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The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 201
Fresh: 163 | Rotten: 38

While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.

80

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 9

While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.

audience

63

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 66,837

My Rating

Movie Info

Jonathan Demme directed this updated remake of John Frankenheimer's 1962 cult favorite The Manchurian Candidate, a pioneering examination of political conspiracy and psychological reconditioning. Major Bennett Marco (Denzel Washington) and Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) are two soldiers who served in the same company during Operation Desert Storm, but their paths following their tours of duty have been very different. Shaw, the son of powerful congresswoman Eleanor Shaw (Meryl Streep),

Dec 21, 2004

$65.9M

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All Critics (203) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (163) | Rotten (38) | DVD (30)

Happily, this extremely timely entertainment matches, even perhaps surpasses its predecessor.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Demme serves the picture completely.

August 28, 2004
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Strikes me as a very artful cover -- about the cleverest imaginable transliteration of the story from its historical moment to ours.

August 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Far from a disgrace, but it's not freewheeling enough, not strange enough to make sense of our gathering dread.

August 8, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautifully made and unsurpassingly creepy, it's the rare remake with something contemporary to add.

August 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Following a dozen years of docs, light comedy, and p.c. weepies, Candidate represents Demme's best dramatic filmmaking since The Silence of the Lambs.

August 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If it isn't the original's equal, The Manchurian Candidate conjures up an air of menace sufficient to make most modern thrillers look like romantic comedies.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Sleek remake is more violent than original.

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

This humorless and nonsensical update of The Manchurian Candidate - a total misread of Frankenheimer's classic original - never quite engages, devolving the original's camp and satire into self-serious melodrama.

August 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer | Comment (1)
Cinema Writer

A rather decent imitation in the end with political subtext and very good performances.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

It is as shocking now as it was forty years ago, but nothing in the 2004 version approaches that level of intensity, intelligence, or audacity.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com
Hollywood.com

Demme's direction is as punctilious as it was in Silence of the Lambs, careful with details and craftsmanlike with storytelling -- although we do have to work a bit to stay on top of things.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The original film worked also as delicious satire, where this wannabe cousin to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 ignites unintentional laughs.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

...an above-average contemporary remake...

April 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Demme's filmmaking has lost none of its jazz.

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

With an inchoate admonition implanted in its aggrieved, post-modern heart, Demme's Manchurian Candidate is blippy and fractured and smeared with color.

September 9, 2007 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The movie is playing with ideas, and they're important enough to bear thinking about now. What it's playing on are our fears. And they're real enough, and worth addressing.

September 27, 2006
Christianity Today

Impressively accomplished and highly entertaining, with sufficiently smart new twists to keep you guessing all the way to the nerve-wracking climax.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A superb piece of filmmaking by directing icon Jonathan Demme that surpasses the John Frankenheimer original in ways I didn't think possible.

January 11, 2006 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
Oz
eFilmCritic.com

What is surprising is how fresh Demme's version is and how close it approaches the original in terms of quality.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

the ending is mother of all disappointments

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Draxblog Movie Reviews

The film starts out as a taut, psychological thriller with a keen analysis of today's politics, but it eventually begins to slack off into third-rate originality.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

Jonathan Demme did a very good job in remaking a classic piece of American cinema.

June 25, 2005 Full Review Source: ComingSoon.net
ComingSoon.net

This is a good old-fashioned thriller, nothing less, and nothing more.

June 21, 2005 Full Review Source: FromTheBalcony

An exhilarating, if politically wishy-washy, modern-day reimagining of Frankenheimer's gem.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Audience Reviews for The Manchurian Candidate

A superbly acted and skillfully scripted story. Denzel, as always is terrific, but the big surprise is Liev Schreiber's awesome performance as a confused politician puppetered by his rich mother. The ending is appropriate and the story is rich in character color.
September 15, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The Manchurian Candidate for me is an average thriller that works well enough because of a good cast. I enjoyed the film, but did feel it lacked something to really make it something excellent. If it wasn't for the cast, the film definitely wouldn't have the same effect, as the cast here are well chosen in their respective roles and are perfect in the parts they play. This is a good thriller, but is nothing really excellent. The film does have an entertaining story, which is engaging, however it lacks something really special to make this film memorable. The performances, like I stated is what really makes this film worth seeing, and above all makes the film interesting for the viewer. The Manchurian Candidate is better than what most people may think, and is a good remake for what it is, but of course it does not beat the original. Director Jonathan Demme delivers a good thriller with this remake even though it's not perfect, the film does deliver and entertaining two hours. I think that the film is underrated and was quite good considering that this is a remake. The cast like I said were great, and is one of the key aspects as to why the film works. There are things that could have been improved upon, but for the most part, this remake of the classic Manchurian Candidate is good enough entertainment for anyone looking for a good thriller. I really enjoyed this film and thought it was very good, but it was of course at times uneven.
November 25, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

This political conspiracy thriller takes a while to take off, starting out a bit confusing. The sometimes odd camera work, that gives off the vibe of dream-like situations doesn't exactly help in that regard. You can safely assume that all that's intentional, because once the pieces are moving things do get rather interesting, even exciting. The acting is top notch, considering the names involved here. Streep may be a tad over the top, but the film's plot is so far out there, you can hardly call it based in the real world anyway. Conspiracy theory freaks should get a kick out of it, though. Good entertainment.
July 11, 2011
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

    1. Eleanor Prentiss Shaw: Sergeant Raymond Shaw.
    – Submitted by Jamarco L (2 years ago)
    1. Eleanor Prentiss Shaw: But... but when you smile... oh darling, when you smile, that's what I live for. When you smile.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Major Bennett Marco: This isn't an election, this is a coup.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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