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The Candidate (1972)

Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Marvin Lucas
...
John J. McKay
...
Senator Crocker Jarmon
...
Klein
...
Nancy McKay
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Rick Jenkin (as Quinn Redeker)
...
Wally Henderson
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Paul Corliss
...
Floyd J. Starkey
Christopher Pray ...
David (as Chris Prey)
Joe Miksak ...
Neil Atkinson
Jenny Sullivan ...
Lynn
Tom Dahlgren ...
Pilot
Gerald Hiken ...
Station Manager
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Storyline

Californian lawyer Bill McKay fights for the little man. His charisma and integrity get him noticed by the Democratic Party machine and he is persuaded to run for the Senate against an apparently unassailable incumbent. It's agreed he can handle it his own way, on his own terms. But once he's in the race and his prospects begin to improve, the deal starts to change. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing matters more than winning. Not even what you believe in. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 August 1972 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

El candidato  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Candidate was released a month prior to the 1972 California Presidential primary. Promotional sheets were put up in southern California resembling political posters. They had simply a photo of Robert Redford, with the slogan, "McKay: The Better Way!" - "McKay" got write-in votes in the June election. See more »

Goofs

When McKay has his first "press the flesh" event at the factory, the same woman with short blonde hair and a brown coat passes him walking out the gate twice. See more »

Quotes

Dinner MC: [Introducing McKay to fund-raiser dinner audience] Seriously folks, you better watch your step when he comes out here because he's a man who shoots from the hip and a man who's hip when he shoots. Join me in welcoming Bill McKay!
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Connections

Referenced in Designing Women: The Candidate (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

A Better Way
Music by John Rubinstein
Lyrics by David Colloff
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User Reviews

 
Best political film ever made
24 October 2004 | by (Columbia, South Carolina, USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this film in 1972 when it came out, and I just saw it again on cable. I am amazed at how prescient this film was. Remember, this was before Jerry Brown, the real life politician most people will think of as a counterpart to Redford's character, had not yet run for governor and was still unknown outside of California. Nixon was still in office and was about to be re-elected by a landslide. Abortion was still illegal in all 50 states, and Roe v. Wade had not yet been decided. The term "sound bite" had not yet been coined. "Spin" was something a washing machine did.

Redford plays an idealistic young storefront lawyer who is persuaded to run for the Senate as a Democrat against a Republican incumbent running for his fourth term. He feels free to speak his mind because he knows he hasn't a chance of winning. His freshness and honesty win over a lot of people favorable to his politics, and suddenly the gap closes. Now he has a chance of winning, but to do so he has to win over the "undecided voters" in the middle of the political spectrum. (Sound familiar? I'm writing this nine days before the Bush-Kerry election, and no one knows who will win.) Guess what happens? Suddenly he's not so fresh and honest anymore. And by the time he finally has a televised debate with the incumbent, he has mastered the art of the non-answer answer, that is, responding to a reporter's question by making a vague statement of his own without ever answering the question.

Fast forward to 2004. The spin doctors now run the show. This film was intended as satire and as a warning. Regrettably, it has become a prediction. 10/10


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