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Quiz Show [VHS] [1995]

Ralph Fiennes , John Turturro , Robert Redford    Suitable for 15 years and over   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro, Rob Morrow, Paul Scofield, David Paymer
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Writers: Paul Attanasio, Richard N. Goodwin
  • Producers: Frederick Zollo, Gail Mutrux, Jeff McCracken, Judith James, Julian Krainin
  • Format: Dolby
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Vci
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan 2000
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004D2W3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,894 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

From Amazon.co.uk

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

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing 15 Oct 2007
By Mr. F. E. Marioni VINE VOICE
In 1958 America the most popular form of entertainment was quiz shows and the most successfull was "Twenty-One". Champions of the show were national heroes. One such hero was Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) a university professor and a product of America's most renowned literary family. People would tune in every week and watch in amazement at Charles drawing on his huge intellect and knowledge to answer the most obscure and difficult questions. No one would believe that this was a fix and the public only saw what the network and the producers wanted you to see. Herbie Stempel (John Turturo) a previous champion brings accusations against the network that this was a fraud which is dismissed but finally dug up by Dick Goodwin (Rob Morrow) a young lawyer working for a Congressional subcommittee.
Directed very well by Robert Redford and with fantastic performances from Ralph Fiennes and Rob Morrow but for me this film is all about the amazingly intense performance from John Turturo who literally eats the screen whenever he's on. Good performances also by David Paymer and
Hank Azaria as the shows producers.
This film superby captures the birth of popular television and the rise and fall of the first reality tv stars in an innocent era highly polished filmaking
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hell Hath no Fury Like a Polymath Scorned 28 Feb 2010
By A.G.
It's difficult in this cynical modern world to imagine a time when TV had yet to be seen to pop its cherry, but that is exactly what director Robert Redford tried to do with Quiz Show, a movie based loosely on the rigging scandal that rocked American TV in the late 1950s. The film conjures a vanished world in which the innocent excitement of the viewing millions was in stark contrast to the ruthless manipulations of the big TV companies, who, behind their smiling and virtuous facades, would stop at nothing to maintain ratings and maximise profits.

It's New York City 1958, and Herb Stempel (John Turturro), an average joe from Queens, is the star of hit NBC quiz-show Twenty One. Know-it-all Herb is unbeatable and has amassed a considerable fortune in prize money. But when ratings level off, the show's sponsors demand a fresh face, so producer Dan Enright (David Paymer) persuades a reluctant Herb to take a fall in order to clear the way for a new quiz-show hero. Step forward dashing WASP academic Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), whose Ivy League sophistication quickly makes him a media sensation and the perfect contrast to his uncouth opponent. But when Herb later yells "Fix!", he catches the attention of Congressional investigator Dick Goodwin (Rob Morrow), a young and ambitious lawyer who quickly suspects that Twenty One might not be as spontaneous as it looks.

Paul Attanasio's script deals mainly with the murky motivations and unforeseen consequences of the actions of the main players.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling 19 Oct 2000
Quiz Show is simply a fantastic view of not just the show 21, but of the entertainment world. By far the best part is at the end, when the case is being summed up by the people who run 21, and it brings up some interesting questions. Hardly ever has a movie with a subject matter so... sappy, ever had so much appeal. "The sponsers made money, we made money, the contestants saw more money than they ever will again, and the viewers were happy. Who's the victim?"
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like plagiarising a comic strip... 22 Dec 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
I confess, I collect pithy lines from films for later use (though, striving to be a person of honour, I try to cite my source as well). Three lines stick in my mind from this film. The first, cited in the title, is from Charles Van Doren's father (played beautifully by veteran actor Paul Scofield), commenting on the prospect of people cheating on the Quiz Show. The second comes from a comment made with regard to Herb Stempel appearing on television: 'Now there's a face for radio.' The third is when Van Doren is contemplating the ethics of his situation, and remarks: 'I'm just trying to imagine what Kant would make of this.'
The movie 'Quiz Show' is based upon the true story of 21 and the scandals surrounding a fix in the questions and answers to facilitate ratings. The show 21 has only recently made it back to television.
21 was a highly rated NBC programme sponsored by Geritol (back in the days when usually one sponsor carried a show and became identified with it in the minds of the public). The producer, host, and other workers played with the audience by making sure that popular contestants returned, and unpopular ones lost, by rigging the questions. Herb Stempel (played by Tuturro) had a several-month run when it was decided that his popularity had reached a plateau, and a new face was needed. Entering the scene was Charles Van Doren (played by Ralph Fiennes), who in the excitement of fame and money succumbed to the temptation of being given the answers, too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars once seen, never to be forgotten?
Superb and scandalous...truth bends for entertainment purposes? Is the film true, or was the discarded court case...and then, what about the News?
Published 17 months ago by Sally Burdyke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film
This is a really enjoyable film with some great performances by Ralph Fiennes, Paul Schofield and John Turturro. Read more
Published 19 months ago by dunf
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Film.
I saw this movie many years ago and loved it. The recent purchase of this film tells me how well it's withstood time as basically it has more to do with greed re the fixing of... Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2011 by M. collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting story of a scandal
The year is 1957, and everyone in America is watching the popular TV game show, "Twenty-One." Contestants can stay on the show for weeks, earning then-astronomical sums of money... Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2010 by Kona
3.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent yes, involving no!
Rented on the basis of outstanding reviews seen here & elsewhere.
Personally I found the film unsatisfying. Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2008 by P. A. Tonkin
5.0 out of 5 stars "They just wanted to watch the money."
Ah, the good ol' Fifties. The time when, after decades of depression and war, people finally wanted to get on with their lives, rebuild the economy and sweep everything dark and... Read more
Published on 24 May 2004 by Themis-Athena
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiz Show is exceptionally good, and that's my final answer
Quiz Show is a remarkably good film, presenting in vivid detail an important if disillusioning piece of Americana. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2003 by Daniel Jolley
3.0 out of 5 stars Ralph is excellent as Charles Van Doren...
Charles Van Doren, who became a national hero following his success on a quiz show Twenty-One, only to be publicly humiliated when it was discovered that it was al rigged. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2000
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