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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)
Reviews
Popularity
3,804 ( 685)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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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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.


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)

Gross:

$24,822,619 (USA)
 »

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

In 1973's The Way We Were, the 'Robert Redford' character was defined by the phrase "everything came too easy." In 1994's Quiz Show (1994), directed by Redford, the Van Doren character used the same phrase about his own life. See more »

Goofs

When Enright and Freedman attempt to convince Van Doren to appear on 21, they ask him how much does he think Bozo the Clown makes. Bozo's first TV show was in 1949 on Los Angeles's KTTV. However, Bozo did not gain national prominence until Larry Harmon established Bozo shows in various markets. The first was in LA in 1959, with the New York show also starting that year. Since Van Doren's conversation would have occurred in 1956, Bozo was not yet well known among adults or a high grossing star. See more »

Quotes

Mark Van Doren: I'm sorry, Charlie. I'm an old man, it's all a little difficult for me to comprehend!
Charles Van Doren: It's television, Dad. It's... it's just... just television...
Mark Van Doren: You make it sound like you didn't have a choice!
Charles Van Doren: What was I supposed to do at that point, disillusion the whole goddamn country?
Mark Van Doren: Charlie, you took the money!
Charles Van Doren: Yes, yes, I took the money!
Mark Van Doren: Is that what this was about?
Charles Van Doren: No... no, um, I don't know...
Mark Van Doren: It was a goddamn quiz show, Charlie.
Charles Van Doren: An ill-favored thing, sir...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

After years in exile, Dan Enright and Jack Barry returned to television with "The Joker's Wild". It made them millionaires. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Bob Saget/TLC (1995) 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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