The Ides of March (2011 film)

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The Ides of March
A portrait of a man with the other half of his face obscured of a TIME Magazine issue with it's cover showing the left side of his face. The text in the magazine cover reads "Is This Man Our Next President?" with the film's title and credits placed below.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Clooney
Screenplay by
Based onFarragut North
by Beau Willimon
Produced by
CinematographyPhedon Papamichael
Edited byStephen Mirrione
Music byAlexandre Desplat
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • 31 August 2011 (2011-08-31) (Venice)
  • 7 October 2011 (2011-10-07) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$12.5 million[2]
Box office$76.3 million[3]

The Ides of March is a 2011 American political drama film directed by George Clooney from a screenplay written by Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon. The film is an adaptation of Willimon's 2008 play Farragut North. It stars Ryan Gosling and Clooney alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, and Evan Rachel Wood.

The Ides of March was featured as the opening film at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and at the 27th Haifa International Film Festival, and was shown at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.[4][5] It received a wide theatrical release on 7 October 2011, and grossed $76 million worldwide. The film received positive reviews from critics and was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2011. Gosling earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance, while Clooney, Heslov and Willimon were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.


Stephen Meyers is the junior campaign manager for Governor of Pennsylvania Mike Morris, who is competing against Arkansas Senator Ted Pullman in the Democratic presidential primary. Both campaigns are vying for the endorsement of Senator Franklin Thompson, who controls 356 delegates; these would clinch the nomination for either candidate. At the Morris campaign's headquarters in Cincinnati, Meyers receives a call from Tom Duffy, Pullman's campaign manager; Duffy asks him to meet in secret at a local bar. Meyers calls his boss, Morris campaign manager Paul Zara, who does not answer. Meyers decides to meet with Duffy anyway and Duffy offers him a position in Pullman's campaign; Meyers refuses. When Zara calls back, Meyers does not tell him about the meeting.

Meyers starts a sexual relationship with Molly Stearns, an attractive intern whose father is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Meyers admits to an angry Zara that he met with Duffy, who said that Pullman will offer Thompson the position of Secretary of State in exchange for his endorsement. Zara and Meyers discuss the matter with Morris, saying they must make the same offer to Thompson. Morris refuses on principle, as he thoroughly disagrees with Thompson and his policies, and wants a "clean" campaign without such deals.

While Molly is sleeping, Meyers picks up her phone by mistake and finds that Morris is trying to call her. He discovers that Molly and Morris had a brief sexual liaison several weeks previously shortly after Molly arrived on the campaign in Iowa, and Molly is now pregnant with Morris' child. Molly needs $900 for an abortion, but cannot tell her father because her family is Catholic. Meyers helps her with the money but warns her not to tell anybody and fires her from the campaign to make the problem go away. Ida Horowicz, a reporter for The New York Times, reveals to Meyers that an anonymous source leaked his meeting with Duffy and that she plans to publish an article unless Meyers gives her the details about the Morris campaign's overtures to Thompson.

After dropping Molly off at the abortion clinic, Meyers goes to Zara for help. Zara reveals that he leaked the meeting to Ida with Morris's approval as a pretext for firing Meyers over his purported disloyalty. An angry and desperate Meyers offers his services to Duffy, who says he met with Meyers only to influence his opponent's operation, under the likelihood that Meyers either would come to work for him or would be fired for taking the meeting. Meyers offers to sell out Morris but Duffy declines, believing Thompson's endorsement of Pullman is assured. Meyers berates Duffy for using him, for which Duffy halfheartedly apologizes, and advises him to quit politics before he becomes a cynic like Duffy.

Having been told that Meyers had threatened to take down the campaign, Molly fatally overdoses on pills in a hotel room. Meyers comes across the scene and steals her phone. Unbeknownst to the Morris campaign, he meets with Thompson to set the conditions for his endorsement and his delegates. Meyers confronts Morris and gives him an ultimatum: Either give him Zara's job and offer Thompson the post of Vice President, or Meyers will go to the press with Molly's purported suicide note and expose the affair, all but assuring Morris's reputation tarnished and Pullman getting Thompson's endorsement. Morris relents, giving up what is left of his personal integrity, and meets Meyers' demands. Zara takes his firing philosophically and is amicable when he chats with Meyers at Molly's funeral.

