The Candidate (1972)


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Robert Redford stars in this gritty, documentary-like tale of an idealistic, good-natured attorney whose high standards are soiled by his run for political office. Having seen all the dirt in politics as a young man -- his father (Melvyn Douglas) was once governor of California -- Redford's Bill McKay has no interest in getting into the game himself. But a political operative named Luck (Peter Boyle) taps McKay to run against the seemingly undefeatable Senator Crocker Jarmon (Don Porter), a … More

Rating: PG (adult situations/language)
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Jeremy Lerner, Jeremy Larner
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 30, 1997
Warner Bros. Pictures


as Bill McKay

as Marvin Lucas

as John J. McKay

as Howard Klein

as Sen. Crocker Jarmon

as Paul Corliss

as Nancy McKay

as Jarmon Narrator

as Henderson

as Starkey

as Dinner M.C.

as Neil Atkinson

as Stationmaster

as Groupie

as Boy in Commercial

as Fleischer

as McKay Narrator

as Large Girl

as Watts Heckler

as Man in Urinal

as Magazine Editor

as Herself

as Rich Jenkin

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Herself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Candidate

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4)

Redford fancies himself so superior to the electoral process that he ends up with a completely fatuous characterization of a politician.

Full Review… | January 14, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 3, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Good early intro to the political machinery behind the candidates, where the emphasis is clearly only focused on winning

February 12, 2007
Old School Reviews

The first and arguably the sharpest expose of the new media-determined American political process, The Candidate offers producer-star Redford one of his strongest dramatic roles; Michael Ritchei's 1972 cautionary tale became prophetic in its message

Full Review… | January 17, 2007

Audience Reviews for The Candidate


A left-wing lawyer runs for the Senate, but the campaign forces him to make concessions in his values.
Robert Redford, with his natural sense of integrity and propriety, is at his best in this film because we get to see that integrity slowly crumble. The change is subtle -- sometimes too subtle, to the point that the film's plot isn't fully realized -- but it's there. The film's plot follows McKay's campaign, and as the process of getting elected strips McKay of his principles, the political process is appropriately satirized. The best part of the film is the famous last line: "What do we do now?" which is a quote echoed by many a modern politician.
Overall, while I think the film's subtlety worked against it at points, the overall message is ahead of its time.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


A satirical and modern political chronicle.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


A lot of fun. Reminds me of Bulworth, but not quite as good.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

The Candidate Quotes

– Submitted by Jim E (2 years ago)

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