All the King's Men - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

All the King's Men Reviews

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½ February 28, 2017
Probably the most politically biting film to take home Best Picture.
February 10, 2017
Rather clunky and melodramatic portrayal of a Trump-like politician whose ambition for office results in corruption and death. It's all pitched too high and Rossen (writer-director) gets very stiff performances from John Ireland as the compromised journalist and Joanne Dru as his lover. Broderick Crawford is fine as the appalling Willie Stark, but it's a very long 105 minutes and it's no Citizen Kane.
February 3, 2017
The story of Willie Stark, an unassuming, unsophisticated idealistic farmer who becomes Governor of his state, and Jack Burden, reporter and Stark ally. We see how Stark fights his way up from lowly beginnings, initially failing at politics but then succeeding. However, once in office, the ideals slip, the standards fall and the power leads to corruption. Burden should be his conscience, but he finds himself going along for the ride...

Powerful film. The change in Willie Stark from hero to villain makes for a great story. We are immediately drawn in, rooting for Stark. He represents the guy we all want to see succeed - the innocent underdog with good intentions. However, this is not a Disney movie or West Wing. What happens next is gritty and a pretty accurate description of politics and how it corrupts even the noblest of souls. The fact that Stark becomes the embodiment of everything he was initially railing against, and of the reason he got into politics, is delicious irony and provides a wonderful cycle to the plot.

Almost as impactful is Jack Burden's story. One thinks that he would be the one person to some degree of ethics and integrity, but he is happy to sell his soul to the highest bidder. We also see how the corruption spreads like a virus, affecting even Jack's friends.

Not a perfect movie though. It would have been more dramatic if Stark's slide into fascism and corruption was more subtle and slow, and we had an even spread between Good Stark and Bad Stark. Instead, Stark's transformation is almost cliff-like and the majority of the film features Bad Stark. Also, a Bob Roberts-type ending would have been superb... (can't say anything more than that for fear of spoiling it).

Won the 1950 Best Picture Oscar.
January 27, 2017
Not very entertaining. But real and well-done. Willie Stark reminds me of Donald Trump.
July 10, 2016
Apoyado en grandes actuaciones, es un estupendo drama sobre un Quijote que se vuelve parte del mal que habia jurado combatir. Cualquier parecido con la realidad no es coincidencia. A ver.
July 5, 2016
Up there with Treasure of the Sierra Madre as a story of greed and corruption. Willie Stark is a fun look at what could have happened if Bernie got elected.
June 4, 2016
Listen to me you hicks!

A state governor rises to power by delivering a strong message to the low income workers of his state that need change. Meanwhile, the he's collecting big money from the corporations holding the low income workers down. He is a blowhard who takes advantage of his position for his own ambitions and notoriety. Meanwhile, some backers of the governor are hurt in the process and may about-face on supporting the governor now that he's in office.

"How true is it?"
"Too true."

Robert Rossen, director of The Hustler, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The Roaring Twenties, They Came to Cordura, Island in the Sun, Mambo, and Johnny O'Clock, delivers All the King's Men. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and feels so much like the 2016 Trump campaign. The acting is awesome and the cast includes Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, John Derek, and Anne Seymour.

"Was she pretty?"
"How would I know? I wasn't looking at her face."

This was on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) during Oscar season so I randomly DVR'd it...and I am glad I did. The plot and characters were very well written and executed and this is definitely worth your time for fans of the classics.

"What's so special about him?"
"They say he's an honest man."

Grade: A
½ March 15, 2016
One of the best political movies ever made, about a man of the people who becomes a corrupt, ruthless governor. Tough, intelligent with a moral that still resonates today. An excellent cast including Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Mercedes McCambridge, Shepperd Strudwick and the gorgeous Joanne Dru.
December 3, 2015
How can a simple and honest man became the most corrupted politic? Nowadays we see this as a common issue, this film based in a novel explores that stuff.
May 4, 2015
Maybe it's because corrupt politicians are a fairly common story these days, but All the King's Men is dull and predictable. It's not difficult to tell where the plot is going, yet it takes a long time to get there. Broderick Crawford plays his part well, though. I think this won Best Picture in 1949 because it didn't have much competition.
March 22, 2015
A political film that's both interesting and relevant.
½ January 12, 2015
Best Picture? Really? The clunky dialogue and clumsy scene transitions and editing are unforgivable, and the performances are completely one-note. As unnatural and dull as a primetime soap opera...only watch if you're a Oscar completist.
½ November 30, 2014
I had only seen Rossen's Alexander the Great, but I enjoyed this film even more, about how power corrupts an American who initially at least seems honest and to have his heart in the right place. Amidst a fine supporting cast, Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge were excellent (and won Oscars, as did the picture), although I preferred Joanne Dru, who really exploded the screen with passion and angst any time she was there, as the second woman Willie cheats on his wife for, and who's caught in the middle of a bad can of worms. A fascinating and must-see character study that would make a fine double bill with The Candidate.
September 28, 2014
El director Robert Rossen logra adaptar a la perfección la novela ganadora del Premio Pulitzer de Robert Penn Warren sobre el ascenso y caída de un senador, muy similar a la vida de Huey Long. Broderick Crawford logra la mejor actuación de su carrera interpretando a este político. Ganadora del Oscar como Mejor película en 1949.
August 2, 2014
(First and only viewing - 2/24/2011)
June 2, 2014
More focused than Zallian's effort, this 1949 version of 'Men' tells a tighter story of ambition and corruption. It's photographed beautifully in black and white, and boasts a solid performance from Crawford. He combines charisma yet also a simpleness befitting his country roots. Furthermore, the shifts between political insight and a more personal story about manipulation is handled fairly smoothly, even if the transitions are a little too frequent.
Super Reviewer
½ April 29, 2014
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.
½ April 20, 2014
This is surprisingly faithful adaptation of the novel that somehow manages to largely miss the point, transforming a somewhat philosophical novel into a straightforward film about political corruption. It loses a lot of Stark's character and motivations, turning him into a guy who gets corrupted by power in the blandest sense. All of the leads, especially Crawford and McCambridge, are quite good, but I find the film's moralizing to be uninteresting since we really get no clue why Stark changes.
½ April 8, 2014
All the King's Men is based on the 1946 Robert Penn Warren novel of the same name and tells the story of the rise and fall of political heavyweight Willie Stark (based on the exploits of former governor of Louisiana Huey P. Long) through the eyes of those closest to him. Broderick Crawford masterfully portrays a sweet and honest man who becomes consumed by his own desires and lust for power. Mercedes McCambridge, who portrays Stark's assistant (and will most likely be familiar to fans of The Exorcist), also delivers a fine performance. Because of the pace of the film and the nature of how it was cut together, both the acting and the cinematography could have been looked over. It's easy to get caught up in it. There are hardly any static shots to be found in the film because the camera is always on the move. And for all of its clever camera work and tight editing, it's still a terrific drama, one that never bores and never strays far from its main subject.
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