6.6/10
26,699
156 user 132 critic

Primary Colors (1998)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 20 March 1998 (USA)
Trailer
1:18 | Trailer
A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for President of the U.S.

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
Larry Hagman ... Gov. Fred Picker
Diane Ladd ... Mamma Stanton
Paul Guilfoyle ... Howard Ferguson
Rebecca Walker Rebecca Walker ... March
Caroline Aaron ... Lucille Kaufman
Tommy Hollis ... Fat Willie
Rob Reiner ... Izzy Rosenblatt
Ben Jones ... Arlen Sporken
J.C. Quinn ... Uncle Charlie
Learn more

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Photos

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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:

He was born to run. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

During this shoot, Dame Emma Thompson received a phone call in her trailer from Donald Trump asking her out on a dinner date. Prophetic, considering Emma was portraying a character loosely based on Hillary Clinton. See more »

Goofs

When Henry first meets Mrs. Stanton with the Governor at the airport in New Hampshire, the shadow of the camera is visible on all three actors as it pans around them. See more »

Quotes

Richard Jemmons: I'm blacker than you are. I got some slave in me, I can feel it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.45 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
Written by Milton Ager, Jack Yellen
See more »

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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Details

Country:

UK | France | Germany | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Primary Colors See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,045,395, 22 March 1998

Gross USA:

$39,001,187

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$52,090,187
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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