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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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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:

Country:

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

In spite of John Frankenheimer's insistence that much of the credit for The Manchurian Candidate's success was due to George Axelrod's writing, the script actually contained very few camera directions. The imaginative depiction of the brainwashing sequence, with its intercutting between different perspectives and fantasies, the playing out of the assassination scene, and such touches as the use of TV screens in the press conference, were all worked out by Frankenheimer. 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

Eugenie Rose Chaney: Are you arabic?
Bennett Marco: No.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: Let me put it another way: are you married?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin: Part Two (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
(uncredited)
Music by David Amram and Irving Berlin
Manny Klein trumpet soloist
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Excellent Cinema
3 July 2003 | by (Chicago, IL) – See all my reviews

I went into "The Manchurian Candidate" without knowing too much about the movie itself. I knew about its critical acclaim, but I was unfamiliar with the plot. Regardless, when I rented and watched the film, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed either.

The plot revolves around the strange case of Raymond Shaw, a sergeant who wins the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in the cold war. Two of the men in his company, however, have strange nightmares that suggest Raymond is not as deserving of the award as he seems. One of these men, Major Bennet Marco, led on by these recurring nightmares, unravels a sinister Communist plot. Set against the cold war paranoia of the sixties and McCarthyism, "The Manchurian Candidate" does an excellent job of recreating the intense suspense and tension of the time.

The acting in this film is superb. A great script is heightened by excellent acting in this movie. It's hard not to like Frank Sinatra in his role as Marco, who is the protagonist. Laurence Harvey as Raymond does a good job showing us a character that is wholly unlikable and snobby, yet pathetic and sad at the same time. And of course, Angela Lansbury in her role as Raymond's malicious and plotting mother is excellent.

Some stand-out scenes in the film were the nightmare sequences that brilliantly interlaced dream and reality, the all-queen solitaire game with Marco and Raymond, and the supremely tense climax at the political convention. The cinematography in the movie was very well done as action, romance, and tension all mixed together smoothly. All the scenes managed to keep my attention and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. As a thriller, the film works remarkably well, and it is quite easily the best political thriller I've seen to date.

Keeping me from giving the movie a perfect ten are one or two little nagging problems. I wasn't a big fan of the music for the movie, and it even disrupted the mood for me at one point in the film. It was okay, just not great. Also, the whole plot is sort of unlikely. I wont go into it here, but I don't think that the Communist plan for world domination would fall into the hands of one relatively uncontrolled person, no matter how well trained his mind was. That's just my opinion, however.

The movie is sort of long, and isn't exactly action packed, but it is very interesting, insightful, and even chilling. I had a great time watching it, and I definitely recommend it if you are interested at all in seeing a gripping Cold War era political thriller. Besides, the cultural relevance of the film alone is enough to see it.

9/10


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