7.5/10
57,765
166 user 62 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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Chairman
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Lishman
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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.


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:

7 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kviz  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$757,714, 16 September 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$24,822,619
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, the last question that Charles Van Doren answers correctly to defeat Herbert Stempel is worth 11 points, about a Civil War general who placed Ulysses S Grant under arrest. In the real December 5th, 1956 episode of Twenty One, this was actually the very first question asked of Van Doren that night, and was worth 8 points. See more »

Goofs

At the birthday party for his father, it shows a man dressed as a monk. This is supposed to represent Thomas Merton, a student of Mark Van Doren in the 1930s. However, Thomas Merton was not in New York until the 1960s, During this time period, he wrote to Mark Van Doren about his son Charles but was not in New York or Connecticut at the time. See more »

Quotes

Mark Van Doren: [reciting poetry at his birthday party] Now see summer bloom upon this lee, three score rings around this tree, once green, now bare, once lush, now sere, consoled only that I am planted here...
John Van Doren: You certainly are!
Mark Van Doren: Roots thick...
Thomas Merton, The Monk: And bold...
Mark Van Doren: And deep...
John Van Doren: And doddering...
Mark Van Doren: Assuage my woes...
Bunny Wilson: And termites nibbling at my toes!
Mark Van Doren: Et tu, Bunny!
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Crazy Credits

Herbert Stempel went to work for the New York City Transit Department. He still lives in Queens. See more »

Connections

References On the Waterfront (1954) 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
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User Reviews

 
Fantastic film, phenomenal performances
20 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

It would be pretty surprising if Quiz Show, Robert Redford's film about the 1950's quiz show scandals was anything short of excellent. The principal actors give phenomenal performances: Fiennes' Van Doren is usually unflappable and cold, but manages to allow vulnerability to surface at times, and Turturro's Stempel is a study in almost sociopathic and manic behavior. What allows both actors to transcend mere greatness is their ability to make the viewer both admire and detest their characters with something as subtle as a glance or body language. Morrow's character of the `whistle-blower' is there as the moral fiber; the outsider who looks upon the situation both with objectivity and as the devil's advocate.

Redford's direction is rich and well-paced. There were not any slow moments in the film, and he did not have to adhere to rapid-fire editing to achieve the momentum of the film. Perhaps the subject matter is a factor, but I have found that with the exception of `Ordinary People', the films I have seen under Redford's direction have been good in a technical respect but lean toward the maudlin. With Quiz Show, he does what should be done when telling a true story – he does not resort to preaching, rather he directs with an objectivity that allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions.

Quiz Show is an excellent film that I highly recommend, especially to see the razor-sharp performances of Fiennes and Turturro.

--Shelly


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