7.0/10
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99 user 41 critic

Bob Roberts (1992)

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2:05 | Trailer

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A conservative folk singer turns his hand to politics, running for the US Senate. He is not above dirty tricks and smear campaigns to gain an advantage over his opponent.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Bob Roberts
... Bugs Raplin
... Lukas Hart III
... Chet MacGregor
... Terry Manchester
... Senator Brickley Paiste
Rebecca Jenkins ... Delores Perrigrew
... Franklin Dockett
John Ottavino ... Clark Anderson
... Bart Macklerooney
Kelly Willis ... Clarissa Flan
Merrilee Dale ... Polly Roberts
... Dr. Caleb Menck
... Mack Laflin
... Chuck Marlin
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Storyline

Documentary-style look at the fictional Senatorial campaign of Bob Roberts, an arch-conservative folk singer turned politician. This political satire includes several original songs co-written and performed by writer/director/star Tim Robbins, and cameo appearances by other stars as reporters and news anchors. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

More amazing than Watergate. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for momentary language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

4 September 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bob Roberts - Candidato ao Poder  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,479,470
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A soundtrack album was due for release on Warner Bros. Records, but it was not released because Tim Robbins didn't want the songs played outside of the movie's context. See more »

Goofs

The film takes place in 1990, on the eve of the Persian Gulf War. In real life, neither of Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate seats were up for re-election that year. See more »

Quotes

Bugs Raplin: The reason that Iran-Contra happened is because nobody did anything substantial about Watergate. And the reason that Watergate happened is that there were no consequences from the Bay of Pigs. They are all the same operatives, didn't you notice? The foot soldiers in the Bay of Pigs, the plumbers that got busted at Watergate, the gunrunners in Iran contra: they are all the same people. The same faces. Now it doesn't take a genius to make the connection here. A secret government beyond the ...
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Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits there is the screen-filling four-letter word 'VOTE'. See more »

Connections

References Bob Dylan: Subterranean Homesick Blues (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Girl
Music and Lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins
Produced and Arranged by David Robbins
Horns Arranged by David Campbell
Robbins Egg Music (c) 1992, A.S.C.A.P.
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User Reviews

Don't Miss the Point; This is Satire, not Commentary
29 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

The focus of most of these comments has been on the film's perceived political commentary on American politics.

Let's make one thing clear: This film is a satire, not a commentary; in my opinion it's not about Republicans or Democrats, or conservatives or liberals; it is about the nature of democracies.

The point that the film, "Bob Roberts", makes can be summed up very clearly. Here is the nature of democracies: Voters choose winners over losers, champions over whiners, statements of power over statements of sacrifice. The list goes on; people prefer form over function, youth over age, presentation/entertainment over substance.

This film does transcend political lines; but in it's context, lets take a look at the specifics. Bob Roberts is electable because his message is just vague and occluded enough by his presentation, that he seems likeable. His message is not unique or original; he speaks to the elements that have always appealed to the more right-wing or fascistic elements of society; marginalization of the weak (in this case, the poor), empowerment of the common man, family values, etc.

Roberts' opponent, Paiste, is a textbook liberal; but this contest is not about left vs. right. Paiste is an educated man, and a career politician. He acknowledges the challenges in the American economy. He actually has answers to the issues; whether they are politically favorable or not is not significant. Roberts, on the other hand, says nothing about the real issues; he appeals only to the emotions of the mob, and because he uses the medium of folk music, he offends the sensibilities of liberals (both in the movie, and in its audience), because he uses the authenticity of the 60's and its messages of change, and "perverts" them to express his messages of reactionism and exclusion.

And it works.

Tim Robbins has a winner here, and this film gets overlooked because it gets dragged into these conversations about Robbins' own political views, and whether the film is making a statement about Republicans or Democrats. But Robbins says something far more universal with this film; democracies are not safe from tyranny or fascism; all it takes is a charismatic reactionary who can manipulate the interests of the press and the political interests to rise to power by appealing to the worst elements of our psyche, for entertainment, glamour, and exclusionism. Please remember that Hitler came to power by appealing to the worst aspects of the people of his nation, and was quite successful in creating much evil from that. Being part of a free nation comes with a huge responsibility; to carefully consider who we elect and what we value, and to allow those debates to have meaning. "Bob Roberts" shows us how easily we can neglect that responsibility, and how easily voters can be sold an offensive, exclusionary message, when it is wrapped up in something more attractive than what's real.


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