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Quiz Show (1994)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 7 October 1994 (USA)
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)
1,140 ( 128)

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



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


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.


Drama | History

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)


$24,822,619 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The charcoal drawing of Mark Van Doren hanging in the Van Doren home is the real Mark Van Doren. See more »


The Thistle Class One sailboat is rigged with specialty Harken blocks (pulleys), which were introduced in the 1990s. See more »


Martin Rittenhome: Television is gonna go on. The quiz shows are gonna go on. Makes me wonder what you hope to accomplish with all this.
Dick Goodwin: Don't worry, I'm just getting started.
Martin Rittenhome: You're a bright young kid with a bright future. Watch yourself out there.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Richard Goodwin became a speechwriter for the 1960 Kennedy campaign and then a member of the White House staff. After the assassination of Robert Kennedy, he retired from politics to become a writer. See more »


References Twelve O'Clock High (1949) See more »


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

Excellent '50s tale of reality TV that wasn't
26 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was growing up during the Charles Van Doren scandal, and I remember his face on the front page of the paper and my mother crying. When I asked her what happened, she said, "He told a lie." He told a whole bunch of them, in fact, and was part of the quiz show scandal of the '50s, which Quiz Show so beautifully dramatizes. Robert Redford does a fantastic job of recreating the atmosphere in perfect detail, as well as the fascinating story of the '50s version of reality TV, the quiz shows, going awry.

Paul Scofield is absolutely mind-boggling as Van Doren Sr., and Ralph Fiennes is wonderful, handsome, and charismatic as Charles Van Doren. The rest of the cast is marvelous - John Turturro, David Paymer, Hank Azaria, and Rob Morrow.

Van Doren was a dream contestant - good-looking, educated, with a beautiful speaking voice - and captivated the country with his intelligence. Unfortunately, it wasn't reality at all, just fantasy. But, as Van Doren says while verbally sparring with his dad, "It was mine own." It sure was, and he went into oblivion because of it.

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why Lie About Van Doren "Never" Teaching Again? Master_Voorhees
Rob Morrow miscast? j-scott-adams
has the distribution of this movie been supressed since it's release? robtromp
Did anyone else find Charles van Doren's(Fiennes) smile annoying? lgforce
The real Best Picture, 1994 cdrw74minutes
Ruben Sandwich cann85
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