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The Best Man (1964)

 -  Drama  -  5 April 1964 (USA)
7.8
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Reviews: 34 user | 21 critic

The two front runners for their party's Presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the ex-President's endorsement.

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(as Franklin Schaffner)

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(screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
William Russell
...
Joe Cantwell
...
Mabel Cantwell
Margaret Leighton ...
Alice Russell
...
Sheldon Bascomb
...
President Art Hockstader
...
Sue Ellen Gamadge
Gene Raymond ...
Don Cantwell
...
Dick Jensen
...
Herself
...
Howard K. Smith
John Henry Faulk ...
Gov. T.T. Claypoole
...
Sen. Oscar Anderson
Penny Singleton ...
Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)
George Kirgo ...
Speechwriter
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Storyline

The other party is in disarray. Five men vie for the party nomination for president. No one has a majority as the first ballot closes and the front-runners begin to decide how badly they want the job. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Does The Best Man Always Get To The White House?

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gore Vidal's The Best Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the filming locations is the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated here during his campaign to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president. See more »

Goofs

When Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson) enters the helicopter he sits in the right seat. When he exits, he exits from the left seat. See more »

Quotes

President Art Hockstader: There have been moments when I have questioned your methods.
Joe Cantwell: Well, you have to fight fire with fire, Mr. President.
President Art Hockstader: And the end justifies the means?
Joe Cantwell: Well, yes, sir. Yes. That is what I believe.
President Art Hockstader: Well, son, I have news for you about both politics and life... and may I say the two are exactly the same thing? There are no ends, Joe, only means...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, a picture of every single U.S. President appears in order, from George Washington to Lyndon Johnson. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Henry Fonda: The Man and His Movies (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

The more politics changes the more it remain the same..
9 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I work at a movie theatre and in a time of one-week wonders ( yes, one film with an action star lasted 3 days in our chain !) it is refreshing to see a film again where the acting is good and the story keeps your interest.

I am watching this movie after not seeing it for 30 years. It made an impression on me and I started listening to both Gore Vidal and William F Buckley because of it.

Henry Fonda's character is clearly based on Adlai Stevenson. Cliff Robertson echoes Richard Nixon so much it is scary. His arrogance is such that he gives the former President orders !

People decried the smoke-filled room politics of this era but I wonder if we got better leaders back then. They seemed to make decisions based on the courage of their convictions and not what the latest poll says. Fonda's character comments on his ignoring polls, whereas now, politicians can't seem to brush their teeth without worrying about public opinion and not what is best for the country.

The actors in this movie didn't need special effects and could ACT unlike so many of the baby-faced wanna-bes of today.

This movie reflects sex, immorality, infidelity, integrity. God and judgement day are even mentioned, something that is anathema today. And what's shown in here shows that times change but one could replace current politicians for these actors and see them immediately.

Lee Tracy is great in this movie and it could be easily watched for just his performance.

Of note, is the glad-handing by William Russell at a public pool. No security guards, no secret service people.

And mention of a nervous breakdown by Fonda's character. Remember Thomas Eagleton?

If you haven't seen this movie, see it and Seven Days In May afterward. It will give you an idea of how poliiics was looked upon in a totally different era.

George Senda Concord, Ca.


26 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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