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The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi  |  30 July 2004 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 82,299 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 360 user | 207 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Eddie Ingram
...
Robert Baker
...
Owens
...
Villalobos
...
Wilson
Joaquin Perez-Campbell ...
Atkins
Tim Artz ...
Jameson
...
Robyn Hitchcock ...
Laurent Tokar
...
Antoine Taylor ...
Boy Scout #1
Joseph Alessi ...
Boy Scout #2
...
Scout Dad (as Ray Anthony Thomas)
...
Scoutmaster
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Storyline

When his army unit was ambushed during the first Gulf War, Sergeant Raymond Shaw saved his fellow soldiers just as his commanding officer, then-Captain Ben Marco, was knocked unconscious. Brokering the incident for political capital, Shaw eventually becomes a vice-presidential nominee, while Marco is haunted by dreams of what happened -- or didn't happen -- in Kuwait. As Marco (now a Major) investigates, the story begins to unravel, to the point where he questions if it happened at all. Is it possible the entire unit was kidnapped and brainwashed to believe Shaw is a war hero as part of a plot to seize the White House? Some very powerful people at Manchurian Global corporation appear desperate to stop him from finding out. Written by A Prentiss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything is under control. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 July 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Manchurian Kandidat  »

Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,018,620 (USA) (30 July 2004)

Gross:

£1,915,402 (UK) (10 December 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Manchurian" part of the title is because in the original version of The Manchurian Candidate (1962), the brainwashing agent were Chinese communists from the Manchurian provinces next to Korea. See more »

Goofs

Men and women in military uniforms are shown on stage at the convention. It is against the law for military personnel in uniform to participate in partisan political activity. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben Marco: So why don't we just go directly right up in this route, straight in...
Laurent Tokar: Yes, I see the Captain enjoys the road less-traveled.
Ben Marco: No, the Captain enjoys not going down the highway, draggin' his ass so every Tom, Dick, Gaddafi can take a whack at it.
See more »


Soundtracks

Talk is Cheap
Written & Performed by Barbara Blaisdell & Tim Utt
Courtesy of Uttmost Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Manchurian Update
6 September 2004 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I have not seen the original John Frankenheimer's "The Manchurian Candidate", which is considered one of the best political thrillers ever made. So it was curious that Jonathan Demme (a great director whose previous work included "The Silence of the Lambs") chose to remake the "The Manchurian Candidate". Still basing the story on the novel by Richard Condon, and the 1962 screenplay by George Axelrod, screen writers Daniel Pyne and Dean Georgaris have updated the Cold War political thriller to the global nuclear terrorism threat on our homeland, and introducing the clandestine presence of a ubiquitous corporation like Manchurian Global. Demme along with reinventing a contemporary storyline, assembled a powerful cast, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and Liev Schreiber. Streep as Senator Eleanor Shaw, the mother of Vice Presidential candidate, Raymond Shaw (Schreiber), is absolutely powerful and compelling. She is playing against type-- her Eleanor Shaw is a Machiavellian Lady MacBeth. She is ruthless and smart. Streep's performance is awesome.

During the Gulf War Sgt. Raymond Shaw (Schreiber) saved his fellow soldiers when his CO, Maj. Ben Marco (Washington) is knocked unconscious. Shaw receives the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery. Back to the present day, Eleanor Shaw (Streep) imposes her sheer will and brokers the Vice Presidential slot for her son, the War Hero, on her Party's ticket. Eleanor has political ties with the very powerful Manchurian Global corporation. Meanwhile, Maj. Marco is plagued by incoherent memories of what happened in Iraq. Were his memories actually manufactured? His investigation seems to point to brainwashing and a conspiracy. And what is the ultimate goal?

Demme is a good storyteller. He keeps the story taut and paced. He also enlists effective performances from his talented cast. Denzel Washington is good as Marco. He is also playing somewhat against type. His Major Marco is a broken man regaining some of his honor, and he plays it very close to the vest. Marco is a not a charismatic character, but Washington imposes his own force on the character. Schreiber is amazing as Raymond Shaw. Outwardly, he might have played a puppet in an elaborate power play; however, he gives Shaw a strength of character that is riveting with internal conflict. Meryl Streep really steals the movie as Eleanor Shaw. Her performance is so commanding. Even in her ruthlessness and singularity, she can not be dismissed as plain evil, because ultimately her intentions are noble. That conflict embodied in her character makes "The Manchurian Candidate" worth watching.


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