This vigorously entertaining film, sharply directed by Robert Redford fr om Paul Attanasio's brilliant screenplay, is based on the game-show scandals of the 1950s, when TV quiz shows were rigged to attract higher ratings and lucrative sponsorships. The fact-based story focuses on the quiz show Twenty-One
and popular contestant Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a charming, well-bred intellectual who agreed to win the game by using answers supplied by the show's producers. This unfair advantage turned Van Doren into a prototypical media darling at the expense of reigning Twenty-One
champion Herbie Stempel (John Turturro, in a bravura performance), a working-class Jewish contestant who, according to the show's sponsors, had worn out his welcome in the public eye. When a congressional investigator (Rob Morrow) catches on to the scam and Stempel blows the whistle on this backstage manipulation, Quiz Show
becomes a smart, political exposè about the first generation of television, the corrupting effect of celebrity and success, and the ongoing loss of innocence in American society. Bristling with superior dialogue and energized by an excellent cast including Paul Scofield as Van Doren's morally upstanding father, Quiz Show
succeeds as history lesson, intelligent thriller, and morality tale, setting the stage for the countless scandals that would follow in a nation addicted to television. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Robert Redford directs an award-winning cast in this examination of the moral hypocrisy of 1950s America. Herbie Stempel (John Turturro) is the reigning champion of 'Twenty One', a popular television quiz show. However, the show's producers are unhappy with his nervous, mumbling manner and want to replace him with Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a more telegenic contestant. It is arranged that Van Doren will be fed the answers to the quiz before the programme, thus ensuring his success. Congressional agent Dick Goodwin (Rob Morrow) is called in to expose the conspiracy.