The Manchurian Candidate

Metascore
94

Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14

Critic Reviews

  1. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Pauline Kael
    100
    It may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood. (As quoted by Roger Ebert)
  2. 100
    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.
  3. 100
    Manchurian, with its fatalistic, dreamlike quality, comprises two of [Frankenheimer's] finest hours. [Re-release]
  4. Angela Lansbury's frighteningly in-check performance is alone worth the trip.
  5. 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.
  6. 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]
  7. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    100
    A dazzling spy thriller that’s still amazing.
  8. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Sheila Benson
    100
    The Manchurian Candidate proves that its fascination is intact. [12 Jan 1998, p.C1; Re-Release]
  9. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: David Everitt
    91
    This gonzo satiric thriller is a riveting portrait of early-60's paranoia. [15 Nov 1996, p.82]
  10. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    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]
  11. 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.
  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. 70
    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]
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Oct 13, 2010
    10
    Not many movies focus on the topic of brainwashing, and that's what makes The Manchurian Candidate such an amazing and unique film. The movieNot 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. May 27, 2015
    8
    Speaking of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, contemporary audience may still recall the 2004 remake headlined by Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep,Speaking of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, contemporary audience may still recall the 2004 remake headlined by Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, directed by Jonathan Demme (a 6/10), which is a proficient political thriller and grafts the timeline from Korean War to Gulf War. Now it is time to revisit the original version directed by John Frankenheimer, the only film I have watched among his prolific filmography before this one actually is his final big screen feature, the romance-thriller mixed-bag REINDEER GAMES (2000, 5/10), Frankenheimer passed away in 2002, and this 1962 black-and-white stunner is no doubt above a few notches over its comparatively problematic remake, substantially due to the Harvey-Lansbury pair’s Oscar-worthy performances.

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    Full Review »
  3. ThomasW.
    Jan 28, 2007
    10
    Excellent! Spell binding!!