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Primary Colors (1998)

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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)
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Popularity
4,623 ( 2,484)
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:

How Much Spin Does It Take To Win? 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 film was made and first released in the year of 1998 which was during the presidency of Democrat American President Bill Clinton which ran between 1992 (election) / 1993 (inauguration) and 1996 (election) and 2000 (election: ineligible to be a candidate) / 2001 (end of term). See more »

Goofs

When watching the New Hampshire returns, one TV station says that Governor Stanton is still out campaigning on the street until the polls close while the other simultaneously says 15 percent of the vote has already been counted. Votes aren't counted until after the polls close. 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 Riverdale: Chapter Twenty-Nine: Primary Colors (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

UNFORGETTABLE
Written by Irving Gordon
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole (as Nat King Cole)
Courtesy of Capitol Records
under license from EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
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User Reviews

Primary Flaws: A Modern Tragedy
20 September 1998 | by waliSee all my reviews

As (I think it was) Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again!" On this, the weekend after the release of the Starr report, the movie rings so true. Travolta was great in por- traying the manic pathology of Stanton/Clinton.

And of course, Kathy Bates was superb as Libby, who in the end was unable to reconcile her loyalty to Stanton with her loyalty to the truth. If Stanton was flawed by his weakness of the flesh, Libby was flawed by her strength - by her inability to give up the best part of herself to the moral malaise that so pervaded the Stanton candidacy.

How ironic that the film ends with the inauguration ball, with Stanton and wife whirling in triumph across the ballroom floor, without a hint of what was to come... I have seen this film labeled a comedy. I cannot see it as anything other than a tragedy, in the Greek sense - a man who with the best of in- tentions, but whose flaws finally undo him.


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