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A Perfect Candidate

20 customer reviews

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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

Special Features

  • Ollie & Chuck react
  • Photo gallery

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.)
  • 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: #129,316 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Perfect Candidate" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Jotz on May 2, 2001
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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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By hermione31 on 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "chrisr4141" on 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lee L. on December 29, 2005
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 1999
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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