IMDb > The Best Man (1964)
The Best Man
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The Best Man (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
7.7/10   2,414 votes »
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Down 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gore Vidal (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Best Man on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 June 1964 (West Germany) See more »
The Best Man is Dynamite See more »
The two front runners for their party's presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the former President's endorsement. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An Excellent Morality Play See more (39 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Henry Fonda ... William Russell

Cliff Robertson ... Joe Cantwell

Edie Adams ... Mabel Cantwell

Margaret Leighton ... Alice Russell

Shelley Berman ... Sheldon Bascomb

Lee Tracy ... President Art Hockstader

Ann Sothern ... Sue Ellen Gamadge

Gene Raymond ... Don Cantwell

Kevin McCarthy ... Dick Jensen

Mahalia Jackson ... Mahalia Jackson

Howard K. Smith ... Howard K. Smith
John Henry Faulk ... Gov. T.T. Claypoole

Richard Arlen ... Sen. Oscar Anderson

Penny Singleton ... Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)
George Kirgo ... Speechwriter

George Furth ... Tom
Anne Newman Bacal ... Janet (as Anne Newman)
Mary Lawrence ... Mrs. Merwin
H.E. West ... Sen. Lazarus
Michael MacDonald ... Zealot
William R. Ebersol ... Gov. John Merwin
Natalie Masters ... Mrs. Anderson

Marie Blake ... Cleaning Woman (as Blossom Rock)
Bill Stout ... Bill Stout
Tyler McVey ... Chairman
Sherwood Keith ... Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Fred Aldrich ... Delegate (uncredited)

Leon Alton ... Russell Supporter (uncredited)
David Armstrong ... Russell Campaign Worker (uncredited)
Alex Ball ... Man at Pool (uncredited)
Billy Beck ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Nick Borgani ... Reporter (uncredited)
George Bruggeman ... Reporter (uncredited)
Dick Cherney ... Reporter (uncredited)

Noble 'Kid' Chissell ... Man at Pool (uncredited)
Rupert Crosse ... Reporter (uncredited)
Jack Daly ... Photographer (uncredited)

George DeNormand ... Cantwell Supporter (uncredited)
Kenneth Gibson ... Reporter (uncredited)
Herschel Graham ... Campaign Worker (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Cantwell Supporter (uncredited)

William Henry ... Reporter (uncredited)

George Hoagland ... Cantwell Supporter (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Reporter (uncredited)

John Indrisano ... Mafia Man (uncredited)
James Jeter ... Mayor (uncredited)
Chester Jones ... Delegate (uncredited)
Ray Kellogg ... Reporter (uncredited)

Kenner G. Kemp ... Reporter (uncredited)

Colin Kenny ... Man at Pool (uncredited)
Joseph La Cava ... Delegate (uncredited)

Mathew McCue ... Man at Delegation (uncredited)
Clyde McLeod ... Reporter (uncredited)
Hans Moebus ... Banquet Guest (uncredited)

Byron Morrow ... Master of Ceremonies at Banquet (uncredited)

Ron Nyman ... Reporter (uncredited)

Monty O'Grady ... Man at Pool (uncredited)
Kenneth Patterson ... Delegate (uncredited)
Paul Power ... Reporter (uncredited)
Jean Ransome ... Campaign Worker (uncredited)
Fred Rapport ... Banquet Guest (uncredited)
Tony Regan ... Harvey (uncredited)

Leoda Richards ... Cantwell Supporter (uncredited)
Edward Rickard ... Campaign Worker (uncredited)
Victor Romito ... Seucrity Guard (uncredited)
Clark Ross ... Reporter (uncredited)

Gene Roth ... Pennsylvania Delegate (uncredited)

John Roy ... Banquet Guest (uncredited)
Mark Russell ... Campaign Worker (uncredited)

Cosmo Sardo ... Banquet Guest (uncredited)
Sammy Shack ... Man at Delegation (uncredited)

