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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Believing his career is over, Senator Jay Bulworth (Beatty) takes out an enormous insurance policy - and a contract on his own life. but his impending death fills him with an outrageous desire to break the rules and tell it like it is.


Jay Bulworth is your typical senator going through a nervous breakdown. The empty speeches, lies, money, and pressure have led him to plan his own assassination on a weekend trip home to California just before the election. However, a cord snaps in him and like Jim Carrey's rambling lawyer in Liar, Liar, Bulworth can only tell the truth. This new freedom turns Bulworth on and he spews the ugly truth about politics: he tells mass media they are as corrupt as insurance companies; lambastes a black church for not having leaders; and riles the Jewish power elite of Hollywood. He enters South Central running away from advisors (including a bemused Oliver Platt) and mixing it up with a potential new girlfriend (Halle Berry) and a local boss (Don Cheadle). He offends across the board, even developing an inherent knack to rap his speeches. And the public loves it. The weekend becomes a clarifying point for Bulworth: he finds a reason to live.

Beatty's rude and relevant comedy is a one-joke movie, but the joke is pretty good. It's a courageous film that is always sharp even though it loses narrative focus. Beatty's hilarious raps are so inspired they deserve repeated viewings. As usual, Beatty surrounds himself with a great crew, Ennio Morricone's music and Vittorio Storaro's cinematography being especially noteworthy. Beatty and Storaro even have the audacity to imitate two very famous photographs in the film's final seconds. The script by Beatty and Jeremy Pikser won the L.A. Film Critics award and was nominated for an Oscar. --Doug Thomas

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Sean Astin, Kirk Baltz, Ernie Lee Banks
  • Directors: Warren Beatty
  • Producers: Warren Beatty, Pieter Jan Brugge
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 1999
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305297142
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,764 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bulworth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jack Felson on May 23, 2002
Format: DVD
This is one of the most bitter, funniest and harshest movies in the 90's. Maybe the most. Warren Beatty, in his fourth film as a director - and his first one as a screenwriter - is great as this democrate, over-exhausted and desperate senator who turns crazy during his campaign and lets down the bla-bla-bla for some real talking.
The beginning, in Washington, is depressive and real funny in the same time: Bulworth cries but he does it watching his own hypocrisy on the screen ('We stand on the doorstep of a new millenium...'). His marriage is a complete failure. Tired and desperate by his own life, disgusted by the empty, senseless and lying speeches prepared for him, he decides to get over all of this and puts a contract on... himself. Then he starts his campaign and arrives in L.A., first in South Central, the Black ghetto, and falls in love with a real beauty (Halle Berry, lately 'Academy-awarded'). He comes back to life and tries to cancel the 'research' he'd started but his contact has a heart attack...
This very funny and inventive story was original enough for having being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1998, along with "Saving Private Ryan", "Life is beautiful" and "Shakespeare in Love". The film gives us many great and raving moments, especially that meeting that degenerates into a rap and hip-hop concert, and that broadcasted, hilarating, angry interview ('Obscenity?'). The soundtrack, 'rappy' and agressive (Dr. Dre, Ice Cube...), is quite unusual in a Hollywood great production, even if it mixes with Ennio Morricone's lyrical, superb partitions (what a great idea!) and with the usual political musical stuff.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Horner on March 27, 2002
Format: DVD
Once a prolific superstar, the still bankable Warren Beatty had made just nine movies in the last decade. Three of these have earned him three Oscar nominations and one win. In the 1970s and 1980s, he ranked among the top ten playboys in American. His conquests were legendary. Some of his movies were steamy by the standards of their time. Now over sixty years old, he seems more than happily married to Annette Bening. He has reached the point where he can make movies that interest him. Perhaps we should make that ones which amuse him.
Bulworth may have been the most singularly eccentric big budget movie of 1998. It's about a politician, but whereas Primary Colors stayed within a defined framework, Bulworth is all over the map. Yet, depending on your sense of humor, it may be the funniest political satire you will see for some time to come.
Beatty is Jay Billington Bulworth, a United States senator from California who is up for yet another term. The time is 1996. As the movie notes, Clinton is running unopposed, and Dole is definitely going to get the Republican nomination. The public is unaroused, which means that the political climate is completely status quo. Meanwhile, Bulworth is about to have one heck of a nervous breakdown.
The reason Bulworth goes bananas is never specifically stated, but the implication is that the games, deceptions and deceits that make up modern politics have finally undone him. In deep despair, he gets ten million dollars worth of life insurance and promptly arranges for his own assassination. The next day, he changes his mind. He spends the rest of the moving running both for office and for his life.
He goes to fund raisers and insults his wealthy backers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Maginot on July 14, 2000
Format: DVD
First of all, let me state that while I liked this movie it does have many problems and I agree with the more intelligent negative reviews that it has received. But "Bulworth" appealed to me not so much because it provided the right answers but because it asked the right questions. It did so in a humorous, "no holds barred" fashion that is equally likely to alienate the right wing bigot as the politically correct campus moron.
"Bulworth" is about a politician whose failed personal life and hypocritical political one compels him to kill himself. He puts a contract out on his life and while he's waiting to be knocked off he's suddenly free to say whatever he wants.
And so he does. During a 72-hour insomnia marathon, Bulworth ditches his canned speeches, and sound bites and instead says what's really on his mind. He tells a black church that he doesn't really care about their vote because they are black. He tells a Jewish group that you can't run for office without appeasing the Jews. He drinks whiskey during a political debate and explains to the camera that he doesn't care. Sound like Jack Nicholoson is running for office? Not exactly. Bullworth also falls in love with a black woman and becomes exposed to a different world of rap clubs, armed kids selling drugs, and police brutality.
I can understand where a lot of reviewers got turned off here. Yes, the black gang leader and white racist cops are stereotypes. And yes, Bulworth's journey into this world is just too smooth and easy. But to the film's credit, real issues of racism, crime, and poverty are handled in a blunt unsentimental fashion that somehow avoids the in-your-face brutality that often comes with realism.
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