Bob Roberts (1992)

R | 103 mins | Comedy, Satire | 4 September 1992

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HISTORY

The following statement appears after the film’s title: “A Documentary by Terry Manchester.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actor Tim Robbins began work on creating the character of “Bob Roberts” in 1986 as a “businessman-singer,” but gradually turned him into a folk singer running for political office because of what the actor felt was a growing “Hollywoodization of Washington.” He introduced the character nationally in a segment on the 13 Oct 1986 episode of the comedy television series, Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11 Oct 1975), which Robbins also directed. Afterward, he wrote a screenplay for a feature film, which included a parody of Saturday Night Live called Cutting Edge Live.
       A 5 Nov 1991 HR production chart stated that principal photography began on 4 Nov 1991 in Pittsburgh, PA. Production lasted thirty-four days. An article in the 3 Aug 1992 HR reported the picture’s final budget was $3.9 million. Armyan Bernstein was listed as a producer in the 19 Jul 1991 Screen International, but he is not credited onscreen.
       Working titles for the film included: Rob Roberts, Times Are Changing, Bob Roberts: Times Are Changing Back, and Times Are Changing Back. One of the film’s main songs, “Times Are Changin’ Back,” was a reaction to Bob Dylan’s 1964 protest song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” which represented, for Bob Roberts, the liberal attitudes of the American 1960s that he was railing against.
       Gore Vidal, a well-known liberal political commentator and writer, ad libbed most of his lines. “Tim squatted down with the camera and ... More Less

