Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 129 minutes
You will never find a more chillingly suspenseful, perversely funny, or viciously satirical political thriller than The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel by Richard Condon (author of Winter Kills). The film, withheld from distribution by star Frank Sinatra for almost a quarter century after President Kennedy's assassination, has lost none of its potency over time. Former infantryman Bennet Marco (Sinatra) is haunted by nightmares about his platoon having been captured and brainwashed in Korea. The indecipherable dreams seem to center on Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), a decorated war hero but a cold fish of a man whose own mother (Angela Lansbury, in one of the all-time great dragon-lady roles) describes him as looking like his head is "always about to come to a point." Mrs. Bates has nothing on Lansbury's character, the manipulative queen behind her second husband, Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), a notoriously McCarthyesque demagogue. --Jim Emerson
I will do whatever is necessary to protect America from anyone who opposes her. I can't... am I the only person in this room who's been reading these NSA reports?
I've read them.
All right, then. You know... you know we are on the brink of another cataclysm, probably nuclear, on our own soil.
Oh, Ellie, that's a bit extreme.
And it's not from random terrorists, but from covert alliances of disaffected nations who've all been made bold by this kind of Jordan one-worlder who believes that human beings are essentially good and that our powers are somehow, I don't know, shameful or evil and never to be used. Make no mistake. The American people are terrified. They know something's coming. They can feel it. And we can either shovel them the same old shit and call it sugar or we can arm them. We can arm them with a young, vibrant Vice President. We can give them heat, energy! Give them a war hero with heart, forged by enemy fire in the desert in the dark when American lives hung on the balance!
Are we friends, Ben? I wanna believe we were friends.
We are connected and that's something nobody can take from us. You coulda had me locked up, but you didn't. That's proof that there's something deep inside. There's a part that they can't get to. And it's deep inside of us. And that's where the truth is.