All the King's Men

User Score
5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 53
  2. Negative: 18 out of 53
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. AlanN.
    Dec 10, 2007
    8
    I agree with Dave W's comment that too many critics were "hung up" on the original 1940's movie. I haven't seen the original, nor read the book that inspired both pictures, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie in its own right. It's not "brain in the fridge" stuff, far from it and all the better for that fact. Sometimes a movie should demand something from the audience I agree with Dave W's comment that too many critics were "hung up" on the original 1940's movie. I haven't seen the original, nor read the book that inspired both pictures, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie in its own right. It's not "brain in the fridge" stuff, far from it and all the better for that fact. Sometimes a movie should demand something from the audience and if you take the time to immerse yourself in this one, you'll be rewarded with some fine acting performances and storytelling. Recommended. Expand
  2. ChadS.
    May 26, 2007
    9
    All the King's Men is a phenomenal movie, end of story. It's not action packed or full of comedy, but it is a very serious and well done film, which is something most teens don't enjoy watching these days. It stars Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, and Kate Winslet, and all of them do an extremely good job, especially Sean Penn as Willie Starks, the mayor. The story is All the King's Men is a phenomenal movie, end of story. It's not action packed or full of comedy, but it is a very serious and well done film, which is something most teens don't enjoy watching these days. It stars Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, and Kate Winslet, and all of them do an extremely good job, especially Sean Penn as Willie Starks, the mayor. The story is about one man's rise to being the mayor of Louisiana and giving the people what they need, new roads, bridges, schools etc... and not allowing the large companies to steal all their money. The plot and characters are well thought out, and its no wonder the book won the national Pulitzer prize. The directing is the best i have ever seen, and I've been watching a TON of movies lately, but this one beats them all. Everything about All the King's Men is good, however i can't say that many teenagers will like it since it isn't a horror movie, or action flick, or comedy, but if you are looking for a serious film then this is perfect for you. On a scale of one to ten, five being average, All the King's Men gets a 9.25. Collapse
  3. SeanF.
    Jan 27, 2007
    10
    This is one of the all time greatest movies I've seen. The only unfortunate thing is that it has ruined my opinion of critics for eternity. Some of the actors didn't pull off being Southerners very well, but that was the only flaw I observed watching this film. A great depiction of a populist's rise to power, and the inevitable coming together of the wealthy and powerful to This is one of the all time greatest movies I've seen. The only unfortunate thing is that it has ruined my opinion of critics for eternity. Some of the actors didn't pull off being Southerners very well, but that was the only flaw I observed watching this film. A great depiction of a populist's rise to power, and the inevitable coming together of the wealthy and powerful to stop him at any cost. Expand
  4. DaveW.
    Jan 7, 2007
    9
    I think too many reviewers are too hung up on the previous movie instead of letting this one speak for itself. I found Penn's performance outstanding and the dialogue mesmerizing. Evidently the language was too "literary" for some, but for me it was a bracing antidote to the understated attempts at hipness that clog the film output these days. One of the best of the year.
  5. FranklinC
    Dec 20, 2006
    2
    Convoluted plot. Overwrought score. Emotionally vacuous. None of the actors can pull off a Louisana accent. Kate Winslet is the only reason I watched the movie (I've seen all her films), but she doesn't appear for the first hour, and when she does appear, the script gives her nothing to do. Bad movie.
  6. JPP.
    Nov 6, 2006
    6
    Zaillian's reconstruction of 'All the King's Men' starts out decidedly strong with it's nicely written script and marvelous acting by Penn. Shortly after the election of Stark as governor though the film quickly loses it's drive and becomes a bit glum with only, sparse but nonetheless sharp moments. No one except for Penn is able to pull of a believable Zaillian's reconstruction of 'All the King's Men' starts out decidedly strong with it's nicely written script and marvelous acting by Penn. Shortly after the election of Stark as governor though the film quickly loses it's drive and becomes a bit glum with only, sparse but nonetheless sharp moments. No one except for Penn is able to pull of a believable Louisiana accent. (Hopkins, who plays Judge Irwin, doesn't even try.) It's too bad they aren't able to because the script is actually really good. Of course what else could we expect from Zaillian? He is after all the same person who wrote the screenplays for 'Gangs of New York' and 'Schindler's List'. Its not entirely the actor's fault that the movie isn't up to par. Where Zaillian's brilliant writing ends, his mediocre directing begins. When a movie is only two hours of length, yet feels to be three, you know something went wrong. The most awful moment would have to be just before the closing scenes, that being the assassination of Stark and death of his killer. It was horribly long, and painfully boring. Once they're dead, they're dead. There's no need for five minutes of aerial spinning around two dead bodies with close-ups here and there of their blood flowing into one stream. 'All the King's Men' isn't totally bad though. As I stated, Penn is great. The screen lights up with intensity and passion when he's speaking to the people. And although the other actors weren't capable of delivering stunning performances, the well written script makes the film good enough to sit and watch. The bottom line is, yes there was much more that could've been done to improve the film, but despite the weak direction and overall acting, 'All the King's Men' is highly underrated and is worth viewing at least once. Expand
