The Candidate - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Candidate Reviews

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½ February 7, 2015
Even if I wasn't a political junkie who has done campaigns, I still would have rated this film at a 3.5 or 4.
½ November 10, 2014
What a sneaky little movie :)
½ November 3, 2014
A lawyer running a "free legal assistance" operation in Southern California, is convinced to run for Senator. What makes this movie so good today is being able to compare the politics of 37 years ago, when the movie was made, with today, 2009. You'll see how the priorities of employment, the economy, labor, the poor, homelessness, uneducated, and the hungry have been handled by our federal government from then to now. Highly recommend this movie... for enjoyment if nothing else.
October 25, 2014
This movie was good. Robert Redford and Peter Boyle were fantastic! But it was a little slow moving in parts.
October 12, 2014
The movie is still spot on 40 years later. Great portrayal of campaigns and modern politics.
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2014
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.
½ April 11, 2014
I always love political movies, movies about elections are also a big plus. I was looking forward to seeing this one. Unfortunately it's just a bit too long winded to maintain a lot of interest. Redford is certainly interesting as a young union leader chosen to run for the US Sentate in a pretty-much guaranteed losing campaign, but hey, he gets to spread his message to a much wider audience. The characters don't arc a lot beyond smarmy, and there''s really not much plot, so this doesn't quite do the job.
April 6, 2014
And it still works beautifully.
January 27, 2014
Much like Ritchie's similarly underrated 'Smile, The Candidate is shamelessly skewering, this time on the lunacy and excessive scheming that make up the US political machine.
January 24, 2014
I might have enjoyed this more if I had any interest at all in American Politics, but the simple truth is, I don't.
Nevertheless, it's a well-made and well-written political comedy about a young, liberal civil rights lawyer (Robert Redford), who is convinced to run for an upcoming campaign for senator. He wins the hearts of the Californian people by tailoring to the needs that matter to them.
Perhaps you have to be an American to truly appreciate this movie. It just didn't really do anything for me.
½ November 19, 2012
A great political film.
½ September 14, 2012
Robert Redford plays a left-wing candidate who is running in California. Redford has a chance to win because of Redford's character's family name. The political machine which represents Redford is good. Redford's handlers tell the candidate what to say, how to act, and positions to take. The impossible happens and the conservative incumbant loses. The Candidate is great at conveying the movie's message when Redford asks his advisors "what do we do now"? The Candidate has no idea of what he is doing and is nothing more than a made up political public relations. The Candidate exposes the political processes manipulation of media. I give "The Candidate 2 and half stars out of 5.
September 5, 2012
The Candidate is an ageless masterpiece. The handsome and talented Robert Redford plays lawyer turned politician. When Bill McCay (Redford) is asked to run for senate, Marvin Lucas (Boyle) promises him that he can say whatever he wants. The catch is he cannot win the race again Crocker (the enemy Republican). Unlike many political movies, The Candidate sneaks in many surprises and laughs.
One of the best moments is when McCay is walking through a crowd of fans. An older man offers him a hot dog. McCay takes it and then,out of nowhere, the man punches him square in the face. When he can't get a soda out of the machine, he loses his cool and attacks it. McCay is late for a television appearance, and when he arrives he gets a fit of the giggles. Another great scene-When he's in the back of the car, and he just starts making weird faces and gives us the peace sign. All of these tiny moments makes this movie unique and hilarious.
In many ways The Candidate reminded me of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Robert Redford is as lovable and contagious as James Stewart. It absolutely deserves the Oscar it won for writing.
There's a quote in the beginning that many probably overlook, but to me it defies the whole movie completely. A gentlemen walks up to McCay after his first speech and says"I've heard it all before, but never quite like that".
I've seen a fair amount of election movies, and none of them are quite like The Candidate.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2012
A satirical and modern political chronicle.
June 15, 2012
Celebrating 1000 reviews! The story depicted in The Candidate is ageless and keeps the interest after 40 years. It looks so current. Robert Redford is great as the young candidate for the Senate of California. The supporting cast is awesome as well. Loved this movie.
April 26, 2012
no matter what kind of person you are, politics only lead to one result.
March 18, 2012
THE CANDIDATE is a fascinating piece of work. Viewed this week with MEDIUM COOL -- Which one poses the greater criticism of television? MEDIUM COOL soaks in faked realism, THE CANDIDATE does the same. But they are such different pictures. In the end, CANDIDATE ultimately forms a more electric and buzzing indictment of Communication Age politics and it does so at a predictably steep price.

CANDIDATE revels in a backstage, "candid" approach to political procedure. It harnesses a very active camera - moving, zooming, panning. Evidenced immediately in the credit soundtrack, this isn't meant to be a deft evaluation of Americana, it's a mockery. McKay has his sleeves pulled up, he's eating, he's unbuttoned, he's untucked, he's incorruptible. And the picture is presented as such a slick piece of entertainment that it's just about impossible to disagree. Here's the really interesting part. Whether or not CANDIDATE was aiming for it -- was it? -- it shows television as the most formidable political gamechanger in history. So many of the lines tailor to it -- "they" cut your hair. So many scenes are Television Training Camp. There's the self-satisfied shot where the camera pans into the viewfinder of the TV camera while McKay compromises on his crime policy. In essence, CANDIDATE demonstrates a radically different and devolved political landscape than earlier pieces. Is McKay a Jefferson Smith of the 70's? I think he is -- thanks to the script.

This celebrated script. It stacks Politicians against Non-Politicians and has Redford migrate from the former to the latter. And how it abuses Redford! Possibly the best thing about the film is Redford's amicability and his tangible love for filmmaking. Three years after Sundance, he is ready to be cool for the adults. But what about this script they hand him? The liberalism is so piquant that it smells like we would be better off without government. Like politics is somehow more corrupt or convoluted than anything else in the age of television. The one thing it gets right -- accidentally or not? -- is how the equation of celebrity and politics equals power. Towards the end, the script wallows so much in its own sagacity that it is enough to make me seasick. My biggest question is this -- is the ambitious and potent critique of television incidental or not? And another, how connected are Bill and Barack?

Jefferson. Bill. Barack. America evolves, doesn't it?
February 22, 2012
Amusing political satire that pretty accurately depicts the inner-workings of a political campaign.
February 14, 2012
This video is on Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR's Top 10 PR Movie List.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2012
Subtle and highly effective direction, combined with a darkly cynical and sometimes comical tone and script, make it a memorable, if not entirely perfect political drama. The performances are all strong, with Robert Redford having the ideal charisma and depth for the role (I couldn't help but think of Clooney in Ides of March). It explores political themes and pitfalls better than some other films, but it still has a political bias that holds it back, though not to an extent that the movie is ruined (such as the horrendous The Contender).
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