Movie Review: The Distinguished Gentleman

The Distinguished Gentleman is a movie released in 1992. It features Eddie Murphy as a con man who jumps at the chance to swindle much more money by getting himself elected to Congress. One can only imagine how movie goers felt thirty years ago as they bought a ticket to enjoy the comedy and left the theater with a lesson in government corruption.

Wikipedia describes the film as “an American political comedy.” Of course, we don’t think that what happens in Washington is funny. Years later, Donald Trump would refer to it as “the swamp.” It’s remarkable that a major actor like Eddie Murphy cared enough to expose how special interests shamelessly corrupt our elected officials.

Wikipedia continues: “The film’s plot is centered on politics, specifically what members of Congress and lobbyists do to get what they want in Washington, D.C.”

The director, Jonathan Lynn, explained that “The script was by a Washington insider, Marty Kaplan, who had been Vice President Mondale’s speech writer.”

The movie won the feature film Environmental Media Award in 1993, and in 2001 the Political Film Society gave the film its special award of the year. Not surprisingly, the media panned it. It’s almost like they were saying, “Please don’t see this film, you’ll find out too much about what our corrupt government is doing to rob you!”

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.

Watching this movie is an agreeable way to educate children who are old enough to appreciate the nuances of bribery and media manipulation. And it’s a good reminder of how easy it is for elected officials to be corrupted. When we elect good people to office, we have to let them know we expect they will keep their heads above the dirty waters of the swamp.

Please take the time to watch The Distinguished Gentleman. You’ll enjoy the movie and maybe also be inspired to hold a few elected feet to the fire.

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