Quiz Show (1994)

logoDirector: Robert Redford

Writer: Paul Attanasio (Screenplay) Richard N Goodwin (Novel)

Starring: John Turturro, Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes, Paul Scofield, David Paymer, Hank Azaria, Christopher McDonald


Plot: Dick Goodwin (Morrow) discovers that a game show is being fixed so Charles Van Doren (Fiennes) is fed answers so he beats Herbie Stempel (Turturro). The producers of the show want a new face for the show as they feel Herbie is not the right role model for America while Charles would make a perfect role model.  Based on the true story, the events take place in the late 50s.


Verdict: Brilliant historical drama

Story: Following the investigation into the fixing while we see one man’s life unravel following his defeat and one man get taken over by the stardom bug. Each character gets a good chance to show the effects of the show and with the overall conspiracy being told all adds up to a great story of how America was tricked by early TV. (9/10)


Actor Review: John Turturro – Herbie champion of the quiz show until the ratings slip and they make him take a dive all while breaking the promises made to him. Good performance from John who gets all the character twists and turns to make a very interesting but bitter loser of the show. (9/10)


Actor Review: Rob Morrow – Dick Goodwin young lawyer who takes an interest in the quiz show case and goes to looking for proof of the fraud being viewed by millions. Good performance in the determined investigator character. (8/10)


Actor Review: Ralph Fiennes – Charles Van Doren the new contestant who becomes the winner and new face of the show. He does get fed the answers but the fame soon gets to his head. Good performance from Ralph who really shows what a great character actor he is. (9/10)


Actor Review: Paul Scofield – Mark Van Doren Charles’ father who just like the rest of us believes his son is winning on his own merit and wants him to continue his teaching job following in his footsteps. Oscar nominated performance that is good but only a small part. (8/10)


Actor Review: David Paymer – Dan Enright the producer of the show who has to answer to whoever gives the orders while supplying the answers to constant. Good slippery producer performance that shows how important rating were in the early days of TV. (8/10)


Director Review: Robert Redford – Great direction throughout showing how a good drama can be made. (10/10)


Drama: Great drama throughout showing how character’s lives have been effect by the quiz show. (9/10)

History: Good historical look at quiz show fixing case. (9/10)

Believability: Based on a true story. (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Each setting is authentic to the time setting. (9/10)


Suggestion: I think this is a good watch for all giving an insight into how early TV was run and how easily the audience can be tricked. (Watch)


Best Part: Charles speech.

Worst Part: Herbie comes off a bit whiny.

Trivia: Before filming began, Ralph Fiennes wanted to speak with Charles Van Doren in person to get his accent down for the role. However, the feeling was that Charles Van Dorenwould not want to help with the film at all. So Ralph Fiennes and one of the film’s staff drove to the town in rural Connecticut where Charles Van Doren lives. They found Charles Van Doren sitting on a chair outside his house, and Ralph Fiennes pretended to be a lost driver and asked him for directions.

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 4 Oscars

Chances of Sequel: No

Tagline: Fifty million people watched, but no one saw a thing.


Overall: Great historical drama

Rating 90


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