The following statement appears after the film’s title: “A Documentary by Terry Manchester.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actor Tim Robbins began work on creating the character of “Bob Roberts” in 1986 as a “businessman-singer,” but gradually turned him into a folk singer running for political office because of what the actor felt was a growing “Hollywoodization of Washington.” He introduced the character nationally in a segment on the 13 Oct 1986 episode of the comedy television series, Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11 Oct 1975), which Robbins also directed. Afterward, he wrote a screenplay for a feature film, which included a parody of Saturday Night Live called Cutting Edge Live.
       A 5 Nov 1991 HR production chart stated that principal photography began on 4 Nov 1991 in Pittsburgh, PA. Production lasted thirty-four days. An article in the 3 Aug 1992 HR reported the picture’s final budget was $3.9 million. Armyan Bernstein was listed as a producer in the 19 Jul 1991 Screen International, but he is not credited onscreen.
       Working titles for the film included: Rob Roberts, Times Are Changing, Bob Roberts: Times Are Changing Back, and Times Are Changing Back. One of the film’s main songs, “Times Are Changin’ Back,” was a reaction to Bob Dylan’s 1964 protest song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” which represented, for Bob Roberts, the liberal attitudes of the American 1960s that he was railing against.
       Gore Vidal, a well-known liberal political commentator and writer, ad libbed most of his lines. “Tim squatted down with the camera and asked me questions and I just improvised,” he said in production notes.
       The film was screened in May 1992 during the Directors Fortnight program of France’s Cannes Film Festival, as noted in the 7 May 1992 DV and 15 May 1992 Screen International. The following month, the 25 Jun 1992 LAT reported that the picture would be shown that evening at the Motion Picture Academy Theater in Los Angeles, CA, for AFI’s Fest. Within five days after the film’s 4 Sep 1992 release in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C., the film had taken in $314,000 at the box-office, as noted in the 9 Sep 1992 LAT.
       The film marked Tim Robbins’ debut as a film screenwriter and director, and the first motion picture appearance of actor Jack Black.
       End credits state: “Special Musical Thanks: The Freeway Philharmonic; Lyle Lovett; Margaret Ross; Dudley Oakes.” End credits acknowledge the following: “People Weekly Magazine logo and trademark used with permission, The Time Inc. Magazine Company; Rolling Stone logo and trademark courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine; Newsweek name and logo courtesy of Newsweek c. Newsweek Inc.; Billboard magazine logo and trademark courtesy of BPI Communications; Time trademark and format by permission of the publisher, The Time, Inc. Magazine Co.” End credits also state: “The producers wish to thank the following for their support: The Pittsburgh Film Office-Robert Curran; American Tourister, Warren, RI; Budget Rent-A-Car, Pittsburgh, PA; Cameron Coca Cola, Washington, PA; Channel Master, Smithfield, NC; Coca Cola Entertainment USA, Los Angeles, CA; Curtis Mathes Center, Washington, PA; Dom Perignon, Schieffelin & Somerset; Easy Spirits Footwear, Manning, Savage & Lee, NY.; Frito Lay, Dallas, TX; Herr Foods, Inc., Perryopolis, PA; Info-Grip, Baton Rouge, LA; Jones Brewing Company, Smithton, PA; Market Control, Canonsburg, PA; Pepsi Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA; Serengeti Eyewear, CA; Taylor Guitars, Santee, CA; The D.I. Clark Company, Pittsburgh, PA; Trilogic Computer Systems, Canonsburg, PA; the crews of KDKA and WQED, Pittsburgh; Nicole Bixler; Susan Shaw and The Bob Roberts Dancers: Kristin Altfather; Jennifer Clipplinger; Lori Doycich; Crystal Galipeau; Tracy Generalovich; Julie Harkness; Nadine Isenegger; Shari Jackson; Stephanie Lang; Erika Lingley; Cheryl Mann; Michelle Nagy; Keri Nowe; Elena Porco; Joy Short; Carolyn Sibray; Jennifer Stetor; Janine Willett.” End credits also acknowledge: “And special thanks to: Stephen Castellano; Andrew Cockburn; Jody Gottlieb; Sevket Gozalan; John Head; Shelly Houis; Gwynne Hunter; Alexander Jullan; Michael Kuhn; Eriq La Salle; Louis Licari; Steve Mangel; Stephanie Jo Meckler; Lorne Michaels; Jane Moore; Paula Muzic; Lalia Nabulsi; Larry Richmond; Malcolm Ritchie; Ratso Sloman; Kathryn Smith; Susan Starr; Jill Tandy.” End credits further state: “With very special thank to: Mary Robbins; Robert Altman; Frank Bednash; Jeff Berg; Boaty Boatwright; Brian Brophy; Sam Cohn; Elaine Goldsmith; Nora Guthrie; Marjorie Moore; Nellie Nuglei; Peter Raleigh; Thiery Robbins; Chelsea Robbins; Terry Tomalin; Bart Walker; R. A. White; The Actors’ Gang; Woody Guthrie; EMLA; JHR; SS; MGR.”
       The following statement precedes end credits: “Vote.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 May 1992
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1992
p. 6, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1992
pp. 21-22.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1992
Calendar, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
4 Sep 1992
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
9 Sep 1992
Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times
4 Sep 1992
Section C, p. 1.
Screen International
19 Jul 1991.
---
Screen International
15 May 1992.
---
Variety
18 May 1992
p. 43.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
The Fans:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures presents
with Miramax Films
and Polygram/Working Title
Produced in Association WIth Barry Levinson and Mark Johnson
and Live Entertainment
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Prod in assoc with
Prod in assoc with
Prod in assoc with
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Video des
Video tape & playback
Steadicam op
Slide show photog
Slide show photog
Slide show photog
Slide show photog
Slide show photog
2d unit asst cam
2d unit asst cam
Shot with
Arriflex cameras and lenses by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Newspaper inserts
Slide show storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Post-prod supv
Assoc ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Loc video ed, MPTV
Loc video ed
Negative matcher
Negative matcher
Negative matcher
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Key set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Carpenter
Carpenter
Set const
Theatre lighting
Theatre lighting
Stage visual eff
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Asst ward supv
Ward asst
Seamstress
Seamstress
Formalwear by
Custom shirts by
Custom shirts by
MUSIC
Songs by
Songs by
Viola, Musicians
Bass, Musicians
Drums, Musicians
Elec bass, Musicians
Keyboards, Musicians
Cello, Musicians
Percussion, Musicians
Percussion, Musicians
Mandolin, Musicians
Guitars, Musicians
Vocals, harmonicas, Musicians
Vocals, Musicians
Vocals, Musicians
Background vocals, Musicians
Background vocals, Musicians
Vocal coach & choral consultant
Mus rec and mixed by
Asst mus ed
Bob's on-stage band
Bob's on-stage band
Bob's on-stage band
Bob's on-stage band
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
ADR apprentice
2d unit sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post-prod facilities
Chief eng, Todd A-O East
Operations, Todd A-O East
ADR/Foley mixer
ADR rec
Sd support
Sd support
Sd support
Foley walker
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
Titles and opticals
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Addl hair & makeup
Addl hair & makeup
Addl hair & makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Los Angeles casting
Unit mgr
Prod supv
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Pittsburgh casting
Extras casting
Extras casting
Casting asst
Event coord
Event coord
Asst auditor
Accounting asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Teamster capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Asst prod coord
Promotions coord
LA office coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Fencing master
Fencing master
Craft services
Asst craft service
Caterer
Police coord
[Legal] U.K., Marriott, Harrison, Bloom & Norris
Working Title legal
Insurance, Baylay, Martin & Fay
Completion bond
Banking services provided by
Banking consultant
Financial controller
Projectionist
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"I've Got To Know," music & lyrics by Woody Guthrie, performed by Woody Guthrie, published by TRIO-Ludlow Music, Inc.
"What Did The Teacher Tell You," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, viola by Novi Novog, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Complain," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
+
SONGS
"I've Got To Know," music & lyrics by Woody Guthrie, performed by Woody Guthrie, published by TRIO-Ludlow Music, Inc.
"What Did The Teacher Tell You," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, viola by Novi Novog, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Complain," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"My Land," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, cello by John Hagen, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Times Are Changin' Back," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, choral consultant Gil Robbins, performed by The Chatham College Choir and The Shady Side Men's Choir, soloist, Angela Hall, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Wall Street Rap," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, additional vocals by Angela Hall, produced and arranged by David Robbins, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Retake America," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, choral consultant Gil Robbins, performed by The Chatham College Choir and The Shady Side Men's Choir, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Prevailing Tides," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, vocal by Gabrielle Robbins, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"I Want To Live," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, pedal steel guitar by Doug Livingston, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Drugs Stink," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, additional vocal and guitar by Kelly Willis, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"This World Turns," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"Beautiful Girl," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, horns arranged by David Campbell, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"We Are Marching," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, additional vocal by Kelly Willis, additional strings arranged by David Campbell, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP
"The Voting Song," music and lyrics by David Robbins & Tim Robbins, produced and arranged by David Robbins, additional vocal and guitar by Kelly Willis, Robbins Egg Music/Polygram International Publishing ©1992, ASCAP.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Rob Roberts, Times Are Changing
Bob Roberts: Times Are Changing Back
Times Are Changing Back
Release Date:
4 September 1992
Premiere Information:
Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival: May 1992
AFI FEST: 25 June 1992
New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. opening: 4 September 1992
Production Date:
began 4 November 1991
Copyright Claimant:
PolyGram Filmproduktion, G.m.b.H.
Copyright Date:
27 July 1992
Copyright Number:
PAu1642113
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Originated on Eastman Color Film from Kodak
Duration(in mins):
103
Length(in feet):
9,334
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31733
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In October 1990, British documentary filmmaker Terry Manchester follows Bob Roberts, a stockbroker and right-wing conservative folksinger, during his U.S. Senatorial campaign in Pennsylvania. Bob’s opponent, incumbent Senator Brickley Paiste, leads in the polls, but Paiste is accused of having an affair with his granddaughter’s friend, and loses his lead. Bob continues to gain support as he travels across the state, performing songs about the evils of drug use and liberal thinking, and promoting his anti-drug charity, Broken Dove. Meanwhile, Bugs Raplin, reporter for the Trouble Times Journal, informs Terry that Bob’s campaign manager, Lukas Hart III, is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent who ran a drug smuggling operation called “Broken Dove.” Raplin insists that Hart and Bob purchased airplanes for the mission with loans from the recently defunct West Pennsylvania Savings and Loan that were supposed to be spent for low-income housing. After a local news station picks up Raplin’s story, an investigation ensues and Hart is forced to appear in front of a Senate subcommittee. The accusations cause a slip in Bob’s popularity, and his campaign manager, Chet MacGregor, books the candidate on the popular television comedy show, Cutting Edge Live. Arriving in New York City for the taping, Bob performs a self-endorsement song. Carol, the producer’s assistant, is appalled by the impromptu performance and cuts off the electricity. As Bob leaves the studio, shots are fired and he falls to the ground. His campaign accuses Bugs Raplin of attempted assassination ... +


