All the King’s Men Parent Guide
This is a blustery and bloated remake about a democratic official (Sean Penn) who mistook himself for a monarch, instead of an elected representative.
Parent Movie Review
Colorful characters make good headlines and nowhere is that more evident than in the political arena. Few Southern officials have been more intriguing than real life governor Huey P. Long on whom the literary character, Willie Stark, is allegedly based.
In this remake of the 1949 film All the King’s Men, small town salesman Willie Stark (Sean Penn) is prodded into politics after a school fire leaves three young students dead. Believing he has been chosen from on high to serve the people, this persistent and well-intentioned candidate hits the campaign trail with his press advisor Sadie Burke (Patricia Clarkson) and his manager Tiny Duffy (James Gandolfini). In route across the state, he discovers his run for election is a sham set up by another party to make him a vote splitter.
From the moment of this recognition, Willie Stark becomes his own man, speaking to the “hicks” of Louisiana about the greed and corruption of the state’s “old boy” politicians. Spreading his populist view of government, he speaks out against the avarice of oil and utility companies and fires up the downtrodden poor who rally to put him in office.
However, power and principles make unlikely bedfellows and an air of entitlement that comes with the new position finds Willie misusing alcohol and women for his pleasure. Intimidation and a gun-carrying bodyguard (Jackie Earle Haley) soon replace his idealist rhetoric. And as the constituents clamor to see the evidence of his platform—promises of new roads, bridges and schools—the recently elected governor turns to other unconventional and often unlawful methods to get the work done.
His tactics drag others into the scandal as well. Jack Burden (Jude Law) is a tag-along journalist who works for the governor. Jack’s childhood friend Anne (Kate Winslet) and her idealist brother Adam (Mark Ruffalo), as well as a father-like judge (Anthony Hopkins) are also caught in the swirling eddy of unethical behavior that surrounds the elected official.
Although this film will have little appeal for most teens, other audience members may find this melodrama long and crammed with moments of unintelligible dialogue, jagged editing and erratic time sequences. Men in power habitually consume cigarettes and liquor as well as women for sexual gratification (some partial nudity is shown). Dishonesty and bribes trigger two suicides and are at the root of a graphic blood-bathed shooting.
Like the politicians it portrays, All the King’s Men is a blustery and bloated look at a democratic official who mistook himself for a monarch. Unfortunately, even all this king’s intentions and all this king’s men can’t save this ruler from an untimely fall.Directed by Steven Zaillian. Starring Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet . Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release September 21, 2006. Updated July 17, 2017
All the King’s Men
Rating & Content Info
Why is All the King’s Men rated PG-13? All the King’s Men is rated PG-13 by the MPAA intense sequence of violence, sexual content and partial nudity.
Government and big business corruption is at the heart of this film’s political intrigue. Unfortunately no one seems to be immune from its effect. Intimidation, bribery and backroom bartering are all used to push through programs. As a result of the fraud, two men commit suicide (one is depicted with a blood-splattered wall and blanket) and two men are killed in a close range shooting with excessive amounts of blood shown. There is discussion of a married man’s numerous liaisons with other women. Cigarettes and alcohol are used throughout the film along with moderate profanities and a racial slur.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
All the King’s Men Parents' Guide
How does Willie Stark’s choice of liquid refreshment change during the movie? Does that reflect his changing morals?
Is it hard to be the son or daughter of a famous person? Can it be difficult to live up to the achievements of others? What are the advantages of a well-known name?
Jake Burden is assigned to dig up some dirt on Judge Irwin. How does the revelations affect the judge, Jake and others? Do the disclosures negate the good things the judge has accomplished in life?
The most recent home video release of All the King’s Men movie is December 18, 2006. Here are some details…
All the King’s Men releases to home video on December 18, 20106.
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Patricia Clarkson stars in another political film that focuses on the uneasy relationship between government officials and the media during the McCarthy Era in Good Night and Good Luck. Charles Foster Kane is a media mogul who marries well and runs for governor only to discover the dichotomy between pride and ethics in the classic film Citizen Kane. The manipulation of state politics shakes a young man’s belief in democracy when he comes face to face with corruption in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.