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Based on 37 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 38
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Overthought, overwrought and thuddingly underwhelming, this high-profile misfire makes a congealed gumbo out of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer-winning 1946 novel and the Oscar-winning 1949 movie that followed it, sinking a classy cast in the goo. show more

  • 25
    Ruthe Stein San Francisco Chronicle

    Recalling the earthiness Broderick Crawford brought to the original, I couldn't help thinking Gandolfini should have been cast as Willie. show more

  • 50
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    You can't help but have high expectations from Zaillian and this stellar cast. But the result this time is a thuddingly tedious soap opera. show more

  • 10
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    What a botch. All the King's Men, a remake of Robert Rossen's classic 1949 film about the rise and fall of a Southern demagogue, has no center, no coherence, no soul and no shame. show more

  • 50
    Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer

    In essence, a wild soap opera disguised as a political allegory, it's a movie, with its over-the-map performances, that is worth catching only for the inadvertent laugh or two. show more

  • 50
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    Failures on the scale of writer-director Steven Zaillian's All the King's Men are as rare as falling sequoias, and they make a noise even if no one's in the woods to hear them. This sequoia is very noisy indeed. show more

  • 50
    Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    Audience can certainly find entertainment in this movie, so long as no one takes things too seriously. One suspects, however, that Zaillian and a vast team of producers and executive producers that includes political consultant and pundit James Carville believe they are making a serious commentary on American politics. It comes closer to kitsch. show more

  • 63
    Ken Fox TV Guide

    We never see enough of the small compromises Willie Stark makes on the way up to fully grasp the tragedy of his fall. Some will undoubtedly find Penn's hamboned, spittle-lashing performance a bit much, but it's a pretty close to Warren's original conception. show more

  • 63
    Rick Groen The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Some performances carry a picture, this one bench-presses it. Sean Penn's work here is so mesmerizing, so intense, so guaranteed to put him front and centre when Oscar reads out the nominees, as to almost obscure the multiple failings of the misguided movie around it. show more

  • 50
    Ty Burr Boston Globe

    I'm not the first observer, or even the second, to liken the star's (Penn) portrayal of fictional Louisiana governor Willie Stark to the late John Belushi's impersonation of Joe Cocker. show more

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