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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Producers Barry Levinson and Mark Johnson had their names taken off the credits even though they had been instrumental in getting the film made. They settled instead for a namecheck for their production company, Baltimore Pictures. They felt that listing eleven producer credits for one film was far too many. See more »
When Goodwin is talking to the Geritol rep, you can see oversize volumes of the "Dictionary Catalog of the Research Libraries of the New York Public Library, 1911-1971", which was published in 1979. See more »
[to a reporter outside the committee hearing]
You know what the problem with you bums is? You never leave a guy alone unless you're leaving him alone.
See more »
After years in exile, Dan Enright and Jack Barry returned to television with "The Joker's Wild". It made them millionaires. See more »
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.
58 of 63 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?