Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
All the King's Men
The novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 and is acknowledged to be one of the best American political novels of all time. It portrays the life of ambitious, unscrupulous and populist politician Willie Stark as told by Jack Burden, who works for Willie. There is a striking similarity between Stark and the real-life politico Huey P. Long. The novel is important not only for its fascinating depiction of the rise and corruption of Stark, however, but also for the portrayal of the cynical Burden.
Willie Stark (the Boss)
One of the main characters, Willie Stark, undergoes a transformation from a weak governor candidate into a charismatic leader of the common people. He wields his power in order to to good, but the accumulating power he receives corrupt his noble reasons. His Machiavellian nature eventually brings enemies, adding to a corruption in the end that ends his life.
Jack Burden is the narrator, who tells the story in a view looking back at the events leading up to Willie's demise. Much of Jack's narrative refers to events in the past, and through this readers can understand Jack's growth as a character. One of Jack's major traits is his irresponsibility. Jack is a history student, who, at the time of his pursuit for a doctorate degree, quit on his dissertation. Many of the events that follow also show Jack's attempt to escape reality and responsibility. But in the end, Jack is able to show his realization, after much disaster concerning the people around him (such as Willie, his long-time employer.) Thus, the novel illustrates the growth of character through Jack himself.
- Best Picture - Robert Rossen, producer
- Best Actor - Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark
- Best Supporting Actress - Mercedes McCambridge as Sadie Burke
It was also nominated for
- Best Supporting Actor - John Ireland as Jack Burden
- Best Director - Robert Rossen
- Best Film Editing - Al Clark and Robert Parrish
- Best Writing, Screenplay - Robert Rossen
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