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 <email@example.com>
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 »
On Richard Goodwin's list of former "Twenty'One" contestants, Herb Stempel's address is shown as "106-55 19th Avenue." But when Goodwin goes to Stempel's house, the numbers on the door are "2117." See more »
[while Dan Enright is testifying]
I thought we were gonna get television. The truth is... television is gonna get us.
See more »
Albert Freedman works for Penthouse Magazine. See more »
I watched this film for about the fifth time last night. I first saw it a couple of years ago when my mum brought it home, she'd picked it out of the bargain bin at the supermarket, and what a bargain!
It is a superb tale, I notice some have said 'who cares it was just a dumb quiz show', well that is hardly the point, many films are made where, what was seemingly the subject is actually just a background for the real story to be told.
Quiz Show is a brilliantly told morality tale, but that is not to say it preaches. It can get away with not preaching because the consequences of their actions didn't harm anyone. It doesn't say, 'if you do something wrong you will be punished'. It says 'If you do something wrong, can you live with yourself'. "It's the getting away with it I couldn't stand" Charlie says at one point.
A classical tragedy of a man with the world at his fingertips who throws it all away at his own volition. As a classical Shakespearean actor Fiennes is perfect for the role.
A wonderful intelligent and literate script, the pieces between Charlie and his father in the Athanaeum and at the picnic are wonderful.
Subtle music and stylish presentation are the icing on the cake.
49 of 62 people found this review helpful.
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