Primary Colors

1998, Comedy/Drama, 2h 23m

79 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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Well acted and suprisingly funny. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In this adaptation of the best-selling roman a clef about Bill Clinton's 1992 run for the White House, the young and gifted Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) is tapped to oversee the presidential campaign of Gov. Jack Stanton (John Travolta). Burton is pulled into the politician's colorful world and looks on as Stanton -- who has a wandering eye that could be his downfall -- contends with his ambitious wife, Susan, (Emma Thompson) and an outspoken adviser, Richard Jemmons (Billy Bob Thornton).

Cast & Crew

John Travolta
Governor Jack Stanton
Emma Thompson
Susan Stanton
Billy Bob Thornton
Richard Jemmons
Kathy Bates
Libby Holden
Adrian Lester
Henry Burton
Larry Hagman
Gov. Fred Picker
Diane Ladd
Mamma Stanton
Paul Guilfoyle
Howard Ferguson
Rebecca Walker
March
Caroline Aaron
Lucille Kaufman
Tommy Hollis
Fat Willie
Rob Reiner
Izzy Rosenblatt
Ben Jones
Arlen Sporken
J.C. Quinn
Uncle Charlie
Robert Klein
Norman Asher
Tony Shalhoub
Eddie Reyes
Brian Markinson
Randy Culligan
Elaine May
Screenwriter
Michael Haley
Associate Producer
Jonathan D. Krane
Executive Producer
Neil A. Machlis
Executive Producer
Ry Cooder
Original Music
Michael Ballhaus
Cinematographer
Bo Welch
Production Designer
Tom Duffield
Art Direction
Cheryl Carasik
Set Decoration
Ann Roth
Costume Designer
Michele Imperato
Unit Production Manager
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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
    What starts as an indictment, or at least a unromantic view, of the American political process ends on what feels like a falsely hopeful note.
    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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