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All the King's Men (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  22 September 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 20,025 users   Metascore: 37/100
Reviews: 177 user | 126 critic | 37 from

Based on the Robert Penn Warren novel. The life of populist Southerner Willie Stark, a political creature loosely based on Governor Huey Long of Louisiana.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Stark (as Travis M. Champagne)
Willie's Father (as Frederic F. Forrest)
Paul Desmond ...


In the 50's, in Louisiana, the smart populist, manipulative and wolf hick Willie Stark is elected governor with the support of the lower social classes. He joins a team composed of his bodyguard and friend Sugar Boy; the journalist from an aristocratic family Jack Burden; the lobbyist Tiny Duffy; and his mistress Sadie Burke, to face the opposition of the upper classes. When the influent Judge Irwin supports a group of politicians in their request of impeachment, Stark assigns Jack to find some dirtiness along the life of Irwin, leading to a tragedy in the end. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some people will do anything to gain power. Some will do anything to keep it. See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an intense sequence of violence, sexual content and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les fous du roi  »

Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,672,366 (USA) (22 September 2006)


$7,221,458 (USA) (13 October 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Jackie Earle Haley, Steven Zaillian had wanted to cast him for the role of Sugar Boy and had him at the top of his short list. Haley said that when he met with Zaillian, the director remembered his work from years ago and wanted to see how Haley had aged. Zaillian had mentioned that he spoke to Sean Penn who had also thought of Haley for the role. See more »


When Stark's cavalcade of limos approach his father's house, the shadow of the crew is visible for a moment. See more »


Jack Burden: The friend of your youth is the only friend you'll ever have. For he doesn't really see you. He sees in his mind a face which doesn't exist anymore, speaks a name... Spike, Bud, Red, Rusty... Jack... that belongs to that now nonexistent face. He's still the young idealist you used to be, still sees good and bad in black and white and men as sinners or saints but never both and feels superior in the knowledge that you no longer can distinguish the two. That's what drives you to it. To try to ...
See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.40 (2010) See more »


Smokestack Lightnin'
Written by Chester Burnett
Performed by Chester Burnett (as Howlin' Wolf)
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

The Best film of the year....with or without critic support.
23 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After seeing the trailer for this film roughly two months ago, I was excited to see the entire movie. The only downside seemed to be that it was one of many that were an obvious attempt to get an Oscar out of it. But that's the norm this time of year.

I was later surprised to see so many begin to trash this film left and right. I actually watched the trailer again to be sure I still wanted to see it. It still looked decent to me. Maybe it was because I'd never seen the original. Maybe it actually was a horrible remake. Plus after seeing and hating the much trashed Black Dahlia, I figured I should consider passing on making the same mistake twice.

But no, there I was on the opening day, hoping this wasn't going to be another Dahlia. And it was nowhere near it. It was incredible. The score is outstanding, the much attacked directing was very strong, and Sean Penn gave one of his three best performances he's ever given.

Jude Law as the press writer/associate is very good. But his narration is weak and not needed as often as it's used. Patricia Clarkston is solid, but not anything of great note. I'm actually glad they didn't focus too much on her feelings of scorn towards state hero/villain Willie Stark (Sean Penn). Much better to keep the movie focused on Penn and Law, who surprisingly work well together.

The accents were only hard to take in the first words of (the miscast) James Gandolfini, who plays Tiny (not so tiny) Duffy, a very crooked crook. But his voice grows on you eventually. I think it was more the familiarity with his voice as Tony Soprano (tv character) that threw me off.

And in a scene where Willie attempts to (very poorly) sing a promotional song for himself. That really should have been left on the cutting room floor.

The only overall complaint I would mention is that for once, I'd like to see a Southern movie actually use predominantly Southern actors. Penn, Law, (the not mentioned by me, but very good) Anthony Hopkins, and Clarkston are all great in their roles. But only one of them (Clarkston from Lou.) is Southern. In fact, when you add love interest Kate Winslet into the equation, three of the main six characters are British. That shouldn't be.

But all that aside, this movie far surpasses any other I've seen this year. And actually puts Hollywoodland, which I enjoyed, to shame. Steven Zaillian has made an outstanding film, that is receiving a very unfair treatment in the press.

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