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Seven Days in May (1964)

Burt Lancaster , Kirk Douglas , John Frankenheimer  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)

Price: $69.51 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Seven Days in May + Fail-Safe (Special Edition) + Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Special Edition)
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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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RF83
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,102 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Seven Days in May" on IMDb

Special Features


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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
110 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It could never happen here... or could it?? 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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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All Too Real Thriller 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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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic movie of the Cold War July 25, 2000
"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 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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STRONG ARGUMENT FOR THE CONSTITUTION December 3, 2005

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.


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.


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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Great Political Intrigue Movies Of All Time!
I love this movie! It has a fantastic cast and carries the viwer through the intricate story to an enjoyable ending!
Published 12 days ago by Rick Sherman
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Summary followed by Historical Commentary
Seven Days in May begins with a riot in front of the White House. It's the late 1960s and U.S. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March) has recently signed a nuclear disarmament... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Frank Bellizzi
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing Plot!
You can't go wrong with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Frederick March! I have often wondered if this kind of Militarial Industrial Complex take over of our nation could indeed... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cobra
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cold War movie!!!
It was a great conspiracy movie and shows the fears of the Cold War well. Kurt Douglas gives a great performance.
Published 1 month ago by S. Bryan Colvin
5.0 out of 5 stars May
A Film I just never tire of simply the best and wonderful. performances all round .Lancaster Douglas Gardner O'Brien , March
Published 1 month ago by Thom mykel
4.0 out of 5 stars Must see if you're into JFK assassination research
I thought that watching a movie from 1964 would be awful. It is quite well done and very well acted. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lil' Buck
5.0 out of 5 stars Bookends The Manchurian Candidate
Very close kin to that other paranoid Frankenheimer Cold War thriller, The Manchurian Candidate, with exceptionally strong, laconic performances by Russell and Lancaster, and a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by christopher t brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold War thriller
One of the best political thrillers ever made. It still holds up today even though it is obviously dated. The acting is nothing less than superb.
Published 1 month ago by Servando Olivarez
5.0 out of 5 stars When acting was real, with an eye to present times.
This is an excellent 1963 tale of the conflicts that arise between the military and civilian control, as it should be, the civilian control that is. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul D. Hastings
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
My wife does not necessarly like war movies, but really likes this one because it is about the politics of the military and turned out very interesting.
Published 1 month ago by R. Webster
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