MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,333 this week

The Best Man (1964)

 -  Drama  -  5 April 1964 (USA)
7.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,939 users  
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.

Director:

(as Franklin Schaffner)

Writer:

(screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 06 Sep 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 31 Jan 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 18 Feb 2013
 
a list of 41 titles
created 10 Jul 2013
 
a list of 33 titles
created 20 Jul 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "The Best Man" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Best Man (1964)

The Best Man (1964) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Best Man.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Franchot Tone, Lew Ayres, Henry Fonda
The Stripper (1963)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Lila Green is an insecure and aging showgirl for Madame Olga's stage shows. When her boyfriend, Rick, runs off with the shows money, Madame Olga and Ronny let Lila go. Lila goes to stay ... See full summary »

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Joanne Woodward, Richard Beymer, Claire Trevor
Welcome Home (1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Jake died in Vietnam; his family mourned him, then moved on. When he reappears, quite alive, the question is, what must he do and how will his family respond to him?

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Kris Kristofferson, JoBeth Williams, Sam Waterston
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In a complex piece of espionage the Russian secret service attempts to kidnap a high ranking officer in the CIA and replace him with a double of its own.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Yul Brynner, Britt Ekland, Clive Revill
Yes, Giorgio (1982)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A famous opera singer, Giorgio Fini, loses his voice during an American tour. He goes to a female throat specialist, Pamela Taylor, whom he falls in love with.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Luciano Pavarotti, Kathryn Harrold, Eddie Albert
Sphinx (1981)
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Egyptologist Erica Baron finds more than she bargained for during her long-planned trip to The Land of the Pharoahs - murder, theft, betrayal, love, and a mummy's curse!

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Lesley-Anne Down, Frank Langella, Maurice Ronet
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An isolated sculptor is visited by his three sons just before the start of WWII.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: George C. Scott, David Hemmings, Gilbert Roland
Lionheart (1987)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young knight sets out to join King Richard's crusaders. Along the way, he encounters The Black Prince who captures children and sells them as slaves to the Muslims. It is Robert Narra's ... See full summary »

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Eric Stoltz, Gabriel Byrne, Nicola Cowper
The War Lord (1965)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A knight in the service of a duke goes to a coastal villiage where an earlier attempt to build a defensive castle has failed. He begins to rebuild the duke's authority in the face of the ... See full summary »

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Charlton Heston, Richard Boone, Rosemary Forsyth
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Examines the diversity of human sexual and gender variance around the globe, with commentary by scientific experts and first-hand accounts of people who do not conform to a simple male/female binary.

Director: Antony Thomas
Stars: Gore Vidal, Calpernia Addams, Beth Aynsley
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

The US intelligence chief in Europe relates the stories of three different operations that he was involved in with colleagues in Paris and Djibouti, Rome, and Berlin.

Directors: Christian-Jaque, Werner Klingler, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Henry Fonda, Robert Ryan, Vittorio Gassman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Directors: Louis Alvarez, Andy Kolker, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Bob Bullock, George W. Bush, Buddy Cianci
Edit

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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Gore Vidal cheerfully admitted that he meant the character of William Russell to remind people of Adlai Stevenson and that Joe Cantwell was based on Richard Nixon. Stevenson and Nixon were, of course, in different parties. Similarly, the character of the former President played by Lee Tracy bore resemblances to both the Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Democrat Harry S. Truman. See more »

Goofs

When Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson) is watching the convention floor on TV monitors and talking on a walkie-talkie he is holding a coffee cup in his right hand when the shot is of his back but it disappears when the shot is from the front. See more »

Quotes

President Art Hockstader: In those days we poured God over everything like ketchup.
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Politics In The Convention Era
5 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Best Man in a sense was dated before it ended its Broadway run of 520 performances in the 1960-1961 season. John F. Kennedy with his string of primary victories had the nomination almost decided before the Democrats met in Los Angeles that year to nominate him. After that, money raised and spent wisely in primaries decided nominations in both parties long before the conventions met. The last convention where there was a semblance of a contest was the 1976 Republican convention where it was not certain until the balloting that Gerald R. Ford would be the GOP candidate.

This film takes us back to the era of the smoke filled room although candidate Cliff Robertson pointedly tells former president Lee Tracy that he does not smoke. We've got two candidates at this fictional Democratic convention circa the sixties. One is Henry Fonda former Secretary of State, an intellectual in politics modeled on Adlai E. Stevenson and Cliff Robertson a no nonsense street fighter of a U.S. Senator that Joe McCarthy was the prototype.

By the way back in those days Joe McCarthy could easily have been a Democrat. Note that Robertson has the support of the lily white south in the era before the civil rights revolution. Minor candidate John Henry Faulk, a southern governor, is most concerned about mandated integration of his state's public schools. Back then the Dixie part of this country had a big influence in the Democratic party, the Republicans were almost moribund in many southern states. But they were a growing force.

Neither Fonda or Robertson really understands the motivations of the other. They're both courting the support of Lee Tracy a former Truman like president. In actual fact, Truman counted for very little once he was out of the White House. He anointed no successor in 1952 and in 1956 and 1960 his candidates were W. Averill Harriman and Stuart Symington respectively and both came up very short.

Fonda and Robertson both have dirt of varying degrees on the other. Fonda's dirt is supplied by former army buddy of Robertson's Shelley Berman who says that Robertson was gay. As it turns out Robertson ratted out a bunch of gay men in the service and got smeared in retaliation with the label. That sad to say has not changed even with don't ask don't tell in the Defense Department.

Fonda and Robertson's roles on Broadway were played by Melvyn Douglas and Frank Lovejoy. Lee Tracy who was the only carry over from Broadway, won a Tony Award and was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to Peter Ustinov for Topkapi. Tracy's is a finely etched portrayal of a bitter old man now out of real power and seeing his power to control events slipping by. Made even more bitter by the fact that he reads the characters of Fonda and Robertson very well, but can't influence either.

Gore Vidal aided in the transition of his play to the screen and it survived the journey from Broadway none the worse for wear. It's a fascinating look at a bygone era of politics when the national conventions meant something as opposed to being the media shows they are today.

In which we hope then as now that The Best Man will win out.


20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
William Russell - Liberal Wimp marathoner1
what party do you think they were in? teejay6682
William Russel and Robert Leffingwell? ghayes-2
The Fires of Autumn white_868
This may become required viewing for 2012 ween-3
William Russell latinloner
Discuss The Best Man (1964) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?