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The Candidate (1972)

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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 <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing matters more than winning. Not even what you believe in. 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

Robert Redford and Michael Ritchie had recently worked together on Downhill Racer (1969), when they approached Jeremy Larner together wanting to make a movie about "a candidate who sold his soul." According to Larner: "Warners would not have financed the film were not Redford willing to take responsibility for it, and though he did not want the credit, he was a most conscientious producer from beginning to end, and the movie certainly reflects his personality." See more »

Goofs

The red convertible driven by Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle) has three different license plates during the opening credits: "677 EIY", "185 ENV", and "772 DYD". All are from the 1972 era in California. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Bill McKay: What do we do now?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harry and the Hendersons: The Candidate (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

A Better Way
Music by John Rubinstein
Lyrics by David Colloff
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User Reviews

 
The timeless definitive campaign
24 June 2001 | by jlacerraSee all my reviews

This is a truly excellent and overlooked Redford vehicle, and his performance comes full circle. From wide-eyed idealism to resigned cynicism, all the way back to little-boy-lost and overwhelmed. Redford is flawless! Peter Boyle is right-on as the experienced campaign hand. Also it is easy to overlook Don Porter's effortless portrayal of the smooth and experienced incumbent senator, just on the verge of decline. Porter's seamless delivery makes it look easy.

Douglas is also excellent as John J. McKay, Redford's father and the former governor. Obviously a traditional machine politician, and apparently estranged from his activist son for that, and perhaps for other reasons we are left to imagine, Douglas revels in the younger man's initiation to the corrupt world of politics. Catch the hunting scene to illustrate how these two are poles apart.

An intelligent, realistic, and rewarding film about politics, done at a time when folks were perhaps looking for a political fairy tale.


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