Scandal (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Scandal (1989)

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In 1963, the conservative British government was shaken to its foundations by the Profumo Scandal. The central character in this disastrous affair was John Profumo, Britain's minister of war, who had become sexually involved with call-girl Christine Keeler, whose "sponsor" was high-priced osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward. Fancying himself a dashing international adventurer, Ward had also offered Christine to alleged Soviet spy Eugene Ivanov. Another of Ward's stable, Mandy Rice-Davies, allegedly had slept with numerous British and American luminaries. The whole sordid story, which ended with Ward's suicide and Profumo's public disgrace, was recounted with relish in director Michael Caton-Jones's Scandal, which featured John Hurt as Stephen Ward, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer as Christine Keeler, Ian McKellan as Profumo, Bridget Fonda as Mandy Rice-Davies, and Jeroen Krabbe as Ivanov. In its original form, the film was ripe enough to court an X-rating; post-production trimming enabled it to squeak by with an R.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language, nudity, sex)
Genre:
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
HBO Video

Cast

John Hurt
as Stephen Ward
Joanne Whalley
as Christine Keeler
Bridget Fonda
as Mandy Rice-Davies
Ian McKellen
as John Profumo
Leslie Phillips
as Lord Astor
Britt Ekland
as Mariella Novotny
Daniel Massey
as Mervyn Griffith-Jones
Roland Gift
as Johnnie Edgecombe
Jeroen Krabbé
as Eugene Ivanov
Jean Alexander
as Mrs. Keeler
Paul Brooke
as Detective Inspector
Alex Norton
as Detective Sergeant
Ronald Fraser
as Justice Marshall
Keith Allen
as Kevin
Ralph Brown
as Paul Mann
Ken Hudson Campbell
as Editor of Pictorial
Iain Cuthbertson
as Lord Hailsham
Joanna Dunham
as Lady Astor
Trevor Eve
as Matinee Idol
Czeslaw Grocholski
as Polish Gent
Deborah Grant
as Valerie Profumo
Czeslad Grocholski
as Polish Gent
Leon Herbert
as Lucky Gordon
Tracy Kneale
as Jennifer
Tony Mathews
as Press Secretary
Richard Morant
as D'Lazlo
Mia Nadasi
as Olga
Jeff Nuttall
as Percy Murray
Sarah Prince
as Mr. Woods' Secretary
Ann Queensberry
as Mrs. Hare
Raad Rawi
as Aziz
Terence Rigby
as James Burge
Johnny Shannon
as Peter Rachman
Malcolm Terris
as Northern Gent
Joan Turner
as Plump Neighbor
Doremy Vernon
as Headgirl
James Villiers
as Conservative Member of Parliament
Alison Waters
as Joanie
Tariq Yunus
as Ayub Khan
Tony Shiletto
as Dancer
Colette Dolan
as Dancer
Jackie Harvey
as Dancer
Kate Charmen
as Dancer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Scandal

Critic Reviews for Scandal

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (12)

The film holds because of the brilliance of Hurt and the fascination of Whalley-Kilmer, as well as the sly, tongue-in-cheek viciousness of Bridget Fonda's Mandy Rice-Davies.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Scandal is an express tour of the Profumo affair that moves with a pop historian's revisionist swagger and plays like News of the World headlines set to early '60s rock 'n' roll.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The greatest virtue of the filmmakers' straightforward approach is that it avoids the obvious pitfall of pretentiousness.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Caton-Jones is not the most stylistically assured of filmmakers, but his ability with actors is obvious. For this project, that is enough to turn the flat conventions of the docudrama into something resembling life.

Full Review… | May 8, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Hurt is excellent as the charming but shallow Ward.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Caton-Jones' first feature is a serious, almost low-key affair, strong on period detail and imbued with a sense of genuine outrage.

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

Audience Reviews for Scandal

In 1963, the conservative British government was shaken to its foundations by the Profumo Scandal. The central character in this disastrous affair was John Profumo, Britain's minister of war, who had become sexually involved with call-girl Christine Keeler, whose "sponsor" was high-priced osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward. Fancying himself a dashing international adventurer, Ward had also offered Christine to alleged Soviet spy Eugene Ivanov. Another of Ward's stable, Mandy Rice-Davies, allegedly had slept with numerous British and American luminaries. I was completely lost for words as I watched Michael Caton-Jones "Scandal". It is a fascinating and yet complex film that deserves to be in good comparison to previous rise and fall pictures such as "Goodfellas", "Casino", "Nixon" and "Bonnie & Clyde". John Hurt is very good as Stephen Ward as is Ian McKellan as Profumo. The best scene in the film is during the court room, where Keeler is seen getting sandbagged with stong questions involving the scandal. A very distraught Hurt stands up and yells out to Keeler's defence (almost a cry out to God) and says..."That is not fair!". The camera focuses intensely on Hurt's face that made me cringe with sympathy. I cringed because Stephen Ward's reptuation sank faster then the Titanic. I also found Joanne Whalley to be very good and confident as Christine Keeler, Briget Fonda gives a great performance as Mandy Rice-Davies, Ian McKellan as Defence Minister John Profumo and British singer Roland Gift (Fine Young Cannibals) as Johnny Edgecombe. "Scandal" is a great film, a fascinating one that will want me to read up more on the Profumo affair.

Brian R
Brian R

Super Reviewer

½

I think that the characters could have used more definition in places (the serious non-sexual attraction between Ward and Keeler was rather undefined and vague) but whats great is that even though the movie is 20 years old and the events occurred nearly 50 years ago its still incredibly relevant. The public both loves and hates sexualized figures, and most of that arises from our personal confusion about the whole nature of sex. Its fun, but it makes Jesus upset. The events depicted here happen today in almost the exact same fashion (only now the internet hypes these things even more out of control) and director Michael Caton-Jones recognizes that our misguided attitudes about sex are what creates the firestorm.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

I haven't seen this since it first came out, but the song still haunts... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8Q5CmIzpBg

Lesley N
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

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