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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.

Director:

Tim Robbins

Writer:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Robbins ... Bob Roberts
Giancarlo Esposito ... Bugs Raplin
Alan Rickman ... Lukas Hart III
Ray Wise ... Chet MacGregor
Brian Murray ... Terry Manchester
Gore Vidal ... Senator Brickley Paiste
Rebecca Jenkins Rebecca Jenkins ... Delores Perrigrew
Harry Lennix ... Franklin Dockett
John Ottavino John Ottavino ... Clark Anderson
Robert Stanton ... Bart Macklerooney
Kelly Willis Kelly Willis ... Clarissa Flan
Merrilee Dale Merrilee Dale ... Polly Roberts
Tom Atkins ... Dr. Caleb Menck
David Strathairn ... Mack Laflin
James Spader ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 September 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bob Roberts - Candidato ao Poder See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,479,470
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Fisher Stevens; and two Oscar nominees: David Strathairn and Bob Balaban. 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 »


Soundtracks

We Are Marching
Music and Lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins
Produced and Arranged by David Robbins
Additional Vocal by Kelly Willis
Robbins Egg Music (c) 1992, A.S.C.A.P.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best Political Thriller Since The Manchurian Candidate
6 September 2006 | by Dan1863SicklesSee all my reviews

A guitar-twanging conservative with youthful looks and dark charisma launches a disturbing drive for political power in this perceptive and disturbing black comedy, written and directed by Tim Robbins.

There are lots of reasons to dislike Tim Robbins. He's a movie star. He's smug, self-righteous, arrogant, self-pitying, and rich. He's married to Susan Sarandon, the most gorgeous and vibrant mature woman imaginable. He has so much, yet consistently strikes the pose of a martyr. I tuned into this movie prepared to hate it, but came away very impressed. Whatever his flaws as a citizen or a political thinker, Tim Robbins is a gifted film maker. The musical numbers are hysterical, and the documentary style comedy is the best since SPINAL TAP. The movie keeps moving at a suspenseful pace, and the chilling ending is surprisingly convincing, understated rather than too melodramatic.

Now there are some flaws to this movie that I think merit discussion. Tim Robbins hates the Bob Roberts character he plays, hates him with a passion. Yet he strikes several false notes. Some reviewers would deny this, but Bob Roberts is clearly supposed to be an "evil" Republican populist like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. And that's fine. But Robbins gets into trouble by making Roberts too much like . . . well, like Tim Robbins.

Bob Roberts is a too hip. He's a Hollywood hipster. He digs folk music, adores Bob Dylan, and is entirely too cerebral and too in love with the flash and glamor of MTV type videos. Tim Robbins misses the essence of how conservatives market themselves, how they tap into (and genuinely share) the loathing the white working class feels for intellectuals and artists. Bob Roberts minces around in a white fencing suit, fencing with his campaign manager, like a proud Prussian prince. Fencing! When George W. Bush was at Andover, he named himself "high commissioner of stickball." He knew even then that fencing was worse than polo. Tim Robbins misses the point about what cultural populism really means.

On a deeper level, this movie wants to leave you in a cold sweat, like Frankenheimer's 1962 version of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. And it succeeds, to a degree. But these characters are all surface, with no depth. Bob Roberts is as cold and reptilian as Raymond Shaw, but the problem is that his evils are all political, not personal. You don't see more than a second or two of Roberts' parents and early life. You certainly don't see a maniacal mother figure like Angela Lansbury in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. There's not a hint of connection between the inner, emotional, or sexual lives of these characters and their extreme political convictions. Bob Roberts has a wife, a blonde who hangs on his arm and smiles adoringly, but we see nothing else. Married to a woman as formidable as Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins must know much more than this about marriage. But he doesn't accept the challenge. As a result Bob Roberts is a political cartoon rather than a person. And therefore the movie is chilling, but ultimately not as profound or tragic as older political films like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.


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