ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – C – The Candidate (1972) Movie Review

Director: Michael Ritchie

Writer: Jeremy Larner (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas, Don Porter, Allen Garfield, Karen Carlson

Plot: Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment.


Tagline – Too Handsome. Too Young. Too Liberal. Doesn’t have a chance. He’s PERFECT!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Candidate starts when Bill McKay (Redford) is asked to run for US Senate for California, he doesn’t expect to win, he isn’t expected to win, he is expected to be a rival that could help the first choice Crocker Jarmon (Porter) look better, with Bill needing to just say what he wants on the campaign.

As the campaign continues, Bill starts gaining momentum seeing he being a real challenge to take the senate seat, with his honest speaking, one that is looking to make a difference in America.

Thoughts on The Candidate

Characters – Bill McKay is a honest guy that saw his father in the senate and now has been convinced to run for a public show, one where he can do what he wants, never being seen as a true contender to win. He doesn’t want to listen to instructions or use his father’s reputation to help him, but his speeches turn the heads of the public who see him offering something more that before. Marvin Lucas is running the campaign for Bill, he puts him in the right locations for the press, campaign moments, he knows how to do his job behind the curtain. Senator Crocker Jarmon is the favourite to retain the seat, he is the easy favourite for the seat and is using Bill as an easy opposition.

PerformancesRobert Redford is wonderful in the leading role, showing us all that he was one of the best in the business when this film was released. Peter Boyle works well in his role, which can be said for the whole cast who shine through the film with the acting never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows a man that finds himself put into a race for senate only for his views and opinions to lead him to become the front runner in a world he wasn’t prepared for. When you look at this story, you need to first understand how the American election process works, which can be a lot more complicated than it shows in the film, this can make this film a little bit hard to follow, while seeing how somebody saying the things people want to hear could see them become the one the people want to see in power.

ComedyThe comedy does seem to come from how Redford delivers some of the lines and how he speaks like most normal people would like to see a Politian speak.

SettingsThe film takes us to most of the campaign based settings, it shows us how a potential senator would need to meet people from most backgrounds.


Scene of the Movie – What do we do now?

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is difficult to understand the election process.

Final Thoughts This is a well-acted and comedy that shows how if you say the right words, the people will believe you can make a difference.