64% The Maze Runner Sep 19
—— A Walk Among the Tombstones Sep 19
56% This Is Where I Leave You Sep 19
82% Tracks Sep 19
92% The Guest Sep 17

Top Box Office

13% No Good Deed $24.3M
73% Dolphin Tale 2 $15.9M
92% Guardians of the Galaxy $8.1M
19% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $4.9M
20% Let's Be Cops $4.4M
88% The Drop $4.1M
37% If I Stay $3.9M
36% The November Man $2.8M
33% The Giver $2.6M
67% The Hundred-Foot Journey $2.4M

Coming Soon

68% The Equalizer Sep 26
69% The Boxtrolls Sep 26
86% The Two Faces of January Sep 26
—— Two Night Stand Sep 26
91% Jimi: All Is by My Side Sep 26

Premieres Tonight

—— Brickleberry: Season 3
—— The Mindy Project: Season 3
—— New Girl: Season 4

New Episodes Tonight

88% Finding Carter: Season 1
67% Matador: Season 1
83% Sons of Anarchy: Season 7

Discuss Last Night's Shows

71% Dallas: Season 3
62% Under the Dome: Season 2

The Contender (2000)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 129
Fresh: 98 | Rotten: 31

Critics say this political thriller is solidly made, with top-notch performances, screenplay, and direction for about two third of the film. Unfortunately, the ending almost tank the whole movie.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 9

Critics say this political thriller is solidly made, with top-notch performances, screenplay, and direction for about two third of the film. Unfortunately, the ending almost tank the whole movie.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,988

My Rating

Movie Info

The hard-ball gamesmanship and casual character assassination of American politics sets the stage for this thriller from writer and director Rod Lurie. When the Vice President of the United States unexpectedly dies, all eyes in Washington D.C. are on President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) as he chooses a new VP. Sen. Jack Hathaway (William Petersen), a respected career politician enjoying a new swell of popularity after a well-publicized attempt to save a drowning woman, is expected to be Evans'


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Rod Lurie

Feb 27, 2001


Dreamworks - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now


Latest News on The Contender

October 7, 2011:
The 10 Greatest Performances in Political Thrillers
Inspired by "The Ides of March," Movieline looks back at some noteworthy performances in the genre.
July 19, 2007:
Kate Beckinsale to Topline Lurie's Valerie Plame Pic
Film critic turned film maker Rod Lurie will write and direct "Nothing But the Truth" for the Yari...


Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (153) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (98) | Rotten (31) | DVD (22)

Wonderfully cast and slickly directed, but so crudely written as to make its espousing of progressive principles seem crassly exploitative to the point of self-parody.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic


January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A vivid, juicy, thoroughly entertaining movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one of those rare movies where you leave the theater having been surprised and entertained, and then start arguing.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An intelligent and informed look at the preposterous ways our leaders are often picked and sabotaged.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thoughtful, enjoyable film for older teens.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Sex, lies and politics--they all boil together beautifully in "The Contender," a strong political drama that understands Washington, knows its dirty secrets, and uses its excellent cast to fine effect.

October 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Pretty much shameless leftist propaganda being sold as conventional Hollywood entertainment, but it manages to satisfy on the traditional genre terms.

October 14, 2007 Full Review Source:

The Contender thumps its Democratic Bible hard enough to put Jonathan Edwards to shame.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source:

Despite a few phony moments, the dialogue is sharp and the directing is immediate.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

When Republicans speak, it's a bitter voice we hear; when Democrats speak, the music swells proudly. There's not must to think about here. It's a personality contest.

December 6, 2004 | Comment (1)
Looking Closer

Um drama político inteligente e ambicioso cuja única (e quase perdoável) falha é ceder a dois ou três clichês em seus minutos finais.

October 18, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Leave ten minutes early and you'll see the best White House film in years, stick around and get the big screen version of The West Wing. No contest really.

April 29, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

About fairness,privacy,shrewdness in politics,witch hunts,dignity,pride, and service to one's country and sticking to your guns.

April 26, 2003 Full Review

The Contender has renewed my faith that good movies can indeed be produced if enough care is given to the production. It's too bad so many of 2000's films have failed to do that.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

It can be said that politics is a filthy business and if you don't want to get your hands dirty, you shouldn't participate.

January 29, 2003
Cinema Sight

Unfortunately, the film's final act crumbles faster and more irreparably than a Ross Perot campaign.

September 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

...better understood as a good old-fashioned melodrama, the kind of thing Douglas Sirk might produce were he working today

July 31, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

an intelligent, absorbing piece of work, one of the few stories in recent memory to discuss a woman's place in government.

June 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

There are few things more involving than watching someone sticking to their guns

February 17, 2002

It has a propensity for manipulativeness which keeps it from the loftiest heights, but all other ways remains an impressive piece of work.

October 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Flipside Movie Emporium
Flipside Movie Emporium

Despite its weaknesses, including the give-me-a-break ending, The Contender succeeds because of several strong acting performances.

February 15, 2001 Full Review
Norman Transcript

...a flawless endeavor that educates, intrigues and entertains all at the same time...

February 7, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Contender

A decent, if very flawed and Hollywood-ized political thriller concerning the President (Jeff Bridges) having to fill the void of Vice President, and deciding between a very well-respected governor (William L. Peterson), and a woman senator (Joan Allen) with an apparent dark past. This movie has all the ingredients to be a smash - Joan Allen at her finest, Jeff Bridges having fun as the President, Gary Oldman playing sleazy, heck even Sam Elliott is a key part of the whole thing, sadly the movie falls flat on its face at its ridiculously over-the-top finale that left me feeling betrayed. While it pulls some twists that are original and somewhat conceivable, the last 5 minutes of the movie turn this film from being a respectable political thriller into an okay but unsatisfying movie that decided to get too dramatic instead of sticking with the subtle but effective card it played so well for most of the story. Not horrible, but certainly skip-able.
September 2, 2010
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

"Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot."

Sexy secrets from a womans past come to light as she runs for Vice President.

Political imbroglio drama with a what if premise: What if the first nominee for Vice President of the United States had an indecent sexual past leading to her character in question vilification by the select committee in appointing her? Loaded with potboiler red herrings and questionable attacks on loyalty are just a few of the gaping holes in this heavy handed but extremely well acted morality play thanks largely to the always solid Allen as the stolid, uncompromising candidate in question who will not kowtow to the powers that be including the equally on target Oldman (in a Farrelly Brothers' inspired hairstyle) as her chief nemesis and Bridges as the folksy, yet smarter than he appears Commander in Chief.
March 18, 2010
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Not a bad movie really i love the storyline and cast and was really a good movie to watch and shows how sexism plays a part in politics and becoming an MP or president!
really worth a watch!
August 10, 2009
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

    1. Sen. Laine Hanson: Principles only mean something if you stick by them when they are inconvenient.
    – Submitted by Frances H (18 months ago)
    1. President Jackson Evans: It's pretty easy getting over things when you win.
    – Submitted by Frances H (18 months ago)
    1. President Jackson Evans: Right from the start I should've come down her, pointed a finger your way... pointed a finger your way... and asked you, 'have you no decency sir?'
    – Submitted by Dennis L (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Contender on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Red Carpet Roundup
Red Carpet Roundup

100 pics from Toronto Film Fest

Hunger Games
Hunger Games

New Mockingjay - Part 1 trailer

New on DVD & Blu-Ray
New on DVD & Blu-Ray

Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars

Boardwalk Empire
Boardwalk Empire

New reviews for "Good Listener"

Foreign Titles

  • La conspiración (ES)
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile