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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
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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:

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

"The Candidate" was one of a handful of 1972 Warner Bros. releases to feature a rare, short-lived version of the WB shield logo, with a solid blue background and "A Warner Communications Company" tagline (WCI had just become Warners' parent company, but the familiar '70s era Saul Bass logo had not yet been designed). "Deliverance" was the only other high-profile WB movie to use this logo. See more »

Goofs

Bill McKay's wife is a photographer, or at least is shown to know what she is doing with a camera. Yet, the actress does not hold the camera correctly. See more »

Quotes

Bill McKay: So vote once, vote tuh-wice, for Bill McKay... you middle-class honkies.
See more »

Connections

Edited into La classe américaine (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

The Shaping of a Political Candidate
10 November 2004 | by CurtMan@LVCM.comSee all my reviews

"The Candidate" is very insightful, very conscientious, and very accurate in exploring the trials, tribulations, and developments in transforming a nihilistic underdog into a popular, contending candidate for the California Senate. It is a good, provocative, and even satiric look at the ups and downs of the political landscape, as well as its many constraints, with political advisers not interested in the candidate's candidness, but rather sealing an election, and this is very fascinatingly and simply laid out in a film that goes "the full monty" in exploring the American political landscape- this is generally a behind-the-scenes development of the political process- from the frequent campaign rallies, to the luncheons and parades, to the advantage of incumbency, to dirty campaign tricks, to critical debates, and finally, to the anxiety, tension, and exasperation of the election. Robert Redford is the character study, playing an aspiring, yet hardly hopeful, son of a former California governor, dashing and articulate candidate for California Senate, Bill McKay, for the Democratic party. His challenger is incumbent Senator Crocker Jarmon, who seems to be the antithesis of all of the charisma, articulation, and humbleness that is McKay, a rather arrogant, prudent, and unappealing candidate, regardless of whether you share his beliefs. I have to wonder- is the film taking jabs at the Republican party- claiming it is apathetic, self-serving, and shadowy, while in contrast the Democratic party cares passionately about the people, contains darling appeal, and considers a "better way" for the people rather than simply winning an election. Perhaps I am finding ways to detract from some clear and distinguished differences between McKay and Jarmon, because of their parties in the film, and perhaps this is because I believe BOTH parties stand for the people, regardless of my political allegiances- whatever; just a curious observation. Robert Redford plays McKay very well and earnestly- really bringing this vivacious and whimsical character to life and shining on the "campaign trail". The screenplay is absolutely brilliant- taking every idea about politics and ingeniously infusing it throughout the many events of the film: a very constructive and admirable endeavor indeed. The music is very patriotic, sentimental, and portentous, really defining the American political spirit, and really pounding on a theme of greatness through victory. This is an extremely well crafted, well scripted, well acted, well directed, and well received, albeit very predictable and incisive, film, exploring the political landscape as verily as I have ever seen a film endeavor in. It's simple, entertaining, and contains some solid education about the shaping of a political candidate, through a hostile, volatile, and demanding political campaign- "The Candidate" is a real winner. ***1/2 out of ****


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