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Primary Colors [DVD]


Price: £5.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Primary Colors [DVD] + The American President [DVD] [1995]
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Product details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates, Adrian Lester, Paul Guilfoyle
  • Directors: Mike Nichols
  • Producers: Mike Nichols
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Aug 2009
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00079FGXK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,815 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

This political satire, based on a book by an (originally) anonymous insider (now known to be Joe Klein) who worked on Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign, centres on the charismatic, philandering, power-hungry Southern Democrat governor Jack Stanton (John Travolta). Together with his equally headstrong wife (Emma Thompson), Stanton rises from obscurity to become a main player on the political map, but various sexual scandals in his private life threaten to derail his ascent to power. Adrian Lester, Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates feature as part of his eccentric campaign team.

From Amazon.co.uk

Based on the novel by Anonymous (a.k.a. political reporter Joe Klein) and released when the Monica Lewinsky scandal was in full swing, Primary Colors may have been a case of too much, too soon for many moviegoers, who preferred the real-life Clinton crisis over the movie's thinly disguised "Clintonesque" comedy. The general public felt that the film was exploiting the president's indiscretions, and as a result one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 1998 was a box-office disappointment. But when considered apart from the Clinton scandals and judged on its own considerable merits, this superb comedy-drama provides an illuminating, insightful, and frequently hilarious look at the harsh realities of presidential politics. John Travolta stars as Jack Stanton, a presidential hopeful whose campaign is challenged by dual dilemmas: how to squelch a scandal involving the candidate's alleged sex with an underage girl, and how to handle information that could potentially ruin Stanton's opponent (superbly played by Larry Hagman). Stanton's wife (Emma Thompson) stands by her man despite awareness of his infidelities, but his loyal campaign planners (played by Billy Bob Thornton, Maura Tierney, and Adrian Lester) experience a crisis of conscience. So does one of the Stantons' oldest friends (Kathy Bates, in an Oscar-nominated role), whose sense of betrayal and lost idealism proves too much to bear. Masterfully adapted by director Mike Nichols and his former-comedy-partner-turned-screenwriter, Elaine May, Primary Colors plays like a sophisticated comedy with loads of memorable scenes and dialogue, but it sneaks up on you with devastating dramatic impact. Anchored by Travolta's superb performance (which is reminiscent of Clinton without being a cheap impersonation), the movie presents a story of great moral complexity and leaves viewers to contemplate their own reactions to the volatile and ethically complicated game of modern politics. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "cwhd83" on 18 Feb 2006
Format: DVD
Although it's never going to be the greastest political film ever made it's a great insight into Bill Clinton's run for the Whitehouse and the psyche of the man. I should say it's not explicity linked to Clinton at any stage but the similarities are too great to be anyone else.
With fine acting all round (particularly Travolta and Thompson) it is really quite a believable exploration of the man that helps understand the character of his 8 years as President. I found Travolta's portrayal, constantly switching between personas depending on the audience, engrossing - the Southern Governer singing "You Are My Sunshine" to the Champion of the working man rounding up donations from industrialists.
Brilliant stuff! Definitely worth watching, especially if you like the West Wing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erik Callaway on 27 April 2003
Format: VHS Tape
John Travolta was a prime choice for this would be Bill Clinton, named Jack Stanton. His dye-job wasn’t great, but aside from that, this movie was a pretty strong adaptation of the book with the same title. The book was written in the first person perspective of Henry Burton, the grandson of a civil rights leader. Though the perspective issue was a bit difficult to overcome completely, the story still moved really well. The movie could have easily been an hour longer. The only real problem presented was perhaps an editing issue. There were a few terms used partway through the film that perhaps were used earlier and edited for time’s sake.
The movie was good. It told the story of a politician, even though he was a brilliant strategist and possessed a keen political mind, he really cared for and loved people. He wanted to shake hands with you and hear your story. Overall, it showed the trail of bad choices and shortcomings of a brilliant, but flawed, man.
epc
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Oct 2000
Format: VHS Tape
OK, before I start I must admit that I love politics. That no doubt helps when seing Primary Colors. The movie in itself is very good but given some political interest it becomes one of the movies people can watch again and again and again. A must view movie, the book is next on my reading list. And given that as a rule I don't read fiction that is quite a feat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 May 2010
Format: DVD
It just occurred to me, Jack Stanton is also the name of a character in the Greta Scacchi / Tom Berenger movie Shattered. Bit of trivia for you.

Enjoyable political drama loosely based on the Clinton campaign. Travolta is very entertaining as Governor Jack, on a rocky road to securing the Democratic nomination. Appropriately, he's almost outclassed by Larry Hagman's portrayal of Stanton's arch rival Governor Picker. The campaign for election is seen from the perspective of new recruit Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) as he questions his relationship with Stanton's wavering political ethics; fellow Brit actor Emma Thompson is also impressive as Stanton's determined wife Susan. Kathy Bates deserved an Oscar for her supporting role as 'dust buster' Libby.

Suffice to say, there are no weak links in the casting and the story has the sour taste of truth in it, though it is often very funny. Certainly a world away from the idealized politik of The American President [DVD] [1995]

Worth watching again round election time, to remind you that where there's naked ambition there's also sacrifice and suffering.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. J. Stark on 19 Jan 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I love it, John Travolta and Emma Thomson are so good in the roles of Bill and Hilary Clinton (thinly disguised). I can watch this one over and over, all the other characters are so well played as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Abraham on 22 Feb 2004
Format: DVD
Well, what can I say! This movie managed to win me around the second time I watched it. For me, Travolta gave the most remarkable performance as Jack Stanton. His acting was a mixture of dry humour and steely resilience in the face of some pinching obstacles. His attempt to impersonate Bill Clinton is clear for everyone to see. Perhaps, its the accent and the laugh that gives it away! It's really heart warming stuff but the issue at heart here is deadly serious and thought provoking. Yet, who exactly is one being forced to be serious about? Clinton or the other President's in American history who have gone through similar shame? I can't help but feel that this film ultimately redeems Clinton's actions in his private life. It also forces the question as to whether one should really be mixing a politicians personal life with his public life.
Other notable actors in this film include Adrian Lester who plays Stanton's close advisor and Emma Thompson who plays the first lady. Both are remarkable in their respective roles in that their performance embodies the underlying disbelief at the character of Stanton. The former boyfriend of Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton, also manages to deliver a brilliant performance as the Southern 'redneck' who along with Stanton makes a credible impression that this film is depicting a Southern Democratic storm that is on its way to the White House. Of course, like any storm, parts of it gets lost in the process. But you can't beat the course of nature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Big Al on 2 Dec 2010
Format: DVD
As is often the case, I liked the book more than the movie. But the movie is very good. I particularly like the part Hagman played. I think this tells us more about Clinton than many of the non-fiction books about him. Thompson, as is often the case, is great!
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