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4.0 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 23 July 2017
Very happy with this,thanks.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 September 2016
Despite being released in 1972 Michael Ritchie’s marvellously entertaining and intelligent political satire is as relevant now as it was then, coming across as an extended episode of The Thick Of It, minus the swearing. The screenwriting is sharp, unsentimental, brutal, cynical and mordantly funny as it lays bare the Machiavellian manipulation of the media mercenaries brought in by a political fixer determined to achieve electoral success for a seemingly no-hoper Democrat in a Californian senatorial race. Peter Boyle’s understated performance as the fixer, a mild-mannered American version of Malcolm Tucker, is sublime as he seduces Robert Redford’s idealistic liberal lawyer (Bill McKay) with promises of being able to ‘tell it like it is’ because he has no chance of winning the election since the Republican incumbent is an experienced political operator, both popular and astute. The effective use of hand-held cameras and close-up shots combined with zippy editing gives the movie a documentary feel as it appears to capture the frenetic mayhem of a political campaign, almost comical as we observe the political innocent attend awful fund-raising dinners and make his way through dismal handshaking tours. However, when a television advertising expert and his team join the campaign and start creating slickly produced political telespots capitalising on McKay’s ‘image’ and ignoring his liabilities the highly unlikely becomes a possibility, but at a cost. We watch as McKay begins to spout bland political-speak platitudes as he is coached to deliver uncontroversial statements, his staunch ideals blurred into liberal rhetoric, a collection of mushy clichés designed not to offend and to plough a furrow squarely in the middle ground where elections are won. There are a couple of lovely scenes where McKay is reduced to uttering inane gobbledegook such is his campaign fatigue and the absurdity at the speed of evolving circumstances. The ending has a familiar uncomfortable ring of truth as the better packaged politician wins through, not necessarily due to his superior policies but due to his superior image (as portrayed in the media). This film definitely has my vote.
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on 9 March 2014
When this movie first appeared,I thought it was very enjoyable,still is in fact,but that it was a little far fetched,and described a very unlikely scenario.,where a good looking,intelligent,inexperienced but ambitious diletante,could be "stage Managed" and "programmed" into gaining the position of a National Leader,surely the epitome of style over substance!.
Since then,events have proved me very wrong,and at more than one level.too,Not only have we seen such people assume ultimate power and make a mess of things,,we have also seen unintelligent,ugly,devious,stupid,inexperienced,people make an even worse mess,from which it is highly unlikely the world will ever dig itself out.!
Highly recommended for those who want to know how it's done.perception proves to be everything-or nearly everything anyway-and as often happens in a Robert Redford movie,the punch line is all in the last sentence, uttered at the close!
Buy it,and enjoy,worth every penny!
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on 17 September 2010
I will give the dvd five stars on the basis of the quality of the film. It deserves nothing less. But I just wish under the radar classics like this film would not only get the recognition they deserve but also offer up some extras on the dvd package. It would be fascinating to hear Robert Redfords thoughts on one of his most personal and favourite films. That said, I believe The Candidate is a fantastic film.
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on 9 March 2009
The Candidate with Robert Redford concerns itself with the basis on which the American masses looks to their political candidates. It does this through the lawyer Bill McKay (Robert Redford), who is asked to run for US Senate for California running. A hopeless candidate who runs against an experienced oldtimer, only to find that that situation allows him to do things his way and not the "good ol' fashioned way". Along the way he is faced with the typical battle between victory vs. conscience.

The Candidate is an entertaining, funny, witty and clever film with a strong performance by the young Robert Redford. If you like hard hitting comments on todays society than this little gem is definitely for you.

Enjoy.
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on 4 February 2009
As previous reviewers have noted this film is presented bare-bones. However, if you haven't seen this movie, I'd still recommend picking it up, especially if you're a fan of New Hollywood and in particular, Robert Altman. However, it's not just film buffs who'll like the film, the Oscar-winning script was written by an ex-Political aide who'd been mentored by screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) and this authentic nature is carried over into the documentary-style camerawork and natural performances.

But what separates The Candidate from the batch of Paranoid Political Drama's of the time (many of which starred Redford) is that instead of concentrating on a conspiracy theory, clear-eyed it looks at the machinations behind the making and breaking of a Political campaign. Redford is an idealist chosen to run for the White House by a Democratic team who is convinced that because of his inexperience they can shape his Policies. Redford's characters initially starts with a environmentally-friendly themed campaign, but as the movie plays, a lot of the drama comes from the compromises as his ideas are watered down and overtures of a face-to-face with his Politically-illustrious Father. There are moments of humour and timely scope such as the importance of Grass-roots campaigning and the power the media hold in shaping image.

Loose comparison's can be made to the historic 2008 election with Barack Obama and John McCain running (in The Candidate, to Redford's younger, charismatic Bill McKay is his opponent, more experienced and not a million miles away from McCain), and this is what brings a lot of fascination to the film with Obama even stating it's one of his favourites.

The climax is a stunning moment, with the final moments sure to stay in the viewer's memory. Rank it alongside 'All the President's Men' and the HBO TV movie 'Recount' for electrifying Political viewing.
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on 21 March 2009
Political movies can come across as overly stuffy. That said having watched Charlie Wilson's war and now this lately on TCM I'm beginning to take a liking to the genre. Part satire, part drama Robert Redford once again doesn't dissappoint in a brilliantly written movie. An oscar winning screenplay for a previous scriptwriter of a senator no less, the film offers a insiders view of contemporary politics and the nature of the beast.

Now I've read alot of reviews which say the overall message and tone for the movie is cyncical but I seem like the only one anywhere who took a positive message from the movie.

Long story short, Billy McCay is a passionate environmentalist lawyer who becomes railroaded into campaigning for a senatorial seat against a stuffy, almost stereotypical republican douche. During the campaign his values become compromised into oblivion and cheap slogans...

I don't want to ruin the story but am I wrong in saying the whole point in being elected to represent the people always carries an inheent risk of compromising your values? McCay's character comes across as more tired from campaigning than cynical and a father son reuniting on the political trail was heartwarming.

I don't know how you will interepret the movie but I enjoyed it immensely. Its like a train that gets faster and faster and Redford carries everyone through to a fine result. 9/10
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on 29 May 2015
Still relevenant - will politics never change? Probably not. Made in a time of political turmoil and when Redford made a string of good films.
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on 27 May 2015
One of the all time great films about the system of US politics. It tells the story of how an unknown lawyer is chosen by professional politicians and takes you through the process of his carefully constructed campaign until the one magic moment when the candidate goes off script which proved to be the turning point in what became a winning campaign and the election of a new generation of politicians who defeated the old status quo. Clearly modelled on RFK this is a brilliant film
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on 19 July 2007
The Candidate was and remains one of the great movies about politics and has one of the two best last lines in movie history (the other being Some Like It Hot's "Nobody's perfect.")

But this DVD is 4:3 aspect ratio and the original film was 1:85:1. Hold out for the right format.

wg
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