All the King's Men (1949)


Broderick Crawford is no Orson Welles, but this meditation on the underbelly of American politics is at least in the same league as Citizen Kane. Also a Best Picture winner, the film traces the rise of populist local hero Willie Stark, as he moves through the American political machine like a juggernaut, chewing up anything in his way. His compatriots (a newsman turned publicist, various lovelies and heavies) stick by him as Stark becomes corrupted en route to the top. The direction by Robert Rossen (The Hustler) isn’t inspired, but he does get the job done with reasonable aplomb.