Thompson officially endorses Morris, making him the de facto Democratic nominee. Promoted to senior campaign manager, Meyers is on the way to a remote TV interview with John King when Ida Horowicz ambushes him and says her next story will be about how Meyers delivered Thompson and his delegates and got his promotion. He reacts by having security bar Horowicz from entering the auditorium. Meyers takes his seat for the interview, just as Morris finishes a speech about how integrity and dignity matter. King then asks Meyers for insight as to how the events surrounding the primary unfolded.


  • Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers, Morris' junior campaign manager.[6]
  • George Clooney as Mike Morris, Governor of Pennsylvania and a Democratic presidential candidate.[6]
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman as Paul Zara, Morris' campaign manager and Meyers's superior and mentor.[7]
  • Paul Giamatti as Tom Duffy, Ted Pullman's campaign manager.[8]
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Molly Stearns, an intern for Morris's campaign[8] and Meyers' love interest.
  • Marisa Tomei as Ida Horowicz, a reporter for the New York Times.[8]
  • Jeffrey Wright as Franklin Thompson, Democratic Senator from North Carolina.
  • Max Minghella as Ben Harpen,[7] a member of Morris's campaign staff.
  • Jennifer Ehle as Cindy Morris, wife to Governor Mike Morris and the First Lady of Pennsylvania.
  • Gregory Itzin as former Senator Jack Stearns, father of Molly Stearns and the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
  • Michael Mantell as Ted Pullman, Senator from Arkansas and Morris's opponent in the Democratic primaries.


In October 2010, Variety reported that Clooney signed on to produce, direct, and star in the film adaptation of Beau Willimon's Broadway play Farragut North. Exclusive Media Group, Cross Creek Pictures, Smoke House Pictures, and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions financed the film.[8] Filming in Cincinnati, Ohio began in February 2011 in Downtown Cincinnati at Fountain Square, Over-the-Rhine historic district, Northside, Mount Lookout, Xavier University, other neighborhoods and at Miami University's Farmer School of Business and Hall Auditorium (Miami University and Hall Auditorium are located in Oxford, Ohio).[9][10] Principal photography also took place in Downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan. On 14 March, filming began at the University of Michigan and included 1,000 extras.[11]

The theatrical release failed to recognize Cincinnati in the credits as a filming location. Producer and screenplay co-writer Grant Heslov said that "the omission of Cincinnati in the credits was an inadvertent mistake, something that slipped through the cracks." He also said that the credits would be corrected for the home release of the film.[12]


The Ides of March premiered on 31 August 2011 as the opening film of the 68th Venice International Film Festival.[13] Sony Pictures Entertainment bought the distribution rights for the United States only, while Alliance Films bought Canadian distribution. Sony wanted Clooney to keep the play's title, but The Ides of March was picked as the title.[6] The Ides of March was originally planned to have a limited release in December 2011 and a wide release in January 2012.[6] However, Sony eventually moved the film's opening date to 14 October 2011.[14] This was later moved again, to 7 October 2011.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 243 reviews, with an average rating of 7.38/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "While not exactly exposing revelatory truths, The Ides of March is supremely well-acted drama that moves at a measured, confident clip."[15] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally positive reviews".[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Some critics gave the film mixed or even negative reviews.[18][19] A. O. Scott of the New York Times wrote, "But it is difficult, really, to connect this fable to the world it pretends to represent. Whatever happens in 2012, within either party or in the contest between them, it seems fair to say that quite a lot will be at stake. That is not the case in The Ides of March, which is less an allegory of the American political process than a busy, foggy, mildly entertaining antidote to it."[20]


