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The Candidate (1972)

Robert Redford , Peter Boyle , Michael Ritchie  |  PG |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Price: $63.97 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas, Don Porter, Allen Garfield
  • Directors: Michael Ritchie
  • Writers: Jeremy Larner
  • Producers: Robert Redford, Nelson Rising, Walter Coblenz
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 29, 1997
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304696507
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,599 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Candidate" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

An outspoken, idealistic young California lawyer is persuaded to run for the Senate, and finds himself up against a political machine.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG
Release Date: 15-SEP-1998
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Political Realism Presented Entertainingly January 5, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
"The Candidate" was released in the appropriate year of 1972, when Richard Nixon was reelected, using the media to present himself as a solid, trusted leader who was being challenged by liberal elitists operating in concert with the Eastern media establishment. When the full force of Watergate buried Nixon in scandal shortly thereafter, resulting in his resignation in 1974, the messages presented in "The Candidate" became all the clearer as Nixon's hollow facade lay fully exposed.
Jeremy Larner, a former speechwriter for presidential candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy in 1968, used his political savvy to craft a script based on the realism of campaigning in the television age, in which, to use Marshall McLuhan's apt phrase, "the medium is the message." Larner copped a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his effort. Robert Redford plays Bill McKay, who runs a poverty law center and has no ambitions to seek political office. He is urged to do so as the Democrats in California seek an opponent for a solidly entrenched incumbent U.S. Senator played by Don Porter. Redford, whose father, played by Melvyn Douglas, is a former California governor, agrees to run after being told that he can address topics on his own terms. The idea is that he is expected to make a decent run but is not expected to win. Redford articulates ideas near and dear to him that are not embraced by the broad spectrum of California voters. When he runs poorly in the primary, however, he is informed that he needs to make changes or risk being humiliated in the general election by Porter, a prospect he does not relish.
Redford's ensuing frequent turnabouts on major issues make him anything but the refreshingly candid candidate he sought to become.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the seminal modern political campaign drama November 29, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this when it came out and was utterly riveted by it. It was the first political film I had ever seen and got me interested in politics, of which I became quite the junky. I believe this was one of the first films to attempt to create a realistic and subtle drama about the political process, at least in elections.

This time around, I got it for my kids. I admit that I watched it with some trepidation, hoping I would like it as much as I did the first time. Fortunately, it passed the test! We all became engrossed and discussed it afterwards, which was exactly what I hoped would happen.

One scary thing about the film, as my left-wing wife put it, is how little has changed - the US has scarcely moved on from the issues as presented in the film. First, abortion is a big deal, as is gun control. Second, there is the issue of government involvement in the economy, decried as socialist etc etc. Third, there is the environment, also hotly debated in much the same terms as today - developers v. tree huggers. Finally, the best portrayed issue is the campaign process itself, which transmogrifies the candidate's message with the necessity of TV's dumbing down. As we can see with the incendiary tactics used today, not even the internet has changed things much.

Warmly recommended. This film demonstrates the potential that film can have in sparking thought and debate. That it is so relevant is depressing.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT POLITICAL FLICK June 6, 2004
Robert Redford was behind the entertaining political movie "The Candidate" (1972), which goes a long way towards explaining how the game works. This film is really not a liberal one, which is what makes it worthwhile even after 30 years. It is supposed to be based on Edmund "Jerry" Brown, former California Governor Pat Brown's son. Jerry Brown at the time was a youthful Secretary of State who would go one to two terms as Governor. He was a new kind of pol, attractive, a bit of swinger who dated rock star Linda Rohnstadt, and representative of the Golden State image of the 1970s. They called him "Governor Moonbeam".
Redford plays the son of the former Governor of California, played by Melvyn Douglas. The old man is old school all the way, having schmoozed his way up the slippery slope through implied corrupt deals with labor unions and other Democrat special interests. Redford is a young man who played football at Stanford and is now a social issues lawyer of the pro bono variety, helping Mexicans in Central California. Peter Boyle knew him at Stanford and is now a Democrat political consultant who recruits Redford to run for Senator against Crocker Jarman, an entrenched conservative Orange County Republican. Jarman could be Reagan, but he is as much a composite of the traditional Republican: Strong on defense, down on affirmative action and welfare, a real "up by the bootstraps" guy who emerged from the Depression and World War II to make up our "greatest generation."
The film does an about-face on perceptions that, in many cases, turn out to be true. Redford is the rich kid with connections. Jarman beat the Depression like the rest of the U.S., without a social worker.
"How did we do it?" he mocks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, political dynamite... November 27, 2006
As the American public grows more dissatisfied with the corruption and ineptitude of their political candidates, movies like Michael Ritchie's "The Candidate" become all the more timely and relevant. A product of a cynical age and although a bit dated (the film was released in 1972, and Redford would follow with the cynical and conspiratorial anti-CIA film, "Three Days of the Condor" in 1973), "The Candidate" is a illustrative vehicle demonstrating how pollsters, admen, press agents, and what we would call now "spin doctors" packaged political candidates to an unsuspecting electorate before anyone had ever heard of blogs and the internet.

As the liberal attorney-now Democratic senatorial-candidate, Bill McKay, Redford plays a man whose integrity and ideals fall prey to the American political and media machine that compel him to win. Peter Boyle, as McKay's campaign manager, and Melvyn Douglas, as the candidate's father, contribute vital supporting roles that are are as absorbing as the film itself.

Ritchie's film, along with Elia Kazan's superb "A Face in the Crowd" (1958), no less than an indictment against the role the television media plays in political campaigns, should be required viewing in every undergraduate political science class.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good dig at politics in the 1970s
This is a fun dig at politics in the 1970s -- which turn out not to be all that different from politics today
Published 17 days ago by Wil Walkoe
4.0 out of 5 stars Ironically Prescient
We were shown this movie by my liberal social studies teacher in my senior year of high school, and he used the movie to make points, such as whether debates really do anything for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Long Tom
3.0 out of 5 stars Dim view of political process
Educationally, the film is helpful in giving an understanding of the political election/campaigning process. Robert Redford gives good performance. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars A political drama classic
Any political junkie must see this. Any Robert Redford fan must see this, a movie made when he was on top of Hollywood. Nowadays, this is also a window into the past. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laura S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Holds up well.
The Candidate is as insightful today as it was 40 years ago. It remains one of the best films ever made about the American political system.
Published 7 months ago by Fred Smoller
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
I liked this movie a lot I needed it for my class I couldn't find it anywhere ! Thank you so much
Published 7 months ago by linda escobedo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Redford's best and possibly Peter Boyle's best
Classic politicians line after being elected, "What do we do now," as the film ends. A close second when Redford says he is going to do something and Boyle says,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful account of the inside world of political campaigns.
Based on the true story of John Tunney's race for the U.S. Senate in California, this 1972 film is one of the most insightful about the real world of political campaigns, and holds... Read more
Published 10 months ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny!
Love Robert Redford, he does a great job no matter what type of film he's in. Tryely one of the greatest actors of our time.
Published 14 months ago by Lover of all fine things
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for one viewing
I got this video because I'd heard of it for years, and like Redford as an actor. It was fun to see during the 2012 elections. It wasn't good enough to keep, but fun to see once.
Published 14 months ago by S. Smith
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