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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 57,165 users   Metascore: 94/100
Reviews: 286 user | 118 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

A former Korean War POW is brainwashed by Communists into becoming a political assassin. But another former prisoner may know how to save him.

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(based upon a novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Khigh Dhiegh ...
James Edwards ...
Douglas Henderson ...
Albert Paulsen ...
Barry Kelley ...
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Madame Spivy ...
Female Berezovo
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Storyline

Major Ben Marco is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He served valiantly as a captain in the Korean war and his Sergeant, Raymond Shaw, 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. 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, 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 Raymond Shaw is the focal point. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When you've seen it all, you'll swear there's never been anything like it! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Botschafter der Angst  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Sinatra wanted Lucille Ball for the role of Mrs. Iselin which was played by Angela Lansbury. See more »

Goofs

Rosie lights a cigarette and gives it to Marco on the train. He smokes it, then stamps it out, then is seen smoking it again, then finishes grinding it out. The long shots don't match the closeups. See more »

Quotes

[a nightmare switches between a ladies' garden club and a Soviet/Chinese military hospital]
Chairlady: You will notice that I have told them they may smoke. I've allowed my people to have a little fun in the selection of bizarre tobacco substitutes... Are you enjoying your cigarette, Ed?
Ed Movole: Yes ma'am.
Dr. Yen Lo: Yak dung!... hope tastes good - like a cigarette should!
See more »

Connections

Featured in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes & Villains (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme from the Manchurian Candiate
(uncredited)
Music composed and conducted by David Amram
Manny Klein trumpet soloist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A political and social thriller/drama ahead of its time.
20 August 2001 | by (Chicago, USA) – See all my reviews

John Frankenheimer's surrealistic direction and George Axelrod's adaptation of the 1959 book by the same name offer Laurence Harvey a career defining role.

Set in 1950's, A Korean War veteran Raymond Shaw(Harvey) returns home to a medal of honor for rescuing his POW platoon from behind Chinese lines and back to safety. One of the returning soldiers, (played effectively by Frank Sinatra) however, has recurring dreams of his platoon being brainwashed and Shaw committing acts of murder.

He eventually convinces army brass that Shaw is still a puppet of his Communist-Marxist operators.

Angela Lansbury, (although barely a few years older than Harvey was at the time) plays his mother in a tour de force role. She absolutely captivates and steals every scene she is in, playing a very complex role that needs to convince the viewer of many things without much dialogue.

There's a rich cast of characters, including Janet Leigh, Henry Silva, James Edwards, and a painfully accurate James Gregory. Each character weaves through the methodical subplots and tapestry of Frankenheimer's masterful "Hitchcockian" pace.

I won't give away the plot, but dear readers, allow me to sat that this one is really worth watching--until the nail-biting and chilling conclusion.

There are many undertones in this film -- political, sexual, class and power, and social. You will want to view this film several times to approach it from different perspectives.


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