Rolling Stone - 09/22/1994
"...Directed with probing intelligence and slashing wit....Fiennes gives a brilliant performance..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/15/1999
"...Razor sharp..." -- Rating: A
New York Times - 09/14/1994
"...Directed with quietly dazzling acuity by [Redford]....A rich, handsome articulate film about a subject truly worth talking about..."
Sight and Sound - 03/01/1995
"...Redford's direction is fluid and self-effacing, and he draws fine performances from his cast..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/16/1994
"...A thoughtful, absorbing drama about moral ambiguity and the affability of evil....Fiennes' ability to project the pain behind a well-mannered façade, to turn intellectual and emotional agony into a real and living thing, is devastating..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/16/1994
"...Robert Redford has directed QUIZ SHOW as entertainment, history and challenge....[The screenplay] is smart, subtle and ruthless..."
This acclaimed drama, directed by Robert Redford, tells the true story behind the quiz show scandal of 1959. Herbert Stempel (John Turturro), a disgruntled former champion, prompts a congressional investigation into the popular game show TWENTY-ONE with his charge that the current champion, Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a handsome professor who has become a celebrity, has been provided with answers by the producers. Rob Morrow stars as Dick Goodwin, the investigator on the case and the author of the book that inspired the film.
Based on the book by Richard N. Goodwin, this Robert Redford film tells the true story behind the great quiz show scandal of 1959. As television becomes more popular throughout the 1950s, quiz shows follow suit, attracting compulsive viewers who cheer for the brilliant, intellectual contestants--America's best and brightest. Herbert Stempel (John Turturro) may be unattractive and abrasive, but in 1959 he is the reigning champion of the game show TWENTY-ONE. When ratings begin to slip, the network decides that it's time to bring in a more appealing champion and bribes Stempel to answer incorrectly and purposely lose to Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a handsome WASP professor who eventually achieves celebrity status and incredible wealth. Feeling bitter and betrayed, Stempel accuses the producers of feeding answers to the quiz show winners, prompting a congressional investigation. As the scandal grows, a different portrait of America emerges--one that shatters the nation's illusion of perfection so prevalent in the 1950s. Rob Morrow stars as Dick Goodwin, the investigator who labors tirelessly to establish the truth and simultaneously develops a respectful friendship with the subject of the investigation, Van Doren.
Character Study |
Family Interaction |
Game Shows |
Theatrical release: September 1994.
Filmed in the Bronx and Manhattan, NY, and Washington, DC.
Ethan Hawke makes an uncredited appearance in the film.
Steven Soderbergh was initially slated to direct QUIZ SHOW before Robert Redford took over as director.
"I don't defend the practice of rigging quiz shows, but I also don't defend the practice of rigging the movie," says [Don Enright]. "It's being presented as a documentary and sold as one, without any disclaimers; pictures of my dad are everywhere...Does that matter' I don't know...It's not true."--Don Enright interviewed by Susan Spillman, USA Today, 9/7/1994
"Far more than I realized at the time, the producers gauged my strengths and profound weaknesses, treating a kid with kid gloves as they concocted questions that took me incrementally from $64 to $16,000."--Mike Clark on his experience as a 10-year-old contestant on quiz show THE $64,000 QUESTION, in USA Today, 9/14/1994