Jack Burden is a newspaper reporter who first hears of Willie Stark when his editor sends him to Kanoma County to cover the man. What's special about this nobody running for county treasurer? He's supposedly an honest man. Burden discovers this to be true when he sees Stark delivering a speech and having his son pass out handbills, while the local politicians do their best to intimidate him. Willie Stark is honest and brave. He's also a know-nothing hick whose schoolteacher wife has given him what little education he has. Stark loses the race for treasurer, but later makes his way through law school, becoming an idealistic attorney who fights for what is good. Someone in the governor's employ remembers Stark when the governor needs a patsy to run against him and split the vote of his rival. The fat cats underestimate Stark; but Jack Burden, Stark's biggest supporter, overestimates the man's idealism. To get where he wants to go, Willie Stark is willing to crack a few eggs - which ... Written by
After Robert Rossen took the Fifth Amendment when he was questioned by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1951, Columbia broke all connections with him and bought all rights and residuals in the films he made for the studio, including this one. In 1953, Rossen again appeared before the committee and named fifty-seven people in Hollywood who had at one time belonged to the Communist Party. See more »
During the exchange of gunfire at the end of the movie, the man returning fire on the one who shot Willie Stark fires at least ten bullets from a six-shot revolver. See more »
Every dog has his day. Broderick Crawford (sometimes remembered for the TV series "Highway Patrol") hit the zenith of his career with an Oscar winning performance. As Willie Stark he reeks of the abuse of power we have seen in the year's since. Never again does Crawford turn himself loose in a role that was really written for him. (In Highway Patrol all the chases were shot on private land - Crawford's driving license was revoked for numerous DUI infractions). You can't leave out Mercedes McCambridge. She is the perfect second lead. Her performance is filled with depth. Mercedes is the role model for today's woman. Tough yet filled with compassion. She and Crawford provide sensation entertainment without one frame of CGI. If you haven't seen this film, rent it, buy it or go to a retrospective. Your film going life is incomplete without a viewing.
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