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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 24 October 1962 (USA)
A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.



(based upon a novel by), (screenplay)
3,557 ( 821)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Khigh Dhiegh ...
James Edwards ...
Douglas Henderson ...
Albert Paulsen ...
Barry Kelley ...
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Madame Spivy ...
Female Berezovo


Major Ben Marco (Frank Sinatra) is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He served valiantly as a captain in the Korean war and his Sergeant, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), even won the Medal of Honor. Marco has a major problem however: he has a recurring nightmare, one where two members of his squad are killed by Shaw. He's put on indefinite sick leave and visits Shaw in New York. Shaw for his part has established himself well, despite the misgivings of his domineering mother, Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Angela Lansbury). She is a red-baiter, accusing anyone who disagrees with her right-wing reactionary views of being a Communist. Raymond hates her, not only for how she's treated him but equally because of his step-father, the ineffectual U.S. Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), who is intent on seeking higher office. When Marco learns that others in his Korean War unit have nightmares similar to his own, he realizes that something happened to all of them in Korea and that ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Once unbelievable. Now unthinkable. The chilling classic returns [rerelease] See more »


Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Botschafter der Angst  »

Box Office


$2,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The brainwashing sequence was filmed three times in its entirety (the garden club ladies, the black soldier's viewpoint, and the Communist captors) against three different sets constructed so the camera could turn completely around in each. The parts were then edited together to convey the shifting perspectives. See more »


As Raymond Shaw descends the stairs to enter Jilly's Bar, the camera and crew can be seen reflected in the plate glass door. See more »


Marco: [during the Kung Fu fight with Chunjin] What were you doing there?
See more »


Referenced in The Mist (2007) See more »


Music by David Amram and Irving Berlin
Manny Klein trumpet soloist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Truly, a gem!
24 January 2005 | by (Long Branch, NJ, USA) – See all my reviews

Probably John Frankenheimer's best production, and Frank Sinatra's best cinema performance.

I saw this because of the recent 'remake', I would assume that the reader will be making the same comparison. Having never seen this before, I found myself riveted to the story, and absolutely great performances by Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, John McGiver, James Gregory, and Leslie Parrish.

Coincidently, I had just recently finished reading some previously published works about the cold war, in particular the Chambers-Hiss court cases.

It might be accident, but I wouldn't doubt it might have been intended by Frankenheimer to choose Harvey, who resembled Hiss, in appearance and McGiver who resembled Chambers appearance. When this was released in 1962, the Hiss-Chambers spy fiasco was still fresh in the public's mind.

Other American political images are not for want of satire either, since Lansbury and Gregory seemed to have reminded me, in appearance, of Mary and (honest) Abe Lincoln.

The pace, style and non stop tension rivals Hitchcock; it will certainly have you wondering if he had anything to do with this! Truly Frankenhiemer, excels here.

Because Sinatra was box office magnet, most of his other roles seemed 'fitted' for him. Not here! You'll have a chance to see the real Frank Sinatra, really working to make the part work, and without a doubt, he too excels in his role.

I don't think I'll bother to see the recent version yet. I want to see this original classic a few more times.

48 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why can't they have a real Asian actor instead of Mr. Silva? Oak Owl
How do the communists get the mother? gabrielmestieri
Do Johnny + Mrs. Iselin remind you of anyone? Bob_Schuka
You're a Communist if you Disagree technotrone
Frank Sinatra vs Henry Silva apartment fight lampooned in Clouseau movi? jayrussell1993
Too Many Flaws To Be a Great Movie brianoh2
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