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All the King's Men

  NR HD Closed Captioning

Robert Rossen

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Plot Summary

In a bravura performance, Broderick Crawford won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Actor with his stunning portrayal of bull-headed, backwoods lawyer Willie Stark, in this powerful drama about political and personal corruption. A somber but realistic chronicle of raw, brutal power in force, ALL THE KING'S MEN is based on Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. It was brought to the screen in 1949 by producer Robert Rossen who also wrote the screenplay and directed the film. The story was inspired by the rise and fall of southern bigwig Huey Pierce Long, the infamous "Kingfish" who was Louisiana's governor and one-time senator. Long's cunning tactics of building public works during the depression to serve his own needs more than those of his constituents eventually brought about his own assassination in 1935. A compelling story of a self-made, self-styled politician, it was politics that almost prevented Rossen from making ALL THE KING'S MEN in the first place when he was named by the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities in 1947 for having Communist sympathies. Rossen's denial of this to Columbia chief Harry Cohn enables him to continue work on the film; but his earlier radicalism eventually surfaced and Rossen made only one film (The Brave Bulls) in the next five years. Nonetheless, ALL THE KING'S MEN remains a hallmark political film with superb performances throughout. John Ireland garnered an Academy Award nomination for his role as Stark's tortured right-hand man, while Mercedes McCambridge won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Sadie Burke, Stark's callous, conniving political aide. In addition, the film won an Academy Award for Best Picture along with nominations for Directing, Writing and Film Editing.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 33
  • Fresh: 32
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.9/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Mr. Rossen has assembled in this starkly unprettified film a piece of pictorial journalism that is remarkable for its brilliant parts. – Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Jan 28, 2014

Fresh: It is a film that vividly impresses, with dramatic sureness the chicanery of politics as have been practiced in the past and may crop up again. – William Brogdon, Variety, Feb 19, 2011

Fresh: It is one of the most vital and honest films to come out of Hollywood in a long time. – Kate Cameron, New York Daily News, Feb 20, 2015

Fresh: A poisonous political process from our not-so-distant past dominates Robert Rossen's classic film about the rise of a Southern demagogue. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, Feb 19, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Emery 56

A great movie that deals with politics, corruption and blind ambition. The settings may be dated, but the story remains relevant for the present time as only the characters and times have changed, political corruption persists. I wish that every holder of political office in the U.S. would see this film, then again, they would probably dismiss it as fiction. A great movie, superior acting and story script.

Old Movie Bout Current Politics

I know some might go for the current film released starring Sean Penn but this old film captured a time when a man rises from poverty to be the most powerful man in the state. Loosely based on the life of Huey P. Long. It has the man being a man of the people to being corrupt politician. This film won three academy awards including Best Picture. Watch this film and it will not disappoint you.

All the King's Men
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  • $12.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1950

Customer Ratings