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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 24 October 1962 (USA)
A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

Director:

Writers:

(based upon a novel by), (screenplay)

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ON DISC
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 ...
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Holborn Gaines
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:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El embajador del miedo  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,700,000, 31 December 1962
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In spite of his reputation, Frank Sinatra turned out to be, for the most part, a hard worker and pleasant and cooperative on the set. John Frankenheimer called him "one of the most charming human beings I have ever met." Janet Leigh was friends with the actor before filming began but still nervous about stories she heard from others who worked with him. She found him to be "a caring, giving actor, willing to rehearse indefinitely, taking direction, contributing ideas to the whole." George Axelrod said he was "a dream to work with" and called him "one of the best screen actors in the world...lyrically sensitive...magic." Most people agreed that Sinatra's attitude could be attributed largely to the fact that he had tremendous respect for his director and enthusiasm for the project. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence the bar in Korea has a US flag with 50 stars. During the Korean War there were only 48 states and hence only 48 stars on the US Flag. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Iselin: [to her husband] I keep telling you not to think! You're very, very good at a great many things, but thinking, hon', just simply isn't one of them.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

The Washington Post
(1889) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played by a band in the first scene after the opening credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent Cinema
3 July 2003 | by 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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