166 user 63 critic

Quiz Show (1994)

A young lawyer, Richard Goodwin, investigates a potentially fixed game show. Charles Van Doren, a big time show winner, is under Goodwin's investigation.



(screenplay), (book)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:


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


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

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kviz  »


Box Office


$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$757,714, 16 September 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In January 1957, Herb Stempel and Charles Van Doren actually had a series of three scripted ties, and Van Doren finally won on the fourth game. While Van Doren lost to Vivienne Nearing, he actually tied her three times before losing. He had beaten her husband, Victor Nearing, earlier in the year. In April 1957, he signed a 3-year, $150,000 contract to appear on Steve Allen's show, guest host the Today (1952) show, and be a panelist on NBC's radio show, "Conversations." See more »


A theatre marquee advertises La Dolce Vita. See more »


Herbie Stemple: And they love me for the same reason they used to hate me, because I'm the guy who knows everything.
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Crazy Credits

After years in exile, Dan Enright and Jack Barry returned to television with "The Joker's Wild". It made them millionaires. See more »


Referenced in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Quiz Show (1998) See more »


Written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz
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User Reviews

What can I say? That's show business!
9 September 2007 | by See all my reviews

The other day when I was renting movies I passed this one called Quiz Show, never heard of it, wasn't too sure if it would be good or not, so I figured I would just wait and check it out on IMDb. When I saw the rating I was very impressed, not to mention how this was nominated for best picture of '94, considering it was up against: Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and Shawshank Redemption, it didn't really stand a chance. But I rented this movie and I'm convinced that 1994 had to be one of the best years for films. Quiz Show is an incredibly impressive film by Robert Redford, which I didn't even realize that this guy could direct! The story is just a perfect one for any type of a debate conversation on what is right and what is wrong.

21 is a popular TV quiz show in the 50's where they ask very hard questions and the guests win lots of money, Herb Stempel has been the reigning champion for weeks. But he's not exactly what you would call the TV hunk, he's got the "radio face". Charles Van Doren is a huge fan of quiz shows, so he auditions, and when the executives see him, they go crazy over him, he's handsome, he's smart, he's charismatic, and his family is famous. They tell Herb to "dive down" and get a wrong answer so that Charles can take over as the champion. Everything seems to go smoothly, that is until Harvard grad government agent Dick Goodwin is convinced that there's something wrong. He is determined to prove that the show is rigged and that 21 is ripping of America's intellects.

Quiz Show is a great film, the acting, the picture, the editing, everything about this film is pretty much flawless. I couldn't believe that this film is not anywhere near the top 250, I don't see any problems with the film. But I know every film has a hater or two. But for me the film, acting wise, the film went to Ralph Fiennes, he did an incredible performance and was so touching during his statement to the jury. I just would highly recommend this film to anyone, this is a great film and Robert Redford did a terrific job.


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