The Manchurian Candidate

1962

The Manchurian Candidate

Critics Consensus

A classic blend of satire and political thriller that was uncomfortably prescient in its own time, The Manchurian Candidate remains distressingly relevant today.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 54

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 31,306
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The Manchurian Candidate Photos

Movie Info

A U.S. Army hero returns to New York from Korea, but has been mysteriously programmed by Communists to assassinate a presidential nominee, but when his Army buddy becomes suspicious of the goings on, he is on the trail to stop him.

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Cast

Laurence Harvey
as Raymond Shaw
Frank Sinatra
as Bennett Marco
Angela Lansbury
as Raymond's Mother
James Gregory
as Sen. John Iselin
Henry Silva
as Chunjim
Leslie Parrish
as Jocie Jordon
John McGiver
as Sen. Thomas Jordon
James Edwards
as Cpl. Melvin
Barry Kelley
as Secretary of Defense
Lloyd Corrigan
as Holborn Gaines
Madame Spivy
as Berezovo's Lady Counterpart
Joe Adams
as Psychiatrist
Whit Bissell
as Medical Officer
Mimi Dillard
as Melvin's Wife
John Lawrence
as Gossfeld
Tom Lowell
as Lembeck
Nicky Blair
as Silvers
Miyoshi Jingu
as Miss Gertrude
Anna Shin
as Korean Girl
Bess Flowers
as Gomel's Lady Counterpart
Helen Kleeb
as Chairlady
Maye Henderson
as Chairlady
Mickey Finn
as Reporter
Lou Krugg
as Manager
Mike Masters
as FBI Man
Tom Harris
as FBI Man
Robert Burton
as Convention Chairman
Karen Norris
as Secretary
Ray Spiker
as Policeman
Frank Basso
as Photographer
Julie Payne
as Guest at Party
Lana Crawford
as Guest at Party
Evelyn Byrd
as Guest at Party
Ray Dailey
as Page Boy
Estelle Etterre
as People in Hotel Lobby
Mary Benoit
as People in Hotel Lobby
Rita Kenaston
as People in Hotel Lobby
Maggie Hathaway
as People in Hotel Lobby
Joan Douglas
as People in Hotel Lobby
Frances E. Nealy
as Woman in Lobby
Ralph Gambina
as People in Hotel Lobby
Sam 'Kid' Hogan
as People in Hotel Lobby
James Yagi
as Chinese Men in Hotel Lobby
Lee Tung Foo
as Chinese Men in Hotel Lobby
Raynum K. Tsukamoto
as Chinese Men in Hotel Lobby
Nick Bolin
as Berezovo
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News & Interviews for The Manchurian Candidate

Critic Reviews for The Manchurian Candidate

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (10)

  • The direction and acting are good, so interest is maintained. Frankeheimer's handling of the early sequences, in which he attempts and succeeds in creating on film the corruption of the mind, is imaginative filmmaking.

    Mar 1, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Don't bother with Jonathan Demme's toothless 2004 remake; the rereleased classic cold war thriller from 1962 by John Frankenheimer packs a harder punch.

    Apr 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • powerful experience, alternately corrosive with dark parodic humor, suspenseful, moving, and terrifying.

    May 7, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Every once in a rare while a film comes along that works in all departments, with story, production and performance so well blended that the end effect is one of nearly complete satisfaction. Such is The Manchurian Candidate.

    May 7, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A masterpiece.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The Manchurian Candidate pops up with a rash supposition that could serve to scare some viewers half to death -- that is, if they should be dupes enough to believe it, which we solemnly trust they won't.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Manchurian Candidate

  • Dec 05, 2016
    The film's concept sounds like outrageous Cold War propaganda but in execution it's a thoroughly surreal and cynical thriller that has very little to do with political or patriotic ideology. Further proof of Frankenheimer's underated brilliance.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2016
    Warning, this review contains spoilers, and if you've never seen the film before, you should definitely watch it without knowing anything first, for maximum enjoyment. :) With that out of the way ... fantastic performances by both Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra, great direction by John Frankenheimer, and an excellent plot all make this a film that is still highly enjoyable today. In a nutshell, American soldiers in the Korean War are captured and subjected to sophisticated brainwashing by Russian and Chinese communists, and one of them is programmed to carry out assassinations back in America. Frank Sinatra plays one of the soldiers who has recurring nightmares about the brainwashing, and the sequence where Frankenheimer shows them thinking they're at a meeting at a lady's club talking about flowers, which seems very odd at first, and spins the camera around to gradually show us the horrifying reality of their predicament, and just how controlled they are, is absolutely fantastic. We come to understand the assassin's trigger, the queen of diamonds when told to play solitaire, which is a wonderfully chilling concept, and I loved how the story included a false trigger at a costume party. Angela Lansbury's character evolves over the film, from over-bearing mother and wife, the brains behind her Senator husband's McCarthyism, to the mastermind behind the whole conspiracy - and how this is revealed is as great as her performance. The movie keeps us guessing, perhaps as those swept up in fear of communism guessed at what may be happening around them in their paranoia, and an example of this is Janet Leigh's offbeat dialog with Sinatra when she first meets him on a train. It immediately seems to us as code and a way of controlling him in some way, but it's also flirtatious, and we're left wondering what her role will be. Brilliant as it is, from my perspective, the movie has one major flaw. Frankenheimer was happy to show the dangers of McCarthyism and even commented on this in interviews, and yet there WAS a communist plot to overthrow the government, and there WAS unsuspected (and very dangerous) communist infiltration. So at the end of the day, what was the message - that McCarthy was right? I don't think it's right to explain this away as satire of both the right and the left, because I don't see the movie as satire, I see it as a political thriller - but it is a very good one at that.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2013
    "The Manchurian Candidate" is a film of great performances, fluid black-and-white cinematography and able direction from the always reliable John Frankenheimer. It's smart, startling and wickedly relevant, and Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Iselin is one of the great movie villains.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2012
    Not my cup of tea, classic-movie wise.
    Saskia D Super Reviewer

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