  7. MarkB.
    Nov 6, 2006
    3
    They really DON'T make them like they used to, do they? Robert Rossen's original, Oscar-winning film version of Robert Penn Warren's acclaimed novel about corrupt, Huey Long-like Southern politician Willie Stark wasn't exactly a masterpiece of subtlety and nuance--it was a 1949 Columbia movie that played like a 1941 Warner Bros. one, complete with montages by Don They really DON'T make them like they used to, do they? Robert Rossen's original, Oscar-winning film version of Robert Penn Warren's acclaimed novel about corrupt, Huey Long-like Southern politician Willie Stark wasn't exactly a masterpiece of subtlety and nuance--it was a 1949 Columbia movie that played like a 1941 Warner Bros. one, complete with montages by Don Siegel--but it was a terrific melodrama that moved like lightning, featured the definitive Broderick Crawford performance as Stark, and asked the audience to ponder such tough questions as: is our political system (or anyone else's) so fundamentally tainted that it eventually ruins all good, ethical men, or do you have to be crooked beyond repair to successfully pursue a political career in the first place? (I've always found it interesting and a bit paradoxical that writer/director Rossen had problems with alleged Communist allegations, since Stark runs and wins as a revolutionary figure out to topple the powers that be.) Steven Zaillian claimed that he was filming Warren's book, not remaking the movie (which he says he never saw)...and that's the first of his problems. This version assumes that "literary" is synonymous with "pompous", "overlong" and "boring"; it features a huge cast full of Big Names, never mind if they're miscast or not (which they mostly are), and it includes a smotheringly self-important music score by the usually capable James Horner that cues us in that we're watching a Big, Important Movie that's going to teach us some Big, Important Lessons (and hopefully pick up some Oscar nominations while it's at it). Sean Penn, who plays Stark here, is of course normally a hundred times the actor that Crawford ever was (Crawford tended to repeat his Oscar-winning performance as Stark in virtually every other movie he ever made) but you sure can't tell it here; in one of the worst jobs of a fine career, he mumbles in an endless stream of inscrutable, potatoes-in-mouth Method-speak (when he isn't screaming with equal unintelligibility at his constituents and the audience)...and his hairstyle makes him look so much like Lyle Lovett that I kept wanting to ask him how life was treating him after the breakup with Julia! Jude Law, as an idealistic reporter who gets caught in the whirlwind, reminds us once again why we all got good and tired of him after his appearances in six mostly crummy movies in 2004. Even the great Patricia Clarkson is ineffectual in Mercedes McCambridge's old role as Stark's cynical campaign manager; I'm tempted to chalk it up to Clarkson's natural on-screen warmth being out of place for such an unlikable character but then remembered that she actually did pull off a mostly unsympathetic role in 2003's Pieces of April. Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn used to judge a movie by how much it made his rear end wiggle uncomfortably out of sheer boredom; he would've had no problem with the original, but this version would've given his ass a serious case of St. Vitus Dance--at least up until the astoundingly pretentious, self-consciously symbolic and wildly hilarious assassination finale in which the blood of two characters slowly intermingles so that Zaillian can make a statement about how various types of evil are interconnected...that instead comes off as an oddly reassuring demonstration of how filmmakers as normally intelligent as Zaillian (who wrote Schindler's List and wrote and directed Searching For Bobby Fisher and A Civil Action) are just as capable of making horribly boneheaded missteps as us ordinary everyday average folks can be. Expand
  8. Robertxxx
    Oct 5, 2006
    9
    I
  9. PJ
    Oct 1, 2006
    10
    Best film I've seen this year.
  10. TheTerminator
    Sep 27, 2006
    0
    Atrocious remake of a once great movie. Embarrassing.
  11. Bobbie
    Sep 26, 2006
    2
    What were they thinking? Broderick Crawford was an Academy Award for his performance in this and they have ruined this remake. Simply terrible.
