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Bulworth (1998)

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A suicidally disillusioned liberal politician puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters by affecting the rhythms and speech of hip-hop music and culture.

Director:

Warren Beatty

Writers:

Warren Beatty (story), Warren Beatty (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kimberly Deauna Adams Kimberly Deauna Adams ... Denisha
Vinny Argiro Vinny Argiro ... Debate Director
Sean Astin ... Gary
Kirk Baltz ... Debate Producer
Ernie Lee Banks ... Leroy (as Ernie Banks)
Amiri Baraka Amiri Baraka ... Rastaman
Christine Baranski ... Constance Bulworth
Adilah Barnes ... Mrs. Brown
Warren Beatty ... Jay Bulworth
Graham Beckel ... Man with Dark Glasses
Halle Berry ... Nina
Brandon N. Bowlin Brandon N. Bowlin ... Bouncer #2
Mongo Brownlee Mongo Brownlee ... Henchman #3
Thomas Jefferson Byrd ... Uncle Rafeeq
J. Kenneth Campbell ... Anthony
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Storyline

Senator Jay Bulworth is facing speculation-induced financial ruin, so he puts out a contract on his own life in order to collect a large, new insurance policy for his family. Living each moment on borrowed time, he suddenly begins spouting raw, unfiltered--and sometimes offensive in word but satirical in spirit -- thoughts to shocked audiences and handlers in the speech of hip-hop music and culture. His newfound uninhibitedness and new relationship with Nina carry him on a journey of political and spiritual renewal. Written by Stuart Hoffman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Brace yourself. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tribulations See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$141,816, 17 May 1998

Gross USA:

$26,528,185

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,202,884
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite receiving credit as the films' sole composer, Ennio Morricone's score only runs a little more than ten minutes within the final cut of the film. He wrote a full complete musical score that ran over 50 minutes. See more »

Goofs

The man who hands Bulworth a joint at the bar completely alters the direction he's facing and his visual expression in a split second as the shot changes. See more »

Quotes

Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth: I think it'd be a good idea to say "I'm sorry", huh?
Kid #1: Oh man, I waited my whole life for this moment!
Cop: I'm... sorry.
Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth: Say "No problem, Officer".
Kid #2: Go fuck your mama, you fucking pig cocksucker!
Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth: That's good enough.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For the song "Bulworth Breakdown", the title character Jay Bulworth is credited as a writer and performer. See more »

Connections

Features Blacula (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Bulworth (They Talk About It While We Live It)
Written by Larry Muggerud (as L. Muggerud), Kam (as C. Miller), KRS-One (as C. Parker),
Prodigy (as A. Johnson), Method Man (as C. Smith)
Performed by Kam (as KAM), Method Man, Prodigy, KRS-One
Produced by Larry Muggerud (as MUGGS) for Soul Assassins, Inc.
KAM appears courtesy of Royal Entertainment/University Records/Interscope
Method Man appears courtesy of Def Jam Records
Prodigy appears courtesy of Loud Records
KRS-One appears courtesy of Jive Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Shrewd Message Movie
26 March 2017 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

The movie may look goofy, but it's not. Note how the rule of big money behind our democratic façade is exposed. It could have been done in bits and pieces and through corruptive behavior, but that would have made the message less focused. Of course, simply declaiming the political message would have sounded preachy.

Instead, Bulworth does a wacky in-your-face by delivering the message in unmistakable, yet entertaining fashion. That's done by having the senator succumb to an alter ego brought on by mental exhaustion over his planned suicide. Serious messages are then wrapped in comedic contrasts. No more suit and tie for the new Bulworth. Instead, he looks like he went shopping in the dark at a charity ward. In fact, the now truth-telling hipster appears his real self suddenly breaking through the conventional façade. At the same time, watching him defy deadening media clichés amounts to a jarring hoot. And after romantic pursuit of an eye-catching Black woman (Berry), he learns day-to-day facts of ghetto plight by staying with her family. And when not speaking truth to power at White fund-raisers, Beatty's Bulworth uses his newly acquired hip-hop to rhyme out the message in catchy rapper fashion. Either way, it's one of the cleverest approaches to undercutting deadening political authority that I've seen.

No pretty-boy Beatty here. Pushing 60, he's haggard looking throughout, doing little to compensate until the end. Of course, that's the way it should be, given the emphasis on message. I suspect it's a movie the lefty actor-director-producer has long wanted to make. And make it he did, in spades.


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