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

All the King's Men Reviews

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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.
½ April 8, 2014
A Kane-like film that brims with vitality. It focuses more on Stark himself than Warren's novel does, and this is a welcome change.
April 5, 2014
Crawford gives a fantastic, deeply layered performance that goes to the heart of the issue: power corrupts, even the good men
½ March 2, 2014
A movie that does not stand up to the test of time. The writing is hokey, the scene transitions are clumsy, and the acting is over the top.
October 24, 2013
Superb story that shows how power corrupts even the most well intentioned. Deserving of its academy awards.
October 24, 2013
While the first half is quite unimpressive and the film is filled with too many characters, All the King's Men also has strong acting and it is quite efficient thanks to its strong message about politics and the line which says that you can find some dirt on everyone is poignant and rings true.
September 3, 2013
Although it raises some interesting moral questions its a little to melodramatic by todays standards. The feeling that there is not one decent person in this whole film gives it a negative feeling and that people in general are just bad.
July 28, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
½ July 7, 2013
Not on par with other Best Picture winners.
July 4, 2013
Two hours isn't enough time for an adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's vivid and complex story. Although the adaptation was difficult, the film felt rushed to include almost everything Warren described in 600 pages or so. Aside from the book, the film was led by a spellbinding performance by Broderick Crawford, whose acclaim for this role is well-deserved.
½ July 3, 2013
Okay before I begin, I just want to say you won't believe how weirdly hard it was to finally be able to watch this movie. For a while when I trying to find the movie on the internet or the library, I would just about always get the 2006 version as a response...which as an 11% on rotten tomatoes or something...yeah...that's just not right. But anyway, here we are with the second to last best picture winner to review and the last one to review from the 40's. Here is finally my review for All the King's Men.

Plot: The story begins with reporter Jack Burden who is assigned to write a story about Willie Stark: a man who taught himself law and become a lawyer while also attempting to go into politics. His efforts go horribly wrong at first due to how he's more honest and innocent compared to the corrupted politicians he's fighting against, but eventually he figures things out and eventually goes as far as becoming the governor of the state is loved by everybody. But things start to go wrong when people around begin to feel that he's becoming corrupted by the power he is given.

Okay now I understand why some people seem to think it doesn't hold out as much as it did in '49. Because let's be honest, the story about people being corrupted by power is becoming a more common and therefore becoming a bit more of a cliche then it was back then. But that doesn't necessarily stop it from being a good movie for what it was. The story was told very well, the acting was very well done, heck it was interesting to know that this movie was basically based off a real Louisiana governor from the mid 30's where apparently everything that happens in this movie pretty much happened back then. On a whole, it's a movie that goes into what happens when power really corrupts and it gives a very good idea at what it can really do to people. Plus this film also focuses on what happens to the people around Willie Stark when he become corrupted and reckless in some ways which is good. But I think what interests be the most from watching this movie again is not just how Broderick Crawford's performance gave us a man who completely lost his innocence throughout the film (although it is the main factor as to why he deserved to win Best Actor for it), but also how it was hinted that he was going to be corrupt. Maybe I"m just taking his performance a completely different way then how I should, but watching roughly the first half of the movie again, I realized that even when he was down on his luck, there seemed to be hints that he's not quite as good as you'd expect. That these moments showed how maybe he wasn't 100% on the focus of the people and possibly focused on things just to get the power and be loved and that made it easier for him to be corrupted. Again, I might've read too much into that, but if that's the case, then that's a little interesting that the character Willie Stark and what happens to him may not be quite as black and white as I remembered. Anything else to say, I didn't quite care much for Jack and Anne during the second half because of how they would still be loyal to Stark despite what happens that makes everyone unsure/hate him.

And that's my review for All The King's Men. If you don't like it because of some of the characters or how the moral is more of a cliche then it was before, that's understandable. But otherwise, it's a very well done movie with a good story, well done acting, a main character that was not only well acted, but maybe was not quite as black and white and you might think making him a little more intriguing. It's a very enjoyable film and considering its time at the very least, it's little wonder that it won best picture.

So that's every single best picture winner I have reviewed...except for one. What in the world could that possibly be? Well you are going to find out soon as you might have noticed that I'm not very far away from reaching 500 reviews. So stick around for more as I work my way all the way to my 499th review and I shall finish going through the final one to review as my 500th review. See you then!
June 20, 2013
This movie is good but not the kind of good that I would enjoy or that inspires great emotion after fade out. I wasn't even sure who I should be rooting for or liking. The pacing is all wrong as if every scene is cut short before the punchline. While this movie may have really played on the feelings toward politicians at the time, today the tone, acting, and writing cannot evoke the same emotions even though we live in a time where many of us feel the same mistrust and anger toward our leaders. The movie does a fine job in illustrating its points, themes, and morals, but there's no growth, it's just sad, depressing, bereft of any sense that things could get better and people will overcome their temptations. It doesn't shed a nice light on the end of the 40s, instead it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. But again, this movie ends abruptly and feels like a part 1. Maybe that's the biggest message, that it's up to us, the audience, to rectify the flaws in ourselves and leaders, but I don't know, definitely not a favorite of mine.
May 30, 2013
I loved the book, and this film does a good job at adapting it.
May 29, 2013
A marvelously acted and directed film. Rossen really takes hold of this film as both writer and director, and he succeeds greatly in both aspects. The screenplay is an absolutely perfect, the dialogue conveys the substance of the film with much subtlety and profundity. Very few films before or after portray their message with as much clarity as 1949's All The King's Men, and few films at that point in time were as dark and thematical. And with the wonderful performances by Crawford and McCambridge, this film becomes my favorite of the 1940's.
May 16, 2013
Good film. Great directing. Great story.
April 28, 2013
I remember the performance being very strong. A good, but dark movie, as I recall (saw it long ago).
March 31, 2013
Impressive, and retains well over time, for there shall always be corrupt politicians.
March 31, 2013
When I found out that Crawford won the Oscar for best actor, honestly, I was confused; I'm not saying his performance was bad, it's quite the opposite, it was a very good, powerful and demanding performance as Willie. But he wasn't in the film very much at all. Jack Burden was in the limelight more, and yes, I know it is his story told through his eyes but he failed to get the award and Crawford did, unlike the 2006 version where Penn was on screen much more then Law. I don't feel that the film was long enough to fully portray its themes of every action has its consequence and the corruptibility of men, however, this was made in 1949, so I won't criticize it for that. I did, however, get the transition from when he went from an honest man to an evil one, but he still held some of his innocence when corrupt, which is good. Even though it seems like I'm criticizing it, I did enjoy the film and if we're going to compare, I think it is superior in telling its story then the 2006 version. I still, however, love them both. It is a timeless film that has a lesson for all, whether or not you have an interest in politics.
March 29, 2013
Rarely can you see a film that stands the test of time as this does. A brilliant film noir directed by Robert Rossen ho also wrote the screenplay, adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name. The film charts the rise and fall of a Southern politician whose corruption goes from nad to worse as he strives to hold on to power at any cost. The film is as relevant today as it ever was. Broderick Crawfod is brilliant as Governor Willie Stark and is well supported by a star ensemble cast. Won the Oscar for Best Film in 1949 and both Crawford and McCambridge picked up Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.
½ March 18, 2013
All the King's Men, the original, is a great movie that I would recommend for the classic lovers. Rightly celebrated as one of the best ever political thrillers to come out of Hollywood, its achievement is all the more remarkable given the background in Tinseltown of the Hollywood Blacklist threat - no wonder John Wayne reportedly returned the script to Rossen in disgust at this all too believable desecration of the American Dream.
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