7.1/10
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67 user 36 critic

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:
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...
...
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Senator Crocker Jarmon
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Klein
...
...
Rick Jenkin (as Quinn Redeker)
...
Wally Henderson
...
Paul Corliss
...
Christopher Pray ...
David (as Chris Prey)
Joe Miksak ...
Neil Atkinson
...
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>

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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

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Release Date:

11 August 1972 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

El candidato  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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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

The red convertible driven by Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle) has three different license plates during the opening credits: "677 EIY", "185 ENV", and "772 DYD". All are from the 1972 era in California. 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

Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: All About Politics (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

The Shaping of a Political Candidate
10 November 2004 | by See all my reviews

"The Candidate" is very insightful, very conscientious, and very accurate in exploring the trials, tribulations, and developments in transforming a nihilistic underdog into a popular, contending candidate for the California Senate. It is a good, provocative, and even satiric look at the ups and downs of the political landscape, as well as its many constraints, with political advisers not interested in the candidate's candidness, but rather sealing an election, and this is very fascinatingly and simply laid out in a film that goes "the full monty" in exploring the American political landscape- this is generally a behind-the-scenes development of the political process- from the frequent campaign rallies, to the luncheons and parades, to the advantage of incumbency, to dirty campaign tricks, to critical debates, and finally, to the anxiety, tension, and exasperation of the election. Robert Redford is the character study, playing an aspiring, yet hardly hopeful, son of a former California governor, dashing and articulate candidate for California Senate, Bill McKay, for the Democratic party. His challenger is incumbent Senator Crocker Jarmon, who seems to be the antithesis of all of the charisma, articulation, and humbleness that is McKay, a rather arrogant, prudent, and unappealing candidate, regardless of whether you share his beliefs. I have to wonder- is the film taking jabs at the Republican party- claiming it is apathetic, self-serving, and shadowy, while in contrast the Democratic party cares passionately about the people, contains darling appeal, and considers a "better way" for the people rather than simply winning an election. Perhaps I am finding ways to detract from some clear and distinguished differences between McKay and Jarmon, because of their parties in the film, and perhaps this is because I believe BOTH parties stand for the people, regardless of my political allegiances- whatever; just a curious observation. Robert Redford plays McKay very well and earnestly- really bringing this vivacious and whimsical character to life and shining on the "campaign trail". The screenplay is absolutely brilliant- taking every idea about politics and ingeniously infusing it throughout the many events of the film: a very constructive and admirable endeavor indeed. The music is very patriotic, sentimental, and portentous, really defining the American political spirit, and really pounding on a theme of greatness through victory. This is an extremely well crafted, well scripted, well acted, well directed, and well received, albeit very predictable and incisive, film, exploring the political landscape as verily as I have ever seen a film endeavor in. It's simple, entertaining, and contains some solid education about the shaping of a political candidate, through a hostile, volatile, and demanding political campaign- "The Candidate" is a real winner. ***1/2 out of ****


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