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Seven Days in May (1964)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | March 1964 (Austria)
3:42 | Trailer

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United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.



(novel), (novel) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Harold McPherson
Col. Murdock
Secret Service White House Chief Art Corwin


An unpopular U.S. President manages to get a nuclear disarmament treaty through the Senate, but finds that the nation is turning against him. Jiggs Casey, a Marine Colonel, finds evidence that General Scott, the wildly popular head of the Joint Chiefs and certain Presidential Candidate in 2 years is not planning to wait. Casey goes to the president with the information and a web of intrigue begins with each side unsure of who can be trusted. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"I'm suggesting Mr President, there's a military plot to take over the Government of these United States, next Sunday..." See more »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

March 1964 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Sieben Tage im Mai  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of seven films they made together, there has been a great deal of dispute over whether or not stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas were actually friends or simply business partners who tolerated each other for the sake of the films they worked on. Director John Frankenheimer said that they were friends but also that their friendship and working relationship was always strained by Douglas's alleged jealousy of Lancaster. See more »


They enlisted men at "Site Y" wear uniforms with a "U. S. Air Force" tag over the left shirt pocket but wear U. S. Army rank insignia. See more »


President Jordan Lyman: The next step should be to your liking, Chris. Esther, call the Pentagon. Tell General Scott I want to see him right away.
Esther Townsend: [on intercom] Yes, sir.
Christopher Todd: I think it's time we faced the enemy, Mr. President.
President Jordan Lyman: He's not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe: they're not the enemy. The enemy's an age - a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man's faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness, and out of sickness...
See more »

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User Reviews

Forget "West Wing", here's political maneuverings with teeth
16 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

A splendid ensemble cast brought together in a fun, tight political thriller. John Frankenheimer's direction is first rate. I can't imagine Alfred Hitchcock doing a better job. The novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II was first published in 1962 and takes place in the early 1970s. The film, made in 1964, is more of period piece, shot in black and white by Ellsworth Fredericks. Some of the dark tones in the film are inspired by the mood of the nation since the assassination of President Kennedy. The novel, by contrast, writes of a two-term Kennedy administration. The script by Rod Serling improves on the novel by creating a sharper climax as the president overcomes the brewing plot by panicking high-ranking military officers to overthrow the Executive Branch of the US government. The film is otherwise fairly faithful to the book. Burt Lancaster plays General James Mattoon Scott, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and universally idolized military hero. The man, it seems, would make an ideal president--and that just might happen on the seventh day in May. Kirk Douglass portrays the efficient Colonel "Jiggs" Casey, who is Scott's subordinent and reluctant hero of the film. Frederick March is credible as an aging, weary president who has recently won a hard-fought battle to ratify a treaty with the Soviet Union to eliminate atomic weapons. There is a vociferous backlash against the treaty, led by right-wing television personalities. Soon it is apparent that certain elements in the military, congress, and media are all in league to usurp power from the president and, as they would reason, save the nation from the worthless treaty. The film plays on traditional political labels, both pro and con. Even though it was made 28 years ago, one can identify with many of the characters and situations in the film. In the later 1980s, President Ronald Reagan was criticized by right wing conservatives for signing a treaty with the Soviet Union to downsize nuclear stockpiles. The film has some great editing as well, most notably the scene where some of the recent mysterious occurances are beginning to make sense to Jiggs as he watches Gen. Scott address a conservative political rally. Good camerawork as well, particularly when a nervous Jiggs finally sums up to the president the fantastic plot he believes he's stumbled upon. Another great shot occurs when General Scott presents a speech he is going to make against the president to his team of co-conspirators, only the back of his head is seen. The characters are human, the story is spellbinding, the film is a classic on all levels.

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