7.5/10
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166 user 64 critic

Quiz Show (1994)

A young lawyer, Richard Goodwin, investigates a potentially fixed game show. Charles Van Doren, a big time show winner, is under Goodwin's investigation.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (book)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Herbie Stempel
... Dick Goodwin
... Charles Van Doren
... Mark Van Doren
... Dan Enright
... Albert Freedman
... Jack Barry
... Toby Stempel
... Dorothy Van Doren
... Robert Kintner
... Sandra Goodwin
... Chairman
... Lishman
... Account Guy
... Pennebaker
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Storyline

An idealistic young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focuses on two contestants on the show "Twenty-One": Herbert Stempel, a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren, the patrician scion of one of America's leading literary families. Based on a true story. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@hanover-crrel.army.mil>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fifty million people watched, but no one saw a thing.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kviz  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$757,714, 16 September 1994, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$24,822,619
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes four Oscar winners (Mira Sorvino, Paul Scofield, Martin Scorsese, Barry Levinson) and four Oscar nominees(Ralph Fiennes, David Paymer, Ethan Hawke and Douglas McGrath). See more »

Goofs

Herb Stempel while at home says that Gutenberg invents the printing press, however Gutenberg invented movable type for a printing press. See more »

Quotes

Herbie Stemple: Come and see Herbie Stempel get thrown to the Columbia lions! Watch Charles Van Doren eat his first kosher meal in his life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Albert Freedman works for Penthouse Magazine. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

MORITAT
Written by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht
Performed by Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett appears courtesy of Curb Music Company and MCA Records
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User Reviews

 
An Interesting Study Of TV Corruption, But Strangely Lacking In Intensity
11 August 2003 | by See all my reviews

In the late 1950's the TV game show "Twenty-One" was rigged. Popular contestants who could grab ratings were fed the questions and answers, and those who the network wanted off were told to take dives, all for the sake of keeping ratings up and selling Geritol. "Quiz Show" is the story of the scandal, and of the potential danger of the power of television. The movie focuses around two contestants in particular: Herbert Stempel (John Turturro), the reigning champ at the start of the movie who the network decides it wants to dump in favour of someone more glamorous who can pull in higher ratings: Charles Van Doran (Ralph Fiennes), a college literature professor. Stempel feels cheated of the glory that he feels was his due, while Van Doran is tormented by his desire to tell the truth, but also to cover up his involvement in the scandal.

This is an interesting film that gives a fascinating look at the inside workings of the TV game show of that era. And it does paint a fascinating moral dilemma. As Dan Enright (David Paymer) - Twenty-One's producer - says to the Congressional committee that investigates the scandal, this was after all just a TV show; by definition a piece of entertainment. The sponsor sold its product, the network got ratings, the contestants made money and the public got entertained. Where was the victim? And yet it WAS dishonest. It's a fascinating issue, this whole concept of a victimless crime. And the ultimate irony was summed up by Dick Goodwin (Rob Morrow), the head Congressional investigator: the Committee got Van Doran, but what he wanted was to get television. In the end, as he says, television will probably end up getting them.

All in all this was an interesting movie, although - strangely for a true story - I felt it lacked any sustained dramatic intensity. Remembering Jack Barry from the 1970's as host of the game show "The Joker's Wild" (he was also the host of "Twenty-One"), I was very impressed by Christopher McDonald's portrayal of him. Although the role wasn't really that central to the movie, McDonald had Barry down pat, and I felt as if it really were Jack Barry I was watching.

All in all, this is a very good movie. I wouldn't run out and buy it, but it's certainly worth a rental.

7/10


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