The Best Man

1964, Drama, 1h 42m

5 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Secretary of State William Russell (Henry Fonda) lives by his principles, but is haunted by a recent sexual indiscretion that threatens both his marriage and his career. Senator Joe Cantwell (Cliff Robertson) presents himself as the people's candidate, yet his determination to win at all costs is also his great flaw. These two frontrunners for their party's presidential nomination vie for the support of the outgoing president (Lee Tracy), and resort to mudslinging in a very public contest.

Cast & Crew

Henry Fonda
William Russell
Cliff Robertson
Joe Cantwell
Edie Adams
Mabel Cantwell
Shelley Berman
Sheldon Bascomb
Lee Tracy
President Art Hockstader
Ann Sothern
Sue Ellen Gamadge
Gene Raymond
Don Cantwell
John Henry Faulk
Governor T.T. Claypoole
Richard Arlen
Senator Oscar Anderson
George Kirgo
Speechwriter
Mary Lawrence
Mrs. Merwin
H.E. West
Senator Lazarus
William R. Ebersol
Governor John Merwin
Gore Vidal
Screenwriter
Haskell Wexler
Cinematographer
Robert Swink
Film Editor
Lyle R. Wheeler
Production Design
Richard Mansfield
Set Designer
Mort Lindsey
Original Music
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Best Man

All Critics (5) | Fresh (5)

  • Adapted by Gore Vidal from his own stage play, this look at a viciously contested presidential primary is full of cynicism, snark and spark.

    November 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • "There is nothing like a good, dirty, low-down political fight to bring the roses to your cheeks." says the film's ex-President. As an excellent facsimile of the real thing... The Best Man wins.

    October 16, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It is "good theatre," no more but also no less. The director, Franklin Schaffner, has given it a lot of razzmatazz, which was probably the way to do it.

    August 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's hard to be educational while being poignant, but this film does both easily.

    August 15, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Mostrando como os bastidores da política podem ser sujos, o filme conta com ótimas atuações de Fonda, Robertson e Tracy (indicado ao Oscar) e, escrito por Gore Vidal, traz diálogos afiados e inteligentes.

    July 25, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • Adapted by Gore Vidal from his own stage play, this look at a viciously contested presidential primary is full of cynicism, snark and spark.

    November 10, 2020 | Full Review…
  • "There is nothing like a good, dirty, low-down political fight to bring the roses to your cheeks." says the film's ex-President. As an excellent facsimile of the real thing... The Best Man wins.

    October 16, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It is "good theatre," no more but also no less. The director, Franklin Schaffner, has given it a lot of razzmatazz, which was probably the way to do it.

    August 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's hard to be educational while being poignant, but this film does both easily.

    August 15, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Mostrando como os bastidores da política podem ser sujos, o filme conta com ótimas atuações de Fonda, Robertson e Tracy (indicado ao Oscar) e, escrito por Gore Vidal, traz diálogos afiados e inteligentes.

    July 25, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for The Best Man

  • Jan 23, 2021
    Imagine a political campaign for president where a firebrand populist who will do whatever to win faces a deep-thinking, morally-determined opponent. That's the Sellout. It's an insightful look of the dirty behind-the-scenes political machinations that make politics the dirtiest of sports.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Jun 13, 2011
    The Best Man starts off with all the promise of being a biting political satire minus the humor. As it goes on it looks like its going to draw blood, but by the end you're drenched in saliva from getting gummed for the last 20 minutes. This movie had a great cast and a simple premise with plenty of minute details that could've made the movie but a weak third act keep The Best Man from being a Henry Fonda movie you've actually heard of. Worth the watch though.
    Michael G Super Reviewer
  • Feb 18, 2011
    A great movie from 1964 that shows what goes on behind the door in politics and the running for president of the United States/ Henry Fonda is Mr. Nice Guy do everything by the book, Cliff Robertson played the cutthroat role. Its presidential Primary time, watch what both do to become the next president of the United States. What I found interesting was the statement made in the movie we don't want another Nixon problem.. Remember this was filmed in 1964 long before Nixon became president. Another interesting item was the meeting between both candidates where one promises the other anything to stop running against him, reminded me of the meeting between Hilary Clinton and Obama. Film in B&W which was another surprise for 1964, Watched this one instantly on Netflix, which is a awesome deal, video quality as good as having the DVD. 4 Stars for this one.
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2010
    (1964 Director: Franklin J. Schaffner) This is no All the King's Men but it does deal with just how much one man can want to become President. Stars Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Ann Sothern.
    Teresa S Super Reviewer

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