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The Best Man (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 5 April 1964 (USA)
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)
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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

Intellectual William Russell and down-to-earth Joe Cantwell are front runners for a party nomination that will almost certainly mean the Presidency. Cantwell is prepared to use anything to achieve his goal while Russell sees himself as a man of principle - though his philandering means he is relieved his wife is prepared to appear alongside him. Both men crucially need the support of the ailing President, and as the stakes become higher each team has to decide how dirty they are prepared to get. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Adapted from a stage production that opened on March 31, 1960, at the Morosco Theatre in New York and ran for 520 performances. Lee Tracy repeated in this film the role he created on Broadway and for which he was nominated for the 1960 Tony Award for Best Actor, losing to co-star Melvyn Douglas, who played William Russell (the role Henry Fonda played in the film). The play was also nominated for the 1960 Tony Award for Best Play, written by Gore Vidal (who also penned the screenplay for the movie version), losing to William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker." 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

William Russell: [in response to reporter's question 'do you think people mistrust intellectuals like you in politics?'] Intellectual, you mean I wrote a book? Well, as Bertrand Russell said, people in a democracy tend to think they have less to fear from a stupid man than an intelligent one. I think it's the other way around. I think it's the stupid man.
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

Featured in The 53rd Annual Academy Awards (1981) 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.


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