Up 903 this week

Medium Cool (1969)

R  |   |  Drama  |  1970 (Japan)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,367 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 59 critic

A TV news reporter finds himself becoming personally involved in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention.



0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

Related News

Daily | Andersson, Wexler, Soderbergh
| Keyframe
Blu-ray Review: 'Medium Cool'
| CineVue

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 23 Jun 2011
a list of 36 titles
created 11 Dec 2011
a list of 36 titles
created 09 Nov 2013
a list of 38 titles
created 13 Jan 2014
a list of 25 titles
created 24 Jul 2014

Related Items

Search for "Medium Cool" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Medium Cool (1969)

Medium Cool (1969) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Medium Cool.

User Polls

5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Oscar-winning filmmaker Haskell Wexler returns to his hometown of Chicago to document the Occupy Movement's demonstrations against the 2012 NATO Summit.

Director: Haskell Wexler
Stars: Medea Benjamin, Graham Clumpner, Andrew Davis
Latino (1985)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Set in the context of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and their battle with the U.S. backed Contra rebels. Eddie Guerrero (Robert Beltran) is a Vietnam vet sent to help U.S. Special ... See full summary »

Director: Haskell Wexler
Stars: Robert Beltran, Annette Charles, Américo González
Shadows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Cassavetes' jazz-scored improvisational film explores interracial friendships and relationships in Beat-Era (1950s) New York City.

Director: John Cassavetes
Stars: Ben Carruthers, Lelia Goldoni, Hugh Hurd
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During a rural picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Story of two men drag racing across the USA in a primer grey 55 chevy. Wilson is the mechanic, James Taylor is the driver.

Director: Monte Hellman
Stars: James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Life story of a woman born in poverty trying to succeed. Through her many schemes, she faces her ups and downs in a cyclical nature, fueled mostly by self-interest.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Emiko Aizawa, Setsuko Amamiya, Tomio Aoki
Safe (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An affluent and unexceptional homemaker in the suburbs develops multiple chemical sensitivity.

Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Gary Busey, Tony Curtis, Theresa Russell
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Jô Shishido, Kôji Nanbara, Isao Tamagawa
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Haskell Wexler
Bus II (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Directors: Thom Tyson, Haskell Wexler
The Bus (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The struggle for civil rights has been one of the most important issues of American life for the last fifty years. In August of 1963, groups from all over the country journeyed to ... See full summary »

Director: Haskell Wexler


Cast overview, first billed only:
Harold Blankenship ...
Charles Geary ...
Harold's Father
Sid McCoy ...
Frank Baker
Christine Bergstrom ...
William Sickingen ...
News Director
Robert McAndrew ...
Marrian Walters ...
Social Worker
Beverly Younger ...
Rich Lady
Edward Croke ...
Doug Kimball ...
Gun Clinic Manager


John Cassellis is the toughest TV-news reporter around. His area of interest is reporting about violence in the ghetto and racial tensions. But he discovers that his network helps the FBI by letting it look at his tapes to find suspects. When he protests, he is fired and goes to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beyond the age of innocence... into the age of awareness




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1970 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Concrete Wilderness  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film was originally rated "X", but re-rated "R" after an appeal. See more »


John Cassellis: Jesus I love to shoot film.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Studs Terkel is credited as "Our Man in Chicago". See more »


Sweet Georgia Brown
by Ben Bernie, Kenneth Casey and Maceo Pinkard
Performed by Brother Bones
Courtesy of Tempo Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Something very special...
22 July 2005 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Absorbing, thought provoking and, above all, a unique record of an important "place & time", why "Medium Cool" still fails to gain the attention it deserves remains one of life's great mysteries.

First off, it's a pretty good if somewhat disjointed story… two "world-wise" middle class news reporters are sent to film the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and become unwittingly involved in its political demonstrations, the inner city problems that have precipitated them, and the lives of a single mother and her young son in this harsh, confusing and seriously under-privileged world. Its acting, in particular from Robert Forster as the lead reporter and the 13 year old Harold Blankenship as the son, is excellent and at times so effective that it's difficult to remember you're watching a rigidly sequenced film rather than a social documentary. And, it's overlaid with some quite stunning cinema-photography from director Haskell Wexler, one of America's very best exponents of the art, backed up by a perfectly pitched late 60's soundtrack.

Good enough so far, but that's just the start. Add-in its extensive live footage from the streets of Chicago as the riots develop, taken by the film's camera crew as they themselves are caught-up in a very "real" political drama, its ominous sequencing of the build up of events from a fun "day in the park" for the hippies/yippies to serious "police state" level violence, its equally chilling images of what was going on inside the Convention Hall while all of this was taking place, and the clever and disturbing scenes of the mother's desperate search for her lost son as Wexler films her within the increasingly anarchic crowds of demonstrators & troops actually on the streets at the time, and you've got… something very special.

Part film and part documentary, not all of what you think is "real" in "Medium Cool" is, and the lines between live and acted scenes are sometimes confusingly and frustratingly blurred, as in the famous call from one of the camera crew of "look out Haskell this is real" as a tear gas canister lands in front of them, which was in fact over-dubbed afterwards. But that's the whole point of the film as the final, almost startling scenes reveal. How far is the media in control? Is what you're seeing real, distorted or contrived? Wexler's brilliance is to take this underlying theme and to mould it into a fascinating exploration of inner city life, American society in a period of huge change, and the power/needs of the media in a TV dominated world, while, in parallel, producing a gripping record of what it's like to be in the centre of a demonstration that's spiralling out of control. Juxtaposing the impersonality of reporting with the very personal situations that are involved, it raises a whole series of questions on the way without falling into the trap of most films of the era in trying to ram home too many answers. And, as a result, it remains as relevant today as it did then.

Quite rightly regarded as one of the best "counter culture" films of the late 60's and much richer and more thought provoking than this classification usually implies, it remains one of the most under-rated films out there.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Medium Cool-Underrated? csu16387
Soundtrack ctzalman
Connection to 'Blow Up'? ghtx
Wild Man Fischer On Soundtrack Originally? wpbooks-1
Coming to Criterion in 2013! eskenazi
Wexler 'bio' film ragtime_millionaire
Discuss Medium Cool (1969) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: