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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 24 October 1962 (USA)
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)
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Popularity
4,171 ( 342)

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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 ... 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 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 had nightmares similar to his own, he realizes that something happened to all of them in Korea and that Raymond... Written by garykmcd/Robert Sieger

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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

When Rosie picks up Ben at the police station, you can clearly see an actor in the background with no pants on trying to sneak out of the scene. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Yen Lo: His brain has not only been washed, as they say... It has been dry cleaned.
See more »

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

Referenced in Species II (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Washington Post
(1889) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played by a band in the first scene after the opening credits
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A political and social thriller/drama ahead of its time.
20 August 2001 | by terenSee all my reviews

John Frankenheimer's surrealistic direction and George Axelrod's adaptation of the 1959 book by the same name offer Laurence Harvey a career defining role.

Set in 1950's, A Korean War veteran Raymond Shaw(Harvey) returns home to a medal of honor for rescuing his POW platoon from behind Chinese lines and back to safety. One of the returning soldiers, (played effectively by Frank Sinatra) however, has recurring dreams of his platoon being brainwashed and Shaw committing acts of murder.

He eventually convinces army brass that Shaw is still a puppet of his Communist-Marxist operators.

Angela Lansbury, (although barely a few years older than Harvey was at the time) plays his mother in a tour de force role. She absolutely captivates and steals every scene she is in, playing a very complex role that needs to convince the viewer of many things without much dialogue.

There's a rich cast of characters, including Janet Leigh, Henry Silva, James Edwards, and a painfully accurate James Gregory. Each character weaves through the methodical subplots and tapestry of Frankenheimer's masterful "Hitchcockian" pace.

I won't give away the plot, but dear readers, allow me to sat that this one is really worth watching--until the nail-biting and chilling conclusion.

There are many undertones in this film -- political, sexual, class and power, and social. You will want to view this film several times to approach it from different perspectives.


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