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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 (114 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 (114 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K2UGXO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,664 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars inert drama April 18, 2007
Even a stellar cast made up of some of the finest talents in the business - Sean Penn, Jude Law, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins - can't save "All the King's Men" from being a tired, pointless remake of the Best Picture Oscar winner of 1949.

Robert Penn Warren based his original novel on the life and career of the notorious Huey Long, aka "The Kingfish," who served as governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932. Like Long, Warren's main character, Willy Stark, is a charismatic leader who offends the powers-that-be with his populist rantings, yet eventually becomes as lowdown, vile and corrupt as the politicians he initially railed against to get himself elected.

This theme of the corrupting influence of power - and the corrosive effect that corruption has on the American political system - may have seemed fresh and insightful in Warren's day, but it is strictly old hat today. Moreover, in Steven Zaillian`s pretentious rehash, Stark transitions from being an idealist to a cynic in such record-setting time that the audience is completely at a loss as to how to read the character. Is he a man genuinely committed to helping his fellow citizens who eventually loses his way, or is he just another snake-oil salesman from the get-go exploiting the gullibility of the masses to get what he wants? The film doesn't seem to know, and the audience, quite frankly, doesn`t really care.

Stunningly, the movie is helped not one whit by its strictly A-list caliber cast. Penn hams it up shamelessly as the over-the-top Stark, spewing spittle and bile, regardless of whether he is whipping a downtrodden audience into an emotional frenzy or plotting the downfall of his manifold political rivals.
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15 of 19 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Two Great Films Based on Robert Penn Warren's Novel Based upon...
Having watched two different cinematic accounts of All the King's Men, the common assessment that the 1949 film, with Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark (Columbia Pictures/Sony... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Gerald Parker
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Remake of the original "All the King's Men"
This is a poor remake of the *original* All the King's Men. After seeing the *original* that won Three Academy Awards this was
a poorly done Remake (as most remakes are not... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Robert Pylant
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie!!!
Published 1 month 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 1 month 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 2 months 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 4 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 5 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 7 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 9 months ago by Maziar R.
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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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