List of awards and nominations
Awards Group Category Recipients and nominees Result
84th Academy Awards Best Adapted Screenplay George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon Nominated
65th British Academy Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association[21] Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Casting Society of America[22] Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Studio or Independent Drama Feature Ellen Chenoweth, Amelia McCarthy Nominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards[23][24] Best Film Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
Actor of the Year George Clooney (Also for The Descendants) Nominated
Actor of the Year Ryan Gosling (Also for Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love.) Runner-up
David di Donatello Awards[25] Best Foreign Film Nominated
68th Venice International Film Festival.[26] Brian Award Won
Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards[27] Best Film – International Nominated
Best Screenplay – International George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon Won
Best Actor – International Ryan Gosling Nominated
69th Golden Globe Awards[28] Best Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Director George Clooney Nominated
Best Actor – Drama Ryan Gosling Nominated
Best Screenplay George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon Nominated
Hollywood Movie Awards[29] Hollywood Editor Award Stephen Mirrione Won
National Board of Review[30] Top Ten Films Nominated
Palm Springs International Film Festival[31] Chairman's Award George Clooney (Also for The Descendants) Won
Producers Guild of America Award[32] Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver Nominated
World Soundtrack Awards 2012[33] Best Score of the Year Alexandre Desplat Nominated
Best Soundtrack Composer of the Year Alexandre Desplat Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Ides of March (15)". E1 Films. British Board of Film Classification. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (6 October 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Real Steel' to crush 'Ides of March'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  3. ^ "The Ides of March (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  4. ^ "TIFF 2011: U2, Brad Pitt, George Clooney Films Featured At 2011 Toronto International Film Festival". HuffPost. The Canadian Press. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  5. ^ Evans, Ian (2011). "Ides of March premiere photos". Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d Fischer, Russ (2 November 2010). "Sony Picks up George Clooney's 'The Ides of March' For December 2011 Release". /Film. Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  7. ^ a b "The Ides of March (2011)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d McNary, Dave (27 October 2010). "Clooney to direct Gosling in 'Ides of March'". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  9. ^ "George Clooney films at Xavier". WCPO-TV. E. W. Scripps Company. 28 February 2011. Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  10. ^ Kiesewetter, John (28 February 2011). "Clooney team films 'Ides' at fast pace". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Movie extras needed for George Clooney film in Ann Arbor". WXYZ-TV. 15 February 2011. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  12. ^ "'Ides' credits forget to thank Cincinnati". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  13. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (22 June 2011). "Venice confirms 'Ides' as opener". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  14. ^ McClintock, Pamela (3 March 2011). "Sony Sets Release Date for George Clooney's 'The Ides of March'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  15. ^ "The Ides of March". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  16. ^ "The Ides of March Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  17. ^ Kaufman, Amy (9 October 2011). "Box Office: 'Real Steel' KOs competition, including George Clooney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  18. ^ Murray, Noel (6 October 2011). "The Ides of March | Film | Movie Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  19. ^ Edelstein, David (2 October 2011). "Review: 'The Ides of March' and 'The Human Centipede 2'". New York. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  20. ^ Scott, A. O. (6 October 2011). "Estranged Bedfellows". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  21. ^ "17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2012) – Best Picture: The Artist". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Casting Society of America Announces Artios Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  23. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (2 January 2012). "'Tree of Life' leads the way with Central Ohio critics nominations". HitFix. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  24. ^ "Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) - 2011 Awards". Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  25. ^ Lyman, Eric J. (12 April 2012). "Marco Tulio Giordana Drama Earns 16 Nominations for Italy's Top Film Honors". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Brian Award at Venice Film Festival 2011". Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (in Italian). 9 September 2011. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  27. ^ "AACTA International Award Nominees" (PDF). Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). 15 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "The Artist Leads 2011 Golden Globe Nominations With Six Bids". Time. 15 December 2011.
  29. ^ "2011 Hollywood Film Awards Honorees". Yahoo! Movies. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  30. ^ Corliss, Richard (1 December 2011). "Year-End Awards: National Board of Review Says 'We Go with Hugo'". Time. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  31. ^ Pond, Steve (18 November 2012). "Clooney gets Palm Springs film festival Chairman's award". Reuters. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  33. ^ "World Soundtrack Awards". Retrieved 12 December 2012.

External links[edit]