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Seven Days in May


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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Writers: Charles W. Bailey II, Fletcher Knebel, Rod Serling
  • Producers: Edward Lewis
  • Format: Black & White, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RF83
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,307 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Seven Days in May" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

The story of an attempt to overthrow the United States government by military coup.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG13
Release Date: 13-MAY-2003
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

There were a number of excellent political thrillers in the Sixties, and Seven Days in May is one of the best.
James L.
This political thriller, a favorite of President Kennedy, presented a chilling scenario of a military takeover of the United States government.
Mike DaKidd
The movie has minimal action and a lot of dialogue, but the tension is maintained nicely throughout, and the acting is uniformly excellent.
JLind555

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 115 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on November 11, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
"Seven Days in May" was a so-so book that John Frankenheimer turned into an absolutely brilliant movie. It's an excellent cold-war drama, made at a time when tension between this country and the Soviet Union was at boiling point. At the center of the story is President Jordan Lyman, a well-meaning, somewhat naive chief executive who has pushed through a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets, which most of the country, and all of the military, fear the Soviets have no intention of honoring. The stage is set for a political confrontation between the president's supporters, who feel they must back him whatever their private apprehensions, and his opponents, who fear he is selling the country out. Enter at this point a career soldier with political ambitions, General James Scott, who plans to put his enormous popularity to work in devising a scheme that he thinks will save his country, which is nothing less than a military plot to overthrow the government. However, loose lips can sink a ship, and a few chance words reach the ears of Colonel Jiggs Casey, a Marine torn between his loyalty to his general, General Scott, and his commander in chief, president Lyman. What makes a good soldier, and what makes a true patriot? That is the dilemma Casey has to come to grips with as he realizes that the clock is ticking, the plot is underway, and there are less than seven days left before something very big goes down.

The movie has minimal action and a lot of dialogue, but the tension is maintained nicely throughout, and the acting is uniformly excellent.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By James L. on April 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
There were a number of excellent political thrillers in the Sixties, and Seven Days in May is one of the best. Fredric March stars as the President who is trying to push through a nuclear disarmament treaty, but he is meeting a lot of resistance. Chief among them is General Burt Lancaster, who has decided to take over the government to continue building America's military. Lancaster has developed an elaborate plan for his takeover, but his assistant, Kirk Douglas, has been left out. When Douglas begins to suspect something, the tension starts to rise. The plot sounds incredible, yet as written by the great Rod Serling and directed by John Frankenheimer, it is only too believable. The performances are all top notch by the stars, while Ava Gardner as Lancaster's former mistress and Edmond O'Brien as an alcoholic senator supporting the treaty shine in supporting roles. This is a smart movie that will take you back to a time not long ago when the Cold War had paralyzed the world. This is the kind of intelligent, tense thriller I wish we could see more of these days.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Alan R. Holyoak on July 25, 2000
Format: DVD
"Seven Days in May" is a gripping political drama surrounding efforts of an American President to eliminate stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the midst of the cold war. He is opposed by a demagogic army general (B. Lancaster), whose chief of staff is a marine colonel (K. Douglas).
Tactile suspense develops as clues about behind the scenes military activities pop up here and there that lead one to guess that plans are in effect that could undermine the basic principles of self-government upon which the US Constitution is based.
Tensions of the cold war years are presented and preserved in this film, filmed and presented in black and white. As you watch this film you will notice that the special effects are not what they are today (there are few of them, anyway), since the center of this movie is philosophical rather than a visceral viewing experience. And that's fine...you will, regardless, find yourself drawn into the story as the plans of the primary protagonist (the president), and his antagonist (the army general) face off.
This is top-notch drama. The most important figure in the film is Douglas, who is caught between loyalty to his superior officer and his loyalty to the constitution and to his country. This film explores gray areas...come along for the ride.
This is the sort of film that makes you wonder if this kind of event may actually have taken place.
While this film is excellent, it may not be for everyone. If you are someone who must have non-stop action, explosions (a la "The Terminator" etc.), then this film is NOT for you. If you are a thoughtful viewer though, you will thoroughly enjoy this gripping film.
5 stars all the way for the story, character development, acting, and dramatic suspense.
Don't miss this film!
Alan Holyoak
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Heather L. Parisi on December 3, 2005
Format: DVD
IN A NUTSHELL:

This is an absolutely compelling Cold War fable which dramatizes what might have happened had the President adopted a disarmament treaty which threatened the security of the United States in the minds of many Conservatives, including the military.

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT:

A popular Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Scott [Burt Lancaster] is not about to comply with the terms of a seemingly-disasterous nuclear disarmament treaty. Scott is willing to take immediate action to prevent this from happening and has enlisted a wide variety of "patriots" to assist him in his "conspiracy to overthrow the government". But who are they?

One of Scott's aides and a close friend, Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey [Kirk Douglas], discovers hints of a possible plot and brings them to the attention of the President, Jordan Lyman (Fredric March), a "liberal" who Scott later accuses of being a "criminally weak sister".

The film is all about getting solid evidence of a conspiracy, acting on it in a political/legal manner, and avoiding a military coup, which seems imminent throughout the film. How this is averted is what the film is all about. The idea of civilian control is dramatized, emphasized, and re-emphasized through a number characters and scenes. Colonel Casey's repeated assertion that once the decision has been made [by the civilian authority], "we have to go along with it" (despite the widely held view in the Pentagon that the treaty is not a good one), is lucidly presented throughout the film.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

This is a terrific film that emphasizes dialogue and a thought-provoking plot over action. Rod Serling's characterizations are powerful and reminiscent of the Twilight Zone which he also created.
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