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Released 30 years ago, when the nation was still reeling from the Vietnam War and Watergate, this prophetic all-American mosaic reveals our national obsession with entertainment and politics. A presidential election is underway, and Replacement Party candidate Hal Philip Walker's election team is rounding up some acts for a fundraiser.


  • David Arkin
  • Barbara Baxley
  • Ned Beatty
  • Karen Black
  • Ronee Blakley
  • Timothy Brown
  • Keith Carradine
  • Geraldine Chaplin
  • Robert DoQui
  • Shelley Duvall

Did You Know?


  • (Cameo) Joan Tewkesbury: The film's writer. She is on the phone as Kenny's mother, and as Tom's lover.
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  • Two policemen directing traffic - one waving and another carrying a bullhorn - are visible in the middle of the interstate during the car crash as the bus crashes into the pileup.
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    • Hal Phillip Walker: Who do you think is running Congress? Farmers? Engineers? Teachers? Businessmen? No, my friends. Congress is run by lawyers. A lawyer is trained for two things and two things only. To clarify - that's one. And to confuse - that's the other thing. He does whichever is to his client's advantage. Did you ever ask a lawyer the time of day? He told you how to make a watch, didn't he? Ever ask a lawyer how to get to Mr. Jones' house in the country? You got lost, didn't you? Congress is composed of five hundred and thirty-five individuals. Two hundred and eighty-eight are lawyers. And you wonder what's wrong in Congress? No wonder we often know how to make a watch, but we don't know - the time of day.
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After I saw it I felt more alive, I felt I understood more about people, I felt somehow wiser. It's that good a movie.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

Altman's great kaleidoscopic ensemble comedy-drama about a frenzied few days in country music's capital, with an unlikely, quirky, explosive crowd of musicians, hangers-on and politicos all converging on a fateful concert crossroads.

Metacritic review by Michael Wilmington
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune