All the King's Men
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Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men is a roman clef inspired by the career of Louisiana governor Huey Long. Broderick Crawford won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Willie Stark, a backwoods Southern lawyer who wins the hearts of his constituents by bucking the corrupt state government. Journalist Jack Burden (John Ireland) is impressed by Willie's seeming sincerity, and aids Stark on the road to political power. Once he's reached the governor's mansion, however, Willie proves himself to be as dishonest and despotic as the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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
"Today, its realism seems bland, its moralizing forced."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A one-note actor, Crawford landed the role of a lifetime and makes the most of it, even if there isn't much variation in his eventual change from the earnest Stark to the evil Stark. Far better are John Ireland and especially Mercedes McCambridge."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"The rather heavy-handed movie, which also gained the Best Picture Oscar, benefited from bull-necked Crawford's hard-hitting performance and the effective blend of location photography and studio work."
‑ , Film4
"While [Crawford's] full-bodied performance still holds up nearly six decades later, the rest of Robert Rossen's Best Picture winner has lost a good deal of its fierce luster."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"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
"Not only has this movie stood the test of time, but its content is as uncomfortable and relevant today as it was the day the film premiered."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"A blistering and still powerful political drama that deservedly won the best picture Oscar, with the best actor award going to gruff Broderick Crawford in the performance of a lifetime as Willie Stark."
‑ Tony Sloman, Radio Times
"Smart, fascinating and horrifying, All the King's Men is an example of late 1940s filmmaking at its best."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"Broderick Crawford gives an outstanding performance as the corrupt politician Willie Stark."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"A fine adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer novel."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"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
"Details the rise and fall of a Southern politician"
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"A savage indictment of the system."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"It's inspired by the career of populist Louisiana governor (1928-32) and Democratic U.S. Senator (1932-35) Huey Long."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for All the King's Men on Rotten Tomatoes