Primary Colors (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  20 March 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 23,420 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 157 user | 117 critic | 30 from

A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA.



(novel) (as Anonymous) , (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mamma Stanton
Rebecca Walker ...
Lucille Kaufman
Tommy Hollis ...
William McCullison (Fat Willie)
Izzy Rosenblatt
Arlen Sporken
J.C. Quinn ...
Uncle Charlie


Jack Stanton is running for president. The election is seen through the eyes of young Henry Burton. Along the way Stanton must deal with a sex scandal. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What went down on the way to the top. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | |


Release Date:

20 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mit aller Macht  »

Box Office


$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,045,395 (USA) (20 March 1998)


£497,545 (UK) (6 November 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Then-President Bill Clinton enjoyed the film so much that he even invited John Travolta to a party, on one condition, he must come as Governor Jack Stanton. Travolta declined. See more »


During Thanksgiving at Jack's home, his mother asks everyone to sing "You Are My Sunshine" "in honor of all the southern governors" but her mouth says something completely different. See more »


Richard Jemmons: I got a python in here...
[Richard unzips his pants and exposes himself to Jennifer at campaign office in front of everyone]
Jennifer Rogers: [awkwardly] I've never seen one that... old... before
[Richard is stunned]
Jennifer Rogers: .
Howard Ferguson: [softly] Come on, Richard... let's just park that Mustang back in the garage
[leading him away]
Howard Ferguson: .
See more »


Features The Geraldo Rivera Show (1987) See more »


Written by Jimmie Davis, Charles Mitchell
See more »

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User Reviews

Primary Flaws: A Modern Tragedy
20 September 1998 | by (TN) – See all my reviews

As (I think it was) Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again!" On this, the weekend after the release of the Starr report, the movie rings so true. Travolta was great in por- traying the manic pathology of Stanton/Clinton.

And of course, Kathy Bates was superb as Libby, who in the end was unable to reconcile her loyalty to Stanton with her loyalty to the truth. If Stanton was flawed by his weakness of the flesh, Libby was flawed by her strength - by her inability to give up the best part of herself to the moral malaise that so pervaded the Stanton candidacy.

How ironic that the film ends with the inauguration ball, with Stanton and wife whirling in triumph across the ballroom floor, without a hint of what was to come... I have seen this film labeled a comedy. I cannot see it as anything other than a tragedy, in the Greek sense - a man who with the best of in- tentions, but whose flaws finally undo him.

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