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A Perfect Candidate (1996)

Don Baker , Mark Goodin , David Van Taylor , R.J. Cutler  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Don Baker, Mark Goodin, Mark Merritt, Bill Clinton, J. Marshall Coleman
  • Directors: David Van Taylor, R.J. Cutler
  • Producers: David Van Taylor, R.J. Cutler, Dan Partland, Ted Skillman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GH7VS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,897 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Perfect Candidate" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Ollie & Chuck react
  • Photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Sometimes horrifying, often hilarious, "A Perfect Candidate" is a twisted journey into the underbelly of American politics. In 1994, former marine Oliver North re-emerged from the Iran-Contra scandal to run for the U.S. Senate. In the hotly contested r

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
A fascinating documentary about Oliver North's failed US Senate race that parallels the apex of political power held by the Religious Right in the US.
As a former Democratic campaign staffer and consultant myself, the documentary captures the trials and tribulations of any busy statewide campaign and should be shown to all political science majors seeking a career in politics. However, I recommend that you view this film more than once, because by the end of the film, it can be argued that the filmmakers put the Democratic candidate, a very wishy-washy Chuck Robb, in a poor light. The scene where he was running around a supermarket looking for a hand - any hand - to shake was as hilarious as it was pathetic. By the end of the film, I thought that Chuck Robb was a nice guy who was willing to say anything to get elected, and North was a creepy demagogue who pressed a lot of populist buttons out on the stump.
I also felt that the filmmakers successfully captured North's ruthless and egocentric campaign manager as he struggled with the campaign and even some of the "big questions" of his life. He was the most fascinating character in the entire film, and I'm glad that the filmmakers paid so much attention to him. They had this leftie actually ** rooting ** for North's campaign manager by the end of the film.
Although they also are wont to show North and some of the far-right characters who supported him on the campaign trail, the documentary-makers did a fine job of stripping the film of any ideological bias and freely savaging both characters. Again, a must-see for political junkies, and a worthy view for the rest of the viewing audience.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Look at American King-making March 29, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
He once embodied one of the most flagrant abuses of power ever exercised by an out of touch president, but in 1994, Oliver North took to the campaign trail, in a bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Virginia. From beginning to end, North's campaign seems to embody all the dark and hypocritical realities that American citizens suspect, but don't generally believe, our elected officials embrace in running for office. North's ruthlessness in plotting to use sexual rumors against his opponent, Senator Chuck Robb, contrasts sharply Robb's naive but honest political hayseed public persona. North is willing to stoop and crow, which may sadden those who always saw him as the fall-guy in the Iran-Contra scandal. Taylor and Cutler juxtapose North's Congressional testimony, admitting that he lied to Congress, to his "on the campaign trail" act, proselytizing to high school students about honesty. North comes off even worse than his right-wing counterparts, for while they enjoy abusing their naive opponent, they seem to know that their mean-spiritedness is a tactic, whereas North seems to enjoy the prospect of punishing Robb more than the idea of being elected.
North's campaign advisors make just as interesting a spectacle as North himself. They are, without exception, hard-working, extremely successful people. They make their living by being the sort of people who get called to either back up, or respond to, threats, attacks, complaints, schemes, and calamities. Their bravado thickens the air of the chaos that bleeds through the entire documentary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great political documentary for any political junkie November 18, 1998
Format:VHS Tape
A Perfect Candidate is an entertaining documentary for anyone with the political bug. For those not remotely interested in politics, it may be less interesting. The documentary focuses primarily on the behind-the-scenes activities of Oliver North's campaign staff, and also follows a Washington Post reporter as he reports on the campaign. For anyone who wonders why Oliver North ever had supporters, or why he lost despite having some very committed supporters, this movie should answer most of your questions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to like North to like this film December 29, 2005
By Lee L.
Format:DVD
An obvious comparison can be made between this film and Journeys with George. While the latter is more entertaining (Bush makes a much better movie star than North), this film is brutally honest in how it portrays politics in America. With that in mind, A Perfect Candidate is the better choice if you're looking for more than entertainment.

Like all good documentaries, this film doesn't come across as having an agenda. If there was an underlying agenda, it doesn't come through. The film allows you to be a fly on the wall during this campaign and I was truly amazed at what North's campaign team did and said in front of the cameras. They came across as making no effort to hide any of the bad or cynical things they did or said. At several points in the film you'll find yourself rewinding just to make sure you heard these guys right.

I don't think this film would appeal to casual observers of politics the way that Journeys with George would, but anyone that follows politics seriously will enjoy this film, regardless of your partisan or ideological leanings.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Political Documentary January 24, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a must see for political junkies. Some of the scenes are painfully funny. While this will not have the appeal of the Clinton Campaign documentary "The War Room" it is actually more entertaining and offers more insight into the process.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary
This is a great doc film covering the 1994 Virgina senate race,between Chuck Robb(D) and Oliver North(R).I enjoyed this,but I thought it was a little bit biased. Read more
Published 22 months ago by SideshowBob
2.0 out of 5 stars You need to know the back story...
This film sounded interesting but my training as a historian prompted me to investigate the authors of the film. Read more
Published on July 22, 2009 by C. Oyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but!
Everything was great, the only minor problem was the inside of the case arrived damaged. So now the DVD isn't attached to anything while inside the case and it bounces around.
Published on April 11, 2009 by Gonzalo Aida Brescia
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed the product yesterday......
I ordered a video from Amazon that I needed for a project the day before! With their 'rush service'......I was very pleased to have received the item the next day! Read more
Published on November 30, 2008 by Patricia Zacks
5.0 out of 5 stars REALLY PULLS BACK THE CURTAIN ON AMERICAN POLITICS!
This fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at Oliver North's failed bid for Congress begins as Senator John Kerry reads the long list of accusations against North during the Iran-Contra... Read more
Published on August 4, 2008 by Paco Rivero
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie on Campaigns
As a prof, I sometimes need a break from lecturing. It's true, I don't always like to hear myself talk. When this happens I like to show a movie about American politics. Read more
Published on May 31, 2007 by Dr. Who, What, Where?
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Documentary
I actually thought A Perfect Candidate was pretty good. I've been a huge fan of Oliver North since 1994 when he ran for U.S. Senate. Read more
Published on February 21, 2007 by noahwfan
5.0 out of 5 stars Filmmakers given amazing access to campaigns
Isn't it interesting how little things have changed: the right kowtowing to the religious, stooping for votes. Read more
Published on March 21, 2006 by Wes
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but troubling POV
A Perfect Candidate is an interesting and thought provoking documentary on the Senate race between Republican Oliver North (of Iran Contra fame) and scandal tarred incumbent... Read more
Published on September 18, 2005 by Brian Niven
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary About an American Hero
This is a refreshingly crisp look inside a major statewide campaign. Robb (D) had major support from his national party and still struggles to win, while North (R) was really... Read more
Published on September 15, 2005 by E. Griffin
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