7.6/10
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The Best Man (1964)

Approved | | Drama | 18 June 1964 (West Germany)
The 2 front runners for their party's presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the former President's endorsement.

Director:

Franklin J. Schaffner (as Franklin Schaffner)

Writer:

Gore Vidal (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Fonda ... William Russell
Cliff Robertson ... Joe Cantwell
Edie Adams ... Mabel Cantwell
Margaret Leighton ... Alice Russell
Shelley Berman ... Sheldon Bascomb
Lee Tracy ... President Art Hockstader
Ann Sothern ... Sue Ellen Gamadge
Gene Raymond ... Don Cantwell
Kevin McCarthy ... Dick Jensen
Mahalia Jackson ... Mahalia Jackson
Howard K. Smith ... Howard K. Smith
John Henry Faulk ... Gov. T.T. Claypoole
Richard Arlen ... Sen. Oscar Anderson
Penny Singleton ... Mrs. Claypoole (scenes deleted)
George Kirgo George Kirgo ... Speechwriter
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Storyline

Intellectual William Russell and down-to-earth Joe Cantwell are front runners for a party nomination that will almost certainly mean the Presidency. Cantwell is prepared to use anything to achieve his goal while Russell sees himself as a man of principle - though his philandering means he is relieved his wife is prepared to appear alongside him. Both men crucially need the support of the ailing President, and as the stakes become higher each team has to decide how dirty they are prepared to get. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Best Man is Dynamite See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 June 1964 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Gore Vidal's The Best Man See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This feature film was adapted from a Broadway stage production by Gore Vidal that opened on 31st March 1960 at the Morosco Theatre in New York City where it ran for 520 performances until it closed on 8th July 1961. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, while with his wife in a car on the way to the convention center, we see traffic in the opposing lanes. A white Cadillac passes by and about two seconds later those same cars, including the white Caddy, pass again. See more »

Quotes

William Russell: T.T. Claypoole has all the characteristics of a dog - except loyalty.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, a picture of every single U.S. President appears in order, from George Washington to Lyndon Johnson. See more »

Connections

Featured in Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating Political Drama
18 February 2011 | by kenjhaSee all my reviews

Two men vie for the presidential nomination of a party. Based on a play by Vidal, this is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the political machinations on the campaign trail. Although the name of the party is not identified in the film, the candidates display elements of both Democratic and Republican values. Fonda is the decent, old-school liberal while Robertson is his ruthless, right-leaning rival. Both turn in excellent performances. The standout in the fine supporting cast is Tracy as a former president who must decide which candidate to endorse. This is an ideal companion piece to "Advise and Consent," made a couple of years earlier and also starring Fonda.


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