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The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi  |  30 July 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 83,265 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 360 user | 208 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 overview, first billed only:
Eddie Ingram
Robert Baker
Joaquin Perez-Campbell ...
Tim Artz ...
Robyn Hitchcock ...
Laurent Tokar
Antoine Taylor ...
Boy Scout #1
Joseph Alessi ...
Boy Scout #2
Scout Dad (as Ray Anthony Thomas)


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


This summer everything is under control. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

30 July 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Manchurian Kandidat  »

Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


£1,915,402 (UK) (10 December 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber would later appear in Ray Donovan. Schreiber's characters in both projects are named Ray. See more »


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 »


[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 »


Featured in 20 to 1: Hollywood Twists (2011) See more »


The Difference between This, That and the Other Thing
by Chris Leo
Performed by Vague Angels
Courtesy of Pretty Activity Records & Fifth Planet Press
See more »

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User Reviews

Limp and lackluster
22 November 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The 1962 version of "The Manchurian Candidate" - starring Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey - caught the conspiratorial mood of the time when so many Americans saw a commie round every corner. The current 'war of terror' might have seemed like an apposite time to attempt a remake. I've been a fan of Denzel Washington since he played Steve Biko in "Cry, Freedom" and I regard Meryl Street as the finest actress of her generation, so the chance to see the two starring together for the first time was an attractive one. Since I'm a political animal, the vehicle of a political thriller appeared to add to the attraction. But Jonathan Demme's remake of John Frankenheimer's classic, although it has a certain style, is overall a real disappointment. Frankly it is lackluster when it is not simply silly.

Streep gives a bravado performance as the manipulative mother of the Vice-Presidential candidate who is under external control and Washington is always watchable, but Liev Schreiber as the brain-drilled war hero and politician is robotic even when he is not 'activated'. The 'up-dating' of the story to make corporations rather than Communists the enemy is a well-worn theme, ranging from the Peter Sellers' movie "Being There" to the more recent television series "24". What this new version of Richard Condon's 1959 novel tells us is that Americans are no less fearful and paranoid than they were in the Cold War and Hollywood is no better at remakes than it ever was.

32 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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