6.7/10
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157 user 123 critic

Primary Colors (1998)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 20 March 1998 (USA)
A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA.

Director:

Writers:

(novel) (as Anonymous), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

How Much Spin Does It Take To Win? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | | |

Language:

Release Date:

20 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mit aller Macht  »

Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$38,966,057 (USA) (19 June 1998)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Tommy Hollis. See more »

Goofs

When Susan tells Henry "none of us have run a presidential campaign before" she puts her left hand on his shoulder; in the next shot it's on his upper arm instead. (The discontinuity is interesting in light of the first lines of the film, which discuss the significance of where exactly Jack Stanton would place his hand on the arm of a person he was greeting.) See more »

Quotes

Susan Stanton: That's how history is made, Henry - by the first-timers.
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Connections

Features The Geraldo Rivera Show (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

GOOD OLE BOYS LIKE ME
Written by Bob McDill
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User Reviews

Much better than I was expecting

I thought "Primary Colors" (1998:***) was pretty good. It appears to be a lot easier on "Jack Stanton," the Clinton surrogate played by John Travolta, than the book reportedly was. The movie presents "Stanton" as flawed but essentially decent (at least as decent as any politician running for high office can be). Travolta's imitation of Clinton is OK for a "Saturday Night Live" sketch, but it sometimes gets in the way of his performance over the 2-1/2 hour length of the film. However, he's often effective, and Emma Thompson is first-rate as "Susan Stanton", by turns pragmatically worldly-wise and fiercely supportive. Actually, the focal point of the film is not that of the Stantons but the young, black grandson of a highly regarded civil rights leader, who gets sucked into Stanton's roller-coaster campaign and has his idealism sorely tested. He's well-played by an actor named Adrian Lester. There are also great turns by Kathy Bates, Larry Hagman and Billy Bob Thornton, among many others.

For me, the only big drawback of the picture was the melodramatic suicide of a key player in the drama (I won't say who). I thought it was something this particular character would never do. Otherwise, "Colors" is absorbing and funny and moving nearly all the way. Good moment: The Stantons do a "60 Minutes"-like reaffirmation of their marriage, but as soon as the cameras are turned off, she yanks her hand out of his in a flash.


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