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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

Richard Condon (based upon a novel by), George Axelrod (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
4,539 ( 675)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frank Sinatra ... Major Bennett Marco
Laurence Harvey ... Raymond Shaw
Janet Leigh ... Eugenie Rose Chaney
Angela Lansbury ... Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin
Henry Silva ... Chunjin
James Gregory ... Senator John Yerkes Iselin
Leslie Parrish ... Jocelyn Jordan
John McGiver ... Senator Thomas Jordan
Khigh Dhiegh Khigh Dhiegh ... Dr. Yen Lo
James Edwards ... Corporal Allen Melvin
Douglas Henderson Douglas Henderson ... Colonel Milt
Albert Paulsen ... Zilkov
Barry Kelley ... Secretary of Defense
Lloyd Corrigan ... Holborn Gaines
Madame Spivy Madame Spivy ... Female Berezovo
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Storyline

Major Ben Marco (Frank Sinatra) is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He served valiantly as a captain in the Korean war and his Sergeant, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), even won the Medal of Honor. Marco has a major problem however: he has a recurring nightmare, one where two members of his squad are killed by Shaw. He's put on indefinite sick leave and visits Shaw in New York. Shaw for his part has established himself well, despite the misgivings of his domineering mother, Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Angela Lansbury). She is a red-baiter, accusing anyone who disagrees with her right-wing reactionary views of being a Communist. Raymond hates her, not only for how she's treated him but equally because of his step-father, the ineffectual U.S. Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), who is intent on seeking higher office. When Marco learns that others in his Korean War unit have nightmares similar to his own, he realizes that something happened to all of them in Korea and that ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When you've seen it all, you'll swear there's never been anything like it! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El embajador del miedo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,700,000, 31 December 1962
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

M.C. Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the names on the actual historic listing of Korean War Medal of Honor winners the name Raymond Harvey appears; a combination of the character's name and the actor's name in this fictitious story. See more »

Goofs

As in just about every other movie ever filmed, the Medal of Honor is incorrectly referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor. There is no such thing as the Congressional Medal of Honor. Even though the Medal of Honor is awarded by an act of congress, referring to it as the Congressional Medal of Honor is entirely incorrect. This mistake has become so prevalent that there is even a Congressional Medal of Honor Society. See more »

Quotes

[a general greets Medal of Honor winner Staff Sgt. Raymond Shaw on his return to the U.S]
General: Congratulations, son. How do you feel?
Raymond Shaw: Like Captain Idiot in Astounding Science comics.
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Crazy Credits

The live TV cameras in the senate hearing and press conference carry the NBC logo used at the time the film was made, not the logo used at the time the story takes place. See more »

Alternate Versions

West German version was edited (ca. 4 minutes) to remove every scene with the ladies in the greenhouse. To this day all home video releases contain the cut version. An uncut version (with subtitles for the missing scenes) was shown on Arte. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Manchurian Candidate Interviews (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Overture
(uncredited)
Music by David Amram and Irving Berlin
Manny Klein trumpet soloist
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
All by itself it raises my opinion of everyone involved.
14 August 1999 | by SpleenSee all my reviews

Wow! I was expecting right wing propaganda, or possibly even (a distant outside chance) left wing propaganda: I certainly wasn't expecting THIS. It isn't propaganda at all. Deriving any kind of message at all from the film is difficult - one might be tempted to conclude that we ought to never trust people who cry cheap political insults like "communist!" or "fascist!" or "racist!" at the first opportunity, but that's just a thought. At any rate, in order to get a message we have to think about the story for ourselves, very carefully, which makes it the very opposite of propaganda.

Here's another bit of advice: don't make the mistake, as I did, of thinking now and then that Frankenheimer is drifting from the point. He knows exactly what he's doing at all times. Whenever it seems he's offering some interesting diversion from the main story he's really telling the main story by other means. How good the story is I cannot convey without saying too much. Probably the central conceit everyone knows already, which was why Frankenheimer was right to spill most of the beans as soon as possible - but he does has one or two in reserve. One great thing about the story is that it doesn't rely at all on us thinking it likely.

Everyone, from composer to cameraman, did a fine job, and the cast does an even finer one. Angela Lansbury gives the performance of her life. Frank Sinatra I had never seen in a movie before, and I was surprised to discover that he can act - very well, too. It permeates down to the minor roles. Leslie Parrish as the charming innocent is certainly charming, but also subtle. "The Manchurian Candidate" would easily be the best of its kind even if it weren't the only of its kind.


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