Primary Colors

Synopsis: Jack Stanton is running for president. The election is seen through the eyes of young Henry Burton. Along the way Stanton must deal with a sex scandal.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Mike Nichols
Production: Universal
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 29 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
143 min

He took out four machine gun

nests of japaneses soldiers...

who had pinned down

his buddies.

Did it with one grenade, his rifle,

bayonet, and bare hands.


President Truman gave him

the Medal of Honor.

And when he came home,

there was a parade.

The town fathers came to my

parents' house and said:

"Charlie, what are you going to do

now" Charlie said he didn't know.

The mayor said,

"Maybe you'd like a college scholarship

in State University"

The banker said maybe Charlie

didn't want to go back to school.

Maybe he'd like a management

job with the bank.

And the sawmill owner said,

"Don't be cooped up...

in a school or bank. Come

manage my crew."

And you know what? Charlie

turned them all down.

-What did he do?


He just laid on the couch and smoked

Luckies. Couldn't get him off it.

Was he messed up in the head

from the war?


It was just that he

couldn't read.

He couldn't read and was too

embarrassed to tell anyone.

He had the courage to win

the Medal of Honor...

but didn't have the courage to do

what you're doing here.

He didn't have the courage to get

the help he needed.

So, know that I appreciate what

you're doing. And I honor it.

When people say, "Jack Stanton,

why spend so much...

effort on adult literacy?"

I say to them...

I say, " Because"...

it gives me a chance to

see courage."

I want to thank you.

I want to thank you for allowing

me to visit here today.

Let's get him out of here.

He likes it.

Governor Stanton, thank you

for coming today.

I will be damned.

I'm... Ooh! I'm sorry.

You're going to work for him.

Won't you?

No, I'm not. I'm just going to

meet him and talk.

-About what?

-Well, about going to work for him.

How can you quit on Adam Larkin

and get in bed with some...

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Elaine May

Elaine Iva May (née Berlin; born April 21, 1932) is an American screenwriter, film director, actress, and comedienne. She made her initial impact in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May. After her duo with Nichols ended, May subsequently developed a career as a director and screenwriter. Her screenwriting has been twice nominated for the Academy Award, for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and the Nichols-directed Primary Colors (1998). May is celebrated for the string of films she directed in the 1970s: her 1971 black comedy A New Leaf, in which she also starred; her 1972 dark romantic comedy The Heartbreak Kid; and her 1976 gritty drama Mikey and Nicky, starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. In 1996, she reunited with Nichols to write the screenplay for The Birdcage, directed by Nichols. After studying acting with theater coach Maria Ouspenskaya in Los Angeles, she moved to Chicago in 1955 and became a founding member of the Compass Players, an improvisational theater group. May began working alongside Nichols, who was also in the group, and together they began writing and performing their own comedy sketches, which were enormously popular. In 1957 they both quit the group to form their own stage act, Nichols and May, in New York. Jack Rollins, who produced most of Woody Allen's films, said their act was "so startling, so new, as fresh as could be. I was stunned by how really good they were."They performed nightly to mostly sold-out shows, in addition to making TV appearances and radio broadcasts. In their comedy act, they created satirical clichés and character types which made fun of the new intellectual, cultural, and social order that was just emerging at the time. In doing so, she was instrumental in removing the stereotype of women being unable to succeed at live comedy. Together, they became an inspiration to many younger comedians, including Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. After four years, at the height of their fame, they decided to discontinue their act. May became a screenwriter and playwright, along with acting and directing. Their relatively brief time together as comedy stars led New York talk show host Dick Cavett to call their act "one of the comic meteors in the sky." Gerald Nachman noted that "Nichols and May are perhaps the most ardently missed of all the satirical comedians of their era." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Primary Colors" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Oct. 2021. <>.

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