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Charly (1968)

PG  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  23 September 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,814 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 30 critic

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



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Charly (1968)

Charly (1968) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 4 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


The Poignant Incredible Story of A Man Whose Two Worlds Collide! 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?


Cliff Robertson saw more than one TV production he'd starred in turned into hit movies with other actors (such as Days of Wine and Roses (1962)), so when he starred in the 1961 The United States Steel Hour (1953) production of "The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon," based on the novel "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes, he bought the rights and later was responsible for turning that story into this film. See more »


There's one scene where Charly's just woken up from his surgery. The next scene shows him working on a puzzle, and he has a full head of hair and no bandages. If he'd just got brain surgery, he should still be wearing bandages, or at least have his head shaved. See more »


Charly Gordon: Any more questions? In the back, any more questions about things as they are and what they're becoming? No? I have a question.
[turns to Nemur and Strauss]
Charly Gordon: Professor Nemur. Charly Gordon.
[Nemur does not answer]
Charly Gordon: Come on, professor, you know. Charly Gordon.
[Nemur still does not answer]
Charly Gordon: You know, but you haven't told me.
[turns to the audience]
Charly Gordon: Anybody out there answer the question 'Charly Gordon'?
[no answer comes from the audience]
See more »


Referenced in Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

30 September 2002 | by (PA, USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this film when I was about 10 and then I saw it again recently. It is one of the most poignant, beautiful movies ever made. The way Charly's retardation is handled by both the director and the brilliant Cliff Robertson is able to show the desperation and ignorance of Charly. His want for "smarts" is treated with compassion and not contempt. Compared to the book, "Flowers for Algernon", Charly does not completely hold up, nor should it. It uses the premise and message of the book to illustrate the humanity in the mentally retarded. The movie's message made me very sad and understanding to the plight of the mentally handicapped, as it did my fellow viewers. This film is the best way to teach a person why it is wrong to use "retarded" as a negative insult. See this film and you will learn about yourself.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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