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The Candidate Details


"What do we do now?" Director [[Performer~P108355~Michael Ritchie~michaelritchie]] and executive producer/star [[Performer~P107758~Robert Redford~robertredford]] satirically explore the machinations and manipulations of media-age political campaigns in this cynical political drama. Rumpled left-wing California lawyer Bill McKay ([[Performer~P107758~Redford~robertredford]]), the son of a former governor ([[Performer~P19878~Melvyn Douglas~melvyndouglas]]), is enlisted by campaign maestro Marvin Lucas ([[Performer~P82691~Peter Boyle~peterboyle]]) to challenge Republican incumbent Crocker Jarmon ([[Performer~P57396~Don Porter~donporter]]) for his Senate seat. McKay agrees, but only if he can say exactly what he thinks. That approach is all well and good when McKay does not seem to have a chance, but things change when his honesty unexpectedly captivates the electorate. As McKay inches up in the polls, Lucas and company start to do what it takes to win, leaving McKay to ponder the consequences of his political seduction. Working without studio interference from a script by [[Performer~P98775~Jeremy Larner~jeremylarner]], a speechwriter for 1968 Presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, [[Performer~P108355~Ritchie~michaelritchie]] enhanced the behind-the-scenes realism of [[Performer~P98775~Larner~jeremylarner]]'s insights with a realistic, cinéma vérité approach. He orchestrated a campaign parade for "candidate" [[Performer~P107758~Redford~robertredford]] that drew such a considerable unstaged audience that local politicians wanted to draft [[Performer~P107758~Redford~robertredford]] for a real election. [[Performer~P107758~Redford~robertredford]]'s resemblance to the telegenic Kennedys, and his character's resonance with the future career of California governor Jerry Brown, only emphasized how close to the bone The Candidate was (and is). Released the fateful year of [[Performer~P52812~Richard Nixon~richardmnixon]]'s reelection, the film garnered accolades, if not substantial box office; [[Performer~P98775~Larner~jeremylarner]] won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and thanked the "politicians of our time" for inspiration. Creating a documentary fiction about the semi-truths manufactured to market a candidate, The Candidate shrewdly exposed the effects of the media on the increasingly cynical political process, posing unanswerable questions that have become all the more pressing with every soundbite-ruled election. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:June 29, 1972


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jeremy Larner Best Original Screenplay 1972 Winner
Venice International Film Festival Michael Ritchie Film Presented 1972 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Richard Portman Best Sound 1972 Nominee


Robert Redford
as Bill McKay
Peter Boyle
as Marvin Lucas
Don Porter
as Sen. Crocker Jarmon
Allen Garfield
as Howard Klein
Karen Carlson
as Nancy McKay
Melvyn Douglas
as John J. McKay
Terry McGovern
Gerald Hiken
as Stationmaster
Ken Jones
Joseph Miksak
as Neil Atkinson
Cedrick Hardman
Christopher Pray
as David
Pat Harrington, Jr.
as Dinner M.C.
Bill Stout
Dudley Knight
as Magazine Editor
Quinn K. Redeker
as Rich Jenkin
Jenny Sullivan
as Lynn
Morgan Upton
as Henderson
Kenneth Tobey
as Teamster Leader
Dick Whittington
Tom Dahlgren
as Pilot
Barry Sullivan
as McKay Narrator
Natalie Wood
as Herself
Broderick Crawford
as Jarmon Narrator
Michael Lerner
as Paul Corliss


Michael Ritchie
Michael Ritchie
Robert Redford
Walter Coblenz
Jeremy Larner
John Korty
Victor J. Kemper
John Rubinstein
John Rubinstein
Composer (Music Score)
Richard A. Harris
Gene Callahan
Production Designer
Patrizia Von Brandenstein
Set Designer
Richard Portman
Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Daves
First Assistant Director
Walter Doniger
Sound Mixer