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All the King's Men (Special Edition) (2006)

Sean Penn , Jude Law , Steven Zaillian  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo
  • Directors: Steven Zaillian
  • Writers: Steven Zaillian, Robert Penn Warren
  • Producers: Andreas Grosch, Andreas Schmid, Arnold Messer, David Thwaites, James Carville
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K2UGXO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,820 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "All the King's Men (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "The Making of All The King's Men" featurette
  • "An American Classic": Featurette on Robert Penn Warren, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All The King's Men
  • "La. Confidential: On Location with All The King's Men": A look into Louisiana where the film was shot
  • "The Legend and Lore of Huey Long": This documentary investigates the colorful politician that provided the inspiration of the character Willie Stark
  • "Shake Hands With the Devil"" featurette with the cast
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending

Editorial Reviews

Sean Penn gives another powerhouse performance in All the King's Men, leading a topnotch cast in writer-director Steven Zaillian's underrated adaptation of the Pulitzer prize-winning 1946 novel by Robert Penn Warren. When you consider that the previous 1949 film version earned well-deserved Academy Awards for director Robert Rossen and actors Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge, it's no surprise that Zaillian's film was expected to earn similar acclaim, but lukewarm critical reception and disappointing box-office gave it the stigma of a noble failure. And while the film (which moves Warren's story from the Depression-era '30s to the early 1950s) suffers from uneven pacing, partial miscasting, and an occasional lack of dramatic tension, it still qualifies as a first-class production that resonates with the timeless relevance of Warren's piercing political classic. Like Broderick before him, Penn is riveting as Louisiana governor Willie Stark, an upstart political dynamo (freely inspired by controversial real-life Louisiana governor Huey P. Long) whose rise to power is ultimately doomed by corruption and betrayal.

Jude Law costars as political reporter Jack Burden, our firsthand witness to Stark's rise and inevitable fall; his orbit of political insiders includes a corrupt judge (Anthony Hopkins) with a dark secret to hide; a longtime friend (Mark Ruffalo) and former lover (Kate Winslet) who fall victim to Stark's influence; and political staffers (James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson) who remain powerless against Stark's ill-fated populist juggernaut. At Sean Penn's request, former child star Jackie Earle Haley (from the original Bad News Bears) makes a welcome return to movies as Willie Stark's quietly intense bodyguard, "Sugar-Boy." Coproduced by Louisiana-born political consultant James Carville, filmed on authentic Louisiana locations and boasting all the stately, luxurious production values of a would-be Oscar contender, All the King's Men clearly benefits from Penn's fiery performance and Zaillian's earnest embrace of Warren's still-potent subject matter. And while the film's shortcomings may have prevented it from achieving unanimous acclaim, this is still a serious, well-crafted drama with much to say about the insidious potential for fascism in America, especially when well-meaning politicians lose their souls to power. --Jeff Shannon

On the DVD
The special features that accompany All the King's Men further demonstrate the film's in-production status as a potential classic. While the "making of" featurette is perfunctory at best, the other featurettes are definitely worthwhile despite Sean Penn's conspicuous absence. In "Shake Hands with the Devil," the film's cast, producer, and writer-director Steven Zaillian discuss the timeless theme of political corruption; "An American Classic" is a concise profile of Robert Penn Warren, paying tribute to the poet and author's literary achievements; and "The Legend and Lore of Huey Long" examines the life and legacy of the still-beloved governor who won the hearts of working-class Louisianans while falling prey to his own ambition. "LA Confidential" is a brief featurette about the film's use of authentic Louisiana locations and the positive effect they had on cast and crew; three deleted scenes were obviously cut from the film for purposes of time, yet offer ample proof of Zaillian's established skill as one of Hollywood's top screenwriters; and the alternate ending extends beyond the film's final shot, with a funeral scene that serves as a melancholy (and ultimately unnecessary) coda to the film's Greek-tragic drama. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

Oscar(r)-winning actor Sean Penn (Best Actor, Mystic River, 2003), two-time Academy Award(r) nominee Jude Law (Best Supporting Actor, The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999; Best Actor, Cold Mountain, 2003), four-time Academy Award(r) nominee Kate Winslet (Best Supporting Actress, Sense and Sensibility, 1995; Iris, 2001, Best Actress, Titanic, 1997; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004), and Oscar(r) winner Anthony Hopkins (Best Actor, The Silence of the Lambs, 1991) star in this riveting story of a humble man's rise to political power and the destructive force of corruption and betrayal that would ultimately unravel his soul, based on Robert Penn Warren's 1946 classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Willie Stark (Penn) is an ordinary man from a rural town, demanding that crooked politicians and shady businessmen in Lousiana be held accountable for the collapse of a poorly built school. Urged to run for Governor by a dubious political advisor, Tiny Duffy (three-time Emmy(r) Award winner

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
If you read the magnificent novel upon which this film is based, then you see that the movie does a pretty good job of bringing the story to the screen. Also, I am familiar with hicks in Louisiana, and a lot of them DO have the same accent Sean Penn assumed in his role.

The only improvement I could suggest would have been more frequent use of Robert Penn Warren's own dialogue. For instance, when Burden criticized Stark for boring his listeners, for showing them pie graphs and talking statistics and finances, he was brief and low-key. In the book, Burden railed at Stark -- "Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, pinch them in a soft spot, but for God's sake don't try to improve their minds." Several other instances occurred where the author's exact wording would have worked better.

Also, two interesting book story points were omitted: Stark's boy, the football player, toward the end was injured during a play and paralyzed from the neck down; Lucy resigned the rest of her life to caring for him. Also, in the end, Jack Burden and Anne Stanton finally married, fulfilling their destiny from youth. It made a good wrap-up.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "If you don't vote--you don't matter" March 30, 2008
"All the King's Men" is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Robert Penn Warren. Warren, who shifted from poetry to prose to write this novel, got his inspiration from the Populist Louisiana politician, Huey Long.

