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Head of State (2003)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 28 March 2003 (USA)
2:32 | Trailer

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When a presidential candidate dies unexpectedly in the middle of the campaign, Washington, D.C. alderman, Mays Gilliam is unexpectedly picked as his replacement.



10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Senator Bill Arnot
Bernard Cooper
Mr. Earl
Nate's Girl


One candidate for the presidency dies in an accident a couple of weeks before the election. Meanwhile the alderman Mays Gilliam becomes a hero when he rescues a woman and her cat from an old house that would blow up. However his fiancee Kim does not pay his bills and dumps him, and Gilliam loses everything including his fancy car. When Senator Bill Arnot sees the news on television, he plots a scheme with the party advisors Martin Geller and Debra Lassiter to invite Mays to be the party nominee and lose the election for the other candidate, Vice-President Brian Lewis. Four years later, he would be the candidate and would have the chance of winning the election. Mays has a terrible beginning of campaign but when his older brother Mitch Gilliam meets him in Chicago, he advises Mays to be himself. Will he have the chance to be the first African American President of the USA? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The only thing white is the house.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, some sexuality and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chef de l'état  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,503,484 (USA) (28 March 2003)


$37,788,228 (USA) (6 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chris Rock got the idea for this story from the 1984 Walter Mondale/Geraldine A. Ferraro ticket, in which the Democrats thought that since they had no chance of winning against Ronald Reagan/George Bush, they might as well make a historic first so they can win support for the next election. So they ran Ferraro as the first ever woman vice president candidate for their party (and lost). See more »


Florida State Trooper Vehicles are two-toned with a cream color on the rear and black on the front. There also is no shield on either of the doors. See more »


Mays Gilliam: If we had laws on the Destiny's Child Video, we'd have less crime.
Brian Lewis: I think we should let the people decide.
Mays Gilliam: The people can't decide! The people are too busy gettin shot in the ass!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, it lists many famous politicians, then in parenthesis it says "(Are not in this movie)". See more »


Featured in HBO First Look: Head of State (2003) See more »


'03 Bonnie & Clyde
Written by Jay Z (as Shawn Carter), Darryl Harper, Kanye West, Tyrone Wrice, Ricky Rouse, Tupac Shakur & Prince
Performed by Jay Z featuring Beyoncé Knowles
Courtesy of Roc-a-Fella Records/Def Jam Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Beyoncé Knowles appears courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

31 March 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The real, angry Chris Rock doesn't put in an appearance until the final moments of this political satire (directed and co-written by Rock) but it's not enough to rescue what has come before. Rock's fantasy of being the first African-American to achieve the White House (although he's initially set up to fail by spin doctors Dylan Baker and a surprisingly funny Lynn Whitfield) is somewhat toothless by Rock's own standards. The problem is his altered perception of himself as a film star (as opposed to the established HBO black equivalent of Dennis Miller): he phonily positions himself from the onset as cuddly, concerned for the constituents of the ward he's an alderman for and reasonably ignorant of national issues; he's finally allowed to become self-aware only when his older brother (the always welcome Bernie Mac) intercedes. You keep waiting for Rock to change but when he does, it's first into a playa that comes up with glib quips in response to standard questions. (With barely a mention of foreign policy, they seem a bit stale). Only in the final debate against his opponent (Nick Searcy) does he let loose with some honesty and only then do the jokes carry some weight. Rock, making his directorial debut, opts for the equivalent of a made-for-TV movie with a flat look, very mild gags (there are not nearly enough white fright jokes but there is a fundraiser that turns into a dance party with elderly WASPs doing the electric slide, and opening credits that state Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, George Bush and Hillary Clinton, among others, `are not in this movie') and very little interest in being taken seriously. Warren Beatty covered this turf far more handily in `Bulworth'. With Tamala Jones as his love interest, Robin Givens (cleverly cast as a gold digger) and, unfortunately, only a couple of bits from Tracy Morgan.

13 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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