Quiz Show (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History  |  7 October 1994 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 51,494 users   Metascore: 88/100
Reviews: 158 user | 59 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

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)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Director: George Clooney
Stars: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson
Frost/Nixon (2008)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.

Director: Robert Redford
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Bugsy (1991)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story of how Bugsy Siegel started Las Vegas.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A partially idealized film of the controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech for all people.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton
A Simple Plan (1998)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda
The Insider (1999)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer
The Piano (1993)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill
JFK (1991)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
Awakenings (1990)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner


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


$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 seen hanging in the Van Doren home is that of the real Mark Van Doren, not Paul Scofield who portrayed him in the film. See more »


The call letters on the TV cameras are WNBT. New York's NBC affiliate changed its call letters from WNBT to WRCA in 1954, 3 years before the Van Doren streak. See more »


Charles Van Doren: Last week alone, I had 11 proposals of marriage!
Mark Van Doren: Perhaps you should accept one of them.
Dorothy Van Doren: [to Mark] And to think, they unleash you on those impressionable young minds.
Mark Van Doren: Well, why not? He's 33 years old, Jesus Christ had a girlfriend at 33 years old.
Dorothy Van Doren: Look how that turned out.
Thomas Merton, The Monk: And, he shared an office with His Father!
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 The $64,000 Question (1955) See more »


Written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.

53 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
has the distribution of this movie been supressed since it's release? robtromp
Rob Morrow miscast? j-scott-adams
The real Best Picture, 1994 cdrw74minutes
Is Charles Van Doren really at fault? MovieGuy89
Ruben Sandwich cann85
Did anyone else find Charles van Doren's(Fiennes) smile annoying? lgforce
Discuss Quiz Show (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: