The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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 Raymond Shaw is the focal point.

    - Written by garykmcd
  • Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw is only one of seventy-seven US military men who arrive back from the Korean War awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Raymond's controlling and ambitious mother, Eleanor Iselin, wants to capitalize on Raymond's name in the reelection bid of her husband/Raymond's stepfather, Republican Senator Johnny Iselin, which does not sit well with Raymond who despises both of them. Despite Johnny largely seen as being a buffoon, he has garnered a modicum of political success largely due to his anti-Communist rhetoric. The Medal of Honor was the result of Raymond saving nine members of his army battalion, including his commanding officer Major Bennett Marco, in what was a multi-day battle behind enemy lines. After the war, Raymond leaves the army to start a job in New York as the confidential assistant to well-respected political journalist Holborn Gaines, who has never written a nice thing about the Iselins. Ben, who is now reassigned to a post in Washington DC and who nominated Raymond for the award, suffers from a recurring nightmare, where he, the nine other men plus two who never made it out of the battle are attending what is on the surface an innocuous New Jersey women's gardening club meeting, but which he can feel has sinister undertones related to Raymond. What makes the nightmare more disturbing is that in reality he is compelled to say only the nicest things about Raymond whenever asked, which he knows he doesn't truly believe. If asked in return, Raymond would corroborate that he did not get along with any of the men, including Ben, who all disliked him. Raymond would in fact admit that he is an unlovable person, he only having loved and been loved once in his life, to Josie Jordan, the daughter of Democratic Senator Thomas Jordan. It was a relationship that Eleanor broke up, as she could not tolerate Raymond being with the daughter of who she considered a Communist. What Ben is unaware of is that at least one of the other eight survivors, who he has not kept in contact with after returning to the States, has a similar version of the same nightmare. Ben eventually decides that the one person who can best help him figure out the source of the nightmare is Raymond himself. After witnessing some unusual behavior in Raymond, Ben knows that something is not right. If they are able to discover what is going on, they would discover a major plot which could not only hurt innocent people, but alter the course of the country.

    - Written by Huggo
  • After Raymond (Laurence Harvey) returns from the Korean War as a decorated hero, the other members of his platoon can't really remember what he did to win his medal. Two of the soldiers start having recurring nightmares, and one of them decides to investigate Raymonds current activities. What dark and sinister secrets are being withheld by the Government and the Army ?

    - Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>
  • Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is an insufferable man, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, for saving the lives of the men in his unit while in Korea. When he returns he distances himself from his domineering mother. His C.O. Ben Marco (Frank Sinatra) has been having nightmares that lead him to believe that the circumstances that led to Raymond getting the medal are not true. While his superiors don't think he knows what he is talking about, they decide to is send him on leave. And when he goes to visit Raymond, he meets his valet, who also served with them, whom he believes, through his dream, that he betrayed them in Korea. He fights him and is arrested, when he goes to see Raymond, Raymond tells him that another man from their unit wrote to him about what Marco has been dreaming about. So Marco has the man checked out and when both of them have recollections that are so similar Marco's superiors decide to give him a chance to find out what's going on.

    - Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com
  • In Korea in 1952, a US Army patrol is ambushed by Communist soldiers. A year later the squad, having escaped, returns to the US, where Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is to receive the Medal of Honor for single-handedly saving the lives of the squad. Shaw is the son of Elanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury), wife of US Senator John Yerkes Iselin (James Gregory), and Mrs. Iselin turns the return of Raymond into a political rally that brings out building hostility between son and mother over the ambitions of Johnny Iselin. But there is more involved, for the actions of Raymond Shaw are not what everyone believes they are, and the nightmares of a US Army officer, Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra), leads to investigation of Raymond that unlocks a stunning political conspiracy that sweeps up Johnny and Elanor Iselin, and which only Bennett Marco can possibly stop.

    - Written by Michael Daly
  • A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

    - Written by Noah Orent


During the Korean War, the Soviets capture an American platoon and take them to Manchuria in Communist China...

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