7.9/10
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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
4,023 ( 105)

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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:

If you come in five minutes after this picture begins, you won't know what it's all about! 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
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

One scene was filmed at the Bar and Grill that Frank Sinatra's friend Jilly Rizzo owned in New York City. See more »

Goofs

When Raymond is eating with the Jordans in their summer cabin, the film reverses for a second and he removes the food from his mouth with his fork. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Yen Lo: Attractive plant you have here.
Zilkov: Thank you, doctor. It's actually a rest home for wealthy alcoholics. We were able to purchase it three years ago. Except for this floor and the floor above it, which is sealed off for security purposes, the rest functions quite normally. In fact it's one of the few Soviet operations in America that actually showed a profit at the end of the last fiscal year.
Dr. Yen Lo: Profit? Fiscal year? Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Beware, my dear Zilkov. The virus of capitalism is highly infectious. ...
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 Big Wolf on Campus: The Manchurian Werewolf (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

The Twelve Days of Christmas
(uncredited)
Traditional, arranged by Frederic Austin
Sung by unidentified female soloist
Played on a turntable in Raymond Shaw's apartment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent Cinema
3 July 2003 | by Hobbes_512See all my reviews

I went into "The Manchurian Candidate" without knowing too much about the movie itself. I knew about its critical acclaim, but I was unfamiliar with the plot. Regardless, when I rented and watched the film, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed either.

The plot revolves around the strange case of Raymond Shaw, a sergeant who wins the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in the cold war. Two of the men in his company, however, have strange nightmares that suggest Raymond is not as deserving of the award as he seems. One of these men, Major Bennet Marco, led on by these recurring nightmares, unravels a sinister Communist plot. Set against the cold war paranoia of the sixties and McCarthyism, "The Manchurian Candidate" does an excellent job of recreating the intense suspense and tension of the time.

The acting in this film is superb. A great script is heightened by excellent acting in this movie. It's hard not to like Frank Sinatra in his role as Marco, who is the protagonist. Laurence Harvey as Raymond does a good job showing us a character that is wholly unlikable and snobby, yet pathetic and sad at the same time. And of course, Angela Lansbury in her role as Raymond's malicious and plotting mother is excellent.

Some stand-out scenes in the film were the nightmare sequences that brilliantly interlaced dream and reality, the all-queen solitaire game with Marco and Raymond, and the supremely tense climax at the political convention. The cinematography in the movie was very well done as action, romance, and tension all mixed together smoothly. All the scenes managed to keep my attention and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. As a thriller, the film works remarkably well, and it is quite easily the best political thriller I've seen to date.

Keeping me from giving the movie a perfect ten are one or two little nagging problems. I wasn't a big fan of the music for the movie, and it even disrupted the mood for me at one point in the film. It was okay, just not great. Also, the whole plot is sort of unlikely. I wont go into it here, but I don't think that the Communist plan for world domination would fall into the hands of one relatively uncontrolled person, no matter how well trained his mind was. That's just my opinion, however.

The movie is sort of long, and isn't exactly action packed, but it is very interesting, insightful, and even chilling. I had a great time watching it, and I definitely recommend it if you are interested at all in seeing a gripping Cold War era political thriller. Besides, the cultural relevance of the film alone is enough to see it.

9/10


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