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At Theaters: 3/20/1998 On Video: 9/8/1998
Rated: R Length: 2 hr. 24 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 039806
Studio: Universal Pictures Inc.
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Storyline Heading

Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) is an idealistic young black man, the grandson of a Civil Rights leader, who is looking for something or someone to believe in.

He joins the presidential campaign of Jack Stanton (John Travolta), the progressive governor of a small southern state.

During the long, roller coaster campaign riddled with sexual scandal, Henry becomes progressively more involved with his new world, alternating between love and disillusion and discovering that both are a part of growing up American.

Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Comedy Drama - Primary Colors is a political satire which makes obvious reference to President Clinton. Critics of the president will certainly enjoy watching the scandals which unfold around the character, while his supporters may consider it just more Clinton-bashing. Those who enjoy satire like the recent Wag the Dog will probably also enjoy the insider comments about political campaigns. Lots of humor will probably appeal to a wide audience, but the subject may be too "insider" for some viewers.
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Cast and Crew Heading
John Travolta (Face/Off)
Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility)
Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade)
Kathy Bates (Titanic)
Maura Tierney (Primal Fear)
Adrian Lester (As You Like It)
Dir/Prod: Mike Nichols (The Birdcage)
Production Notes Heading
About The Production
Content Heading
PROFANITY: Extremely strong and frequent
SEX/NUDITY: No nudity; frequent reference to sexual activities
VIOLENCE: One brief scene of blood
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Consumption of beer, champagne
COMEDY: Satirical references to politics

Pictures © Universal Pictures Inc. ®
All Rights Reserved.

Critic's Review Heading
Very Good
It's ironic that Primary Colors arrives in the middle of yet another Presidential scandal, since it will guarantee that much coverage of the film will both miss the point and make the film's point for it. Based on the best-selling novel, Primary Colors presents a cynical but frequently hilarious portrait of politics turned into a non-stop exercise in mud-slinging and spin control. Viewers may pay too much attention to John Travolta's dead-on Bill Clinton impression to realize that the film isn't just about Bill Clinton. It's about the way we have created an unlimited market for trash, making a candidate's ideas, vision or desire to serve laughably inconsequential.

Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 266 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M/F)
Fairly High
20-29Yg Adults (M)
Fairly High
20-29Yg Adults (F)
About 50/50
30+Adults (M)
Fairly High
30+Adults (F)
About 50/50
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
The positive and negative comments made by moviegoers are very
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Henry Burton is an idealistic young black man who has reached a crossroad in his life. After three years as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill, Henry is renowned as a brilliant political strategist, but he has grown increasingly disenchanted with politics as usual. The grandson of the country's most celebrated Civil Rights leader, Henry wants to make history too; though cynical, he is still looking for someone doing something he can believe in.

But Henry is positive that someone is not Governor Jack Stanton, a virtually unknown southern governor who is running for President of the United States. Stanton is crisscrossing primary states but not yet tracking in the polls. A dark horse who could miss the race, the governor desperately wants Henry Burton on his team.

With considerable reluctance, Henry agrees to check Jack Stanton out. When he meets up with him, Stanton is pressing the flesh at a Harlem rally. Henry watches in astonishment as the perceived cracker politician mesmerizes a tough crowd by touching them all - body and soul. The crowd is seduced and so is Henry Burton. By the end of the day, Henry has agreed to run Stanton's uphill battle for the presidency - further convinced by his encounter with Susan Stanton, the brilliant, brutally frank, eminently attractive wife of the candidate.

Henry immediately sets up campaign headquarters in Mammoth Falls, the sleepy capitol of the Governor's home state and meets his new political family: Richard the sly, improbable political strategist who proudly describes himself as a "Redneck," Libby the fanatically loyal, overtly gay, campaign trouble-shooter who always has a big mouth and occasionally carries a big gun, and Daisy the campaign media advisor, young and smart and looking for love.

Together the Stantons and their young advisors begin their long, scandal-riddled roller coaster ride to the presidency - an adventure for Henry and his new friends that will prove at once hilarious and heartbreaking, and definitely history-making.

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