In October 1990, British documentary filmmaker Terry Manchester follows Bob Roberts, a stockbroker and right-wing conservative folksinger, during his U.S. Senatorial campaign in Pennsylvania. Bob’s opponent, incumbent Senator Brickley Paiste, leads in the polls, but Paiste is accused of having an affair with his granddaughter’s friend, and loses his lead. Bob continues to gain support as he travels across the state, performing songs about the evils of drug use and liberal thinking, and promoting his anti-drug charity, Broken Dove. Meanwhile, Bugs Raplin, reporter for the Trouble Times Journal, informs Terry that Bob’s campaign manager, Lukas Hart III, is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent who ran a drug smuggling operation called “Broken Dove.” Raplin insists that Hart and Bob purchased airplanes for the mission with loans from the recently defunct West Pennsylvania Savings and Loan that were supposed to be spent for low-income housing. After a local news station picks up Raplin’s story, an investigation ensues and Hart is forced to appear in front of a Senate subcommittee. The accusations cause a slip in Bob’s popularity, and his campaign manager, Chet MacGregor, books the candidate on the popular television comedy show, Cutting Edge Live. Arriving in New York City for the taping, Bob performs a self-endorsement song. Carol, the producer’s assistant, is appalled by the impromptu performance and cuts off the electricity. As Bob leaves the studio, shots are fired and he falls to the ground. His campaign accuses Bugs Raplin of attempted assassination and has him arrested. At a press conference, Bob’s personal physician, Dr. Caleb Menck, announces that Bob’s legs have been paralyzed. The story is reported nationally, and Bob regains his lead in the Senate race. Meanwhile, Terry meets Raplin’s lawyer, Mack Laflin, who claims his client could not have fired a gun as he has restrictive palsy in his right hand. Later, Bob is released from the hospital and returns to Pennsylvania. On Election Day, Bob releases his new musical album, and all charges against Lukas Hart III are dropped. Bob defeats Paiste and becomes the new Senator. When evidence proves Raplin’s fingerprints were not on the gun, he tells Terry that he did witness the shooting, and it was staged. In Washington, DC, Bob performs a song for a formal dinner in his wheelchair, and Terry’s camera captures his supposedly paralyzed foot tapping to the music. Afterward, Bob’s fans sit outside his office building, and news breaks that Bugs Raplin was murdered. As the crowd celebrates, Terry’s camera documents the silhouette of Bob Roberts walking pass the window and turning off the light. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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