6.8/10
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Bulworth (1998)

Trailer
1:39 | Trailer
A suicidally disillusioned liberal politician puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters by affecting the rhythms and speech of hip-hop music and culture.

Director:

Warren Beatty

Writers:

Warren Beatty (story), Warren Beatty (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kimberly Deauna Adams Kimberly Deauna Adams ... Denisha
Vinny Argiro Vinny Argiro ... Debate Director
Sean Astin ... Gary
Kirk Baltz ... Debate Producer
Ernie Lee Banks ... Leroy (as Ernie Banks)
Amiri Baraka Amiri Baraka ... Rastaman
Christine Baranski ... Constance Bulworth
Adilah Barnes ... Mrs. Brown
Warren Beatty ... Jay Bulworth
Graham Beckel ... Man with Dark Glasses
Halle Berry ... Nina
Brandon N. Bowlin Brandon N. Bowlin ... Bouncer #2
Mongo Brownlee Mongo Brownlee ... Henchman #3
Thomas Jefferson Byrd ... Uncle Rafeeq
J. Kenneth Campbell ... Anthony
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Storyline

Senator Jay Bulworth is facing speculation-induced financial ruin, so he puts out a contract on his own life in order to collect a large, new insurance policy for his family. Living each moment on borrowed time, he suddenly begins spouting raw, unfiltered--and sometimes offensive in word but satirical in spirit -- thoughts to shocked audiences and handlers in the speech of hip-hop music and culture. His newfound uninhibitedness and new relationship with Nina carry him on a journey of political and spiritual renewal. Written by Stuart Hoffman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Brace yourself. This politician is about to tell the truth! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tribulations See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$141,816, 17 May 1998

Gross USA:

$26,528,185

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,202,884
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Fourth theatrical feature film directed by Warren Beatty. The first three were [in order]: Heaven Can Wait (1978), Reds (1981), and Dick Tracy (1990). The fifth would be Rules Don't Apply (2016) [not including the tele-movie Dick Tracy Special (2010)]. See more »

Goofs

At 19:50 Super Fly and Blacula can be seen playing in a theater, but they were made in 1972 and this is a 1998 film. It is set to 1998 because the cordless phones being used in the film only came out in 1994. See more »

Quotes

[Repeated line]
Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth: You know, we're standing on the doorstep of a new millennium.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Last line of credits For: A.B., K.E.B.B., B.M.B., and I.I.A.B. See more »

Connections

Features Blacula (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Chiquita Banana
Written by William Wirges, Leonard MacKenzie and Garth Montgomery
Parody Lyrics written by Warren Beatty (as Jay Bulworth)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the better films of 1998, with an unabashed comic tone. ***1/2 out of ****
25 September 1999 | by Movie-12See all my reviews

BULWORTH (1998) ***1/2

Starring: Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Oliver Platt, Isaiah Washington, and Christine Baranski Directed, produced, and written by Warren Beatty 108 minutes Rated R (for pervasive strong language, drug use, sexual references, and brief violence)

By Blake French:

I have seen a lot of movies in my time, but I have never seen anything as witty, as twisted, as entertaining, as outrageous, or as original as Warren Beatty's new political satire "Bulworth." It is, at times, funny, but at others very dark. I can't recall ever stating that a "serious comedy," is one of the years best films before. That was then, this is now--and "Bulworth" is truly one of the better film's of 1998.

As the movie opens, a US senator named Jay Billington Bulworth, hires a hit man to kill an individual of his desire. The hit man wonders exactly who this person is in which a man of such power wishes to eliminate. As it turns out, Bulworth has paid this hit man to kill his own suicidal self. "If I'm not dead by Monday, I'm canceling that check." Bulworth states firmly.

This is were the outrageous humor begins. During a campaign speech at a local African American church, Bulworth goes seemingly nuts. He begins to tell the citizens the truth about subjects in congress that most politicians would never think of revealing to the general public. His representative, Dennis Murphy, who cares only about getting Bulworth elected, almost faints in shock and disbelief. But you have to understand, these are the last days that Bulworth will be experiencing life, so why not reveal secrets, release envelop pushing information, and start up controversy with the nation with his last breaths.

"Never make life of death decisions when you're suicidal," explains Bulworth during one of the film's more invigoration sequences. He is talking to a woman named Nina, whom he met nonchalantly during one of his presentation speeches. The two of them fall in love. Too bad Bulworth has not taken his own advice typed above, for his death is near. But is Nina who she appears to be? Is his wife, Constance Bulworth, having an affair with another man? Is Bulworth's demise in the near future? All suitable questions that will all be answered when you see the movie.

Parts of the film do not work. For instance, the subplot involving Bulworth's wife who is adulterous just isn't detailed enough, nor are the characters introduced, for us to even consider this anything but a gimmick. True, the affair does symbolize chaos preoccupied in his household, and establishes another reason for him to be suicidal. Still, it's too small for a movie that offers so many good qualities.

"Bulworth" has a detailed opening that provokes empathy for our main character, Jay Bulworth. We learn of an external problem, Jay being involved in a heated presidential campaign, and an internal problem, Jay being suicidal and calling a hit on himself. The structure only goes uphill from there, and that is hard to do. Both conflicts are evolved, with Nina, Bulworth's sense of honesty, the hit man's presence, and several character & plot twists in which someone is not who they appear to be.

Along with some very dramatic and meaningful moments found in "Bulworth," also contained is dialogue that is smart, witty, and at times hilarious. The first shock value sequence is truly outrageous, and the films unabashed sense of eagerness only gets more perverse; the film is rated R for appropriate reasons, mostly coming from Bulworth's style of life he becomes involved with. The situations we're facing here are quite controversial, but Warren Beatty directs the film with a certain humorous touch. He uses effective but bizarre camera angles, and a hip cinematographer that creates aggressive chemistry between Beatty and Halle Berry during their "party animal" scenes together.

The performances in "Bulworth" entirely demonstrate that Warren Beatty is not only able to direct, write and produce well, but also that capable to lead an all star cast, including Don Cheadle, Oliver Platt, Isaiah Washington, and Christine Baranski, into an Oscar worthy overall appearance level. All of these things contribute to making "Bulworth" is of the better films of 1998, and I recommend it highly.

Brought to you by Twentieth Century Fox.


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