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The Candidate Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

"What do we do now?" Director Michael Ritchie and executive producer/star Robert Redford satirically explore the machinations and manipulations of media-age political campaigns in this cynical political drama. Rumpled left-wing California lawyer Bill McKay (Redford), the son of a former governor (Melvyn Douglas), is enlisted by campaign maestro Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle) to challenge Republican incumbent Crocker Jarmon (Don Porter) 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 Jeremy Larner, a speechwriter for 1968 Presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, Ritchie enhanced the behind-the-scenes realism of Larner's insights with a realistic, cinéma vérité approach. He orchestrated a campaign parade for "candidate" Redford that drew such a considerable unstaged audience that local politicians wanted to draft Redford for a real election. Redford'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 Richard Nixon's reelection, the film garnered accolades, if not substantial box office; Larner 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

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
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

Cast

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
Broderick Crawford
as Jarmon Narrator
Tom Dahlgren
as Pilot
Cedrick Hardman
Pat Harrington, Jr.
as Dinner M.C.
Gerald Hiken
as Stationmaster
Ken Jones
Dudley Knight
as Magazine Editor
Terry McGovern
Joseph Miksak
as Neil Atkinson
Christopher Pray
as David
Barry Sullivan
as McKay Narrator
Dick Whittington
Bill Stout
Jenny Sullivan
as Lynn
Natalie Wood
as Herself
Morgan Upton
as Henderson
Michael Lerner
as Paul Corliss
Kenneth Tobey
as Teamster Leader
Quinn K. Redeker
as Rich Jenkin
Dudley Knight
as Magazine Editor
Pat Harrington, Jr.
as Dinner M.C.
Christopher Pray
as David
Joseph Miksak
as Neil Atkinson
Gerald Hiken
as Stationmaster
Jenny Sullivan
as Lynn
Morgan Upton
as Henderson
Kenneth Tobey
as Teamster Leader
Tom Dahlgren
as Pilot
Barry Sullivan
as McKay Narrator
Michael Lerner
as Paul Corliss
Natalie Wood
as Herself
Broderick Crawford
as Jarmon Narrator

Crew

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