Academy Awards 1972 -
Best Original Screenplay: Jeremy Larner
Total Film - 08/01/2006 3 stars out of 5 -- "[The film] sees Robert Redford on sterling form as wannabe senator Bill McKay and a bearded Peter Boyle offering classy support as his spin-doctor sidekick."
Ultimate DVD - 08/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "This sharp 1970's satire remains particularly relevant, looking as it does at the machinery of electing a candidate to political office."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2006
"Ritchie's acutely observed political drama features one of Robert Redford's best and bravest performances."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Bill McKay (Robert Redford), California Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator, a man of integrity and ideals, will now let the great American political machine manipulate him. Because now he's got to win.
The Candidate, directed by Michael Ritchie from an on-target Academy Award-winning Best Original Screenplay (1972) by Jeremy Larner, is all about the packaging of today's office-seeker. Still timely after 25 years, it's a sharp insider's view of how admen, press agents, pollsters and media czars converge on election campaigns. Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas and Don Porter co-star in one of the wittiest political movies ever made.
Michael Ritchie once again shows his impressive ability to tackle new genres, after DOWNHILL RACER and PRIME CUT, with THE CANDIDATE, a scathing depiction of the hypocrisy and complexity in the American political world.
Bill McKay (Robert Redford), an idealistic young lawyer and son of a famous governor, is pressured into running for the United States Senate against the popular incumbent, with the assurance that he will lose and not have to give up his integrity or ideals. However, as the campaign deepens, he finds himself giving in, allowing himself to be manipulated as the polls slowly change and swing in his favor. Soon his backers decide that they want him to win after all. By the time Election Day arrives, McKay has become the person that he used to speak so vehemently against. Working from an Oscar-winning script by former Eugene McCarthy speechwriter Jeremy Larner, Ritchie films THE CANDIDATE with a heavy dose of semi-documentary realism that makes for an emotionally impacting experience.
In Michael Ritchie's THE CANDIDATE, Bill McKay, an idealistic politician, is pressured into running for the U.S. senate against the popular incumbent. As the campaign deepens, McKay finds himself part of the corruption he despises.
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