Though an old movie, it’s themes are pertinent. Broderick Crawford’s character (Willie Stark) is an underdog politician from a rural area who has big ideals and inspires the people through moving orations during which he promises the achievement of these ideals: free health care for all, the best public schools, and massive infrastructure projects that will create good jobs for the working class. He inspires the working the class to take action and they vote for him in droves. In the process of winning the election for governor, Willie makes a million deals with the devil in service of his ideals. He continues to make these deals until he has lost everything–becoming much worse than the evil he had been fighting.
If you ever wondered about the emotional content and rationale behind many Americans’ fear of Socialism, this movie will help explain it to you. Written shortly after the end of World War II, the message and the roots of the allegory are clear: Socialism offers a clear path to dictatorships. The working class will think they lead the revolution but will only be living out a massive delusion until the upper class cleans up the mess. At least, that’s what All The King’s Men is saying.