The Best Man (1964)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  5 April 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,041 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 23 critic

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


(as Franklin Schaffner)


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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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
Howard K. Smith
John Henry Faulk ...
Gov. T.T. Claypoole
Sen. Oscar Anderson
Penny Singleton ...
Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)
George Kirgo ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Does The Best Man Always Get To The White House?




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gore Vidal's The Best Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final film of Lee Tracy. See more »


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 »


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 »

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User Reviews

Fascinating Political Drama
18 February 2011 | by See all my reviews

Two men vie for the presidential nomination of a party. Based on a play by Vidal, this is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the political machinations on the campaign trail. Although the name of the party is not identified in the film, the candidates display elements of both Democratic and Republican values. Fonda is the decent, old-school liberal while Robertson is his ruthless, right-leaning rival. Both turn in excellent performances. The standout in the fine supporting cast is Tracy as a former president who must decide which candidate to endorse. This is an ideal companion piece to "Advise and Consent," made a couple of years earlier and also starring Fonda.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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