All the King's Men

All the King's Men

Steven Zaillian (2005)

12 Certificate


Our Score
In his role as wily politician Willie Stark, Sean Penn does a lot of shouting and grand gesticulating, but fails to bring this remake of the 1949 Oscar-winning drama to life. Writer/director Steven Zaillian seems overawed by the task of adapting Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which shows Stark (a character inspired by real-life Louisiana governor Huey P Long) gradually being seduced away from his populist ideals by the lure of power. Jude Law plays Stark's right-hand man Jack Burden, who tries to avert scandal while battling his own inner demons. Unfortunately, Zaillian's script becomes so tangled up in numerous subplots - Burden's relationship with an old flame (Kate Winslet), to name but one - that supposedly significant revelations have little impact, and so Zaillian is forced to rely on endless talky scenes and a ponderous voiceover to explain the story. And the performances of the undeniably A-list cast, which also includes Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins, seem affected thanks to the ostentatious direction.


Ambitious populist politician Willie Stark develops a reputation as a champion of the working classes. However, he finds the lure of power too much to resist, while his moral standards begin to slip in the race to become state governor. Remake of the 1949 drama, starring Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo.

Cast & Crew

Willie Stark Sean Penn
Jack Burden Jude Law
Judge Irwin Anthony Hopkins
Anne Stanton Kate Winslet
Adam Stanton Mark Ruffalo
Sadie Burke Patricia Clarkson
Tiny Duffy James Gandolfini
Sugar Boy Jackie Earle Haley
Director Steven Zaillian
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia TriStarAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 27 Oct 2006