''All The King's Men'' is a 1946 novel by Robert Penn Warren, which won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize. It chronicles the life of radically-liberal (in point of fact, populist-socialist) Louisiana governor Willie "the Boss" Stark (in the book and films)/Talos (in the never-properly-completed play), through the eyes of LemonyNarrator and eventual main character Jack Burden. In particular, it covers Stark's two campaigns for governor, his [[YourCheatingHeart chronic infidelity]], and his [[WellIntentionedExtremist increasingly frenzied]] attempts to create a new state hospital. Almost universally assumed to be [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory loosely based on the true story]] of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huey_Long Louisiana governor]] UsefulNotes/HueyLong, although Warren always denied it. Highly recommended reading.

Made into a film two times, in 1949 and 2006. The 1949 version was a critical and commercial success, winning three AcademyAwards including Best Picture. The 2006 adaptation however was a BoxOfficeBomb and critical failure, despite a huge cast including SeanPenn and KateWinslet.
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!!This book contains examples of:
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The Boss and Adam Stanton both die, but Jack has gotten over his nihilism, accepted the past, and is even married to Anne Stanton. Lucy Stark also seems to have dealt with grief fairly well by raising Tom's probable son..]]
* DeepSouth: Although [[WhereTheHellIsSpringfield it's never quite made clear which state the novel is set]], it is ''very'' obviously Southern, and ''probably'' a fictionalized Louisiana.
* DrivenToSuicide: Duncan Trice, Mortimer L. Littlepaugh, [[spoiler:Judge Irwin]].
* ElectionDayEpisode: At points it focuses on Willie Stark's campaigns for election and re-election for Governor.
* GoldDigger: Jack's mom is indicated to have been this and a LadyDrunk. [[spoiler:In reality both are fueled by her suppressed love for Judge Irwin, who is Jack's real father.]]
* GoneHorriblyRight: Jack says his investigation into Judge Irwin was successful. It's enough to convince Adam to betray his idealism and become Willie's hospital director. Jack just also happens to find more than he was bargaining for, [[spoiler:cause Irwin to kill himself, and send Anne into the arms of Willie, which ends up getting both Willie and Adam killed.]]
* TheGreatDepression: The time period in which the novel is set, and the reason Willie Stark gets elected. (The 2006 film adaptation shifts the setting to the 1950s for some reason.)
* HairOfTheDog: Willie didn't drink until his first campaign for Governor. Then, one night, he drinks for the first time in his life. Suffering from the hangover of his life, Jack recommends the hair of the dog. He then delivers the speech of his life.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Willie starts honest, but quickly is corrupted when he realizes what he needs to do to become Governor. Adam's fear of being corrupted is part of what leads him to [[spoiler:assassinate Willie]].
* HeroicBSOD: Jack Burden and the "Great Twitch".
** Jack has an earlier set of these called "The Great Sleep."
* IronicNickname: Tiny Duffy isn't.
* IsThisThingStillOn
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Duffy.]]
* LemonyNarrator: Jack, at first.
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:Jack's real father is Judge Irwin. Jack doesn't learn this until after Irwin's death.]]
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Most commentators have noted that Willie Stark, in his actions and ideology, resembled UsefulNotes/HueyLong, which would make sense since Warren lived in Louisiana for a time. He always denied that Stark was based on Long.
* ParentalSubstitute: Irwin for Jack. [[spoiler:Subverted in that Irwin is Jack's actual father.]]
* ThePollyanna: Lucy, who ignores her husband's infidelity and assorted antics [[spoiler:at first]].
* PuppyLove: Anne and Jack, although by the time of most of the book's events (and even some of the flashbacks) they're both of the appropriate age.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Stark's campaign team, weird-but-happy TrueCompanions vibes and all.
* RoadShow: The portion immediately after Jack's HeroicBSOD.
* SassySecretary: Sadie Burke. (Sassy ''Campaign Manager'', actually, but the dynamic is the same.)
* TheStarscream: Tiny Duffy. [[spoiler:A successful example.]]
* TraumaCongaLine: [[spoiler:It starts with the suicide of Judge Irwin, continues with Tom getting paralyzed, and ends with Adam Stanton and Willie Stark killing each other. It's a TraumaCongaLine for everyone in the story, but is worst for Jack, Anne, and Sadie. Jack found out that Irwin was his father right after his death, Anne was the instrument that was used to set Adam off on Willie, and Sadie being dumped after Tom's paralysis was what led her to give Tiny Duffy the ammo to kill Willie.]].
* TrueCompanions: See RagtagBunchOfMisfits above.
* TheUnintelligible: Possibly unintentional. Sean Penn's accent is really thick and half the things he says are metaphors only people from 1930s Louisiana would understand.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Some think that the book is a covert biography of Louisiana governor Huey P. Long. This was {{Jossed}}, but the similarities are so striking that [[DeathOfTheAuthor virtually nobody believes it]].
* VillainousGlutton: Tiny Duffy again. Also Willie Stark, [[GreyAndGrayMorality for a given value of "villainous"]].
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: Warren never makes clear what state ''All The King's Men'' takes place in (if it even exists), other than that it's Southern. However, the parallels to Huey Long are sufficient to get most people to conclude that it's Louisiana.
** It borders on NoCommunitiesWereHarmed, but the fact that it's never identified, rather than given a different name, is sufficient to keep it on this side of the trope.
* WideEyedIdealist: Adam Stanton. Willie before Sadie revealed he was Harrison's Dupe.
* YourCheatingHeart: The Boss has an extramarital affair with Sadie Burke, and then cheats on ''her'', first with a random prostitute in Chicago, then with [[spoiler:Anne Stanton, which triggers Jack's HeroicBSOD]].
** In the 2006 film version, Stark is shown to have a harem consisting of loose women from all over the world, including a Spanish ice-skater ("The world is full of sluts on skates") and a Japanese {{geisha}}. For this reason, Jack Burden is referred to sarcastically as "State Director of Pimps."
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