  12. Rev.Rikard
    Sep 25, 2006
    5
    Sean Penn was mesmerizing. Jude Law played his role with perfect restraint and depth. The script was rich with enough memorable quotes to make you want to listen to the dialogue more than once. But where was the editor? This was one, long tedious film that didn't have to be. Someone must have thought the acting and script sufficient enough to ensnare the audience in the story. I, Sean Penn was mesmerizing. Jude Law played his role with perfect restraint and depth. The script was rich with enough memorable quotes to make you want to listen to the dialogue more than once. But where was the editor? This was one, long tedious film that didn't have to be. Someone must have thought the acting and script sufficient enough to ensnare the audience in the story. I, like many, grew weary of the repetitious story that dragged us through one familiar scene after another. Tragically we watched Sean Penn play his role passionately in speech after speech as relationships never moved beyond the superficial and the characters never developed beyond the personalities we encountered in the film's beginning. There is a place called the "cutting room floor" and it serves a purpose in good film making. This film would have benefited greatly had someone dared to realize the speeches were ringing with uncomfortable familiarity while questions about relationships and the motivations that drove each character remained unexplored territory. Instead, we were forced to endure one long afternoon contemplating what kind of film this might have been had someone understood there is power in succinctness. I was so wearied from the creeping pace that I welcomed the surprises at the end. I welcomed them, not because they were really surprising, but because they signaled the film might be drawing to a merciful close. I left this film more disappointed than any other film this year. An A-list cast, a Pulitzer winning story would raise the hopes of any lover of film. In despair I left thinking, " O, what might have been!" Expand
  13. KingC.
    Sep 25, 2006
    1
    Bloody awful!
  14. CaryK.
    Sep 24, 2006
    8
    This film is better than it is being credited for - very well acted - more like a European film, creating moods and intentionally ponderous - not for all - but much better done than is often cited especially by the jaded critics - what else is new? They missed the point
  15. JohnP.
    Sep 24, 2006
    7
    Sean Penn is great as usual in this somewhat laborious and occassionally confusing story of the fascinating polictical career of Huey Long.
  16. BradC.
    Sep 23, 2006
    8
    I found this surprisingly good. It is a deep thinking film, not for everyone. However, what it does offer is a lot to think and discuss which is far better than much of the junk that Hollywood puts out.
  17. ACME
    Sep 23, 2006
    8
    I loved seeing the film--and think it will be a great addition to my DVD collection to help establish setting and so on for future AP English classes. The acting was powerful: no miscasting, lots of nuances from Jude Law, Sean Penn, and the rest. I saw reviews busting on Law for being so beautiful--a tragedy we share, of course--but honestly, I thought he did well at getting to the heart I loved seeing the film--and think it will be a great addition to my DVD collection to help establish setting and so on for future AP English classes. The acting was powerful: no miscasting, lots of nuances from Jude Law, Sean Penn, and the rest. I saw reviews busting on Law for being so beautiful--a tragedy we share, of course--but honestly, I thought he did well at getting to the heart of Jack. It really helped me to see the locations where they filmed: the statehouse, Burden's Landing, Mason City, and more. The script keeps lots of the dialogue, images, and the looping storytelling from the text I understand the compressions they needed to do--and they generally worked. My one quibble is the ending-- one) Rio just stopped the credits as they started rolling--and then the Muzak was playing "Go back, Jack, and do it again." which was both weird and strangely appropriate. and two) I love the book because it tells a tale of redemption, of making things right, of reconciliation--I think the film hints at it, but doesn't quite get there. Expand
  18. GloriaB.
    Sep 23, 2006
    5
    Period was off -the 50's didn't look or sound like this in Lousiana.
  19. LR.
    Sep 22, 2006
    4
    The story line was hard to follow: too many flashbacks and rehashing of scenes that became tedious. At times, the dialogue was unintelligible and the accents were all over the place. Sean Penn was strong as usual but the direction was lacking. Overall a big disappoinment.
  20. SeanP.
    Sep 22, 2006
    0
    A pitiful and laughable spectacle of some of our best actors.
  21. Dave
    Sep 22, 2006
    0
    A grave disappointment. Sean Penn's worst film. Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins prove that they too can act in a badly reviewed flop. This movie was so dull, so uneventful and so pointless...it never should have touched the screen again. Without the novel's brillance this movie could go down in history as one of the worst but just killing the idea makes it bad enough to never have A grave disappointment. Sean Penn's worst film. Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins prove that they too can act in a badly reviewed flop. This movie was so dull, so uneventful and so pointless...it never should have touched the screen again. Without the novel's brillance this movie could go down in history as one of the worst but just killing the idea makes it bad enough to never have to see. Patrica Clarkson and everyone were so bad. Expand
  22. Colin
    Sep 22, 2006
    7
    I think the critics are being overly tough. Is it flawed? Yes? Does it favor interpesonal dynamics over political science. Absolutely. Does it make a hyperspace leap from Willie's idealistic ascendance to his corruption with no intervening period of sober governance? Yup. Still, there's a lot to chew on here. Good movie to take your teenager to.
Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 37
  2. Negative: 13 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    You can, if you will, think of All the King's Men as a purely political parable, but that is to miss its blackest, bleakest meanings.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    40
    Overstuffed and fatally miscast, All the King's Men never comes to life.
  3. As Willie Stark, Sean Penn demonstrates how a great Method actor can make the world’s most unconvincing rabble-rouser.