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
Director Robert Rossen filmed in an unusual manner. Nobody in the cast had a script. Rossen let them read it once and took it away from them. According to Broderick Crawford, "We really had to stay on our toes." See more »
Near the end of the movie, on the courthouse steps, Stark is shown from the front with Sugar Boy standing directly at his right shoulder. From behind, however, Sugar Boy is nowhere near Stark. See more »
[Inside the governor's swerving car being driven at dangerous speeds by Sugar]
You'll never live to be impeached!
Boy, I'll live to be President!
See more »
Story of Willie Stark, who starts out running for an Assemblyman in the south up against the local political machine, who eventually rises to governor of his state supported by the machine and every interest, Stark originally set out to fight, in the meanwhile ruining the lives of his family & associates. Crawford is very powerful in his role as Stark, delivering a very convincing performance. McCambridge is also excellent as Stark's conniving political aide (and mistress), Ireland effective as the reporter, from whom the story is viewed. Very good direction by Rossen, who turns the likeable Stark, into a despicable fink by the film's end. Sharp editing also by Clark. Nice moral play to watch. Rating, 10.
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