6.8/10
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Bulworth (1998)

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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. 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

Michael Clarke Duncan: As a Bouncer, and billed as Michael 'Big Mike' Duncan. See more »

Goofs

When Bulworth is ordering the hit, Vinnie's lips don't match his words. See more »

Quotes

Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth: Yo, everybody gonna get sick someday / But nobody knows how they gonna pay / Health care, managed care, HMOs / Ain't gonna work, no sir, not those / 'Cause the thing that's the same in every one of these / Is these motherfuckers there, the insurance companies!
CherylTanya: Insurance! Insurance!
Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth: Yeah, yeah / You can call it single-payer or Canadian way / Only socialized medicine will ever save the day! Come on now, lemme hear that dirty word - SOCIALISM!
See more »

Crazy Credits

For the song "Bulworth Breakdown", the title character Jay Bulworth is credited as a writer and performer. See more »

Connections

References Super Fly (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
Written by Franz Joseph Haydn (as Franz Joseph Haydn)
See more »

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User Reviews

Shrewd Message Movie
26 March 2017 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

The movie may look goofy, but it's not. Note how the rule of big money behind our democratic façade is exposed. It could have been done in bits and pieces and through corruptive behavior, but that would have made the message less focused. Of course, simply declaiming the political message would have sounded preachy.

Instead, Bulworth does a wacky in-your-face by delivering the message in unmistakable, yet entertaining fashion. That's done by having the senator succumb to an alter ego brought on by mental exhaustion over his planned suicide. Serious messages are then wrapped in comedic contrasts. No more suit and tie for the new Bulworth. Instead, he looks like he went shopping in the dark at a charity ward. In fact, the now truth-telling hipster appears his real self suddenly breaking through the conventional façade. At the same time, watching him defy deadening media clichés amounts to a jarring hoot. And after romantic pursuit of an eye-catching Black woman (Berry), he learns day-to-day facts of ghetto plight by staying with her family. And when not speaking truth to power at White fund-raisers, Beatty's Bulworth uses his newly acquired hip-hop to rhyme out the message in catchy rapper fashion. Either way, it's one of the cleverest approaches to undercutting deadening political authority that I've seen.

No pretty-boy Beatty here. Pushing 60, he's haggard looking throughout, doing little to compensate until the end. Of course, that's the way it should be, given the emphasis on message. I suspect it's a movie the lefty actor-director-producer has long wanted to make. And make it he did, in spades.


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