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The Manchurian Candidate (Widescreen Edition)

3.7 out of 5 stars 318 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

During the Gulf War, members of cut-off platoon are captured and brainwashed by a large corporation to return to the United States following the war as their pawns. When one of the soldiers becomes the likely next Vice-President of the United States, the full scope of Manchurian's plan is revealed. Now, the last remaining soldier from the platoon must battle the brainwash and the corporation to prevent them from controlling the largest country in the free world.

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Jonathan Demme and screenplay co-writer Daniel Pyne
  • "The Enemy Within": Inside "The Manchurian Candidate"
  • Five delelted/extended scenes
  • Outtakes with optional commentary
  • Lieve Schrieber's screen test

Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Kimberly Elise, Jeffrey Wright
  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Writers: Daniel Pyne, Dean Georgaris, George Axelrod, Richard Condon
  • Producers: Jonathan Demme, Ilona Herzberg, Peter Kohn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (318 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006210ZG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,732 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Manchurian Candidate (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I was getting tugged on multiple sides when I decided to rate and review this film. First, and most obviously, was that I loved the original with Frank Sinatra. I think it was probably his defining role as an actor and was my personal favorite Sinatra movie. Second, I was worried that I might try and draw too many comparisons between this new film and its predecessor and thus end up hating this one. Third, I like Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, and PRAYED that they didn't put these two excellent actors into roles that they either weren't made for or couldn't live up to.

So basically I stressed out over nothing. The movie was good. Not great, not the best of the year, but good enough to hold my attention and keep me up later than I normally would be.

The film: Denzel Washington takes on the role of Major Ben Marco (Sinatra's old Captain role), a desert storm officer who's come back from the war with terrible headaches, undecipherable dreams, and a member of his team who won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Liev Schriber plays Raymond Shaw, the powerfully connected Sergeant who wins The Medal. He comes back to the States and is swept into politics. And he's being primed for the vice presidency.

Meryl Streep plays Senator Eleanor Shaw, Raymond's hard-nosed mother who NEEDS to have her son in a position of power. The family name MUST be upheld and put into the history books. Mrs. Streep plays probably her most creepy role to date; I loved it. Her character infuriated me one moment, and then made my stomach turn the next. A perfect performance.

Instead of Manchuria being involved, this time we have something known as Manchurian Global, a company that wants to rule the most powerful nation on Earth by controlling one of its most powerful leaders.
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1 Comment 21 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Shades of Fahrenheit 911! This superbly crafted and well acted re-make of the 1960s political thriller, "The Manchurian Candidate" bears little resemblance to the original, a taut but relatively conventional psychological drama based on the premise of the selective brainwashing of a platoon of American soldiers during the Korean War by the North Koreans. In the original, the storyline revolves around the nightmare ruminations of a military officer (played by Frank Sinatra) who comes to realize all hinges on a fellow prisoner, the scion of a wealthy, influential, and politically ambitious family becoming a sleeper assassin who will be activated to act out his part in a diabolical plot to stage a deft and ostensibly peaceful coup-d'etat of the American government.

Here Denzel Washington underplays the part of the officer to the point of perfection, yet the story-line is much more of a postmodern twist, involving corporate geopolitical ambitions for a Halliburton-like firm who tries to use the brainwashing during the Gulf War of 1991 to ensnare and brainwash the sleeper agent (played well here by Liev Schreiber, once again the scion of a wealthy, influential, and politically star-crossed family). Meryl Streep plays against type as a brash and arrogant neoconservative senator who uses her bully pulpit to spew imperialistic venom. There are many contemporary touches and twists to the script and the plot that make this a quite artful, albeit obviously fictional, philosophical diatribe on the state of current American politics seen through the eyes of Hollywood intellectuals (or is that a contradiction in terms?).

All that said, there is indeed much beyond these blatant attempts to examine the current state of the American polity to recommend the film for your entertainment.
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Comment 42 of 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I'd held off for a bit on seeing this; the original Manchurian Candidate is an all-time favorite movie, and, well, you know...

At the end of this film I scooted over to my bookshelf and grabbed the DVD case of the original. My guess was the remake was no more than 90 minutes and the original must have been at least two and 1/2 hours in duration. Good Lord! They were both exactly 129 minutes long!

There's a profound lesson here. The first film, in that wonderful 129 managed to tell a great story, travel a lot, freak me out repeatedly, stun me with novelty (the playing cards, the whole Republican/McCarthy/Lincoln shtick, the "flower show' interrogation, the "jump in a lake", getting drunk with Shaw, and on and on) work in a great love story, work in a tragic love story, work in a pathological love story, and develop a host of intriguing characters, and thrill me with what seemed to be an unending sequence of marvelous performances. The equally lengthy remake stirred little sympathies and seldom got off the ground. As storytelling, the film spun its wheels. You'd think if you remake a movie, ignore character development, ignore any relationship development, ignore any complex and intelligent commentary on modern goings-on (it was just terrorism and corporate involvement in war handled in the most superficial way)--ignore a whale of a lot--you could bring the thing in at about 48 minutes, maybe 60 with commercials. If I watch it again (not likely) I'll have a stop-watch handy and I'll take notes. It was like some magic trick.

So what happened in that 129 minutes anyway?
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2 Comments 68 of 91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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