Watch The Candidate
- 1 hr 49 min
The Candidate is a thought-provoking political drama film from 1972 that showcases an idealistic young lawyer named Bill McKay, played by Robert Redford, running for the US Senate. Peter Boyle plays Marvin Lucas, the campaign strategist who convinces McKay to run for the Senate as he has nothing to lose, and Melvyn Douglas plays John J. McKay, Bill's father, a seasoned politician who does not believe in his son's chances of winning but who wants his son to at least fight the good fight.
From the start, it is clear that Bill McKay is a political outsider, who is not used to the cutthroat world of politics and the cynical view that most politicians have of the voters. He struggles to find his footing during the early stages of the campaign but ultimately hits his stride as he becomes more authentic, genuine, and relatable to the average person in the street. The campaign itself is very interesting, as we see the machinations and behind-the-scenes action that goes into getting someone elected into one of the highest positions in the land.
Despite initially not wanting to be a puppet for the establishment, McKay gradually becomes more comfortable with toeing the party line and taking positions that will appeal to his core constituents. The scenes where he starts to sacrifice his personal beliefs for the sake of his campaign are particularly poignant, as you can see the idealism slowly slipping away, giving way to a more pragmatic and calculated approach.
The film is also notable for its portrayal of the media and the power that it has in shaping public opinion. We see the TV ads, the interviews, and the press conferences that are so important in shaping what people think of McKay and his candidacy. There's a particularly interesting scene where McKay is doing an interview, and his every word is analyzed, critiqued, and fed back to him in a way that is designed to make him sound as appealing as possible to the voters.
The Candidate is a fascinating look at the world of politics, and it poses many questions that are still relevant today. It asks whether it's possible to remain true to oneself while also being a successful politician, whether it's possible to stand up to the system and still come out on top, and whether the ends truly justify the means when it comes to winning votes.
Redford's performance as McKay is outstanding, and he truly captures the idealism and passion that the character possesses. The film marked a departure for Redford from the more traditional Hollywood fare that he had been doing up to that point, and it cemented his reputation as an actor who was willing to tackle challenging and thought-provoking roles.
Boyle is equally impressive as the cynical and calculating Lucas, who is willing to do whatever it takes to get his candidate elected. He is the yin to McKay's yang, and the two of them play off each other extremely well.
Douglas is also very good as the elder McKay, who provides a touch of gravitas to the film with his wise and measured performance. He is the voice of experience in a world that is rapidly changing, and his insights into the political process and human nature are valuable insights into the film's themes.
Overall, The Candidate is a must-see movie for anyone who is interested in politics, human nature, and the ways in which the two intersect. It's a film that raises many questions, and it offers no easy answers. It's a movie that will make you think, and it's definitely one that should be on any cinephile's must-watch list.
The Candidate is a 1972 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 49 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 66.