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The true story of the influential and controversial columnist, Walter Winchell.



(book), (teleplay)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dallas Wayne
Melvin Diamond
Sam Hague
Harry the Doorman (as John O'Donohue)
Jonathan Aaron ...
Rabbi (as Rabbi Jonathan Aaron)
Vaudeville Magician
Sean Michael Allen ...
Mirror Reporter (as Sean Barnes)


Biopic of the controversial muckraking journalist Walter Winchell. After spending 12 years in vaudeville, Winchell began writing a column in the New York Mirror. Part gossip, part half-truths, the reporting focused on well-known or prominent individuals and their dalliances. Winchell grew in popularity, particularly when he started his weekly Sunday night radio show. His reporting became more political in the late 1930s when he railed against Hitler. His star began to fall in the 1950's when Josephine Baker was refused service at the Stork Club and Winchell allegedly refused to do anything about it. The end came with his support of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his own rabid anti-communism. Following McCarthy's style, Winchell accused anyone who stood in his way of being a communist. Soon, he found himself facing lawsuits, a failed attempt at a television show and eventually, the cancellation of his radio show. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He didn't report the news ... he made it. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of strong sexuality | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Poder da Notícia  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of Dallas Wayne is a fictionalized version of real-life Winchell confidante and speakeasy owner Texas Guinan. See more »


When Winchell does a Las Vegas nightclub act in 1958, a sign can be seen advertising a show starring Seigfried and Roy - who didn't become headliners until years after Winchell's death. See more »


Walter Winchell: Hitler hates me. He hates me!
Newstand Operator: Yeah, well, Joe Stalin hasn't sent me a Christmas card either.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Richard Kent Green was Stanley Tucci's stand-in for both the Central Park scenes in New York and the photo shoot for the poster. See more »


Featured in The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1999) See more »


Written by Eugene Ford, Carey Morgan and Arthur Swanstrom
See more »

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User Reviews

The Power of the Information
15 February 2011 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In the 20's, the controversial New Yorker journalist Walter Winchell (Stanley Tucci) begins his career writing gossips about his acquaintances. He is hired by the New York Daily Mirror and using inside information from informers, he becomes the first American gossip columnist. He becomes successful and is invited to host a successful broadcast show in the radio. In the 30's, he attacks Adolf Hitler and befriends President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Christopher Plummer). After the World War II, Winchell attacks the communists and becomes a collaborator of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Winchell is not able to adapt his show to the audience of television and when McCarthy is censured by the Senate, Winchell becomes unpopular and his career virtually ends.

"Winchell" is a good HBO movie about the polemic columnist Walter Winchell, who was feared by the powerful and famous in the 30's and 40's. Along the years, Winchell hires a ghost-writer, Herman Kurfeld (Paul Giamatti), who admires him and has a lover, the showgirl Mary Louise "Dallas" Wayne (Glenne Headly) that likes him. Winchell is shown as a manipulative man that uses his personal dossier to force people to provide inside information for his column and his radio show; a man that neglects his family and has a wrong move supporting the McCarthyism and denouncing people. In the end, he pays a high price for his mistakes, and is forgotten by the public opinion He ends his life alone, without family or friends, and his son commits suicide. The last scene with his mentally disturbed daughter attending his funeral alone is one of the saddest conclusions of a film (and a life) that I have seen. Stanley Tucci gives one of his best performances in the role of Winchell. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Poder da Notícia" ("The Power of the News")

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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