Huey Long

Director: Ken Burns
Screenwriters: Geoffrey C. Ward

Institute History

  • 1986 Sundance Film Festival


The career of Huey P. Long—the charismatic demagogue whose populist politics first changed the face of Louisiana and shook the ruling establishment of the United States—remains unique in the annals of American history. Fifty years after his assassination the film meticulously traces the rise and fall of the “Kingfish,j” called by President Franklin D. Roosevelt “one of the two most dangerous men in the country.”

Senator Huey P. Long was assassinated in a corridor of the massive new state capitol building he had built a few years before as Governor. His killer, or so eyewitnesses claim, was a young doctor by the name of Carl Austin Weiss, who was riddled with bullets before anyone could speak to him. But who actually killed Long is not as important as the life of the man, the contrasting philosophies of populism and tyranny he came to embody, and the incredible way he single-handedly pulled his state out of near feudalism and into the twentieth century. Huey Long is a complex, solid and absorbing documentary directed by Ken Burns, whose last film, The Statue of Liberty, was one of the critical hits of the fall 1985 PBS series.

Screening Details

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