6.9/10
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371 user 142 critic

The Contender (2000)

Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for U.S. Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to derail her confirmation.

Director:

Rod Lurie

Writer:

Rod Lurie
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Shelly Runyon
Joan Allen ... Laine Hanson
Jeff Bridges ... President Jackson Evans
Christian Slater ... Reginald Webster
Sam Elliott ... Kermit Newman
William Petersen ... Jack Hathaway
Saul Rubinek ... Jerry Tolliver
Philip Baker Hall ... Oscar Billings
Mike Binder ... Lewis Hollis
Robin Thomas ... William Hanson
Mariel Hemingway ... Cynthia Charlton Lee
Kathryn Morris ... Paige Willomina
Kristen Shaw ... Fiona Hathaway
Douglas Urbanski ... Makerowitz
Noah Fryrear Noah Fryrear ... Timmy
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Storyline

A political thriller about Laine Hanson, a Senator who is nominated to become Vice President following the death of the previous office holder. During the confirmation process, Laine is the victim of a vicious attack on her personal life in which stories of sexual deviancy are spread. She is torn as to whether she should fight back, or stick to her high principles and refuse to comment on the allegations. Written by Ted Johnson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Contender See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,363,900, 15 October 2000

Gross USA:

$17,872,723

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,428,990
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Jeff Bridges and Gary Oldman only agreed to make the film once they were assured that Joan Allen was in place for the lead role. See more »

Goofs

When Runyon and his cronies are plotting on how to reject Senator Hanson's nomination, Runyon's cigar goes from smaller to larger as the scene progresses. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jack Hathaway: Well, I bet you've been getting a lot of Churchills. Probably Mandela. Some DeGaulles. But I'd have to go with Anwar Sadat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For our daughters See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #1.3 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Something Peculiar
Written and performed by Julianna Raye
Courtesy of Ziffy Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Where Lewinsky meets Lebowski
30 April 2001 | by GeofbobSee all my reviews

This may not be the greatest White House movie thriller ever - as its makers claim - but it is probably the most politically explicit. Gone are the days of Advise and Consent, when the opposing parties were simply referred to as the "majority" and "minority", and the movie aimed at non-partisan neutrality . Here, the administration is Democrat, and the film proudly wears its liberal heart on its sleeve. And the movie is all the better for this clarity and honesty.

Jeff Bridges is well cast as Jackson Evans, a President every bit as charismatic and opportunistic as Bill Clinton. Indeed, the whole movie can be seen as a take on the Monica Lewinsky saga, highlighting the manipulation and hypocrisy displayed on all sides at that time. (One mistake in the script is a direct reference to the Clinton impeachment vote; it is dangerous for parodies or satires to refer to the true stories on which they are based - it leads to a dislocation in the audience's point of view, and in this case to the awkward question - if this is a post-Clinton Democrat President, and he's coming to the end of his second term, in just what year is the action supposed to be taking place?!)

Given the White House shenanigans in recent years, it is surprising that some IMDb commenters should question the plausibility of the plot, which I feel stretches our credulity no further than most Hollywood thrillers. Joan Allen as vice-Presidential nominee Laine Hanson, and Gary Oldman as Shelly Runyon, her would-be character assassin, have strong parts and make the most of them - though personally I think it is Bridges' movie - but there is perhaps a little too much of Christian Slater in a curious role as Reginald Webster, a young, liberal, but seemingly anti-feminist, Democrat Congressman. The director, Rod Lurie, seems unable to make up his mind whether Webster should be portrayed as an overly-naive idealist, or an ambitious cynic with his eye on the main chance.

Overall, this is a fast-moving, enjoyable film, making the points that petty personal indiscretions should have little influence when it comes to power politics, and that it's about time the USA had a woman as President or at least a heart beat away.


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