Primary Colors

1998

Primary Colors

Critics Consensus

Well acted and suprisingly funny.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 79

64%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,944
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Movie Info

Director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Elaine May crafted a near-perfect adaptation of the 1996 best-seller, a hilarious and troubling fictional account of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, and recent events make it only more relevant.

Cast

John Travolta
as Gov. Jack Stanton
Emma Thompson
as Susan Stanton
Billy Bob Thornton
as Richard Jemmons
Kathy Bates
as Libby Holden
Adrian Lester
as Henry Burton
Larry Hagman
as Gov. Fred Picker
Diane Ladd
as Mamma Stanton
Paul Guilfoyle (II)
as Howard Ferguson
Caroline Aaron
as Lucille Kaufman
Tommy Hollis
as Fat Willie
Rob Reiner
as Izzy Rosenblatt
Robert Klein
as Norman Asher
Mykelti Williamson
as Dewayne Smith
Ben Jones
as Arlen Sporken
J.C. Quinn
as Uncle Charlie
Allison Janney
as Miss Walsh
Monique L. Ridge
as Tawana Carter
Ned Eisenberg
as Brad Lieberman
Brian Markinson
as Randy Culligan
Charlie Rose
as Himself
Larry King
as Himself
O'Neal Compton
as Sailorman Shoreson
Kevin Cooney
as Lawrence Harris
Bonnie Bartlett
as Martha Harris
Cynthia O'Neal
as Elegant Woman
Chelcie Ross
as Charlie Martin
John Vargas
as Lorenzo Delgado
Tony Shalhoub
as Eddie Reyes
Robert Cicchini
as Jimmy Ozio
Stan Davis
as Jack Mandela Washington
Rolando Molina
as Anthony Ramirez
Ross Benjamin
as Peter Goldsmith
Stacy Edwards
as Jennifer Rogers
Susan Kussman
as Ella Louise
Robert Symonds
as Bart Nilson
Gia Carides
as Cashmere McLeod
Robert Easton
as Dr. Beauregard
Scott Burkholder
as Danny Scanlon
Bill Maher
as Himself
Lu Elrod
as Chubby Woman
R.M. Haley
as Shipyard Announcer
Darice Richman
as Linda Feldstein
Rosalie Peck
as Retiree
Susan Forristal
as Bugger Bugger Woman
View All

News & Interviews for Primary Colors

Critic Reviews for Primary Colors

All Critics (79) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (15)

Audience Reviews for Primary Colors

  • Nov 10, 2012
    This movie did not age well. There's a scene early in the democratic primary race where everyone in a packed diner is glued to the small television set, watching and commenting on an interview - "Today Show" style - of our candidate and his wife. Either our political culture was very different back in 1992, or this is an example of the movie's unrealistic, self-absorbed sensationalism. Without any clear sense of direction, we watch the plot stumble into one manufactured problem after another. Instead of insight into modern politics, we get guns, drugs, heart attacks, old men sleeping with 17 year olds, and gay sex - all in one race to become the democratic nominee.
    Matthew S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 24, 2012
    Can be seen as the colourful version of The Ides of March. Probably too much of a take on a comedic image of Bill Clinton to be taken too seriously but entertaining..provided that you don't give it a great deal of thought.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2010
    The film almost lost me in its final moments. What starts as a indictment of the political process ends on what to me is a falsely hopeful note. However the other 3/4 of the film is pretty amazing and is full of great comedic performances that never loose the right touch of realism.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2010
    A well done, if though occasionally flawed, political comedy/drama that features two golden performances from John Travolta and Kathy Bates. While it does get over-dramatic at some parts and some of the characters could've been fleshed out a tad better, for the most part this is a well executed take on politics and how the people involved in them are never what they seem to be. I wish they had left the ending open-ended and daring the viewer to make their own choice as to what they would do in the situation posed in the film's conclusion, but I understand Nichols instead going with the more accepting finale.
    Dan S Super Reviewer

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