A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

Richard Condon (based upon a novel by), George Axelrod (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frank Sinatra ... Major Bennett Marco
Laurence Harvey ... Raymond Shaw
Janet Leigh ... Eugenie Rose Chaney
Angela Lansbury ... Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin
Henry Silva ... Chunjin
James Gregory ... Senator John Yerkes Iselin
Leslie Parrish ... Jocelyn Jordan
John McGiver ... Senator Thomas Jordan
Khigh Dhiegh ... Dr. Yen Lo
James Edwards ... Corporal Allen Melvin
Douglas Henderson Douglas Henderson ... Colonel Milt
Albert Paulsen ... Zilkov
Barry Kelley ... Secretary of Defense
Lloyd Corrigan ... Holborn Gaines
Madame Spivy Madame Spivy ... Female Berezovo
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Storyline

Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He served valiantly as a Captain in the Korean war and his Sergeant, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), even received the Medal of Honor. Marco has a major problem however: he has a recurring nightmare, one where two members of his squad were killed by Shaw. He's put on indefinite sick leave and visits Shaw in New York City. Shaw, for his part. has established himself well, despite the misgivings of his domineering mother, Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Dame Angela Lansbury). She is a red-baiter, accusing anyone who disagrees with her right-wing reactionary views of being a Communist. Raymond hates her, not only for how she's treated him, but equally because of his stepfather, the ineffectual U.S. Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), who is intent on seeking higher office. When Marco learns that others in his Korean War unit have had nightmares similar to his own, he realizes that something happened to all of ... Written by garykmcd/Robert Sieger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Once unbelievable. Now unthinkable. The chilling classic returns [rerelease] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie said there were seventy-seven Medal of Honor recipients for the Korean War. As of 2019, there are one hundred forty-five, of which one hundred three were awarded posthumously. See more »

Goofs

Raymond Shaw is referred to as a "Staff Sergeant," but that rank was abolished for the US Army during the Korean war. During the Korean War, the traditional three-chevron insignia for Sergeant was also abolished, with the rank of Sergeant represented by what used to be the Staff Sergeant insignia: three chevrons and one rocker. The rank of Staff Sergeant didn't reappear for the Army until 1959, when it re-took the traditional insignia of three chevrons and one rocker previously given over to Sergeants during the Korean War. Even more curious is the fact that the Raymond Shaw character wears three chevrons and TWO rockers: the rank of Sergeant First Class. See more »

Quotes

Benjamin K. Arthur: Nor would I ask of any fellow American, in defense of his freedom, that which I would not gladly give myself: my life before my liberty!
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Alternate Versions

The West German version was edited (ca. 4 minutes) to remove every scene with the ladies in the greenhouse. This version was also released on DVD. In 2005 the uncut version (with subtitles for the missing scenes) was shown on Arte. Only in 2020 was the complete version released on Blu-ray/DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gravy (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Twelve Days of Christmas
(uncredited)
Traditional, arranged by Frederic Austin
Sung by unidentified female soloist
Played on a turntable in Raymond Shaw's apartment
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User Reviews

 
A political and social thriller/drama ahead of its time.
20 August 2001 | by terenSee all my reviews

John Frankenheimer's surrealistic direction and George Axelrod's adaptation of the 1959 book by the same name offer Laurence Harvey a career defining role.

Set in 1950's, A Korean War veteran Raymond Shaw(Harvey) returns home to a medal of honor for rescuing his POW platoon from behind Chinese lines and back to safety. One of the returning soldiers, (played effectively by Frank Sinatra) however, has recurring dreams of his platoon being brainwashed and Shaw committing acts of murder.

He eventually convinces army brass that Shaw is still a puppet of his Communist-Marxist operators.

Angela Lansbury, (although barely a few years older than Harvey was at the time) plays his mother in a tour de force role. She absolutely captivates and steals every scene she is in, playing a very complex role that needs to convince the viewer of many things without much dialogue.

There's a rich cast of characters, including Janet Leigh, Henry Silva, James Edwards, and a painfully accurate James Gregory. Each character weaves through the methodical subplots and tapestry of Frankenheimer's masterful "Hitchcockian" pace.

I won't give away the plot, but dear readers, allow me to sat that this one is really worth watching--until the nail-biting and chilling conclusion.

There are many undertones in this film -- political, sexual, class and power, and social. You will want to view this film several times to approach it from different perspectives.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Manchurian Candidate See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$87,850, 15 February 1988

Gross USA:

$2,757,256

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,757,256
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

M.C. Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

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