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The Ugly American (1963)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,230 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 16 critic

An intelligent, articulate scholar, Harrison MacWhite, survives a hostile Senate confirmation hearing at the hands of conservatives to become ambassador to Sarkan, a southeast Asian country... See full summary »

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Title: The Ugly American (1963)

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Deong
Sandra Church ...
Marion MacWhite
...
Homer Atkins
Arthur Hill ...
Grainger
...
Emma Atkins
Kukrit Pramoj ...
Prime Minister Kwen Sai
Judson Pratt ...
Joe Bing
Reiko Sato ...
Rachani, Deong's Wife
George Shibata ...
Munsang
Judson Laire ...
Senator Brenner
...
Ambassador Sears
Yee Tak Yip ...
Sawad, Deong's Assistant
Carl Benton Reid ...
Senator at Confirmation Hearing
Simon Scott
Edit

Storyline

An intelligent, articulate scholar, Harrison MacWhite, survives a hostile Senate confirmation hearing at the hands of conservatives to become ambassador to Sarkan, a southeast Asian country where civil war threatens a tense peace. Despite his knowledge, once he's there, MacWhite sees only a dichotomy between the U.S. and Communism. He can't accept that anti-American sentiment might be a longing for self-determination and nationalism. So, he breaks from his friend Deong, a local opposition leader, ignores a foreman's advice about slowing the building of a road, and tries to muscle ahead. What price must the country and his friends pay for him to get some sense? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most explosive adventure of our time! See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der häßliche Amerikaner  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two months after the film's release, a syndicated story appeared entitled "Why Can't the Movie Be More Like the Book," written by one of the source novel's two co-authors, Eugene Burdick. Notwithstanding the article's title and the general critical consensus regarding the film's lack of fidelity to his book, Burdick's own assessment is surprisingly positive. While acknowledging that the film bears "only the most passing resemblance" to his novel, he views this as a plus, seeing 'the picture [a]s better than the book; more integrated, more skillful, and more dramatic," noting that director George Englund and screenwriter Stewart Stern had "crept inside the characters" that he himself "knew only as deeply as ink prints on paper." Moreover, Burdick commends Englund and Stern for "work[ing] much harder than had Lederer and [he]" to flesh out the fictional nation of Sarkhan, while marveling at actor Marlon Brando's ability to inconspicuously "slide into one's mind," then seamlessly integrate the information obtained thereby. Finally, despite noting the myriad changes made to his tale in its journey from printed page to projected image, Burdick can mount only the faintest show of reluctance before conceding that his novel's "political impact is still there." See more »

Connections

Featured in Brando (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Annie Laurie
(uncredited)
Music by Lady John Scott; poem by William Douglas (1672-1748)
Excerpt performed unaccompanied by Marlon Brando
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
now that the Vietnam War has happened...
3 August 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

"The Ugly American" was released right before the Vietnam War started (depending on which stage of it), and now it seems more relevant than ever. Harrison MacWhite (Marlon Brando) becomes ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation of Sarkhan, which is on the verge of civil war between the Communists and the pro-US government. In Sarkhan, MacWhite begins to suspect that US intervention in this country might be prompting people to rebel. While he refuses to accept it, the situation becomes more and more tense, and MacWhite's officially neutral position becomes less and less sustainable.

You can't say for certain what the movie's political message is, but we might take MacWhite's speech at the end as a good reminder. Either way, this is one of the many movies that showed how great an actor Marlon Brando was.


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