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The Ugly American (1963)

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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)

The Ugly American (1963) on IMDb 6.8/10

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



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most explosive adventure of our time! See more »


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Release Date:

2 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der häßliche Amerikaner  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One key role, that of the Sarkhanese Prime Minister, was filled quite capably by a non-professional, Kukrit Pramoj, a prominent Thai newspaper publisher, former Thai Finance Minister, and - as fate would have it - future Prime Minister (1975-76). Speaking in Bangkok the day after its world premiere, the film's star Marlon Brando brought forth gasps by labeling his precocious co-star a "dissembler, liar and thief." Before shock could turn to indignation, Brando - straight face intact - quickly broke the stunned silence. "Mr. Kukrit told me he couldn't act, and then proceeded to prove he could act and in fact acted me off the screen. He stole the whole show." See more »


Referenced in Garfield 2 (2006) See more »


America the Beautiful
Music by Samuel A. Ward and lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates
Heard when the Ambassador arrives and over the closing credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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