Stephen Soldi ... Delegate (uncredited)

Ted Stanhope ... Governor (uncredited)
Norman Stevans ... Banquet Guest (uncredited)

Bert Stevens ... Cantwell Supporter (uncredited)
Sara Taft ... Mrs. Cantwell, Joe's Mother (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Cantwell Supporter (uncredited)

Gore Vidal ... Delegate (uncredited)
Chalky Williams ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Howard Wright ... New York Delegate (uncredited)

Directed by
Franklin J. Schaffner  (as Franklin Schaffner)
Writing credits
Gore Vidal (screenplay)

Gore Vidal  play "The Best Man" (uncredited)

Produced by
Stuart Millar .... producer
Lawrence Turman .... producer
Original Music by
Mort Lindsey 
Cinematography by
Haskell Wexler (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Robert Swink  (as Robert E. Swink)
Production Design by
Lyle R. Wheeler 
Set Decoration by
Richard Mansfield 
Makeup Department
Virginia Jones .... hair stylist
Ben Lane .... makeup artist
Production Management
Robert Goodstein .... unit manager
Ben Hersh .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Dick Moder .... assistant director (as Richard Moder)
Art Department
Max Frankel .... property master
Sound Department
Don Hall .... sound editor (as Don Hall Jr.)
Jack Solomon .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Johannes .... camera operator (as Robert P. Johannes)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Kathleen Dennis .... wardrobe: women
Dorothy Jeakins .... costume supervisor
Ted Tetrick .... wardrobe: men
Editorial Department
Hal Ashby .... editorial consultant (as Wm. Hal Ashby)
George E. Swink .... assistant editor (as George Swink)
Music Department
Jim Henrikson .... music editor (as James Henrikson)
Other crew
Tom Mankiewicz .... production associate (as Thomas F. Mankiewicz)
Stuart Millar .... presenter
Marion Rosenberg .... assistant to producers
Roger L. Stevens .... stage producer
Kay Thackery .... script supervisor
Lawrence Turman .... presenter
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Gore Vidal's Best Man" - International (English title) (informal title)
"Gore Vidal's The Best Man" - USA (complete title)
See more »
102 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Did You Know?

The nick-name of Senator Joseph Cantrell (Cliff Robertson) was "Joe"; the nick-name of former Secretary of State William Russell (Henry Fonda) was "Will"; whilst the nick-name of former American President Arthur Hockstader (Lee Tracy) was "Art".See more »
Continuity: Several times, stock footage of actual political rally doesn't match scenes shot especially for movie. In several shots, no one is sitting in upper seats of auditorium that are nonetheless packed in newsreel footage of same alleged event.See more »
William Russell:[to reporters] And I am, of course, happy that the best man won.See more »
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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
An Excellent Morality Play, 16 May 2005
Author: gunnarvl from Seattle, WA

Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" is one of my favorite films. Though written at a time when political conventions still mattered, the subject matter is still very appropriate. Basic moral questions are asked and soul searching by the thoughtful viewer takes place. How far would you go to win? Would you knowingly slander a political opponent with false information to gain the upper hand? How much of a candidates past is relevant today?

The cast is brilliant. Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy, Ann Sothern, all are wonderful. Mahalia Jackson makes a cameo singing her heart out at a pre-convention gathering. One of the candidates is rumored to have had psychological problems. Womanizing is another issue. There are homosexual rumors flying around concerning another candidate. Another candidate is a racist.

What is really interesting is Vidal's take on the supposed "two party system". In this movie, there is only one party, as the candidate to be nominated is according to the former President "almost certain to become our next President". This is prophetic on Vidal's part, as the two major party's today have drifted so similarly close to each other on many issues, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish them.

To correct the other reviewer of this film, Cliff Robertson does not play a bachelor candidate. Edie Adams does a great job playing his attractive wife.

"The Best Man" is great film, nearly as relevant today, as it was over 40 years ago. Now, if it was only available on DVD.

Was the above review useful to you?
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