The Contender (2000)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  13 October 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 20,082 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 369 user | 134 critic | 35 from

Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 20 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Hathaway
Oscar Billings
Paige Willomina
Fiona Hathaway
Noah Fryrear ...


A political thriller about Laine Hanson, a senator who is nominated to become Vice President following the death of the previous office holder. During the confirmation process, Laine is the victim of a vicious attack on her personal life in which stories of sexual deviancy are spread. She is torn as to whether she should fight back, or stick to her high principles and refuse to comment on the allegations. Written by Ted Johnson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot. See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

13 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La conspiración  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,363,900 (USA) (13 October 2000)


ESP 69,024,815 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie reunites three actors who appeared in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988): Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen and Christian Slater. See more »


Near the end of the movie when the President is walking onto the podium to give his speech to Congress, the camera pans across the back of the Assistant Cameraman wearing a gray ball cap and holding the remote focus device for the camera. See more »


[first lines]
Jack Hathaway: Well, I bet you've been getting a lot of Churchills. Probably Mandela. Some DeGaulles. But I'd have to go with Anwar Sadat.
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Crazy Credits

For our daughters See more »


Referenced in Maltin on Movies: Awards Special 2011 (2011) See more »


Ebben, Ne Andro Lontana From 'La Wally'
Written by Alfredo Catalani
Performed by Miriam Gauci and The BRT Philharmonic Brussels
Courtesy Of Naxos of America
By arrangement with Source Q
Courtesy of Naxos of America
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User Reviews

Where Lewinsky meets Lebowski
30 April 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This may not be the greatest White House movie thriller ever - as its makers claim - but it is probably the most politically explicit. Gone are the days of Advise and Consent, when the opposing parties were simply referred to as the "majority" and "minority", and the movie aimed at non-partisan neutrality . Here, the administration is Democrat, and the film proudly wears its liberal heart on its sleeve. And the movie is all the better for this clarity and honesty.

Jeff Bridges is well cast as Jackson Evans, a President every bit as charismatic and opportunistic as Bill Clinton. Indeed, the whole movie can be seen as a take on the Monica Lewinsky saga, highlighting the manipulation and hypocrisy displayed on all sides at that time. (One mistake in the script is a direct reference to the Clinton impeachment vote; it is dangerous for parodies or satires to refer to the true stories on which they are based - it leads to a dislocation in the audience's point of view, and in this case to the awkward question - if this is a post-Clinton Democrat President, and he's coming to the end of his second term, in just what year is the action supposed to be taking place?!)

Given the White House shenanigans in recent years, it is surprising that some IMDb commenters should question the plausibility of the plot, which I feel stretches our credulity no further than most Hollywood thrillers. Joan Allen as vice-Presidential nominee Laine Hanson, and Gary Oldman as Shelly Runyon, her would-be character assassin, have strong parts and make the most of them - though personally I think it is Bridges' movie - but there is perhaps a little too much of Christian Slater in a curious role as Reginald Webster, a young, liberal, but seemingly anti-feminist, Democrat Congressman. The director, Rod Lurie, seems unable to make up his mind whether Webster should be portrayed as an overly-naive idealist, or an ambitious cynic with his eye on the main chance.

Overall, this is a fast-moving, enjoyable film, making the points that petty personal indiscretions should have little influence when it comes to power politics, and that it's about time the USA had a woman as President or at least a heart beat away.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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