Taglines: You have the ballot. But who has the power?
Pete St. John is a powerful and successful political consultant, with clients spread around the country. When his long-time friend and client, Ohio senator Sam Hastings, decides to quit politics, he is rapidly drafted to help with the campaign of the man destined to succeed him, unknown and mysterious businessman Jerome Cade.
In parallel, and unaware of the potential dangers, he proceeds to unravel the mystery surrounding Hastings dropping out, with the aide of his ex-wife, a prominent Washington-based journalist. But interests more powerful than local arm wrestling are at stake, and things start going awry.
Power is a 1986 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Richard Gere. The original screenplay by David Himmelstein focuses on political corruption and how power affects both those who wield it and the people they try to control.
Denzel Washington’s performance in the film as public relations expert Arnold Billings earned him the 1987 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. Beatrice Straight’s performance as Claire Hastings, however, earned her a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.
About the Story
Pete St. John (Richard Gere), a ruthless and highly successful media consultant, is juggling a couple of other political candidates when asked to join the campaign of wealthy but little-known Ohio businessman Jerome Cade (J. T. Walsh), who hopes to win the Senate seat being vacated by St. John’s friend Sam Hastings (E. G. Marshall).
He comes into conflict with Arnold Billings (Denzel Washington), a public relations expert whose firm Cade has hired. St. John’s investigation into Cade’s background prompts Billings to retaliate by bugging St. John’s office phones, flooding the basement of his headquarters, tampering with his private jet, and interfering with his other clients.
These actions force St. John to take a hard look at himself and what he has become and to decide whether his ex-wife Ellen Freeman (Julie Christie) and his former partner Wilfred Buckley (Gene Hackman) are right in believing that his success is due primarily to the exploitation of others.
Directed by: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Richard Gere, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman, Kate Capshaw, Denzel Washington, Beatrice Straight, Fritz Weaver, Michael Learned, E. Katherine Kerr
Screenplay by: David Himmelstein
Production Design by: Peter S. Larkin
Cinematography by: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Film Editing by: Andrew Mondshein
Costume Design by: Anna Hill Johnstone
Set Decoration by: Thomas C. Tonery
Art Direction by: William Barclay
Music by: Cy Coleman
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: January 31, 1986