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The Candidate (1972)

Trailer
3:05 | Trailer
Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment.

Director:

Michael Ritchie

Writer:

Jeremy Larner
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Bill McKay
Peter Boyle ... Marvin Lucas
Melvyn Douglas ... John J. McKay
Don Porter ... Senator Crocker Jarmon
Allen Garfield ... Klein
Karen Carlson ... Nancy McKay
Quinn K. Redeker ... Rick Jenkin (as Quinn Redeker)
Morgan Upton ... Wally Henderson
Michael Lerner ... Paul Corliss
Kenneth Tobey ... Floyd J. Starkey
Christopher Pray Christopher Pray ... David (as Chris Prey)
Joe Miksak Joe Miksak ... Neil Atkinson
Jenny Sullivan ... Lynn
Tom Dahlgren Tom Dahlgren ... Pilot
Gerald Hiken Gerald Hiken ... Station Manager
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Storyline

Californian lawyer Bill McKay fights for the little man. His charisma and integrity get him noticed by the Democratic Party machine and he is persuaded to run for the Senate against an apparently unassailable incumbent. It's agreed he can handle it his own way, on his own terms. But once he's in the race and his prospects begin to improve, the deal starts to change. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Too Handsome. Too Young. Too Liberal. Doesn't have a chance. He's PERFECT! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 1972 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

El candidato See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A prop campaign button from this film is on display at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington. It is on display with several authentic campaign buttons. See more »

Goofs

When the TV commentary comes on, McKay's assistant leans forward and puts his chin on his right hand but in the shot from the front his chin goes on his left hand. See more »

Quotes

Bill McKay: [with his team after giving one speech too many] Can't any longer play off black against old - young against poor. This country cannot house its houseless - feed its foodless.
[and he begins making gaga noises]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: All About Politics (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

A Better Way
Music by John Rubinstein
Lyrics by David Colloff
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best political film ever made
24 October 2004 | by wjficklingSee all my reviews

I saw this film in 1972 when it came out, and I just saw it again on cable. I am amazed at how prescient this film was. Remember, this was before Jerry Brown, the real life politician most people will think of as a counterpart to Redford's character, had not yet run for governor and was still unknown outside of California. Nixon was still in office and was about to be re-elected by a landslide. Abortion was still illegal in all 50 states, and Roe v. Wade had not yet been decided. The term "sound bite" had not yet been coined. "Spin" was something a washing machine did.

Redford plays an idealistic young storefront lawyer who is persuaded to run for the Senate as a Democrat against a Republican incumbent running for his fourth term. He feels free to speak his mind because he knows he hasn't a chance of winning. His freshness and honesty win over a lot of people favorable to his politics, and suddenly the gap closes. Now he has a chance of winning, but to do so he has to win over the "undecided voters" in the middle of the political spectrum. (Sound familiar? I'm writing this nine days before the Bush-Kerry election, and no one knows who will win.) Guess what happens? Suddenly he's not so fresh and honest anymore. And by the time he finally has a televised debate with the incumbent, he has mastered the art of the non-answer answer, that is, responding to a reporter's question by making a vague statement of his own without ever answering the question.

Fast forward to 2004. The spin doctors now run the show. This film was intended as satire and as a warning. Regrettably, it has become a prediction. 10/10


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