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Winter Kills (1979)

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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:

Joe Kegan owns so much of America, he figures the flag should salute him every morning. Some people say he stole the presidency of the United States for his son. He claims he bought it, fair and square... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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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

The nickname of the character of former U.S. President Timothy Kegan (John Warner) was "Tim" whilst the nickname of his brother Nicholas Kegan was (Jeff Bridges) was "Nick". The nickname of the two characters' father was "Pa" Kegan (John Huston) - his first name is never given. 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

Pa Kegan: I got sixty million bucks riding on that ship, kiddo, and you leave her like a Friday-night hooker.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Reissued in 1983 with deleted scenes restored. See more »

Connections

Featured in Who Killed 'Winter Kills'? (2003) 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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