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232 Ratings

Primary Colors

Directed by Mike Nichols
United States, 1998


Jack Stanton is running for president. The election is seen through the eyes of young Henry Burton. Along the way Stanton must deal with a sex scandal.

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Primary Colors Directed by Mike Nichols

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1999 | 2 nominations including: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

BAFTA Awards

1999 | Winner: Best Screenplay - Adapted

1999 | Nominee: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Writers Guild of America

1999 | Nominee: Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Screen)

The script from Nichols’s most venerable collaborator, Elaine May, is tops and Emma Thompson absolutely crushes it as the ambitious first-lady-in-waiting. The movie definitely deserves another look in light of Hillary Clinton’s campaign—may we recommend an impromptu double feature of PRIMARY COLORS and THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR?
July 01, 2016
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What a film like Primary Colors loses in immediate responsiveness it gains in reflective distance. It offers a calmer, more lucid perspective of the political process, compared to Scandal’s headlong dive into its vicissitudes… Where Primary Colors offers the perspective of an ordinary citizen whose desire to change conditions for the better prompts him to join the political system, Scandal entirely disregards the American people, at least as a civic entity.
March 12, 2014
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Nichols’s emotionally garish, visually dull film was the era’s more direct cinematic response to Clinton, a barely disguised account of the Arkansas governor’s rise to the presidency. The film starred a pudgy, white-haired John Travolta doing an SNL-guest-host-grade impression of Clinton (here known as Jack Stanton), Billy Bob Thornton channeling James Carville, and Emma Thompson chewing on an American accent like water taffy as a simplified, neurotic incarnation of Hillary.
December 11, 2012
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