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Huey Long

By Donald Liebenson

The story of Huey Long is the quintessential drama of power and ethics. To his constituents, he was a populist hero. To his critics, he was the unscrupulous "dictator of Louisiana" who didn't break the law, but used the law to achieve his own ends. A towering figure on the political landscape, Louisiana's infamous governor and United States senator may well have wound up in the White House, had he not been felled by an assassin's bullet in 1935. Long was the inspiration for Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the King's Men (a film version of which earned Broderick Crawford an Academy Award). As this fascinating documentary by Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz) vividly illustrates, truth is even more compelling than fiction. Originally broadcast on the award-winning PBS series The American Experience, Huey Long painstakingly charts Long's inexorable rise to power. Archival footage and interviews with Louisiana natives, politicians, family members, historians, and political colleagues bring Long to thundering and bombastic life.


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Director: Ken Burns

Stars: Huey Long

Released: September 28, 1985

Availability: DVD VHS

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