A young lawyer, Richard Goodwin, investigates a potentially fixed game show. Charles Van Doren, a big time show winner, is under Goodwin's investigation.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dan Enright
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Johann Carlo ...
Toby Stempel
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George Martin ...
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.

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Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

7 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kviz  »

Box Office

Gross:

$24,822,619 (USA)
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Baldwin screen tested for the role of Charles Van Doren. 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

Charles Van Doren: Dad, I can't simply just tell them the truth.
Mark Van Doren: Can't tell them the truth? Why on earth not?
Charles Van Doren: Because it's complicated.
Mark Van Doren: Complicated?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Charles Van Doren went to work for the Encyclopedia Britannica. Today he writes books and lives in the family home in Cornwall, Connecticut. He never taught again. See more »

Connections

References Marty (1955) 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

 
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.


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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
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Did anyone else find Charles van Doren's(Fiennes) smile annoying? lgforce
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