Elizabeth Kendrick
as Receptionist
Jim Hartz
as Commentator
Roger Grimsby
as Commentator
Jim Hartz
as Commentator
Margaret Hall
as Commentator
Brad Holbrook
as Commentator
Donna Hanover
as Commentator
Frank Casey
as Commentator
Kristi Witker
as Commentator
Marvin Scott
as Anchorman
Martha Pinson
as Assistant
Burke Pearson
as City Clerk
Janet Sarno
as Moderator
Robert Fieldsteel
as Assistant Director
Gregory Wagrowski
as Assistant Director
Ron Stein
as Stunt Cameraman
John Evans
as 1st Senator
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Power

Critic Reviews for Power

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

There is little of the gratuitous hysteria that usually mars Lumet's work, and David Himmelstein's busy script keeps things moving, though at the price of losing track of a couple of significant subplots.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The movie seems to be asking us to walk out of the theater shaking our heads in disillusionment, but I was more puzzled than disillusioned.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A misfire satire that preaches against slick political practices by high-powered political consultants.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Gere is a revelation

February 7, 2006
Film Threat

Audience Reviews for Power

In an earlier review I mentioned that corruption on the police force is a theme Lumet beats to death, but in Power he gets to beat up the media too, just as he did in Network. But as Roger Ebert says, "Network had a plot, and Power does not." The film seems to explore several issues that, in 2010, we now accept as commonplace. We realize - or at least should realize - that we basically vote on politicians based on the efficacy of their media consultants. In all honesty, I can't remember if I knew this in 1986, so I don't know if Lumet is exploring new ground.
Also, I don't think Power is structurally sound. It seems awfully episodic and stagey. I normally don't blame a film for this, but the piling on of scene upon scene with stagnant shots and relatively stagnant dialogue affects the film's pace.
Finally, Lumet gives little clues as to who the bad guy is. In Find Me Guilty, the prosecutor has a whiny, petulant moment, and I immediately knew he was going to lose. In Power, Washington's character is introduced associating with an Arab, and in Hollywood, Arabs equal "bad" and "oil." Yes, Power is more than a little bit racist.
On the bright side, it was great seeing Denzel Washington saying "fuck."

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

I really enjoyed this movie. Excellent actors and a great storyline. That's what I look for in a movie :)

Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

I really enjoyed this movie. Excellent actors and a great storyline. That's what I look for in a movie :)

Power Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Power on our Movie forum!