6.7/10
25,926
155 user 126 critic

Primary Colors (1998)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 20 March 1998 (USA)
Trailer
1:20 | Trailer

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ON DISC
A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA.

Director:

Mike Nichols

Writers:

Joe Klein (novel) (as Anonymous), Elaine May (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Governor Jack Stanton
Emma Thompson ... Susan Stanton
Billy Bob Thornton ... Richard Jemmons
Kathy Bates ... Libby Holden
Adrian Lester ... Henry Burton
Maura Tierney ... Daisy Green
Larry Hagman ... Gov. Fred Picker
Diane Ladd ... Mamma Stanton
Paul Guilfoyle ... Howard Ferguson
Rebecca Walker Rebecca Walker ... March
Caroline Aaron ... Lucille Kaufman
Tommy Hollis Tommy Hollis ... William McCullison (Fat Willie)
Rob Reiner ... Izzy Rosenblatt
Ben Jones ... Arlen Sporken
J.C. Quinn ... Uncle Charlie
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Storyline

Jack Stanton is running for president. The election is seen through the eyes of young Henry Burton. Along the way Stanton must deal with a sex scandal. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Comes The Story Of A Man Of The People And The People Who Made In The Man See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | Germany | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mit aller Macht See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,045,395, 22 March 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$38,966,057, 21 June 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$52,055,057
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Henry fixates on Stanton sitting across the parking lot in a late-night doughnut shop is powerfully reminiscent of the famous 1942 painting "Nighthawks", by Edward Hopper. Hopper's scenario celebrated the friendly, hopeful, tired, hard-working American "common man", and the doughnut shop scene in Primary Colors hammers Stanton's connection with the same demographic, personified by a friendly, hard-working, (not too bright) counter man working the night shift alone, just like his counterpart in Hopper's tableau. See more »

Goofs

On the morning after Henry's first trip to New Hampshire (which was made spontaneously, without any change of clothes or luggage), his shirt nonetheless changes repeatedly between shots. See more »

Quotes

[with a gun in her enemy's crotch]
Libby Holden: I am a gay lesbian woman! I do not mythologize the male sexual organ!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Celebrity Deathmatch: The Return of Lucy Lawless (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

D-I-V-O-R-C-E
Written by Claude Putman, Jr., Bobby Braddock
Performed Tammy Wynette
Courtesy of Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good movie struggles to get out of facile shell
4 February 1999 | by SKG-2See all my reviews

I was never a big fan of the novel by Joe Klein that this movie is based on. Like Clinton, it seemed more slick and facile than satirical and insightful. There was a good story trying to get out, but it didn't. The movie manages to bring more of that story to the forefront, like the idea that even a nominee with good ideas and good heart needs to do dirty deeds to get elected because of how screwed up the American system is. I think Kathy Bates also deserves all the praise she's been getting, and Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Maura Tierney are also good.

Travolta was a problem. Considering how much the filmmakers tried to distance themselves between their story and Clinton's real-life troubles, this seemed little more than a slick impression, and I found it distracting. I also found missed some of the stuff they cut from the novel, like Thompson's indiscretion with Adrian Lester's character, and the relationship between him and Tierney didn't have the context here that it did in the novel. And again, I was left wondering, "If you hate him that much, why stay?" Overall, an admirable effort, and maybe I'll be more receptive once this whole impeachment garbage fades from memory, but I still found it wanting.


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