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Quiz Show (1994)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 47,431 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 152 user | 56 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

Dick Goodwin discovers game shows are fixed: Charles Van Doren is fed answers so he beats Herbie Stempel.

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(screenplay), (book)
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Title: Quiz Show (1994)

Quiz Show (1994) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dan Enright
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Johann Carlo ...
Toby Stempel
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George Martin ...
Chairman
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Lishman
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Account Guy
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Pennebaker
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Storyline

An idealistic young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focuses on two contestants on the show "Twenty-One": Herbert Stempel, a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren, the patrician scion of one of America's leading literary families. Based on a true story. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@hanover-crrel.army.mil>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fifty million people watched, but no one saw a thing.

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kviz  »

Box Office

Gross:

$24,822,619 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In January, 1957, Herb Stempel and Charles Van Doren actually had a series of three scripted ties and Charles Van Doren finally won on the fourth game. While Charles Van Doren did lose to Vivienne Nearing, he actually played against her three times to a tie before losing. He had beat her husband, Victor Nearing, earlier in the year. He signed a 3-year contract for $150,000 ($50,000 a year in the movie, pretty much got it right) in April, 1957, to guest on Steve Allen's show, guest host the Today (1952) show, and be a panelist on NBC's radio show, "Conversations." See more »

Goofs

References to a "new 1958 model car" place the film in 1957 or 1958. The radio plays Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife," which was released in 1959. See more »

Quotes

Dick Goodwin: Hey, you don't have to be a genius to connect the dots.
Charles Van Doren: Well, don't connect them through me.
Dick Goodwin: Hey, don't treat me like some member of your goddamn fan club. Are you telling me everybody got the answers but you?
Charles Van Doren: You're so persistent, Dick. You know, I really envy that.
Dick Goodwin: Was it just the money, Charlie?
Charles Van Doren: You'll forgive me, but anyone who thinks money is ever "just money" couldn't have much of it.
Dick Goodwin: Charlie, you wanna insult me, fine, but you can't envy me at the same time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Albert Freedman works for Penthouse Magazine. See more »

Connections

References The $64,000 Question (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

MORITAT
Written by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht
Performed by Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett appears courtesy of Curb Music Company and MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The End of Innocence
24 April 2004 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

As a twelve year old growing up in Brooklyn, I did not even know the name of the show I was watching every week; to me it was just a vehicle to see if hero Charles Van Doren could hang in. He was handsome, articulate, witty, and all the girls thought him incredibly attractive (although their pre-teen minds did not yet understand sexuality). Growing up in a Jewish neighborhood as I did, Herb Stempel did not come off so nerdy as he looks now in retrospect. When it came out that everyone had cheated, us kids felt not only betrayed, but sleazily cheated personally. The girls felt somehow violated!

Here Redford turns in an understated masterpiece. He sets the stage and the standard, and gets fantastic performances from his actors:

John Turturro as Stempel is excellent, but a fine job by Johann Carlo as his principled wife, which may be overlooked in such company, is the rock upon which his family can really rely.

Ralph Fiennes, as the hapless Charles Van Doren, manages to get across his character's dilemma: a mere achiever in a family of ultra-achievers. In any other family he'd have been prime, as a Van Doren he would always be an also-ran.

Many have pointed out the great job of Paul Scofield as Mark Van Doren, Charles' father. He is the epitome of the WASP-intellectual padrone. And he has our sympathy when his son so sorely disappoints him and disgraces the family.

David Paymer is excellent and believable as Enright, the unsavory producer. He makes it almost seem disloyal not to cheat!

Bit parts are all little plums: Martin Scorsese as Martin Rittenhouse, the Geritol exec, smugly contemptuous of the public and the government. George Martin as the network president, clearly Jewish, and just as clearly a "Teflon Don" in his own world.

The scenes at the Van Doren estate are designed to convey investigator Goodwin's (Rob Morrow) culture shock and outsider status, and they represent the academic WASP world of the time accurately and wonderfully.

All in all, a great movie.


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