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Winchell (1998)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  21 November 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 461 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 7 critic

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



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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)
Michael Greene ...
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
See  »

Did You Know?


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


Near the end of the film there is a shot of two newspaper headlines: one saying Winchell lost his radio show and the other that the Stork Club was closing. The articles under the headlines do not refer to either subject, and most of the wording in one article is repeated exactly in the other. See more »


Walter Winchell: Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea! Let's go to press!
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 »


School Days
Written by Gus Edwards and Will D. Cobb (as Will Cobb)
Performed by The Moylin Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under License from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

They Want To Be In Winchell's Column, They Don't Want To Go To His Funeral!!
22 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This HBO presentation was a somber and bittersweet depiction of famous columnist, Walter Winchell. Director, Pat Mazursky, illustrates this biography through the eyes of Walter Winchell's key assistant. This assistant viewed Winchell as someone for whom he garnered an ardent admiration! My association with Walter Winchell was that he use to narrate episodes of "The Untouchables". In the zenith of Winchell's career, he was an uncompromising columnist who exemplified the phrase; "The power of the pen is mightier than the sword". Anybody who was anybody in Hollywood during the late thirties through the early fifties, was interviewed and featured in Walter Winchell's column! Winchell's quip about how "Hollywood has to be seen to be disbelieved" was a witty one liner which described Hollywood to be a tenuous hotbed of raw capitalism! Walter Winchell engaged in many commentaries which ultimately gave him a political prowess during World War II !! He was always greeted as a recognizably formidable foe by prominent paragons at the pinnacle of national power; This included moguls and dignitaries such as William Randolph Hearst and President Franklin Deleno Roosevelt. Walter Winchell possessed many qualities which made him successful.. The fact that he went after the truth, and eventually acquired a cunning and creative stranglehold on the American News media, is something which can be attributed to Winchell's basically egotistical nature. Winchell's callous determination made him vicariously ruthless just by virtue of adhering to some simple journalistic procedures!! While this hacked out, made for TV movie, by HBO, cannot really be considered one of the best efforts of movie making, it definitely served a useful purpose!! What I conceptualized with "Winchell" was that he was driven to make a difference in the American News media world!! Making a difference in the American news media subsequently translated to Winchell evoking a radically different perspective on many of the sordid events which were pertinent to a myriad of individuals in the entire world altogether. This movie gave you an effectively brief synopsis of the type of life Walter Winchell engaged in, as well as the life he wound up with! So!! What was the scoop on his personal life? He died a lonely widower, his son committed suicide, and his mentally disturbed daughter was the only one who attended his funeral!! Such a grim scenario suggests that Winchell's national prominence concurrently manufactured a personal life of domestic alienation! The fact that nobody attended his funeral is painstakingly ironic for Winchell, as a newspaper columnist perceives that the most heinous emotion by which to be afflicted is the emotion of being deluged with disinterest!! The knifing acrimony to Winchell's deteriorating fame manifested itself most convincingly when people talked about him in past tense!! When his assistant heard of his passing away in 1972, Winchell's obituary served as a platitude consisting of mere mention of the bygone era in which Walter Winchell was a news media legend! Time erosion relegated Walter Winchell to a sinister anonymity!! The utterly insidious monster of death reduces even the most famous people to faint memories. Walter Winchell's tumultuous life epitomized his philosophy which was expressed very succinctly with his famous quote of "America,love it or leave it". I enjoyed this HBO production, and, I definitely feel that Walter Winchell is, without question, a noteworthy element of historical importance in America!! See this movie if you can!!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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