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All the King's Men

All the King's Men


by Robert Penn Warren

Analysis: Three Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

The first act begins in Judge Irwin's library, with Jack and Willie trying to bully him. We would close the curtains after Judge Irwin's suicide, and Mrs. Murrell's revelation to Jack that she loved Judge Irwin, Jack's biological father.

Act II

The second act begins with Tom's football game. We could cut right to the chase, and show Tom getting injured. The curtains close the curtains after Willie's funeral, just when it seems like things can't get any worse.


Jack makes his second visit to Sadie in the Sanitorium. You know, when she admits to Jack that she put Tiny up to that call that kills both Adam and Willie. Then we'd switch to Lucy with Willie Stark, II . Next would be a shot at the train station to see the soon to be ex-Mrs. Murrell off on her trip to Reno. Finally, we'd show the cozy scene inside of Judge Irwin's house, which Jack has inherited. We picture he and Anne can be holding hands while taking religious dictation from Ellis.

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