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The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

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In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.

Director:

Jonathan Demme

Writers:

Richard Condon (novel), George Axelrod | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,908 ( 111)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeffrey Wright ... Al Melvin
Pablo Schreiber ... Eddie Ingram
Anthony Mackie ... Robert Baker
Dorian Missick ... Owens
Jose Pablo Cantillo ... Villalobos
Teddy Dunn ... Wilson
Joaquin Perez-Campbell Joaquin Perez-Campbell ... Atkins
Tim Artz Tim Artz ... Jameson
Denzel Washington ... Ben Marco
Robyn Hitchcock Robyn Hitchcock ... Laurent Tokar
Liev Schreiber ... Raymond Shaw
Antoine Taylor Antoine Taylor ... Boy Scout #1
Joseph Alessi Joseph Alessi ... Boy Scout #2
Raymond Anthony Thomas ... Scout Dad (as Ray Anthony Thomas)
Bill Irwin ... Scoutmaster
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Storyline

When his army unit was ambushed during the first Gulf War, Sergeant Raymond Shaw saved his fellow soldiers just as his commanding officer, then-Captain Ben Marco, was knocked unconscious. Brokering the incident for political capital, Shaw eventually becomes a vice-presidential nominee, while Marco is haunted by dreams of what happened -- or didn't happen -- in Kuwait. As Marco (now a Major) investigates, the story begins to unravel, to the point where he questions if it happened at all. Is it possible the entire unit was kidnapped and brainwashed to believe Shaw is a war hero as part of a plot to seize the White House? Some very powerful people at Manchurian Global corporation appear desperate to stop him from finding out. Written by A Prentiss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

....is anyone seeing the truth? See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Paramont [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 July 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Manchurian Kandidat See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,018,620, 1 August 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$65,955,630

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$96,105,964
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Tina Sinatra, who was instrumental in deciding to remake the film, inherited the production rights from her father, Frank Sinatra, who played Bennett Marco in the 1962 version. See more »

Goofs

In the opening shot of Rosie's cousin's apartment, the shower door has swans etched on it. When Ben takes a shower, the swans are gone and the glass is pebbled. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben Marco: So why don't we just go directly right up in this route, straight in...
Laurent Tokar: Yes, I see the Captain enjoys the road less-traveled.
Ben Marco: No, the Captain enjoys not going down the highway, draggin' his ass so every Tom, Dick, Gaddafi can take a whack at it.
See more »

Connections

References Jacob's Ladder (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Satellite
by Babatunde Adebimpe & David Andrew Sitek
Performed by TV on the Radio
Courtesy of Touch and Go Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Manchurian Update
6 September 2004 | by Jon OchiaiSee all my reviews

I have not seen the original John Frankenheimer's "The Manchurian Candidate", which is considered one of the best political thrillers ever made. So it was curious that Jonathan Demme (a great director whose previous work included "The Silence of the Lambs") chose to remake the "The Manchurian Candidate". Still basing the story on the novel by Richard Condon, and the 1962 screenplay by George Axelrod, screen writers Daniel Pyne and Dean Georgaris have updated the Cold War political thriller to the global nuclear terrorism threat on our homeland, and introducing the clandestine presence of a ubiquitous corporation like Manchurian Global. Demme along with reinventing a contemporary storyline, assembled a powerful cast, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and Liev Schreiber. Streep as Senator Eleanor Shaw, the mother of Vice Presidential candidate, Raymond Shaw (Schreiber), is absolutely powerful and compelling. She is playing against type-- her Eleanor Shaw is a Machiavellian Lady MacBeth. She is ruthless and smart. Streep's performance is awesome.

During the Gulf War Sgt. Raymond Shaw (Schreiber) saved his fellow soldiers when his CO, Maj. Ben Marco (Washington) is knocked unconscious. Shaw receives the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery. Back to the present day, Eleanor Shaw (Streep) imposes her sheer will and brokers the Vice Presidential slot for her son, the War Hero, on her Party's ticket. Eleanor has political ties with the very powerful Manchurian Global corporation. Meanwhile, Maj. Marco is plagued by incoherent memories of what happened in Iraq. Were his memories actually manufactured? His investigation seems to point to brainwashing and a conspiracy. And what is the ultimate goal?

Demme is a good storyteller. He keeps the story taut and paced. He also enlists effective performances from his talented cast. Denzel Washington is good as Marco. He is also playing somewhat against type. His Major Marco is a broken man regaining some of his honor, and he plays it very close to the vest. Marco is a not a charismatic character, but Washington imposes his own force on the character. Schreiber is amazing as Raymond Shaw. Outwardly, he might have played a puppet in an elaborate power play; however, he gives Shaw a strength of character that is riveting with internal conflict. Meryl Streep really steals the movie as Eleanor Shaw. Her performance is so commanding. Even in her ruthlessness and singularity, she can not be dismissed as plain evil, because ultimately her intentions are noble. That conflict embodied in her character makes "The Manchurian Candidate" worth watching.


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