The Candidate (1972) – 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.

Director: Michael Ritchie (The Bad News Bears, Smile)

Writer: Jeremy Larner (Serpico, The French Connection)

Release Date: June 29, 1972 (New York)

Domestic Box Office: $14 million

The Candidate (1972)

Top 5 Cast

  • Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting)
  • Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein, Everybody Loves Raymond)
  • Melvyn Douglas (The Bad and the Beautiful, Hud)
  • Don Porter (The Greatest Show on Earth, The Ten Commandments)
  • Karen Carlson (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno)

“I’m not a politician, I’m just a man.” – Bill McKay

Critical Reviews

  • “A funny, insightful, and thought-provoking film about the corruption of politics.” – The New York Times
  • “A must-see for fans of Robert Redford.” – The Hollywood Reporter
  • “A classic political satire that is as relevant today as it was when it was made.” – Variety
  • “A disturbing and thought-provoking film that will stay with you long after you’ve seen it.” – The Boston Globe
  • “A must-see for anyone who loves political satire.” – The Chicago Tribune

Cinematic Importance: The Candidate (1972) is a significant film because it is a funny, insightful, and thought-provoking film about the corruption of politics. The film is set in the early 1970s, and it follows the story of Bill McKay, a young lawyer who is recruited to run for the United States Senate. McKay is initially reluctant to run, but he is eventually convinced by his father, a former governor. McKay quickly realizes that politics is not what he thought it would be, and he is disgusted by the corruption and hypocrisy that he sees. The film ends with McKay winning the election, but he is left wondering if he has made a mistake.

The Candidate is a classic political satire that is as relevant today as it was when it was made. The film is a powerful indictment of the corruption of politics, and it is a must-see for anyone who loves political satire.

This is part of the Top 25 Movies 1970 to Today Series.
Read How Movies Changed in the 1970s to understand why we made this list.
To see a full list of the movies, click here.


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