7.1/10
5,581
59 user 33 critic
An intellectually disabled man undergoes an experiment that gives him the intelligence of a genius.

Director:

Ralph Nelson

Writers:

Daniel Keyes (novel), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Cliff Robertson ... Charly Gordon
Claire Bloom ... Alice Kinnian
Lilia Skala ... Dr. Anna Strauss
Leon Janney ... Dr. Richard Nemur
Ruth White ... Mrs. Apple
Dick Van Patten ... Bert (as Richard Van Patten)
Edward McNally Edward McNally ... Gimpy (as Skipper McNally)
Barney Martin ... Hank
William Dwyer William Dwyer ... Joey
Dan Morgan Dan Morgan ... Paddy
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Storyline

Charly is an adult male with a cognitive disability struggling to survive in the modern world. His frequent attempts at learning, reading, and writing prove difficult. His teacher, Miss Kinian, takes Charly to the clinic where he is observed by doctors who have Charly "race" a mouse, Algernon. Algernon is usually the winner thanks to an experiment that greatly raised his intelligence. This experiment is given to Charly, who at first does not seem affected. However, he becomes more logically advanced, eventually becoming a pure genius. Emotional and intra-personal consequences are involved when Charly learns the truth of the experiment, and struggles with whether or not the procedure was a good idea. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A less than ordinary man is turned into a genius. He awakens to an exquisite love experience, but at an impossible price for CHARLY See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charly See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Satirized as "Churly" in 1969 issue of "Cracked" magazine and republished by Dell as "Half-Cracked" in April 1974. See more »

Goofs

In the lounge scene where Charly assists the mentally challenged busboy, Charly's hair switches back and forth from dry to slicked back. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Richard Nemur: [as Charly intelligence fades comes back with the results] Charly, your evaluations were correct.
Charly Gordon: [half-sarcastic] It's too bad. It was such a promising theory.
Dr. Richard Nemur: It is. It's still is.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mr. B's Lost Shorts (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautiful film
27 May 2006 | by waynepennerSee all my reviews

"I want to be smarter, just so I could get a little closer, you know?" Charly Gordon

Made in the days when doctors smoked cigarettes, this is Cliff Robertson's brilliant portrayal of a man isolated from society by an IQ of 69 who through a brain operation becomes a genius.

Robertson won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor in 1968 for his part in this wonderful and inspiring film, and it's a great movie, albeit on a "b-movie" budget. But entwined in its message is a dark reflection on how society treats people who are mentally handicapped.

Charly is the nicest guy you would ever meet, considerate of all, kind, but simple and naïve. Everyone around him either laughs at him or is condescending toward him. No one sees him as a man, not even a human being, just whatever they label him as - "dumb-assed janitor", or just plain "moron". Then he gets his operation and becomes the smartest man on Earth, but still he is labeled, and still he is isolated.

What I got most from this film is not a clinical study of mental retardation but the way society deals with mental retardation, and in this the film soars, and it will bring a tear or two if you have even a bit of humanity. It is a wonderful film, on many levels, testing us all on how we deal with those who are so unfortunate as to be mentally handicapped.

In "Charly", society doesn't win in the end, but the movie does! 9 out of 10.


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