Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 100
    Here is a movie that was made more than 25 years ago, and it feels as if it were made yesterday. Not a moment of The Manchurian Candidate lacks edge and tension and a cynical spin. [Re-release]
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    A dazzling spy thriller that’s still amazing.
  3. Angela Lansbury's frighteningly in-check performance is alone worth the trip.
  4. 100
    The Manchurian Candidate proves that its fascination is intact. [12 Jan 1998, p.C1; Re-Release]
  5. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    One of the wildest fabrications any author has ever tried to palm off on a gullible public. But the fascinating thing is that, from uncertain premise to shattering conclusion, one does not question plausibility of the events being rooted in their own cinematic reality.
  6. 100
    Manchurian, with its fatalistic, dreamlike quality, comprises two of [Frankenheimer's] finest hours. [Re-release]
  7. 100
    It may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood. (As quoted by Roger Ebert)
  8. A veritable salad of mixed genres and emotional textures, this exciting black-and-white cold war thriller runs more than two hours and never flags for an instant...A powerful experience, alternately corrosive with dark parodic humor, suspenseful, moving, and terrifying.
  9. Reviewed by: David Everitt
    This gonzo satiric thriller is a riveting portrait of early-60's paranoia. [15 Nov 1996, p.82]
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    But it is Angela Lansbury's incestuous, power-mad mother who makes your blood run cold. This was the peak of the first part of her career, which depended upon these hardbitten kind of characters. Forget Hitchcock--here's the monster mother of all time.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The performances are daring and assured, especially Lansbury's holy terror of Momism and Harvey's snide, pathetic pawn, brainwashed by both KGB AND CIA. [21 March 1988, p.84]
  12. 90
    An exceedingly loopy satire of the entire American political circus, and could be viewed as offensive to the sensitive-souled in either camp. And time hasn't in the least softened its bite. [Re-release]
  13. Reviewed by: Stuart Swineford
    Complaints? Sure, I had a few: The liberal use of insta-sweat whenever the character in question is experiencing tension, Harvey's aforementioned accent, one over-used shot composition that places the action at a great distance with a giant-headed supporting actor in the extreme foreground. [Re-release]
  14. Reviewed by: Bosley Crowther
    The film is so artfully contrived, the plot so interestingly started, the dialogue so racy and sharp, and John Frankenheimer's direction so exciting in the style of Orson Welles when he was making Citizen Kane and other pictures that the fascination of it is strong. So many fine cinematic touches and action details pop up that one keeps wishing the subject would develop into something more than it does.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Oct 13, 2010
    Not many movies focus on the topic of brainwashing, and that's what makes The Manchurian Candidate such an amazing and unique film. The movie follows a military veteran as he tries to figure out why he doesn't remember his friend performing an amazing act of heroism that saved two soldiers and awarded him the medal of honor. Another man in their squad talks of strange dreams, and soon after that the movie is launched into a story of politics, intrigue, and of course, brainwashing. The story leads to a great ending that wraps up everything nicely. Full Review »
  2. ThomasW.
    Jan 28, 2007
    Excellent! Spell binding!!
  3. PatC.
    Apr 6, 2006
    One of the Essentials. Both a well constructed film and an insightful articulation of the fears, suspicions and intrigue of the cold war era. Seems a litle over the top today, but hey, we still don't really know what really happened when Kennedy was shot. And that happened after this movie was made. Full Review »