Seven Days in May (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

Seven Days in May (1964)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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In this film, General James M. Scott, convinced that liberal President Jordan Lyman is soft on America's enemies, plots a military takeover of the United States. Every effort made by President Lyman to find concrete evidence of General Scott's scheme is scuttled by political protocol, human error, and accidental death.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Burt Lancaster
as Gen. James M. Scott
Kirk Douglas
as Col. Martin 'Jiggs' Casey
Fredric March
as President Jordan Lyman
Ava Gardner
as Eleanor Holbrook
Edmond O'Brien
as Sen. Raymond Clark
Martin Balsam
as Paul Girard
George Macready
as Christopher Todd
Whit Bissell
as Sen. Prentice
Andrew Duggan
as Col. 'Mutt' Henderson
John Houseman
as Adm. Barnswell
Hugh Marlowe
as Harold McPherson
Bart Burns
as Arthur Corwin
Richard Anderson
as Col. Murdock
Jack Mullaney
as Lt. Hough
John Larkin
as Col. Broderick
Malcolm Atterbury
as White House Physician
Helen Kleeb
as Esther Townsend
Colette Jackson
as Bar Girl
Fredd Wayne
as Henry Whitney
Rodolfo Hoyos Jr.
as Capt. Ortega
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Critic Reviews for Seven Days in May

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

A strikingly dramatic, realistic and provocatively topical film.

Full Review… | August 13, 2007
Top Critic

John Frankenheimer directed, too much in love with technique, though he ably taps the neuroticism of Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Fredric March.

Full Review… | August 13, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Highly enjoyable.

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

As dismal as is the complication that they and this picture present, the acknowledgment of its possibility and the discovery of how it might be resolved, with wisdom and fundamental courage, make this a brave and forceful film.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Frankenheimer's gripping political tale of conspiracy benefits from taut direction, good acting by an all-star cast, and excellent technical values, especially cinematography.

Full Review… | May 13, 2012

It's a good, engaging movie - great-looking, too, with top-notch photography and production design - but it tends to fall apart when you start kicking the tires and peek under the hood.

Full Review… | December 20, 2010
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Audience Reviews for Seven Days in May


One of two great political thrillers of the 1960s - The Manchurian Candidate was the other - directed by John Frankenheimer. An unpopular President, played by Frederic March, signs a controversial nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets. Burt Lancaster plays General James Mattoon Scott, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who opposes the treaty and plots a coup against the government timed to coincide with the Preakness Stakes. Kirk Douglas plays the General's aide who is torn between his duty to his superior officer and to the Constitution. This film is interesting on so many levels. Not only does it include so many good performances: it is one of the most Academy Award filled casts ever -- March, Lancaster, Douglas, Ava Gardner, Martin Balsam, Edmund O'Brien, and John Houseman. Great performances by all in this film, but mostly by Burt Lancaster and Fredric March who toward the end of the movie have a great scene with excellent dialog that sum up the true essence of the story. But, what is most interesting is that the film was made when it was; being released three months after the assassination of President Kennedy. Because it brings up the issue of whether a political coup can happen here or not. Also, the screenplay was written by Rod Serling, of Twilight Zone fame. Little known is that a darker alternate ending was developed for this film involving General Scott being killed in a car wreck, leaving the question: was it an accident or suicide? Coming up out of the wreckage over the car radio is President Lyman's speech about the sanctity of the Constitution.

John Tandlich
John Tandlich

A very good, thought-provoking film that is more related and relevant to our times than we would like.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

Seven Days in May (1964) A very interesting movie directed by John Frankenheimer about a plot to take-over of the US government. This movie is well-written by Rod Serling and has a great cast. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) isn't doing very good in the poles. His nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets right in the middle of the cold war isn't going over very well here at home, especially with General James Scott (Burt Lancaster) and many of the joint chiefs of staff. General Scott is also a popular presidential candidate, but he feels the importance of taking charge before the Soviets go to war with us. His colleague, Marine Colonel Martin 'Jiggs' Casey (Kirk Douglas) is finding out information that points to General Scott plotting a military take-over of the government. Despite his loyalty towards his general, he goes to the President to tell him of this possible plot. My favorite part in the movie is where President Lyman and General Scott argue over the importance of democracy versus the military imperative, and the need to let the people truly decide their fate.

Rick Rudge
Rick Rudge

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