Primary Colors

1998 R 2h 20m DVD

Primary Colors

1998 R 2h 20m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
This adaptation of Joe Klein's roman à clef, a thinly veiled take on Bill Clinton's campaign for the 1992 Democratic nomination, stars John Travolta as a presidential hopeful embroiled in sex scandals. Emma Thompson plays his long-suffering wife.
John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Adrian Lester, Kathy Bates, Maura Tierney, Larry Hagman, Paul Guilfoyle, Diane Ladd, Rob Reiner, J.C. Quinn, Allison Janney, Robert Klein, Mykelti Williamson, Brian Markinson, Bonnie Bartlett, Cynthia O'Neal, Chelcie Ross, Tony Shalhoub, Bianca Lawson, Robert Cicchini, Harrison Young, Stacy Edwards, Gia Carides, Robert Easton, Bill Maher, James Earl Jones
Mike Nichols
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 15+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 15+
age 15+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this drama (based on the book by the same name) is a thinly veiled take on the scandals of Bill Clinton's presidency. Even though the movie's characters are seeking the highest office in the land, they still cuss like longshoremen. Ethically, they're also in the gutter. The Jack Stanton character, presidential material, is a womanizer who makes no apologies (just perpetual cover-ups) for his personal flaws, yet charms us as much as he's supposed to charm the voters. The character who seems the most principled commits suicide.

Sexual Content

No action, but characters discuss sex and scandal in and out of bed. A man in an office setting shows a female co-worker his penis (out of the frame). One character is a lesbian, another confesses to a homosexual affair.


A glimpse of the body of a suicide-by-gunshot.


Much gutter language ("f--k," etc.) among the powerful and influential.

Social Behavior

It's an ethical quagmire, but at least the script addresses this. A presidential hopeful is a married womanizer, his wife is an unloving, ambitious schemer, and their staff is full of enablers. The one character with scruples kills herself over it.


Panasonic, Krispy Kreme, and Larry King's show all get plugs.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Social drinking. Discussions of cocaine use.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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