6.2/10
1,949
42 user 59 critic

Winter Kills (1979)

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3:20 | Trailer
The Pickering Commission concluded that a lone gunman killed US President Kegan in 1960, in Philadelphia. 19 years later a dying man confesses to be the real shooter hired to kill him. Kegan's brother and filthy rich father investigate.

Director:

William Richert

Writers:

Richard Condon (book), William Richert (written for the screen)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Nick Kegan
John Huston ... Pa Kegan
Anthony Perkins ... John Cerruti
Eli Wallach ... Joe Diamond
Sterling Hayden ... Z.K. Dawson
Dorothy Malone ... Emma Kegan
Tomas Milian ... Frank Mayo
Belinda Bauer ... Yvette Malone
Ralph Meeker ... Gameboy Baker
Toshirô Mifune ... Keith
Richard Boone ... Keifitz
David Spielberg ... Miles Garner
Brad Dexter ... Captain Heller One
Michael Thoma ... Ray Doty
Ed Madsen Ed Madsen ... Captain Heller Two
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Storyline

19 years after President Timothy Keegan was assassinated, his brother Nick discovers a dying man claiming to have been the gunman. While trying to avoid his wealthy and domineering father's attempts to control his actions, Nick follows the clues that have been handed to him. As he progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the real trails from the dead ends, and increasing dangerous as unknown parties try to stop Nick from uncovering the truth. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Who really killed our president? See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 May 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Traficantes de poder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,083,799

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,083,799
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, director Milos Forman was considered to direct. In the end, William Richert took on directing duties. See more »

Goofs

When Yvette refuses Nick's marriage proposal, she puts her right hand on his face. When the angle changes she suddenly has both hands on his face. See more »

Quotes

Z.K. Dawson: Why should I kill your brother when I'm getting rich off him? Off his military spending, his space spending, his tax reduction and his - his crisis spending? Hell, you know, if your old man didn't own him already, I might've bought him myself, except for his snotty personality.
See more »

Alternate Versions

TCM recently ran the film in a version from Columbia Television. It was cropped into a 4:3 losing all side information and the film was edited to remove all nudity, violence and language. See more »

Connections

Featured in No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

OFFBEAT, TO SAY THE LEAST
18 May 2001 | by KatmissSee all my reviews

William Richert's "Winter Kills" is a strange, offbeat film, to say the least. It begins seriously, but then changes tones and becomes a searing black comedy. I felt a little guilty about enjoying the film so much, considering that it's about a political assassination cover-up.

But, then I changed my mind. After all, this, "Prizzi's Honor" and the great "The Manchurian Candidate" were all based on novels written by the same author, Richard Condon. The one thing these films all have in common are that they are savage comedies about serious subjects. So perhaps that was the tone Condon was going for. The humor will escape some, but those who can appreciate dark humor will love it.

The film also contains a gallery of great performances by top talent. The cast includes Jeff Bridges, John Huston (a great actor as well as a great writer and great director), Anthony Perkins, Sterling Hayden, Richard Boone, Eli Wallach and in a cameo, Elizabeth Taylor. They make the most of this material and play it very straight. This is the key to the film's success. If they had played it slyly, it may not have worked as well.

But it's not fair to praise the cast only. William Richert also deserves praise for maintaining such uneven shifts between tones and for telling such a potentially confusing storyline with style and grace. It's such a solid script and such strong direction that he should have received Oscar nods for his work.

"Winter Kills" exists in two versions. In 1980, Magnetic Video briefly released the theatrical cut, which was edited to deemphasize the comedy and rush-released by Avco Embassy. However, in 1983, Richert was given the green light to re-edit his film. This version, with the original ending restored and many of the comic moments restored, was released by Embassy Home Entertainment in 1984.

My rating applies to the 1983 re-edit, although I would really like to see the original 1979 edit. If anyone out there has a copy of the 1980 Magnetic Video release, e-mail me.

**** out of 4 stars (1983 re-edit)


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