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Huey Long (1985)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 269 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

Ken Burns' portrait of Louisiana governor/U.S. senator Huey Long.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Huey Long ...
Himself (archive footage)
Russell Long ...
Himself (as Russell B. Long)
David McCullough ...
Narrator
Jennings Randolph ...
Himself - Senator of West Virginia
...
Himself
I.F. Stone ...
Himself
...
Himself
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Storyline

Ken Burns' portrait of Louisiana governor/U.S. senator Huey Long.

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28 September 1985 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Huey Long: I have the pleasure to undertake to describe to you--
[A photographer's flashbulb explodes with a loud bang and a flash. A long pause and laughter from all.]
Huey Long: Now you see there? That bomb didn't explode until tonight.
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User Reviews

 
A great documentary.
13 September 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Back in 1977, I watched a made for TV movie called "The Life and Assassination of the Kingfish". It starred Ed Asner and was a fascinating story of the life and death of Huey Long. I was 13 and had never heard of Long and was fascinated by the amazing power the man wielded--and how he could have very possibly been elected president if he hadn't been killed. Fascinating indeed. So, when I saw that Ken Burns did a biography of Long, I was excited to see it--an expert documentarian and a really interesting subject. It also helps that I've seen "All The King's Men" and "A Lion In The Streets"--two very fictionalized stories about a character who was obviously based on Long.

Huey Long was a socialist, though the term progressive is most often associated with him. His political philosophy was that the government should take care of the poor and that wealth should be limited to $10,000,000--anything more is wrong and would redistributed to the people. Pretty radical stuff back in the 1930s, but ideas that strongly resonated in Louisiana and the rest of the country due to the poverty of the Depression. He was powerful and also quite ruthless in exercising power. So, oddly, he was a great force for both good and evil--a very complex man. And, like the characters from "All The King's Men" and "A Lion In The Streets", he appeared to feel that the end surely justified the means. I loved how the film emphasized BOTH. Many in the film loved the man, some hated him and some had mixed feelings--and all that is very understandable.

The story is told using films footage of Long, photographs, interviews and some location shots. It's narrated by David McCullough--who had a wonderful voice and is a great historian. Now I rarely say this, but there is nothing I didn't like or admire about the film. It was expertly made, compelling and great viewing. I just wish all documentaries were this good!


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