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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.

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(based upon a novel by), (screenplay)
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4,295 ( 68)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited 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 (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

Taglines:

If you come in five minutes after this picture begins, you won't know what it's all about! When you've seen it all, you'll swear there's never been anything like it! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Botschafter der Angst  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to popular belief, the film was not pulled from circulation following the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It made its American television debut on The CBS Thursday Night Movies in September 1965 (source: Broadcasting magazine), and was repeated on that network later that season. Only when the rights reverted to Frank Sinatra in 1972 did the film disappear from view, although even then turning up for third and fourth network showings on NBC in spring 1974 (source: TV Guide) and summer 1975 (source: Variety). Sinatra's neglect in keeping the film in distribution gave rise to the legend that it was suppressed because of its alleged role in Lee Harvey Oswald's assassination of the 35th president. The legend was further perpetuated when Sinatra, in alliance with MGM/UA, re-released the film to theaters in 1988. When the rumor was debunked in an article in Films in Review, another myth, one claiming that Sinatra and UA had a dispute about the profits, took its place. The myth survives to this day, but it is pure fiction. See more »

Goofs

Marco's dress uniform coat has two discrepancies: he wears no ribbon for the National Defense Service Medal, to which every Korean War veteran was entitled; and even though he has been assigned to Washington, D.C., for some time, he continues to wear his previous 24th Infantry Division patch on his left shoulder instead of the Military District of Washington patch. See more »

Quotes

Yen Lo: A little humor, my dear Zilkov, always with a little humor
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Connections

Referenced in The Psycho Lover (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

The Twelve Days of Christmas
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by unidentified female soloist
Played on a radio in Raymond Shaw's apartment
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Belongs in Top 50 Dramas
15 January 2000 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Manchurian Candidate is, quite simply, the best political thriller of all time. I can't think of another that keeps me on the edge of my seat, even on the tenth viewing. The incredible script, Angela Lansbury's Dearest Mommy, the effective use of black & white film for a movie about issues that were anything but black & white--I could go on and on.

I know that most people rave about Ms. Lansbury above all the other cast members, but--for me--Frank Sinatra wins the prize hands down. His disbelief, and then his disillusionment, and then his despair are perfectly portrayed. There were really two Sinatras, the singer AND the great actor.

In watching The Manchurian Candidate again and again, I never cease to be amazed at its prescient theme, the danger of the combination of fanaticism and patriotic fervor. Goldwater's famous quote comes to mind, "Extremism in the defense of virtue is no vice". In my opinion, this film just gets better with age.


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