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Primary Colors [VHS]

156 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates, Larry Hagman, Billy Bob Thornton
  • Directors: Mike Nichols
  • Writers: Elaine May, Joe Klein
  • Producers: Mike Nichols, Jonathan D. Krane, Michael Haley, Michele Imperato, Neil A. Machlis
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: May 30, 2000
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783227043
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,075 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Based on the novel by Anonymous (a.k.a. political reporter Joe Klein) and released when the Monica Lewinsky scandal was in full swing, Primary Colors may have been a case of too much, too soon for many moviegoers, who preferred the real-life Clinto

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Berquist on February 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I throughly enjoyed the novel by "Anonymous" when it came out in (I think) 1995. When the film premiered I braced myself for the worst. The film is never as good as the book, as anyone will tell you. But I was wrong. If anything, "Primary Colors" was *better* than the book, a thinly-veiled take-off on Bill Clinton's turbulent campaign for the Presidency in 1992.
Why is this such a fine movie? Two words- John Travolta. As Jack Stanton he captures the role perfectly- Clinton's demeanor, his passion for people, his weaknesses. I scoffed at hearing that Travolta was to play the part, and am I ever glad I was wrong. Travolta is terrific. Whoever won the Oscar for Best Actor that year must have done a great job to out-shine Travolta.
The rest of the cast is dead-on in their roles- Emma Thompson as Stanton's Hillary-esque wife, Adrian Lester as the Stephanapoulos-esque moral center to the film, Kathy Bates as Stanton's idealistic alter ego, and Larry Hagman as Stanton's opponant, Governor Freddy Picker.
I particularly liked Billy Bob Thornton as Richard Jemmons, a stand-in for Clinton's advisor James Carville. A lesser actor would have aped Carville's Cajin accent and played the part as a parody. Thornton though is smart enough to play Jemmons as a smart, cocky but utterly loyal subbordinate whose good 'ol boy demeanor masks a cunning political mind.
Director Mike Nichols has produced some wonderful performances from a really wonderful cast. The film's exploration of political idealism and how quickly it is shattered is well-done and quite timely now given the current Presidential election.
Outstanding film for political junkies and people who enjoy good drama.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Horner on March 28, 2002
Format: DVD
Somebody's not telling the truth about this movie. The studio emphasized that "Primary Colors" was not intentionally based on Bill and Hillary Clinton. The writer of the book it's based on was written by "Anonymous". The real author turned out to be Joe Klien, who works for The New Yorker Magazine. He says the book was, in fact, based on Clinton's first Presidential campaign.
John Travolta and Emma Thompson play Jack and Susan Stanton. Jack is Governor of an unnamed Southern State. The couple looks a whole like Bill and Hillary, both in body language and in appearance.
When the film came out last Spring, it did fairly good business. It was viewed as a political satire, which it is. In fact, it's one of the best films of its kind in a long time. Some would mention "Wag the Dog" in the same breath as "Primary Colors". The former was certainly a fine movie, but "Colors" is witty, rambunctious, smart and, well, a whole lot like the Clintons!
I suppose it has a slightly darker feel to it now, with all the bad press and publicity Mr. Clinton has lately gotten. Before all the disclosures about Clinton's private life, the movie seemed almost innocent. Now it seems prophetic. It's as though "Primary Colors" mutated into a different form. Or could it be that, after the revelations were made about The President, the nation suffered from a case of Mass Denial?
The irony is that the character of Jack Stanton is seen as an intelligent, well intentioned man, who has a bit of a problem with his fly.
Whatever its parallels with real life, it stands on its own as a good picture. The focus is on John Travolta's character, but Thompson's Susan doesn't get off lightly either.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cappy on July 3, 2004
Format: DVD
When I first stumbled across a very very late night airing of Primary Colors on television, I was hesitant to sit back and enjoy the show. Political films just don't float my boat, since I find the actual politics somewhat uninteresting. However, within about forty-five seconds, I was hooked on this compelling comedy-drama. The story is superb, even though it isn't anything we haven't heard or joked about before. The acting is beyond superb, with every character given a voice and a story, so that you feel that nothing that is said or done is out of place. Although the comedic moments are great, what is really surprising is how, by the end of the film, you are deeply affected by the outcome of each character's story. And although the film is about politics, it is completely non-partisan and leaves the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.
I feel that I cannot say enough good about Primary Colors. It is a surprisingly wonderful film that I would recommend to everyone.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on May 2, 2003
Format: DVD
"Primary Colors" is a genuinely hard-luck movie. Distributed when the real-life giant scandals of the Clinton presidency were at their height, customers were not in a mood for a cutting edge comedy on quasi-fictional smaller scandals concerning the same players. It's a shame! The movie has a superb cast, deft timing, packs a wallop, and teases the audience into some thoughtful moments.
John Travolta shines as the exuberant, larger-than-life, shrewd and sentimental presidential candidate, Jack Stanton. He is a man with over-sized appetites whether it is chitlins or chicks, and rallies or righteousness. Emma Thompson is properly steely in her resolve, but shows her aching vulnerability to Jack's massive infidelity. Billy Bob Thornton was made for the role a down-home vulgar cracker sidekick. He can cry over his mama one minute and be ruthlessly savage the next. Then there is Kathy Bates. I think it is an axiom of show biz to never co-star with a kid or a dog because they will upstage you every time. To kids and dogs, add Kathy Bates. When she blows into the movie as a wisecracking, politically savvy and highly neurotic idealist; everything else fades into the background.
This is one of the great movies of the decade. Everything about it is first class from the brilliant direction of Mike Nichols ably assisted by his old sidekick Elaine Mayes to the carefully placed cameo roles of Larry Hagman and Rob Reiner. Add this one to your DVD library.
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