The film, based on a screenplay by Steve Zaillian, is also based in Louisiana. The politician, Willie Stark (Penn), runs a parallel course to Long's illustrious career. He started out meaning well and his interest was always in the common man, 'hicks' like him. The story is narrated by newspaper reporter, Jack Burden (Law) who works for Sparks.

There's a lot of strong messages in "All the King's Men." You can watch it from the perspective of a soap opera, a parallel to contemporary politics (the discussion of the oil companies' influence, for example) or an Ivory Tower comparison to Machiavelli.

This film could have been great, had they decided a few aspects differently. To quote the film itself: "You only get a couple of moments that determine your life. Sometimes only one. And then it's gone. Forever." Probably the worst decision the directors made was changing the timeframe the film is set in. If you ignore that the film's set twenty years past Long's time, it works a lot better. I don't agree with the decision that the 50's are interchangeable historically with the 30's.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the finished movie? January 2, 2007
This film had something very special going for it with its central casting of Sean Penn as Huey Long, the Kingfisher, the everyman governor of depression-era Louisiana (Willie Stark in the film). If ever there was a role designed for Penn's heated and emotive style of acting, this was it. True to that promise, Penn delivers a few (too few) wonderful scenes with Willie Stark delivering fire and brimstone from the campaign stump.

Other than these scenes, the film is an unformed washout. Willie Stark's transformation from righteous, wife loving common man to manipulative, self-serving adulterous political schemer is . . . . well there really is no transformation. It simply happens between scenes off camera, rendering a potentially fascinating character, rich with comment about the fallibility of human nature, into a black and white, boring nothing.

The film sort of meanders around with the character of reporter Jack Burden (played by the desperately miscast Jude Law)and his exceptionally average family story, which somehow includes lover Anne Stanton (played by the desperately miscast Kate Winslet) and her brother Adam Stanton, played by Mark Ruffalo (who was at least well cast but left hanging in limbo by some very lazy scriptwriting). On board also is the very talanted James Gandolfini, who must have owed someone a very big favor. I challenge anyone to explain to me what he was doing in this bumbling, mumbling role, so far beneath his station. All in all, I was left wondering how any of the principals managed to convince themselves the product was release-ready when watching the final edit.

Final note to Hollywood: let's strike a deal with England: From this day forth, no cross-accenting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "King's Men" loses potential punch in lots of ways April 7, 2008
Ehh!....that's how I feel about "All the King's Men"....ehh! Based on the exploits of the real-life Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana in the person of Willie Stark as "interpreted" by Sean Penn and written AND directed by Steve Zaillian (and that is where I see the problem in this film; Zaillian who wrote Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition), Awakenings and Gangs of New York (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) maybe should have stepped away!!!)

A great cast of actors, very miscast, a wandering screenplay, uneven direction, a film badly in need of a dialogue coach...what else? This film seemed as if it aspired to greatness, but alas I was left ultimately flat after 128 minutes. Sean Penn was overbaked and Winslet and Ruffalo undercooked. Clarkson-spot-on as she always is, but not much of a part! Hopkins as a Louisiana Judge????????

Set designer, Patrizia Brandenstein (Amadeus - Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)), does expert work, only to have it choked out by ton's of closeups. What a waste!

Even the extras on the DVD did nothing to really spark my enthusiasm any more than the film tried to do. Filmed on location? Big deal when you hardly see any of it! Truly, a film with lots of rhetoric with no real punch. Hmmm....just like politicians!

James Horner soundtrack was better than this film was.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie!!!
Published 7 days ago by Sabrina Chatman
2.0 out of 5 stars The 1949 movie may be a great movie, but I wanted to see the later ...
I ordered this movie with Sean Penn and got the edition with Broderick Crawford from 1949 and returned it to get the one with Sean Penn....And guess what? Read more
Published 11 days ago by AmyF
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor remake
This remake is way below the original 1949 movie. I have seen the original a while ago and I really liked it. Then I have ordered this version and it was a real disappointment...
Published 1 month ago by L.M.H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff!
An ensemble cast and a great story line. What more can you want? It is fast paced excitement to the end.
Published 3 months ago by Picky In Seattle
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow Moving
Movie was slow-moving. Plot was not very detailed or engaging. Had to watch this for political science assignment. Not worth the money.
Published 4 months ago by Stephen A. Quinlan
3.0 out of 5 stars ...Couldn't top the '49 Bob Warren Penn
The 2006 version of ALL THE KING'S MEN is a remake (like so many others) that wasn't necessary and does nothing to improve on the earlier film. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Annie Van Auken
3.0 out of 5 stars My girlfriend bought it
She wanted to see it as it was some local history.She's from the US while I'm AU. I like Sean Penn so I was up for it. G.F liked it, I liked it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cathy Curtis
4.0 out of 5 stars Was worth the time and $
Good story, good acting, based on true story, and a good lesson in life to follow; no one can be trusted 100% "even in politics."
Published 8 months ago by Maziar R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, yeah, yeah!
I love Sean Penn in this film. I saw this years ago on cable tv and when I saw it here, I had to get it.
Published 9 months ago by Elida Ochoa
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
I really did not like this movie. It's alright though, I guess it depends on the person. I probably will give it away or just keep it in my DVD collection.
Published 9 months ago by Eva
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Topic From this Discussion
Does deleted scenes have coonhound?
I agree that Jude Law's accent is not so great but Sean Penn's is spot on as far as I can tell. I thought he played the over-the-top character extremely well and made me almost believe the guy was for real (and not just a bafoon).
May 29, 2008 by R. C. Harris Jr. |  See all 3 posts
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