Charly (1968)

PG  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  23 September 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,850 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 31 critic

An intellectually disabled man undergoes an experiment that gives him the intelligence of a genius.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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A mentally-challenged man named Charly undergoes a series of experimental tests to increase his intelligence.

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Complete credited cast:
Dr. Anna Strauss
Leon Janney ...
Dr. Richard Nemur
Mrs. Apple
Bert (as Richard Van Patten)
Edward McNally ...
Gimpy (as Skipper McNally)
William Dwyer ...
Dan Morgan ...


Charly is an adult male with a cognitive disability struggling to survive in the modern world. His frequent attempts at learning, reading, and writing prove difficult. His teacher, Miss Kinian, takes Charly to the clinic where he is observed by doctors who have Charly "race" a mouse, Algernon. Algernon is usually the winner thanks to an experiment that greatly raised his intelligence. This experiment is given to Charly, who at first does not seem affected. However, he becomes more logically advanced, eventually becoming a pure genius. Emotional and intra-personal consequences are involved when Charly learns the truth of the experiment, and struggles with whether or not the procedure was a good idea. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A less than ordinary man is turned into a genius. He awakens to an exquisite love experience, but at an impossible price for CHARLY See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 September 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charly  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (5.0 Surround Sound) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The reason that Cliff Robertson was not at the Oscars to receive his Best Actor award was because he was in the middle of filming the movie, Too Late the Hero (1970) in the Philippines. The director Robert Aldridge would not allow him to leave due to budget restraints. See more »


When Charley is talking to Mrs. Kinnian outside the building for his night class he is wearing a gold vest. When the camera cuts back to him after Mrs. Kinnian enters her car, he is wearing a blue vest. See more »


Mrs. Apple: [sees Charly bring Alice to his room] Can you imagine, Monty? Charly Gordon with a girl! Well, he better have her out by 10:00. There'll be no hokey-pokey in my house!
See more »


Referenced in The Simpsons: HOMR (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

excellent sci-fi film
7 September 2005 | by (Portland, Oregon US) – See all my reviews

Charly is a very touching sci-fi film about a retarded man Charly Gordon (Cliff Robertson) who can barely perform the menial job of sweeping up in a bakery and is the continual butt of jokes and ridicule by the bakers. He is chosen to participate in an experiment and is given treatments to boost his IQ. Alice Kinninan (Claire Bloom) plays one of the scientists who helps Charly to learn. Charly is based on the story Flowers For Algernon and the screenplay was by Stirling Silliphant (In The Heat of the Night.) Cliff Robertson won a best actor Oscar for Charly. The film is intelligent, poignant, and extremely moving. You'll need a box a Kleenex with your popcorn for this one.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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