7.5/10
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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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Dan Enright
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Toby Stempel
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Chairman
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Lishman
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Account Guy
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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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$757,714 (USA) (16 September 1994)

Gross:

$24,822,619 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Ben Shenkman. See more »

Goofs

Minutes before 'Twenty-One (1956-1958)' begins, viewers are seen turning on their TV sets, and a caption for the show comes on (instead of the previous program or some commercials). This may or may not be authentic, but after the quiz begins some late viewers turn on their TV sets, and they also get the static caption. See more »

Quotes

Charles Van Doren: I've stood on the shoulders of life and I've never gotten down into the dirt to build, to erect a foundation of my own. I've flown too high on borrowed wings. Everything came too easy.
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Crazy Credits

NBC and Geritol were never implicated in the quiz show scandals. See more »

Connections

References The $64,000 Question (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

MACK THE KNIFE
Written by Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht and Marc Blitzstein
Performed by Bobby Darin
Courtesy of Atco Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
The End of Innocence
24 April 2004 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

As a twelve year old growing up in Brooklyn, I did not even know the name of the show I was watching every week; to me it was just a vehicle to see if hero Charles Van Doren could hang in. He was handsome, articulate, witty, and all the girls thought him incredibly attractive (although their pre-teen minds did not yet understand sexuality). Growing up in a Jewish neighborhood as I did, Herb Stempel did not come off so nerdy as he looks now in retrospect. When it came out that everyone had cheated, us kids felt not only betrayed, but sleazily cheated personally. The girls felt somehow violated!

Here Redford turns in an understated masterpiece. He sets the stage and the standard, and gets fantastic performances from his actors:

John Turturro as Stempel is excellent, but a fine job by Johann Carlo as his principled wife, which may be overlooked in such company, is the rock upon which his family can really rely.

Ralph Fiennes, as the hapless Charles Van Doren, manages to get across his character's dilemma: a mere achiever in a family of ultra-achievers. In any other family he'd have been prime, as a Van Doren he would always be an also-ran.

Many have pointed out the great job of Paul Scofield as Mark Van Doren, Charles' father. He is the epitome of the WASP-intellectual padrone. And he has our sympathy when his son so sorely disappoints him and disgraces the family.

David Paymer is excellent and believable as Enright, the unsavory producer. He makes it almost seem disloyal not to cheat!

Bit parts are all little plums: Martin Scorsese as Martin Rittenhouse, the Geritol exec, smugly contemptuous of the public and the government. George Martin as the network president, clearly Jewish, and just as clearly a "Teflon Don" in his own world.

The scenes at the Van Doren estate are designed to convey investigator Goodwin's (Rob Morrow) culture shock and outsider status, and they represent the academic WASP world of the time accurately and wonderfully.

All in all, a great movie.


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